Carbon wheelsets have been hogging the spotlight lately, with more and more companies rolling out rims made of the magic plastic, but that doesn't mean that the demand for reliable, durable aluminum wheels has diminished. After all, there's something to be said for a set of wheels that can be purchased without depleting your entire savings account or selling an organ.
Novatec's new Diablo XL wheels are designed to be able to withstand everything from World Cup DH racing to the slightly slower paced, but no less abusive riding that 'regular' riders dish out on a daily basis. They're not wildly light, but that wasn't Novatec's primary goal – in this instance, they chose to prioritize durability over shaving grams.
Novatec Diablo XL Wheelset
• Intended use: enduro, downhill
• Welded 6069 aluminum rims
• Sizes: 27.5'', 29"
• Internal width: 30mm
• External width: 35mm
• 6-pawl freehub body
• 3x, 32 hole lacing
• Claimed weight: 2040 grams (27.5" Boost version)
• MSRP: $850 USD (Factor hubs), $700-$750 (Novatec hubs)
The wheels are available in either 27.5” or 29” sizes, and use a new 6069 aluminum rim that Novatec designed in-house, with a 30mm internal width that should help them play well with modern tire designs. The rim seam is welded, a step that Novatec said helps to ensure that the seam doesn't separate and let air escape from a tubeless setup. On the topic of tubeless, the wheels come pre-taped and include tubeless valve stems. The classic 3-cross lacing pattern is used for the wheelset's 32 stainless steel spokes, and no proprietary tools are required when it comes time to true or tension them.
Six pawls plus a 60-tooth drive ring adds up to a quick 3-degrees between engagement points.
There are two different hub options for the Diablo XL wheelset – riders can choose either a Novatec hub with a 42-tooth drive ring, or a Factor hub with a 60-tooth drive ring. The freehub body has two sets of three pawls, which creates a very quick 3-degrees between engagement points when paired with that 60-tooth ring.
Looking to add a little extra flair to your wheels? For a small fee, Novatec can laser etch a custom design on the hub shell. That step is possible thanks to a partnership Novatec has with a company near their California headquarters; while the individual components of the wheelset are made overseas, the actual wheelbuilding takes place in California, which makes it easier to put together customized wheelsets.
The Diablo XL wheels can be purchased with either Novatec or Factor hubs, with multiple hub spacing options available.