Maybe you’re hard on wheels. Or you just can’t see spending a lot for something that’s going to see a lot of abuse and dirty miles in the coldest, wettest time of year. For that, low-cost alloy wheels seem like a good idea, but nowadays we all expect everything to perform really well. So, when a set comes along that promises to be durable, is tubeless ready and disc brake compatible, yet costs just $649, we have to check them out.
To do that, we put an ex-pro roadie on them and set him loose at a few regional cyclocross races and hard training days. Here’s what he thought…
Novatec Jetfly Disc Tech Specs & Actual Weights
The Novatec Jetfly Disc wheelset starts with the same 32mm deep alloy rim as the standard Jetfly wheels but skips the brake track machining process. So, you’ll notice the flat upper brake track shaping in photos below, but these are meant only for disc brake use.
The tall, angled shape provides some aerodynamic benefits and keeps them stiff. Rim weight is claimed at 460g.
Wheels are laced 2x/2x 24-hole front and 3x/2x 28-hole rear. They’re tubeless ready and come pre-taped with valve stems already installed. Basically, they’re ready to go out of the box, just add rotors, tires and sealant.
Ours measured 17.5mm inside and about 22.5mm outside, which matches their claims (17.0 and 21.5) almost exactly…we don’t mind the extra width. While that’s a bit narrow for modern cyclocross wheels, it’s good for a basic set of road training wheels with 23-25mm tires on them.
There’s that unused brake track…
The hubs come set up with thru axles for 12×100 and 12×142 forks and frames. The standard Shimano 11-speed freehub body gets a steel Anti-Bite Guard to keep your cassette from digging into it. Campy and SRAM XD freehub bodies are also available.
The 6-bolt rotor mounts are minimal, keeping the hubs themselves down to very respectable claimed weights of 170g and 280g.
Actual weights for the complete wheels is 756g (F) and 916g (R), which includes the rim tape and valve stems. That’s slightly less than the 770g/920g claimed weights.
Four extra spokes and nipples are included in the box. Retail is $649, and they also offer an HD (heavy duty) version for bigger riders, as well as a newer SL version that uses a shallower rim and slightly modified build to drop weight.
Novatec Jetfly Disc Ride Review
In my opinion, these wheels far exceed their claim of a training wheel. In the time I rode them, they were quiet, stiff, and had really good engagement – similar to my DT Swiss 240s with the 54T star ratchet upgrade. They were nice and stiff, even when pushed pretty hard in cyclocross races and training. I weigh ~175 lbs. and trained on them on single track, open fields, and parks. They cornered well and held up over rocks, roots, ruts, etc. I pushed them hard through corners they had very little flex.
I ran Specialized Terra Pro 2Bliss tubeless-ready 700x33mm tires, which mounted and setup easily using nothing but a floor pump. The actual tire width measured 33mm with 40psi. I ran tire pressures as high as 40psi down to around 30psi for a muddy, wet cyclocross race.
One note on the set up: there is a small black spacer (to run 10 speed cassettes) that is held on the cassette body with a red rubber band, which is the same color as the cassette body, so it’s hard to see. It took me a minute to figure out why my 11 speed cassette was not sliding on all the way – duh.
Another thing I noticed was they were much quieter than another, higher-end and very popular wheelset I had been using. Where the other set’s spokes would occasionally make popping and pinging sounds, the Jetflys have been perfectly quiet.
For a budget wheelset, these continue to perform well and will likely stay on my bike for a while. It’s nice to see low price options that hold up to both their marketing claims and to real world abuse. I’d recommend the Jetfly Disc wheelset to anyone looking for solid performance at a great price.