Why Carbon Wheels

How do I know if I would benefit from carbon wheels?

Long story short, we believe everyone can! But we've got some options for you to consider, such as hiring them for a month to see if you like them. You can also check out https://www.nscarbon.com/post/should-i-invest-in-carbon-wheels which provides an overall indication based on your drive to increase performance and frequent riding distance.

What are the benefits of carbon wheels?

There are 2 major benefits to using carbon wheels: aerodynamics and weight. Both of these result in ‘free speed’ (which means you ride faster for the same power). Aerodynamics will give you minutes and weight will give you seconds. In cycling, both matter!

The ‘more technical’ explanation: wheels are a part of a system that is propelled forward by a rider. Rider position matters most (with studies showing that position accounts for about 80% of the aerodynamic drag a rider experiences), but once your position is as good as it can be there has to be other ways of decreasing your CdA (coefficient of drag area).

Aerodynamics is about the efficiency of the airflow from entry to exit point around an object; ideally this occurs in a straight line rather than having to flow ‘around’ an object, but having deeper wheels effectively increases that efficiency and thus decreases aerodynamic drag.

Other benefits of carbon wheels are better ride quality and performance, better handling and feedback, less vibration and a stiffer ride (less wasted energy) and durability. They also help to make your bike look pretty cool!

What are the cons of carbon wheels?

There aren’t too many cons around carbon. For rim brake wheels, prolonged exposure (think down the side of a mountain with the wheels locked up the entire time) could lead to overheating of the brake surface & cause delamination. Special resins are used in wheels to ensure that they can perform at temperatures ranging up to 250°C, but it’s worth keeping in mind. This isn’t a problem for disc brake wheels!

Cross-winds are a common problem when you move into deeper wheels, and results in some handling instability at the front end of your bike. The deeper the wheel the more common this problem is, as there’s more wheel surface area that can be pushed around by wind. Luckily Negative Split wheels are designed to have superb cross-wind performance due to its rim profile, which creates a sail effect & helps to propel the wheel forward.

One of the biggest cons around for carbon wheels is price. Most of our competitors are significantly expensive – at Negative Split we pride ourselves on having a quality product that increases your aerodynamics, not your credit card bill!

Carbon Wheels componentry

How are carbon wheels manufactured?

This is fully explained here; https://www.nscarbon.com/manufacturing

Which product options do I have as a customer?

Anything for road, time trial, track, and mtb!

We’ve also got a combination of rim and disc brake wheels available. We've got both hiring and buying options available via our website's store https://www.nscarbon.com/store

And finally, you can choose decals (dark, white, or none -full black), hubs (Novatec, Powerway or DT Swiss), hub compatibility (Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo), and rim width (23mm or 25mm).

What are the main elements that make up the weight of a carbon wheel?

There are 3 key things that make up a bike wheel: the rim, the spokes and the hub.

Our rims, both the rim-brake and disc-brake versions, are made completely from carbon. We use Pillar PSR Aero spokes for increased aerodynamic efficiency and best-in-class weight for stainless steel spokes - moving to carbon spokes can result in decreased lateral strength, meaning it's easier to brake your wheels (& it's super pricey to do too!).

We have a small selection of hubs that you can choose from for any wheel (apart from our rear disc wheel) which include a Novatec A291SB/F482SB (front/rear), and DT Swiss 350's.

Other less contributors to overall wheel weight are nipples and rim tape. Leaving out everything regarding tire systems (tire, tube (if clincher), valve extenders, rotors/brake pads, sealant (if tubeless)


What are the benefits of moving to a tubeless system?

Tubeless systems remove a lot of the risks associated with puncturing. The sealant inside the wheel will seal up holes in the tyre (up to approx. 3mm wide) which makes the risk of serious punctures & not being able to continue ‘riding as normal’ minimal to the rider using it! In the worst-case scenario the tubeless sealant won’t patch up the puncture you have, tubeless wheels/tyres will also have the ability to have a clincher tube put inside them so you can continue riding regardless of what happens! We’d recommend getting a good tubeless tyre and sealant for any rider looking to setup a new set of wheels. For MTB applications, tubeless has other substantial benefits like allowing to ride at lower pressures, increasing grip, handling, comfrot and (again) risk of puncturing.

