Learn about carbon.

Welcome to our learning hub. Our consolidation of all wheel related questions we've been getting throughout the years and that we frequently review for updates, as well as keep adding new ones, as relevant. 

As of the 10th of May 2022, we have 15 categories with 44 questions total. For a faster search, in desktop, use Control + F command to search for keywords, in mobile, go to menu in your browser and click in 'find in/on page'.


There are 2 major benefits to using carbon wheels: aerodynamics and weight. Both of these result in ‘free speed’ (which means you ride faster for the same power). Aerodynamics will give you minutes and weight will give you seconds. In cycling, both matter!

The ‘more technical’ explanation: wheels are a part of a system that is propelled forward by a rider. Rider position matters most (with studies showing that position accounts for about 80% of the aerodynamic drag a rider experiences), but once your position is as good as it can be there has to be other ways of decreasing your CdA (coefficient of drag area).

Aerodynamics is about the efficiency of the airflow from entry to exit point around an object; ideally this occurs in a straight line rather than having to flow ‘around’ an object, but having deeper wheels effectively increases that efficiency and thus decreases aerodynamic drag.

Other benefits of carbon wheels are better ride quality and performance, better handling and feedback, less vibration and a stiffer ride (less wasted energy) and durability. They also help to make your bike look pretty cool!

There aren’t too many cons around carbon. For rim brake wheels, prolonged exposure (think down the side of a mountain with the wheels locked up the entire time) could lead to overheating of the brake surface & cause delamination. Special resins are used in wheels to ensure that they can perform at temperatures ranging up to 250°C, but it’s worth keeping in mind. This isn’t a problem for disc brake wheels!

Cross-winds are a common problem when you move into deeper wheels, and results in some handling instability at the front end of your bike. The deeper the wheel the more common this problem is, as there’s more wheel surface area that can be pushed around by wind. Luckily Negative Split wheels are designed to have superb cross-wind performance due to its rim profile, which creates a sail effect & helps to propel the wheel forward.

One of the biggest cons around for carbon wheels is price. Most of our competitors are significantly expensive – at Negative Split we pride ourselves on having a quality product that increases performance that is about as economical as you can get.


Long story short, we believe everyone can! But we've got some options for you to consider, such as hiring them for a month to see if you like them. You can also check out this post (note the post is specific to Road wheels) which provides an overall indication based on your drive to increase performance and most common riding distances.


You can get rims that have been specifically treated to handle a brake being applied to it - and we call those rim brake wheelsets, or rims not needing brakes applied to them -we call those disc brake wheelsets.

You can also get wheels that have been specifically designed for a certain kind of tyre (either clincher-only, tubeless, both; clincher-tubeless ready, or tubular)


It depends on the kind of tyre you prefer riding -we currently have 25mm wide in store which is suitable for the 23-28mm range. If you like to use narrower 23mm tyres, or wider -28mm or slightly above that, then ask us for a custom  rim.

A different question would be what tyre width you should use, which we cover in this list as well.


The purpose of rim tape is to protect the bicycle wheel’s inner tube from spoke holes, which could potentially puncture the tube if exposed inside the rim.

Faulty rim tape may cause recurring flats, so it’s something to look at when diagnosing the cause of flat tires. In addition, rim tape that’s too wide or thick will make tires more challenging -and sometimes impossible, to mount properly. Rim tape not properly installed -slightly folded sections of the tape towards the inside, could create ‘tyre bumps’.


Clincher tyres are the most common, and loosely resemble car tyres in form and function, where the lip of the tyre (also known as the bead) is pushed against the internal surface of the rim wall. As the internal air-pressure is increased, it forces the clincher bead to lock into the rim wall and form a firm and stable interface.

Clincher tyres use a tube to hold the air inside it. They're easy to install yourself at home. They can puncture easier than Tubeless set ups.


Some of the positive aspects of using clincher tyres is that they’re easy to learn what to do yourself, you’ll never run out of spare parts (tubes, valves, valve extenders), and clinchers are easy to maintain – just pump the tube up every once in a while and you should be ok!

