Unboxed & Weighed: Nox Composites’ Wide Carbon Mountain Bike Rims

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

Nox Composites first came across our screens this summer, offering a lightweight, wide carbon fiber rim that’s designed in Knoxville, TN, at about half the price of competing options. Then we got a set in, threw them on the scale and promptly took them to Asheville, NC, to break ‘em in.

Founded by two engineers, Nox’s rims come in two iterations, a wider all-mountain 27.5″ and a lighter (but still plenty wide) XC-ish 29″. Both use asymmetric spoke drillings to allow for equal spoke tension on either side of the wheel. With a claimed rim weight of just 385g for the 29er and 430g for the 27.5″, they’re light for the widths, and promise to be very, very stiff. Since our original post they’ve added Industry Nine and Hope hubs to their complete wheelset offerings, joining American Classic and Chris King. All wheels are now built with CX-Ray spokes and alloy nipples, and all are hand built in their Knoxville facility.

Our test set is the XCR 29 laced to American Classic. So far, they’re living up to the hype – light, stiff and durable. Roll on for detail pics, actual weights and first impressions…

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

The rims are made primarily with Toray UD fibers, adding in woven carbon in the spoke bed, edges and spoke holes to reinforce high stress and impact prone areas. In particular, the woven carbon at the rim’s edge helps cracks from propagating should you really nail it on a rock.

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

Spoke holes are offset by 2.4mm, which lets them balance tension on both sides of the wheels and still allow the same rim to be used front or rear. Just flip it over depending on where you’re using it.

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

They’re tubeless ready, just add tape if you’re getting a rim to build up yourself. Complete wheels will be pre-taped with Stan’s NoTubes yellow tape, which is what we used after photo’ing and weighing them (Nox intentionally sent them to us bare so we could see the construction).

The bead hook isn’t the shortest we’ve seen, but it’s short enough that you don’t need to build it up with tape to get the tire’s hook to sit tight. A mid-depth center channel makes getting tires on the rim a bit easier, then the bead platforms angle downward ever so slightly to help them slide into place. Whether that last bit was intentional or not, our Kenda Honey Badgers mounted without any trouble.

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

Decals at the valve hole show which side the disc rotor should be on, making builds easier.

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

American Classic’s hubs have proven themselves durable on several other test wheels we’ve had in (here and here, for instance) under riders both lighter and heavier than me, so I suspect they’ll provide a great platform for this test, too. Ours came ready for thru-axles front and rear, and both are drilled for and laced with 32 spokes. 28 hole is also an option from Nox.

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

Wheel weights without rim tape are 667g (front) and 789g (rear). That’s just 1,456g for a 29er wheelset. With a 240lb rider weight limit. And a two year warranty.

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

Other bits in the box include American Classic’s valve stems (7g), brake rotor reinforcement rings (10g) and QR axle adapters (75g). I didn’t weigh the rim tape, but you could go light on the chamois cream and make up that difference.

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

Claimed widths are 30mm outside/23mm inside/25mm depth. Ours measured in at just over 31mm wide and 24mm inside. That made the already monstrous Honey Badger look positively menacing. It didn’t care.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

On the trail, they look simply bad ass. Particularly on the murdered out RIP9 RDO. The finish is a satin black, and I suspect those decals would come off without much of a fight (though they’re not peeling or anything). They even looked good on the stand, where they came out of the box as true as I’ve ever seen any wheel. Ever. Looks are important, but it’s the ride that matters.

The XCR 29 wheels are designed to be “durable enough to ride everyday, but light enough to race.” They’re certainly light enough, though some of that’s hidden when you throw 800+ gram tires on there. So the first part of our test is to see if they are indeed durable enough for frequent abuse. With that in mind, we kicked things off in Asheville and tried to hit every rock, root and drop we could. And there’ll be more of that to come. So far, there’s no sign of damage.

Nox Composites carbon fiber mountain bike rims details actual weights and early review

When I wasn’t aiming squarely for things I should have been trying to avoid, I’d try to whip the wheels hard into a corner. I expect a carbon rim, especially one this wide, to be stiff, and it was. Alloy wheels at this weight have never felt sturdy enough for big boys like me (6’2″ and 185lbs…without kit), but these wheels do. Even better, there wasn’t any of the creaking or popping normally heard when a new wheelset is broken in.

First impressions are really good. They’re within 7g of claimed weight while sitting a bit wider than spec’d. I’m very much looking forward to swapping to some lighter weight (as in, half the weight) XC tires and throwing the wheels on the racier Jet9 for more testing. But not before a little more punishment on the big bike this weekend.

NoxComposites.com

Comments

Mindless - 10/29/13 - 4:18pm

23mm inner is not particularly wide nowadays. Norm for trail worthy rims. Something like 40mm Derby would be wide.

Jacob - 10/29/13 - 4:35pm

Price?

Tim A - 10/29/13 - 4:46pm

@Jacob,

Looky linky…

Jon - 10/29/13 - 5:28pm

How about a race/trail 650b version?

CB - 10/29/13 - 5:37pm

Look as good as Enve but way cheaper and wider.

bin judgin - 10/29/13 - 5:48pm

23-24mm inner is pretty solid if you ask me. its not WIDE but its very useful. I run 2.3 tires on I9 trails with 23mm inner width and the tires are seated great and i can run pretty good pressure & have great tire profile.

