Many years ago, back in the haze of purple anodizing, 20" handlebars and custom lightweight parts courtesy of your Black and Decker, Nukeproof were a company well known for their high end trickery such as carbon bodied hubs. It's doubtful that many would remember those products but Nukeproof over the last few years have been reborn (thankfully less the purple) and are back in the fold with some very neat kit, including the wheels we have on test here. These are their factory offerings which are made up with several parts from the collective Nukeproof stable to produce a capable, light, and all importantly well priced set of hoops. We've had this pair on test for over six months now, opting to give them a good pounding before coming to any conclusions. After all, it's easy to get something feeling good out of the factory but far harder to have it feeling the same after a season of abuse.
Extensively tested over the course of the 2009 British race season, read on to see how we thought they coped:Words: Alasdair MacLennan, Pics: Ian MacLennan
Nukeproof Generator All Mountain II wheelset
Front Hub - Disc Side
Now I'm not known for being light on rims. Never have and doubtfully ever will be. So much so that for the same set of rims to be attached to any bike of mine for more than six months is something of a rarity. Some start to fail from the off whilst others just slowly die in a grave of flat spots and torn out eyelets. For years, the pick of the bunch has always been the Mavic 721/521, and before that the old 121, but these haven't been updated in years and the competition has since caught up with some fantastic products. One of these companies is Sun Ringle. Whilst they have been making rims for years, they finally seem to have a credible alternative to the venerable 721 in the shape of the MTX29. Disc only, reasonable in weight at 570g and create a tyre profile similar to that of the 721 thanks to their internal width being 22.5mm vs. the 21mm of the Mavic (Mavic use internal width to name rims, Sun external). So they seem to tick all the boxes but how do they stack up once ridden in anger? Unfortunately, like the 721 these are only single eyeleted but whilst a shame, it doesn't seem to have hampered their strength as, despite plenty of abuse and a fair amount of spoke tension there is no hint of deformation or cracking around the eyelets and this is something Mavic's offering often fails to achieve.
Rear Hub - Drive Side
The front rim is still straight although has obviously been re-trued several times as any wheel needs to be, has no dents and aside from the usual scrapes in the powdercoat that arise from uplifts, remains undamaged. The back however is a slightly different story. A number of dents are evident but, somewhat miraculously, no flat spots and having been in use since January with close to ten days of riding at Fort William, not to mention two races there and a week in France, that is some going – like I said, I'm hard on rims. The material does seem to be slightly softer than used on Mavic's but although this means they may dent slightly more readily, they don't puncture as readily either (partly the softer material, partly the wider bead which spreads the impact better). Being that bit softer, they are also easier to straighten back out without the sidewall cracking which can only be a good thing. Don’t let the thought of these dents put you off as I will dent anything; the rims are tough and most riders are unlikely to have any real issue with denting. They are light, have stayed straight and true despite plenty of abuse and don't puncture at the first opportunity. If you feel like a wider rim may suit you better then the MTX is also available in 31mm, 33mm & the massive 39mm guise. As MTX29's the rims are available in black and the pearl white you see here whilst as full wheels they come in either black or yellow with custom Nukeproof graphics.
Rear Hub - Disc Side
The Generator hubs which lend their name to the wheel sets are neat and tidy at first look and things only improve from there. Despite a price increase in the UK since their release, they are still well priced as separate items at £55 for the front hub and £130 for the 150mm rear seen on test here. As well as the tested black, yellow hubs are also now available for that Deemax-esque look. Cold forged bodies and large flanges all round help maximize the wheel's strength whilst excess material is neatly machined away. Now, front hubs are generally pretty basic affairs no matter who they're from and this large flanged Generator is no different although a neat touch is to include both 20mm and QR adapters in the box. The two large 6805 bearings are pretty common too so replacements should be easy and cheap to come by. After six months of (ab)use these could now do with being replaced but that is pretty consistent with most other hubs I've used over the years and is no major issue when a new pair can be so easily replaced for less than £10.
In comparison, the rear hub is still running just as sweet as the day it was pulled from the box. With six cartridge bearings to spread the load you would be forgiven for expecting noticeable drag but that is not the case. In fact, when spinning it all in your hand, drag is the last thing that comes to mind. Two bearings sit on each side of the hub body with a further two inside the anodized aluminium free hub body. In reverse to most, the subtle sounding 30 tooth steel ratchet is mounted on the freehub with the pawls and mini leaf springs mounted inside the main body. It's neat, tidy and well sealed, despite regular abuse from the pressure washer (the British summer is inevitably a wet affair), the grease is remarkably uncontaminated and the bearings still spin as smoothly as ever. In fact, they have been pretty much trouble free all year. The only slight niggle is that the threaded end caps have come lose on occasion. Although it would appear to be quite common having spoken to several other riders using these, it's also easily sorted with a dab of medium thread lock on each side and a nip from the spanner as, once that has been done, they don't come loose again.
No-Tubes rim strips fitted - review to follow!
As a package, these wheels are hand built with double butted Wheelsmith spokes and stainless steel nipples, coming in at an actual 2196g which compares closely with the claimed 2160g and as a result you can see they've definitely not been on the pies. When box fresh the wheels were perfectly true and after several long days of riding they remained as such which goes some way to indicating that some pre-stressing has gone on in the background prior to their dispatch. Individually, all the parts here are very good indeed. Collectively, as a set of wheels, they work superbly. Good enough for the Chain Reaction team to run at World Cups, they are also light enough for trail center use where you still want something tough but also have to get the bike to the top without recourse to motorized means. Available in all black and all yellow, and with the three main rear hub sizes to choose from (135mm QR, 135x12mm & 150x12mm), there's bound to be something suitable in the range for the vast majority of riders out there. The previously mentioned MTX33's can also be spec'd on these hubs for a ready made wheelset option called the Generator Downhill compared to these narrower and lighter Generator All Mountain II.
Current UK pricing:
Still going strong
Nukeproof AMII wheelset £300
Rear hub: 150mmx12mm £130
Front hub: QR/20mm £55
Sun Ringle MTX29: £55