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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; 3 Weeks Ago at 12:18 PM.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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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.

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