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  1. #1
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    November RFSW3 / Aforce AL33 review

    Just thought I would put this up for anyone considering November's RFSW3 build or just the Aforce AL33 rims for a build.

    November RFSW3 / Aforce AL33 review-img_1392.jpgNovember RFSW3 / Aforce AL33 review-img_1400.jpg

    I got mine the end of March and have ridden them since. They are 24 front / 28 rear, with November branded Bitex hubs, and have the "ceramic" coated brake tracks. Long store short, love everything about the wheels except the brake pad wear - which has gotten better since bedding in.

    The build quality is superb and the wheels feel very solid - not a surprise from November wheels. But still a nice feeling to have when you get your hands on them. Plus they look really good.

    Tires mounted relatively easily without any tools. I'm using Vittoria Rubino Pro III's 25c's at 85 psi front and 90 psi rear. They measure just under 27mm when inflated. They are just about .5mm wider on each side of the rim. Not sure how that affects aerodynamics however minimally, but it's nice to not have to open the brakes to remove the wheel.

    I initially had clearance issues with my stock Pinarello house brand brake calipers. There was very little vertical clearance and the pads were rubbing the rim with the brakes wide open and no cable tension. Even older model 10spd Sram Rival brakes barely fit. I ended up replacing them with the latest Rival brakes that accommodate 28c tires. With the new calipers, Pad clearance improved quite a bit as did vertical clearance. Anyone with an older bike or groupset (especially 10spd) be prepared to upgrade something. Make sure to check your pad clearance and make sure it will fit at least 27mm. Otherwise you will want to rethink these (or any wheel with 25mm or greater outer width). My RFSW3/AL33 wheels measure just under 26mm (25.92) wide for reference.

    November RFSW3 / Aforce AL33 review-img_1396.jpgNovember RFSW3 / Aforce AL33 review-100_1084.jpg

    How they ride.... Great. I'm very happy with the wheels. They are fast, stiff, stable in winds. I've set many personal bests (solo efforts not counting group rides) on them since putting them on the bike. Some of that is the wheels some of that I'm sure is me being excited about the wheels. On flat terrain, these wheels get up to speed and stay there very well. On climbs they seem a bit sluggish to get going compared to the Pacenti SL-23's but not boat anchors by any means. They just don't accelerate as well - I would guess more mass is the reason.

    In the wind they are slightly more grabby than the Pacenti SL-23's but nothing I would call bad. The first few rides I had them it was very gusty and windy. They handled just fine and I was never worried. I don't have a personal reference for a deeper wheel for comparison. I did notice one thing however in switchback or sharper s-curves. I could feel the wheels resisting the change in direction more so than my shallower wheels. Not bad but is was if I had to put a bit more body english to change direction suddenly. This was descending at over 30mph. Take that for what it's worth.

    Speaking of descending, even getting up to 49mph on one descent the wheels are very stable. I have no really long descents around here to measure that to however.

    Now the negative. Brake pad wear. In the first 2 weeks, I have basically blown through 2 sets of rear pads. These are the pads that November provided which are carbon specific pads.

    November RFSW3 / Aforce AL33 review-100_1079_2.jpg

    Towards the end of the last set, the brakes have really bedded in now and are wearing much less. Just like Dave with November said. I have rotated the front pads that were not nearly as worn to the rear. I do have some ceramic kool stops (green) and Vittoria ceramic pads to try next when the time comes. Still I feel like I have to keep a much closer eye on the pads than I ever considered before. It seems like I have to adjust the pad clearance and possibly re-center the calipers every couple of rides still. Dave has since recommended using SwissStop blue (BXP) for the wheels so I will also look into those as well.

    Some people have mentioned brake track wear. I'm not seeing that yet.

    All in all I love the wheels. I would definitely buy again, only I think I would opt for the standard brake track. Not sure the the ceramic offers anything other than looks - but they do look darn good. I would definitely recommend November wheels for anyone looking at a great set of alloy wheels.

    **edit** sorry for the double images. I don't see where I can remove the thumbnail images that are appearing at the bottom of the post. I'd remove them if I could see how.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails November RFSW3 / Aforce AL33 review-img_1396.jpg   November RFSW3 / Aforce AL33 review-100_1084.jpg  
    Last edited by tinball; 04-26-2017 at 12:18 PM.