What does Tubeless mean?

Tubeless means you don't have a tube inside your tyre. Instead you use sealant, high pressure, and a particular kind of tyre. Using tubeless tyres & sealant have the massive benefit of punctures generally self-sealing as well!

How do I install Tubeless tyres?

This is one of the few cons for tubeless tyres. We'd recommend getting a mechanic to install them as they require a high-pressure pump in order to bead the tyre properly.

Are there cons of moving to a tubeless system?

Tubeless systems can be a bit time-consuming and difficult to install (sealant installation, ensuring the set up is super air tight -no leaks, and using an pressure pump to allow the tire to properly sit in the bead). The same applies if there is an eventual puncture and you need to re-install the set up (a bit more time consuming and difficult), or install a tube if you want to make it home! But that’s about it!

Do Tubeless tyres fit in clincher-only rims?

They might, but generally the answer would be no. Mounting a true tubeless tyre in a clincher-only rim will be an impossible mission.

What does clincher mean?

Clincher means a type of tyre that uses a tube to hold the air inside it. They're easy to install yourself at home. They can puncture easier than Tubeless set ups.

What does Tubular mean?

Old technology. Don’t bother!

Jokes aside, unless you’re a track rider you’ll likely never ride on tubular tyres. These kinds of tyres require glue to bond them to the rim, and are difficult to change on the side of the road unless you’re experienced with them.

Clincher tyres have the same rolling resistance as a tubular tyre, which is great, and clinchers don’t need to be glued to the rim, which is even better from a maintenance perspective. Tubeless systems are even better, as you eliminate a lot of puncture risks whilst having the same weight for the tyre system.

What are the different types of rims available?

We currently stock 2 rim variations: 23 and 25mm wide wheels (both Clincher-Tubeless ready)

You can get rims that have been specifically treated to handle a brake being applied to it - and we call those rim brake wheelsets. You can also get wheels that have been specifically designed for a certain kind of tyre (either clincher, tubeless (or both, clincher-tubeless ready), or tubular).

Which rim width should I use?

It depends on the kind of tyre you use. If you like to use narrower 23mm tyres, then go for the 23mm width option. If you like using 25, 28 or wider tyres, use the 25mm option in our store.

What's the purpose of the rim tape?

The purpose of rim tape is to protect the bicycle wheel’s inner tube from spoke holes, which will puncture the tube if exposed inside the rim. Faulty rim tape will cause recurring flats, so it’s something to look at when diagnosing the cause of flat tires. In addition, rim tape that’s too wide or thick will make tires more challenging -and sometimes impossible, to mount properly.

What’s a ‘clincher-tubeless ready rim’ or tyre?

This is a rim that can accept both clincher type tyres and tubeless tyres. However, a clincher-only rim probably won't accept a tubeless tyre.

What are the benefits and cons of riding clincher?

Some of the positive aspects of using clincher tyres is that they’re easy to learn what to do yourself, you’ll never run out of spare parts (tubes, valves, valve extenders), and clinchers are easy to maintain – just pump the tube up every once in a while and you should be ok!

The biggest drawback of using clincher tyres are that they are held as the easiest kind of bike tyre to get a puncture on! In addition, some clincher tyres can be difficult to put onto a wheel or don’t ‘bead’ (sit properly) straight away.

What’s the best width for my tyre size? Does my frame have clearance for this?

If you’re going to be using a tyre width that is narrower, then we would recommend using our 23mm rim width option.

If you want to use a tyre that is 28mm wider or above, then we’d recommend using our 25mm width option. Your frame manufacturer will likely have advice on what rim & tyre combo will fit.

If not, never fear! Contact us -https://www.nscarbon.com/feedback and we’ll do our best to help.

Selecting Carbon Wheels specs

Should I use different wheels for training versus racing?

