The Novatec Jetfly SL wheels are light, relatively cheap, and responsive. They're great for training and day-to-day use, although you do notice a bit of flex when really pushing hard.
- Pros: Cheap, light, responsive
- Cons: A bit of flex
The Jetfly is Novatec's mid-range training wheelset, with a 32mm deep rim, a 21mm wide outer and 17mm inner. They're narrower than a lot of modern wheels, so you may not be able to run super-wide tyres. I used them with both 25s and 28s without any issues. The rims are also tubeless ready, although I used them with clinchers throughout the review.
At the front Novatec has used 20 spokes laced in a radial pattern, and 24 at the back in an 8/16 split, with a three-cross pattern on the drive side. These provide a decent amount of strength and responsiveness; they don't swallow up bumps and potholes, but even when I hit something big I was never worried that I might damage them.
Novatec has also included an innovative 3-in-1 hub that can be used across Campagnolo, Shimano, and SRAM. I used Shimano throughout the review and found that it worked well, with instant engagement and reaction to pressure on the pedals.
The hubs themselves spin up well and hold their speed well for a 32mm rim. This was one element of the wheels that I was particularly impressed by, given their weight and classification as training wheels.
One area where they could potentially be improved is stiffness: when I really pushed the pedals there was noticeable flex, and as somebody who likes to run hair-trigger brakes I found a little bit of rubbing when I was putting in the most effort. Once I loosened my brakes slightly this was less noticeable.
The rims have a machined braking surface, and they provided reliable and firm braking in both wet and dry conditions.
Novatec includes rim tape with the wheels, which is something less to worry about.
The wheelset comes in at 1,335g for the pair, which is very impressive for the money. Other mid-range wheels – Pacenti's Forzas, Fulcrum's Racing 4s, Campag's Zondas – all come in 100g+ heavier. Even the RSP Calavera Carbon CC35s that Stu looked at a couple of months ago that come in at over double the price are almost 200g more. This is the one element of the Jetflys (Jetflies?) that is the most impressive – simply that they are so light for the price and quality. To put that into perspective – the famously featherweight Lightweight Meilensteins are only 200g lighter.
Overall I was very impressed with these wheels: they spin up well and hold that speed, and have a very impressive weight for the price. They do have a bit of flex when you really put the power down, but it's not that big an issue when you can just open your callipers a little.
Lightweight and durable set of wheels that offer real bang for your buck, with just a bit of flex under load
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Novatec Jetfly SL wheelset
Size tested: 700C, 32mm deep
Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
These are training wheels designed to be both lightweight and hardy for everyday use.
Novatec says, "The perfect wheel for a training ride, Jetfly's 32mm-deep section rim feels like riding on a knife-edge."
I don't know about the knife edge element, but the rest is accurate.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
TYPE: ROAD RACING/TRAINING
RIM TYPE DEPTH: CLINCHER ALLOY 32MM
ETRTO ERD: 622-17 572.1MM
RIM FINISHING: BLACK MICRO PEEN
WEIGHT: F:630G R:825G
SPOKES NO.: 20/24 J-HOOK
SPOKES TYPE: STAINLESS DOUBLE BUTTED
SPOKES FRONT: L:10 x 277 R:10 x 277
SPOKES REAR: L:8 x 268 R:16 x 284
LACING: F:RADIAL R:RADIAL/3X
NIPPLE TYPE: BLACK/2 RED 14MM DSN ALLOY
EYELETS/VALVE HOLE: NO Ø6.2MM
HUBS: XA561SB, XF562SB
HUB FINISHING: BLACK ANO. POLISHED
AXLE F/R: AL 9X108X100, AL 10X140X130
CONVERTIBLE TO TUBELESS: TUBELESS READY
CASSETTE SHIM/SRAM/CAMP: SHIM. 11 UNIQUE 3IN1
MATERIAL OF CASS.BODY/COMPATIBILITY: ALLOY ABG [D2]
RIM VENDOR/RIM MODEL: RWA32C
RIM WEIGHT: 465G
BEARING SIZE: F:#689x2 R:#6802x1, #6902x3
HUB WEIGHT: F:65G R:235G
QUICK RELEASE: QR249
PARTS: 4 SPARE SPOKES AND NIPPLES
They seem well made with excellent hubs and an effective braking surface, but they lose a couple of marks for the slight flex.
They perform very well, holding their speed well, spinning up quickly, and making climbing a cinch with their low weight.
Took them on some pretty pock-marked roads without any issues.
For their price their weight is impressive, with even considerably more expensive wheels struggling to match them.
Really good value for what they are; try to find a lighter pair of wheels for under £500 and you'd really struggle.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed true throughout, although the flex suggests they might need attention more frequently than others over time.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Very easy. I used clinchers throughout and had two punctures during the review which were simple to fix by the side of the road due to the simplicity of fitting.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
Very well, the rim tape didn't slip throughout the review period and the skewers worked well, with a particularly pleasing easy-to-grip machining making them easy to tighten.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, great for day-to-day riding, training rides, and you could probably even sling these on for particularly hilly races too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Their weight is easily their most impressive element.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
The slight flex when climbing or sprinting.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Pacenti Forzas are £80 less, but are 80g heavier. Similarly Stu took a look at the Just Riding Along Lark Light Road wheelset at £414.80, which come in at 125g more.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Great bang for your buck – they are lightweight, spin up well, and hold their speed. The only thing that knocks a couple of marks off is that bit of flex during hard efforts.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.