  2. #2
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    I had about the same results with Carbon pads. I just burns through the pads. THe green Kool Stops felt real good on the rim, but it will remove coating. I've switched back to regular pads since it is coming off anyway. I'm with you on this. Great rim, regular brake track next time for me.

  3. #3
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    I have a set of the FSW3's and love them. In fact they have taken over full duty instead of the back up wheel plan I had bought them for. The November build quality is excellent, I have had zero issues from these and the Nimbus Ti set that I bought, at least not mechanical or build related.

  4. #4
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    Glad to read all of this! I myself just did a big weekend of riding and racing on "my" set and not quite 500 miles into using a proper production set I'm super happy with them. I used the machined brake track rims for a couple of reasons, scarcity of ceramic ones being the primary one.

    Enoch562, I played around with the green Kool Stops a bit and they're pretty harsh. Not surprising that you found them to be abrasive to the coating. As noted above, we're recommending SwissStop BXP (blue) pads to customers with ceramic (which actually isn't ceramic at all - none of these rims are, the coating is actually called PEO) rims.

    The Vittoria Corsa G+ tires (I'm using 25s, which are actually 28mm wide) are really nice. With latex tubes, I'd have to rate them as the nicest riding clincher I've yet used. Durability is a question mark but knock on wood so far. The only one of the current crop of new "super tires" I've yet to try are the Michelins. They have a high bar to clear in order to be preferable to these Vittorias so far.

  5. #5
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    Dave,

    I'm considering the Vittora Corsa G+ but in the 23. 23's because of the width on the tire and frame clearance. My Rubino Pro's only have about 1.5 mm clearance on the NDS chainstay close to the seat tube and they measure right at 27mm. I don't think I would have the enough clearance with the 25's. Just curious, have you measured the 23's on the wheels?

  6. #6
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    I don't have a direct measurement, but I can triangulate from other tire and rim combos that the 23mm G+ will be more or less spot on 25 on Al33s.

  7. #7
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    I'm curious to hear how the blue Swiss Stop pads are working.

    For me, I've used the Kool Stop green, but only could find one pair for Campy. For the other pair I used Serfas, which were hardly better than standard pads. They wore very quickly, and left green dust all over my back wheel. I have replaced those with Aztec, which are a little better, but not much. I have to adjust my brakes almost every ride. Tough to say if the ceramic is really worth it, at this point.

    That said, I love the rims and the wheels. I am a builder as well, and these went onto my own bike. Mine are built 20/24 with 16:8 rear (triplet). I used CX Sprint on the front and rear non drive side, and CX Ray on the drive. The wheels feel plenty stiff under my 200 lbs. and really just are a pleasure to ride. My 25c Tufo tires measure about 27.5mm, and I enjoy riding at lower pressures. This past weekend, I dropped the pressure a bit more, and finished off my ride with a few miles of "hero gravel".

    I have one customer on them, and hope to have more. Mainly because I think they are just really darn good rims/wheels, and rank up there with the best. Attachment 320055

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by oleritter View Post
    I'm curious to hear how the blue Swiss Stop pads are working. Attachment 320055
    The BXP are working great. So far so good. I've been meaning to update this review concerning brake pad wear.

    Now that the rims have bedded in. Wear has dramatically lessened. In fact I'm still on the carbon pads on the front (last pair). They are barely wearing now compared to the original wear rate. The rear has the BXP pads and is show wear but still not that fast but probably a bit faster than standard rims which is to be expected. I haven't noticed a significant difference in braking power compared to the carbon pad. However I haven't really tried to test and see that either. The BXP seem to be a bit softer or squishier feel in the leaver - but not mushy in any way. You can tell the difference compared to the carbon pad on the front.

  9. #9
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    So...if you could do it all over again...

    So, if you had it all over again, which brake track would you opt for?

    I ordered my RFSW3 ceramics before I read any of this. The first few posts in this thread really got me second-guessing myself, but your last post offers some hope. My wheels are due to arrive next week. If you were me, would you send the package back to November in exchange for a machined-track pair?

    Quote Originally Posted by tinball View Post
    The BXP are working great. So far so good. I've been meaning to update this review concerning brake pad wear.

    Now that the rims have bedded in. Wear has dramatically lessened. In fact I'm still on the carbon pads on the front (last pair). They are barely wearing now compared to the original wear rate. The rear has the BXP pads and is show wear but still not that fast but probably a bit faster than standard rims which is to be expected. I haven't noticed a significant difference in braking power compared to the carbon pad. However I haven't really tried to test and see that either. The BXP seem to be a bit softer or squishier feel in the leaver - but not mushy in any way. You can tell the difference compared to the carbon pad on the front.

