Nex-Gen Sports takes the factory-direct-to-consumer concept to a bit of an extreme, focusing on the tech and product attributes rather than marketing, and in all honesty is leaning on reviews like this to validate their story.
So, they offered up their Aero V7 Gravel Wheels for us to test, which worked out perfectly as I
needed wanted a lighter, racier wheelset before heading to the mountains for a major 100-mile gravel race. Here’s how they worked…
Nex-Gen Aero V7 tech details
The Aero V7 has a grey-on-grey, oversized basket weave pattern that initially looked like a hyperbolic attempt at highlighting their carbon design. But, it’s not a sticker or a paint job, but the actual carbon and TeXtreme lay-up.
It’s not overly ostentatious, nor is the orange logo, but the giant “Assembled in the USA” sticker (which means about as much as “all natural” on a Twinkie box these days, IMO) is incongruent with the aesthetic.
The center of the rims still had a slight ridge from where the mold comes together that could have been filed and smoothed out. The rim tape was peeling up at the edges too, which furthered my initial impression that they could use a little more attention to detail. The ride, however, inspired a lot more confidence.
The rims have a very broad profile that looks, well, thick. Given the measurements, that means the sidewalls are indeed thick. And the edge is rounded, which seems to protect against pinch flats and snake bites, though they don’t make such claims.
Actual measurements are:
- 25.95mm internal width
- 32.92mm external width
- 39.57mm depth
Actual weights with Industry Nine Road Torch hubs are 722g (front) and 868g (rear), or 1,590g for the pair with tubeless tape and valve stems installed.
The stock wheels come with Industry Nine Road Torch hubs with your choice of HG (Shimano 10/11/12 speed) or XDR freehub bodies. Campy freehubs are available, or you can choose from Chris King, White Industries, Tune, or DT Swiss hubs if you prefer those. MSRP is $1,699.
Nex-Gen Aero V7 ride review
When we first unboxed Nex Gen Sports’ Aero V7 gravel wheelset, I had never heard of the company or the product, which turned out to be a blessing. I mean, how often do we get to truly ride something blind, with no preconceived notions from marketing departments, sponsorships, peers, or past reputation?
I rode the wheels for about four months and was pleasantly surprised to find that when I did look up the company and listen to our podcast with Nex-Gen co-founder Paul Farrell that my ride impressions matched pretty closely with what they’re espousing.
Our Nex Gen Aero V7 test wheelset came with the standard build with I9 Road Torch hubs.
I ride with a lot of people who love I9, but not everyone is a fan of their trademark loud freewheeling sound. Or the svelte weight limits they put on their wheels, especially when you consider how much gear you could put on a gravel bike. Fortunately, these hubs have a 275 lb weight limit and the wheelset a 265lb limit.
I actually got close to this weight limit with bike + rider + gear, then hit some pretty gnarly gravel roads.
Twice in one ride I hit big washboards on fast descents that weere hidden by sunlight filtering through the tree canopy. You know, when your $#%& eating grin suddenly turns to Oh S#!T, Oh S#!T, Oh S#!T, just don’t lose the handlebars, Oh S#!T, Oh S#!T, Oh S#!T, . . . Whew, I made it. Are my wheels OK?
Yessir! Not only did they hold true while steering through rough terrain, they were as true as the day they came off the factory floor, even after taking some serious hits. Thank you, “unique Innegra/carbon spread tow rim construction”!
Nex Gen Sports doesn’t have a marketing department and appears to dislike hyperbole, so I won’t call them bombproof. But they sure are confidence-inspiring.
Gravel tires mounted easily with a compressor, and even gained a couple of millimeters over their published widths thanks to the 26mm internal rim width.
Road tires, however, took more effort, and I ended up just using tubes. With 32mm road tires on a 33mm external rim width the Aero V7 is, well, aero, and will work on the road, but I don’t think road is the wheelset’s forte. This combination made for a comfortable and capable, but sluggish ride.
After all, the carbon layering and composite rim structure were engineered for impact resistance and compliance. Farrell even mentioned in our podcast that they’d never put this on a road bike, and after riding on the road I’d agree. I might use this wheelset on a socially-paced gran fondo where I wanted to be comfortable, but not in a situation where I’m trying to Cat up or keep up with a faster group.
This wheelset corners confidently too. In fact, I was riding behind a guy with the exact same tires when he fell hard, and I stayed rubber side down.
On long rides such as the Belgian Waffle Ride, this wheelset was a welcome upgrade. Since this is a gravel wheelset, it seems built more for comfort and toughness than speed – laterally stiff, but vertically compliant – so what better way to test that than throwing these wheels on an aluminum frame?
The Aero V7 wheelset didn’t magically turn my Kona Libre AL into a full carbon race rocket. Nor did it transform the ride quality into that of a full suspension gravel bike. Nor would Nex Gen Sports make that claim (remember, no marketing department). But the wheelset did make slight but noticeable improvements to both lateral stiffness and ride quality while lightening things up.
1590 grams for a gravel wheelset that a Clydesdale can confidently ride and push through corners without breaking them on impacts is impressive.
Standing to power up a climb or sprint for a city limit sign was fine. They lack the “snap” of an ultralight wheel, but they make up for this in durability and stability. I can put a lot of stress on my bike and components, and these wheels can take it.
I’d recommend them for any gravel rider looking for a solid set of wheels that can take a beating. For heavier riders, or those who are going to load down their bikes but still want something lightweight, the Nex-Gen Aero V7 wheels definitely seem up to the task.