Source: website, bike shops
Weight: 730g front, 971g rear
Compatibility: Shimano 8-, 9-, 10-speed
How obtained: sample from company
RBR advertiser: yes
Tested: 60 rides
One of the coolest things about Neuvation R350 wheels is a high-tech look that fools ride partners into thinking you’ve found the newest, greatest super hoops. Super they are, but not for the reasons your buddies will assume.
Neuvations are built to be the best affordably priced aero wheels out there. Instead of focusing on weight, wild spoke-and-nipple configurations and expensive brand-name components, the company nailed the important stuff with these key features:
- Black stainless-steel aero spokes oversized (2.3 mm) at the hub
- Traditional spokes, nipples and lacing pattern for easy spoke replacement
- 27-mm-tall aero rims, which are fast yet not too stiff
- Sealed-bearing hubs with a reliable cassette body
- Build quality you can count on
The oversize spokes add strength where it’s needed and save cost by eliminating the need for custom-machined hubs (required for many modern wheelsets).
There are 16 spokes in the front wheel and 20 in the rear (nipples are durable brass). These are aero spokes with an elliptical profile in the center measuring 4.3-mm wide. Their diameter at the bend is an oversize 2.3 mm for extra strength where it counts. The hubs are forged-aluminum with 7000-series aluminum axles spinning on dual-sealed cartridge bearings.
Note: The Neuvation M28 wheelset is essentially identical to the R350, but the suggested retail price is $25 less because it comes without quick-release skewers.
On the Road
It’s impossible to know how reliable wheels are without putting lots of miles on them. I weigh 175 pounds, climb a lot and regularly ride on dirt roads near my house to avoid a nasty-traffic stretch. I generally start breaking spokes on modern aero wheels after about two years of regular riding.
On the Neuvation R350’s, I broke one rear drive-side spoke after a month. That was the only failure in the first four months of use, and I’ve been hammering the wheels.
I discussed the bad break with Neuvation’s John Neugent, who was understandably unhappy that it happened during an RBR test. But he expressed confidence that the problem was caused by a defective spoke and is not indicative of overall spoke quality. He said he’s heard no complaints from owners of the hundreds of wheelsets that have been purchased since they went on the market several months ago.
Turn, Turn, Turn
There was a silver lining to the spoke failure. After it broke, the wheel was still able to turn. I had no trouble riding home. On some high-tech hoops, a broken spoke throws the wheel so far out of whack that it hits the frame. And once home, it was an easy 10-minute job to remove the cassette, pop in the spoke and true the wheel. Because standard parts are used, repairs don’t require special tools.
The ride on the R350’s is slightly stiffer than on my 32-spoke Dura-Ace/Mavic Open wheels. I believe they are a bit faster on descents, too, though I don’t have any data to prove it beside more brake-pad wear. Mounting and removing tires is easy.
So far, apart from the one hiccup, the Neuvations have been impressive. And my riding buddies wonder if I’m getting fitter or if it’s these cool wheels.