It's one of those answers we hate to give - it depends! We generally recommend doing at least a few rides on the wheels you'll race on before a race to get an idea of how they will handle, but there's no reason you can't train on carbon wheels year-round.

Why have I seen some people use a shallower depth for the front wheel?

The front wheel is connected to the turning circle on your bike, and as such affects your handling the most. As a result, some people choose to have a shallower wheel on the front to lessen the impact that the wind might have on their handling.

How do I know which carbon wheels I need?

It depends a bit on the conditions, course, and kind of riding you want to do. As a general recommendation we like to say that a 50mm deep wheel is your friend, but if you're unsure reach out to us and we'll be happy to help!

Rule of thumb;

  • If the course is mostly flat -you want to go as aero as you can, this means deeper wheels.

  • If the course is hilly -you want to go skeletal (minimal weight), this means shallower wheels.

The choice becomes less obvious for combinations of the above, and distance. In those cases is usually your type of riding (your strengths) what would dictate your choice of carbon wheels. Ironman 70.3 World Champs 2019 in Nice is an example of a course with flats (about 20K), very technical, with approximately 35K of ascend, and 35K of descend.

Strong climbers used shallower wheels to exploit their climbing advantage, and athletes that were strong in the flats or descending, went for deeper carbon profiles.

How do I look after/store/care for my wheels?

There are a few things that are important when looking after your carbon wheels.

Using the correct brake pads for rim brakes is important for extending the life of your wheels – carbon wheels require carbon-specific brake pads. In addition, keeping the brake pads clean will help to avoid extra wear on your rims.

Cleaning your wheels (and the rest of your bike) will also help to avoid premature wear to your rims and brake pads. We’d recommend using soapy water or bike cleaner to do this.

Checking the spoke tension on your wheels is important, especially with disc brake wheels. This can be done easily with a spoke key, or if you’re not confident, quickly by your local mechanic.

Checking your hubs (or hub bearings) and cleaning/re-greasing them will help to extend the life of your wheels.


What's the recommended Max pressure?

See your tyre manufacturer's info for that one!

Generally a safe riding level is about 80-100psi

What tyres would you recommend?

From the latest tests available, we'd recommend using Continental GP5000's, Vittoria Corsa Speed's, or Schwalbe Pro One (or their TT version).

These tyres are best in class for rolling resistance, grip, puncture protection, and value for money! They're also tyres that we all use here at NS.

What tyre width would you recommend?

A bit of a tricky one - it depends on the kind of clearance you have for the front and rear wheel. The commonly used width is 23mm, but a lot of people are switching to 25 or even 28mm as they can run lower pressures (becoming more comfortable) without losing any advantage in rolling resistance. Wider tyres can also help with extra grip!

How to install valve extenders and prevent air leakage?

Most of us have gone at some point through the pain of experiencing air leakage when installing valve extenders, not able to put the exact pressure we want on our tyres or simply watching them deflate as we inflate them, not knowing how to solve the problem, and ending up either putting an inaccurate amount of pressure on them or taking our wheels to our closest bike shop. Properly installing valve extenders is something you can perfectly do yourself. Here is how. Initially, depending on the depth of your rims, you'll have a couple of options: 1-Using a tube with a valve that is long enough and doesn't need a valve extender. When possible, avoid using valve extenders. 2- If the depth of your rim requires a valve extender, or you already have tubes with shorter valves and don't want to get new ones, then you'll need to install a valve extender. If you're at #2, then you (also) have a couple of options; 2.1 Use a tube with a removable valve core -this requires a specific valve extender. This is easier to install and inflate/deflate. You simply remove the valve core, install the extender, and install the valve core in the extender. Both the extender and the valve core should be installed by adding a little* Teflon/Silicon tape to the threads on the valve and valve core. 2.2 Use a tube with a non-removable valve core (most tubes come with non-removable valve cores) -this requires the more traditional presta valve extenders, the ones included with nscarbon wheels. In this case, you'll simply need to unscrew the valve nut and install the extender (same as in 2.1) applying Teflon/Silicon tape over the valve, then sealing it tight. Now, 2.2 is the situation where we think most of us will find ourselves when needing to install extenders. The advantage of using these valve extenders is that they both work with tubes which valve cores can or can't be removed, and so in case of getting a flat tyre, you'll be able to use any tube. The disadvantage is that to access the nut -when you need to deflate the tyre, you'll need to unscrew the extender (if the valve nut can be reached), or use a wire, spoke or similar to push the valve nut down with the extender installed, if the valve nut can't be reached when removing the extender. In any case (2.1, 2.2), once installation is completed, tighten the extender just enough (but not too much) so that air doesn't leak and you can control the exact amount of air pressure you'd like on your tyres. *by a little tape we mean somewhere around 5 layers of tape.

