Review: Novatec R3 Clincher wheels

A solid, do-it-all-type wheelset at a competitive price

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

With a 38mm deep carbon rim and a 21mm width at the brake track, the R3s are Novatec’s ‘do it all’ wheelset. They tipped the 220 scales just over 1,400g and looked to be just the ticket for a hilly day out.
On the road we were pleasantly surprised, too. They accelerated well, performed admirably holding speed on the flat and the only complaint we had was that, when we were out of the saddle and really going for it uphill, there was a bit of brake rub at the rear – but we do run our rear brakes very close to the rim so it’s not unusual. The R3s also gave a reasonably compliant ride, and even on some terrible surfaces they were far from overly harsh, and you could (and we did) happily ride on them all day.
Braking quality in the dry was very good, and we got an even better response when we tried a set of Zipp Tangente Platinum pads instead of the supplied blue set. In the wet, braking was so-so, but certainly not noticeably worse than most carbon rims we’ve ridden, which pretty much all border on terrifying when the heavens really open!
Perhaps the most interesting part of the R3s is the freehub body. It’s Campagnolo, Shimano and SRAM compatible all in one unit, so if you want to switch between Shimano/SRAM and Campag, all you have to do is change the cassette, not the entire freehub.


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