  10. #10
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    Good question. I really like these wheels. I like the way they ride and handle. I like the stealth look they have as well. Now that the tracks have bedded in, and the wear isn't nearly as bad as it initially was, I think I would buy again. If I had to replace my set, I definitely wouldn't hesitate to buy the standard brake track but if it had both options, knowing what I know now, I probably would take the ceramic track purely on looks. I'll admit it, I'm shallow sometimes....

  11. #11
    My Gloves Stink
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    You and everybody else

    Quote Originally Posted by tinball View Post
    If I had to replace my set, I definitely wouldn't hesitate to buy the standard brake track but if it had both options, knowing what I know now, I probably would take the ceramic track purely on looks. I'll admit it, I'm shallow sometimes....
    Thanks for the update. I think pretty much everyone who's opted for the PEO rims has done so because they look cool- including me.

  12. #12
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    First ride November RFSW3

    My RFSW3s arrived yesterday and I took them for a 35 mile test ride today. Thots:

    13 days from order to delivery. The carton had a rip in it but everything inside was unscathed.

    I really like the understated, tasteful graphics. Nice job, guys. One of the November logos has a bump in it. It's not an air bubble, it feels like a zit in the anodizing underneath. No big deal.

    I live about 2 miles from White Industries, where they actually make the hubs. Funny to think they went from here to Delaware and back again. If they get homesick, I'll take them by the factory for a visit.

    I mounted Schwalbe Pro One TL 25s (with tubes- I've given up on road tubeless, at least for now, but that's another story). The tires went on easily. Inflated, they ballooned to a plump 28+ mm wide.

    Riding: not a single ping or pop. No evidence of flex during several hard uphill pedaling efforts. Running 75F/85R, they offered a comfy, confidence-inspiring ride. On a fast, curvy downhill, I forgot about the wheels entirely, which, like a good pair of shorts, is probably the best thing I can say about them.

    Okay, about the braking. It's great, but I would expect the combination of any flawless, clean alloy brake track and the BXP pads to brake well. I think it's a little more powerful than a conventional machined track, but it's not a huge difference, at least not in dry conditions.

    As expected, there was a lot of pad wear. I doubt these pads will last more than a couple hundred miles. I found blue goobers hanging from them when I got home. Tinball says it'll get better, and I hope so, because these BXPs ain't cheap, not like me. November RFSW3 / Aforce AL33 review-img_0116.jpg

  13. #13
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    nothing to do with November Wheels

    AForce wheels - AL33 manufacturer were Paid 8 weeks ago for a set for my Daughter and have not received them. Story after story and still no wheels and now no contact at all.

    DO NOT TRUST THEM
    Last edited by GCNZ; 10-09-2017 at 11:34 PM.

  14. #14
    My Gloves Stink
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    Strange

    Quote Originally Posted by GCNZ View Post
    Paid 8 weeks ago for a set for my Daughter and have not received them. Story after story and still no wheels and now no contact at all.

    DO NOT TRUST THEM
    Odd. FWIW, this runs entirely contrary to my experience with November Wheels. They answered every one of my several queries promptly and in depth. The wheels were delivered less than two weeks after I ordered them and have performed as advertised. No regrets, and I would not hesitate to buy from them again.

  15. #15
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    I think dude is confusing November with some online scammers he dealt with.
    use a torque wrench

  16. #16
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    Sorry nothing to do with November Wheels. Purchased the AL33 wheels from Aforce. bellebikes.com

  17. #17
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    Sorry have changed the wording
    purchased Direct from Aforce or Bellebikes in Netherlands.

    Nothing to do with November Wheels

  18. #18
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    If you want to send me your name and details I will see if there is anything I can do to assist with your situation. This seems quite out of character for them. I can't make any promises, but I'll see if I can find anything out.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by November Dave View Post
    If you want to send me your name and details I will see if there is anything I can do to assist with your situation. This seems quite out of character for them. I can't make any promises, but I'll see if I can find anything out.
    Thanks heaps to Dave from November bikes already have your email and dave has forwarded to the US Distributor for Aforce wheels. Thanks heaps for the quick response and helping out.

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