Gregorio - 10/29/13 - 9:00pm

I purchased a set of these wheels built with Chris King hubs about 2 mos. ago. The build is high quality and the price is great compared to similar offerings from other companies. These wheels are stiff and light and made a huge difference in the way my bike corners, climbs and accelarates. The key for me was the wider rim with more of a xc ish weight. Oh yeah and all the technical wheel building assymetrical bladed spoke information on their website seems pretty legit too.

Boyd - 10/29/13 - 9:07pm

CB. My Enve AMs are 24mm wide. These are lighter and cheaper though. Wished they were a little wider.

Jason - 10/29/13 - 9:31pm

Did you get the weights backwards or is the 29′er rim actually lighter than the 27.5?

Nick S - 10/29/13 - 10:20pm

I’ve had a set for a few months now (built by Nox with CK Hubs). Simply put, these have been the best wheels I’ve ever run. Granted, they’re the first carbon rims for me, but I have run other highish end wheel sets with aluminum rims. They’re not cheap, but they’ve been worth the coin for me: Looking at my GPS data, I was faster when I installed the new wheels (no other changes). I’ve been faster everywhere– tight trails, long climbs, and downhill as well. Thanks to Specialized, I don’t have a thru-axel upfront on my ’13 Epic, but with the Nox rims, I can’t really say that I’ve missed it compared to other bikes that I’ve run with a thru. Finally– the Nox guys have been amazing every time I’ve contacted them (before, during, and after sale). I was hesitant early on committing so much cash to a new company, but they answered my blunt questions with a dose of refreshing honestly. I can’t say they’re the best carbon rims out there, but they are worth a good look if you’re in the market. Just my 2 cents.

pornitswhatlwouldratherbmaking - 10/29/13 - 10:41pm

lightbikes has some nice wide carbon rims for Cheap!

wheelz - 10/29/13 - 11:11pm

These look pretty good and 23 mm inner is indeed quite wide for an XC rim, even “these days.” I wonder if these are stronger than a set of I9 Trail 24 wheels which are about the same width and weight?

gabbia - 10/29/13 - 11:13pm

[deleted]

Tim - 10/29/13 - 11:44pm

[deleted]

Ilikeicedtea - 10/30/13 - 6:00am

[deleted]

mateo - 10/30/13 - 7:34am

@Jason – the 29er weight is their XC rim, while the 27.5 is the AM rim

bikermark - 10/30/13 - 8:21am

“Even better, there wasn’t any of the creaking or popping normally heard when a new wheelset is broken in.”

It shouldn’t be normal to hear creaking or popping when breaking in a new wheelset, because that’s indicative of a poor build.

Tyler Benedict - 10/30/13 - 10:52am

All – Yes, their AM 27.5″ rims are heavier because they’re wider (35mm outside/27.5mm inside claimed) and burlier. As the name implies, they’re meant more for all-mountain/enduro/freeride type abuse. For a XC rim, these are plenty wide, and the weights are darn good. Pricing is $449 per rim, and individual front/rear wheel prices are all posted on their website via the drop down “order” link.

nouseforaname - 10/30/13 - 11:36am

rim only please! some of us already bought king hubs that we’re dearly attached to. being able to buy the rim only would make a perdy nice upgrade.

nouseforaname - 10/30/13 - 11:37am

nevermind. i followed the link. they’re there.

chasejj - 10/30/13 - 2:39pm

I like the width and weight ,price(compared to Enve) and offset drilling. Well thought out.
I do think that Derby w/o the bead hook is a better/tougher design. Additionally, Derby has a 40mm 650b as well as a 35mm width. Cheaper prices as well.

Tim - 10/30/13 - 3:20pm

Glad to see something between Enve and Light Bikes rims, which as I understand have no warranty. Also- the previous Tim in this thread is not me.

JasonS - 10/31/13 - 10:19am

Tires are designed to be ran on rims of a certain width so they end up with the shape the tire designer intended. There is a limit to how wide a rim should be with a 2.1-2.4 size tire. Not to mention do you really want heavy ass 40mm wide rims?

Beadless hooks are probably ok with today’s strong tire beads, but ultimately it’s just something carbon rim makers (cough cough specialized..) started doing to eliminate a production step and make more money. It has nothing to do with durability. If you have a bead snap or stretch over time, hold on.

There is a huge range of raw materials to choose from with different tensile strength/modulus and COST. You can’t just assume two rims are equal because they are both made of “carbon.” I’d like to know what carbon is being used for all rims mentioned.

Craig - 11/07/13 - 4:10am

That made the already monstrous Honey Badger look positively menacing. It didn’t care.

:) lol

don - 12/16/13 - 1:21pm

Tyler, any issues with burping? These look very well thought out.

don

Tyler Benedict - 12/16/13 - 2:49pm

Don – none, but I have tried mounting the WTB Nine Line tires on them and couldn’t get it to work. I’ve had similar problems with other ultra-wide rims, some tires simply won’t stretch far enough to seat. With the WTB’s, they wouldn’t even lift out of the center channel, but they were also incredibly difficult to even get onto the rim in the first place. So, tire choice may be slightly more limited, but totally worth it for these rims. The Kenda Honey Badgers I had on for these pics mounted up just fine, but they’re a much bigger tire.

Shane - 01/08/14 - 5:33pm

@Tyler – any longer term feedback on the Nox wheels?

rick - 02/25/14 - 12:23pm

Try mounting the tire with a tube then carefully remove the tube leaving one bead on. Works on my ac race wheelset.

Tom - 03/03/14 - 12:09am

Reynolds Carbon Rims! If only you knew!

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