About nscarbon

Can I test nscarbon wheels?

Yes you can -if you live in or around Auckland. As we increase our presence we expect to increase our ability to provide customers the option of doing a 'quick test' (usually for a few hours or a day). The alternative to this is hiring a set which is an available service in NZ and AU.

What types of testing are available?

At NS carbon there are really 3 types of testing we do;

  • 'Quick test' -for customers based in or near Auckland, we could arrange to provide a set for the day. Note this is an ad-hoc service and not standard, and so it depends on availability of stock and staff.
  • Open test day -NS carbon members and Instagram followers are notified of these events in advance so they can come around the testing venue and test the sets themselves.
  • NS carbon testing. These are our internal testing sessions, we methodically select the dates, location, times, protocols and technology to measure performance. These sessions are conducted by PROs, semi-PROs or former PROs cyclists, or triathletes, and NS staff.

Do the wheels come with warranty?

Yes they do, click here.

What's the average delivery time?

This is one of our substantial areas of improvement. The answer is, it depends. 3 potential scenarios;

  • We've got the wheels in stock in NZ - next day delivery.
  • We've got the rims in stock at our factory in Xiamen, China - 2-3 weeks delivery.
  • We need to manufacture from scratch - 4-5 weeks delivery.
Obviously scenario #1 is preferred, for that, we need to increase our local stock, means we need to grow and further our scale.

Why nscarbon pricepoint is significantly lower than the competition's?

We see 2 main reasons for that. 1. Our vision is to make carbon more accessible, and the main lever to accomplish that is to make it more affordable. Our Gross Margins (retail price - costs) are designed to maximise affordability and our continuity as a business. We believe our gross margins are significantly lower than the competition's. As we grow and scale we'll translate better efficiencies into further price adjustments. 2. Our cost structure is very lean. Our kiwi attitude of doing as much as we can ourselves before paying to get it done impacts our branding, marketing, storage, testing, quality inspections, social media, website design and maintenance, carbon wheel expertise (design, componentry), customer service, and more. Our manufacturing partners focus on R&D and production, and we bring a best in class product to your door. Carbon fiber was invented in the 50s and its application to cycling already started in the 80s and 90s, we think is time for carbon to go mainstream. You shouldn't be paying a premium on carbon fiber products anymore.

What other local (NZ) alternatives do I have?

As far as our research goes, you've got Wheelworks and Foil as the other two local options.

What's the current average price for a full carbon wheelset?

Based on +30 brands identified globally a rim brake 60/60mm set would fluctuate between $1,150 (lowest price found -ICAN), and $9,160 (highest price found -Lightweight). The large majority will fall on the $1,000 - $4,715 (Zipp) range, with almost half on the $2,000-3,000 bracket, and the other half on the $3,000-4,000 bracket. Our answer at this time, is that the average price of a 60/60 set is approximately NZD 3,000 Our 60/60 rim brake version begins at $1,465!

How many carbon wheel brands are out there?

We believe the global market is currently dominated by approximately 20 brands; Zipp (owned by SRAM), Knight, Lightweight, Easton, DT Swiss, Enve (part of Mavic), Roval, Campagnolo, Mavic, Shimano, Bontrager (Trek), Fulcrum, Giant SLR (Giant), FFWD, Reynolds, HED, Vision, Ritchey, Profile Design, Prime, Swiss Side, 3T, Vittoria, Asterion and FLO. We're a new entrant, and are excluding ourselves from that selected group, for now ;)

How do I become an sponsored athlete or a brand ambassador?

