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Nextie bike are a relatively new company based in China and looking to leverage off their direct access to and relationships with OEM manufacturers to provide MTB rims that sport modern technologies at competitive pricing.  Close proximity to these manufacturers means that they have a very short turn around time on new designs and as a result offer an expansive range of rim sizes that have features which are right at the forefront of modern rim design. MTB rims for regular bikes are available in both 27.5” and 29” diameters and in widths of 27, 30, 35 and 40mm. There are also 50mm wide rims to cater for 27.5+ and 29+ frames and to complete the collection, a full suite of 26” rims from 52mm up to 90mm for fatbikes. For all of these rims you can choose the weave, finish, number of holes and even the hole diameter to suit your particular build. Additionally, the fatbike rims have the option to offset the spoke holes if required by your frame setup. Customisation isn’t the only trick to this pony has either, almost all of these MTB rims are available with a hookless bead feature that is de rigeur at the moment and featured on the new generation Roval and ENVE rims no less. At weights that are competitive for this type of rim, the only real question that remained was whether they were too good to be true (no pun intended). A pair of 35mm wide, hookless 29er rims were secured so as to test both the process of buying components in this fashion as well as the quality of the product itself.

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Not being proficient in the dark arts, I took only a short time to inspect the raw rim before handing them over to a trusted friend who set about lacing them up to a set of velocity hubs with some DT swiss spokes and nipples; the build brief was “bulletproof” as I intended to really try and push these to the limit. The delivered rims were very smartly packaged, individually wrapped in padded material and seemed to have a good finish with no obvious surface defects. At 35mm wide they looked enormous and swallowed the entire width of a stans Crest rim in between the hookless beads. According to my magician, they built up very nicely and were, by some margin, the stiffest set of wheels he’s ever put together. I believe the exact statement was “Stiff as…a fire truck” or words to that effect and I considered that the total weight of ~1750g was very reasonable given the build brief and the rims themselves were only slightly over the advertised weight of 420g so a fair chunk of that weight was in the hubs. With some tape sealing off the nipple holes they were a doddle to setup tubeless. In this case we were using some Rubena rubber which has been praised previously for its ease of tubeless installation so your mileage may vary with different treads but some soapy water on the bead should see you through hassle free. The Rubena’s also have quite a rounded profile on a regular rim so the extra width of the 35mm bead seat didn’t cause any issues. The all black setup certainly looked the part, the only thing left to do was to hit the dirt and give them a right thrashing.

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This was my first experience on carbon wheels and was also going from narrow, alloy XC type rims to very wide carbon ones. The difference was going to be quite marked then but even I was surprised at how stable they felt. It’s difficult to find the right superlative but ‘planted’ and ‘confident’ are two I keep coming back to. The extra confidence and grip that comes with the stiff and wide rims just encourages you to push harder through technical sections and corners alike. Acceleration too was very snappy but it was the toughness that perhaps impressed me the most. After an unfortunate meeting of my sidewall and some shale rock on a lap at the MONT 24hr I was forced to ride the final 2km downhill section of the lap on what couldn’t have been more than about 10psi. Although I was trying to be gentle, there is only so much babying you can do around rocky switchbacks. Despite feeling the rim pinging off rocks and roots a post lap inspection cleared the rim not only of any severe damage but pretty much any signs of the ordeal at all.

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At the moment Nextie aren’t offering complete builds but particularly if you already have a nice set of hubs gagging for some carbon bling then it would be very hard to look past the sheer value that these rims represent. There are diameters, widths and customisation options to suit practically any application you can think of; combine that with an easy ordering process and excellent quality and you have a very compelling package indeed. It makes it difficult not to dip your toe in the carbon wheel pool to see what all the fuss is about.

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RRP: $170ea + postage from China
Website for Brand: www.nextie-bike.com