There aren't that many venues where something born 6 years ago could be reborn as a classic, but bike wheels sure is one of them. Then, the carbon craze had barely yet begun, 23mm tires were "wide," HED was about the only company effectively talking about using wider internal rim widths (and "only" 18mm at that), a handful of races had small gravel sections, there simply was no tubeless road, 120psi was a thing, and disc brakes were solely for mountain bikes. Heck, we didn't even have Garmins yet. And November had just launched with the FSW as a centerpiece product. With a 27mm deep and 19mm (external) wide rim, and your choice of the latest in 10 speed hubs (11 if you were on Shimano), the original FSW was a perfect fit for racers and general performance/enthusiast riders.
Screeching into the present tense, rims are wider than ever, disc wheels no longer mean "time trial bike wheels" but "disc brake wheels," everyone's on 11 speed, front derailleurs are on the endangered list, 23mm tires are so 6 years ago, electronic shifting is all the rage... and still no Jetsons flying cars. Dissapointment.
BUT, the FSW is back! Still the best value in everything you really want for your paved to "not-quite-singletrack-yet, really" riding, they're strong, stiff, wide, light, fast, pretty, and tubeless ready. Based, as the original FSW was, on Kinlin rims, Sapim spokes, and Novatec hubs, they're the same handbuilt value they were then, only we're six years better at doing this. 1515g for 20/24 in rim brake, and 1675g for 24/28 in disc brake.
The rim specs are similar for both rim and disc builds. 31mm deep, 24mm wide (19 inside), and tubeless ready (though of course easy to use with tubes if that's your thing). The disc rims are offset in order to equalize spoke tension between one side of the wheel and the other. And they're finished in a lust inducing satin sandblast finish.
The hubs use the very effective Anti-Bite Guard to keep cassette body chewing to a minimum, use upgraded Japanese made (EZO) bearings, and the disc hubs are available in all appropriate axle formats.For those of you wishing to upgrade to the ever lovely and popular White Industries T11 or CLD hubs, that's also an option. All hubs are 11 speed compatible, and Shimano/SRAM drive hubs include spacers for use with 8/9/10 speed.
The spokes are black (always a primary concern for a lot of people) Sapim CX Rays, with the very slightly heavier gauge CX Sprint on the disc side of the disc front, and the drive side of both rears. Nipples are black Wheelsmith brass, the best nipples we've ever found. Lacing is 24/28 2x everywhere for disc, and your choice of 20/24 or 24/8 radial front and 2x/2x rear. Appropriate rider weight max for disc is 215. For 20/24 it's 185, and for 24/28 it's 220 (as always, those are just guidelines based on one important factor).
Tubeless tape is included and installed, and skewers are included in rim brake builds.
FSW3 and FSW3 Disc wheelsets are now available and shipping. Pricing starts at $575 for November by Novatec rim brake builds, $735 for WI rim brake builds. Disc builds start at $595 with November by Novatec hubs, $780 for WI CLD builds.
And yes, the whole wide wide world of everything else is still available as custom builds, at our always customer-friendly pricing.
Were you really? That's some quality early adoption right there! I think I finally tried tubeless on mtb right about then.
For the price this seems like an incredible deal! How do the "November/Novatec" hubs compare to shimano hubs? Living in Texas these seem like a perfect depth for flat terrain and some wind. Anyone know how to make sure that these will fit on a 2011 Wilier GT?
Hi Eddie -Riding them, I don't think you'll notice much difference among the three rims. All three allow us to do a great build, and they're fairly similar in terms of width. Bigger riders can use fewer spokes on the AL33 and FSW3 than on the Eastons, but Easton makes that a bit of a non-issue for discs as the come in 28h only. I'd venture that aerodynamic speed is ranked at AL33-Kinlin-Easton, but I'd also venture that the differences are fairly slim. FSW3s don't come with an I9 hub option. There will be a custom option to make that happen, which will be at a slight cost premium to the product-ized version that is the FSW3, which makes sense. We're exclusively doing 24/28 spoke counts on these disc rims. 24/28 covers a huge range of users and lets us keep things reasonably sane in terms of inventory. As far as the advantages you'd gain going with an I9 over either hub option that FSW3s come with, my studied belief is that the CLD is the best road-gravel-cx disc hub out there. I9s are very good, somewhat lighter, but not better. I9s come in more colors. The reason we've done this as we have is that we think this is a wonderful set of wheels at any price, and much more so at the price we sell them for. In reality, that's more or less the answer to your question.Best,Dave
These sound great Dave! Since you have spent time on each of them, how do they compare to the Easton and Al33 wheels? Will I be gaining any advantages if I requested these built with an Industry9 Disc hubset? Curious to know because I'm looking to purchase a set of 700c wheels for my Open U.P. Thanks in advance for your response and advice.
Oh I believe you! I kind of sort of sort of kind of remember you writing about it on GJ.