Talk to us, send us an email to javiergarcia@nscarbon.com, or DM to our instagram account @nscarbon.

What's the difference between athlete and ambassador?

An athlete is part of our DNA and the NS family. We envision longer relationships where performance is a strong factor. They help to strenghen the product via constant feedback and increase our exposure and brand awareness. A Brand Ambassador is usually a one-year relationship based mostly in exposure and brand awareness. The reward systems are different.

What partnerships does nscarbon have?

Currently, we're partnering with Taylored Health & Performance, based in Hamilton. 2019 will also be the first year that NS carbon sponsors Tinman, based in Tauranga.

What’s the best way to contact you if we have a question that isn’t answered here?

You can contact us a variety of ways:

Email: team@nscarbon.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nscarbon/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/negativesplitcarbon/

Website message box: https://www.nscarbon.com/feedback


Are bearing upgrades or hub maintenance included in the warranty?

No, maintining the wheel is the responsibility of the customer. Please read the warranty conditions for further details.

What's the difference in performance between hubs?

There are lots of technical aspects to this question. There is no ‘perfect hub’ for all riders, and what one rider needs might be different to others. However, at it’s most basic, as more money is spent on hubs, the performance is likely to increase. This happens through an increase in the durability, ease of servicing, quality of bearings used, weight, material used, reliability, aesthetics, and sometimes an increase in aerodynamic qualities. We have two choices in hubs – Novatec and DT Swiss. DT Swiss are our premium hubs for riders who want the best in their wheels, Novatec are the best value for money ratio hubs -superb performance for the price. A specific comparison between the two; DT Swiss 350 Classic Front: Aluminium hub / 150grams / 2 steel bearings Novatec A291SB (SL-Pro line) Front: Alloy hub / 60grams / 2 steel bearings DT Swiss 350 Classic Rear: Aluminium hub / 267grams / 4 sealed bearings steel / Alloy cassette body / Star ratchet 18 Teeth engagement system (can be upgraded to 36T and 54T) Novatec F482SB (SL-Pro line) Rear: Alloy hub / 228grams / 4 sealed bearings steel / Alloy cassette body / 4 Pawls system engagement system Main differences between the two are the hub body material (aluminium versus alloy) and the engagement system. DT Swiss goes for a more robust and better power transfer hub system (star ratchet), Novatec emphasises on weight gain and provide a Pawl engagement system which DT Swiss believes is less efficient than a ratchet system because of smaller contact surface area and shorter lifespan. The importance of speed of engagement is something clearly noticeable during climbs. The differences between the hubs will be felt on durability, maintenance and performance. It obviously depends on how often you ride, the weather, and your experience and performance as a rider.


What is the best spoke system; straightpull or J-bend?

Working on it. Although we're currently doing some research to answer this question to the best of our ability, at this stage we'd say; not much difference. Being able to tell the difference in performance for (pretty much) every rider out there between a straightpull and a J-bend spoke system is near impossible. J-bend is the mainstream system while straightpull is becoming a bit more popular lately; there are differences in length, structure, lacing, tensioning and pressure loads, and also in cost and availability, being the first (J-bend) the more affordable and readily available. We're continuing to learn on this front, and will evolve our answer as well (if applicable) our wheel componentry in the near future -we currently use J-bend stainless steel spokes.


What's the difference between rim brakes and disc brakes?

Rim brakes apply pressure via brake pads to the rim of the wheel; disc brakes apply pressure via brake pads to a specific rotor (which is replaceable).

Most people agree that disc brakes are much more consistent (read: better!) across all riding conditions.

What brake pads would you recommend for carbon?

We'd recommend using Swiss Stop Black Prince carbon brake pads; however Shimano carbon brake pads do work quite well!

What rotors would you recommend?

We'd recommend using Shimano Dura Ace centerlock rotors - but all disc brake rotors work well! If you can't get hold of Shimano's top offering, you may consider Sram's Centerline X rotors.