The biggest drawback of using clincher tyres are that they are held as the easiest kind of bike tyre to get a puncture on! In addition, some clincher tyres can be difficult to put onto a wheel or don’t ‘bead’ (sit properly) straight away. In terms of performance, Tubeless beat Clinchers in almost every metric.


Tubeless compatible clinchers have grown in popularity in recent years. This means the tyre is capable of being used both ways, either with or without an inner tube.

Sealant, a liquid, is added to the inside of the tyre which hardens on exposure to air, quickly closing any leaks in the air-tight seal, e.g. punctures. This usually happens instantaneously, allowing you to ride on, rather than having to change your inner tube.


Most PROs ride tubeless.

In tubeless tyres, the innertube is not a part of the system, which saves weight. However, the real gains are not just in weight, but in how a tubeless clincher deforms. By removing a layer (the innertube), the tubeless tyre is able to be more supple as it rolls. This change in deformation reduces rolling resistance, as the tyre becomes less rigid, and thus deflects less off of bumps in the road.

This increased suppleness also increases traction, particularly when riding off-road, since it allows the contact surface of the tyre to expand. This is highly beneficial when riding technical terrain, where uneven surfaces are common.

To enhance the performance of a tubeless clincher system, liquid tyre sealant is added to the inside of the tyre. At inflation, the sealant will be pressurized inside the casing, and will automatically find any potential leaks as it tries to escape from the system - this seals up any punctures.

Tubeless systems can be a bit time-consuming and difficult to install (sealant installation, ensuring the set up is super air tight -no leaks, and using a pressure pump to allow the tire to properly sit in the bead). The same applies if there is an eventual puncture and you need to re-install the set up (a bit more time consuming and difficult), or install a tube if you want to make it home!

In the event of a sealant leak (from a rip of your tyre) or improper maintenance, sealant can escape and will harden on your wheels, bike and any surrounding objects. We recommend getting help from your local bike store - we’re also here to help.


They might, but generally the answer would be no. Mounting a true tubeless tyre in a clincher-only rim, in most instances, will be an impossible mission due to both the construct of the inner walls of the rim as well as the tyre.


This is a rim that can accept both clincher type tyres and tubeless tyres. However, a clincher-only rim probably won't accept a tubeless tyre. 


This is one of the few cons for tubeless tyres. We'd recommend getting a mechanic to install them as they require a high-pressure pump in order to bead the tyre properly, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get the required components and gear, and learn how to do this yourself, it’s definitely doable!


Old technology. Don’t bother!

Jokes aside, unless you’re a track rider you’ll likely never ride on tubular tyres. These kinds of tyres require glue to bond them to the rim, and are difficult to change on the side of the road unless you’re experienced with them.

It depends a bit on the conditions, course, and kind of riding you want to do. As a general recommendation we like to say that a 50mm deep wheel is your friend, but if you're unsure, reach out to us and we'll be happy to help!

Rule of thumb;

  • If the course is mostly flat -you want to go as aero as you can, this means deeper wheels.

  • If the course is hilly -you want to go skeletal (minimal weight), this means shallower wheels.

The choice becomes less obvious for combinations of the above, and distance. In those cases it is usually your type of riding (your strengths) that would dictate your choice of carbon wheels. Ironman 70.3 World Champs 2019 in Nice is an example of a course with flats (about 20K), very technical, with approximately 35K of ascend, and 35K of descent. 

Strong climbers used shallower wheels to exploit their climbing advantage, and athletes that were strong in the flats or descending, went for deeper carbon profiles.


The front wheel is connected to the turning circle on your bike, and as such affects your handling the most. As a result, some people choose to have a shallower wheel on the front to lessen the impact that the wind might have on their handling.


A bit of a tricky one – and to some extent this is dictated by the clearance you have for the front and rear wheel.

The commonly used width used to be 23mm, but a lot of people have now switched to 25 or even 28mm as they can run lower pressures (becoming more comfortable) without losing any advantage in rolling resistance. Wider tyres can also help with extra grip!

Working on it!

Generally, somewhere between 36 and 50mm


Working on it!

Generally, somewhere between 1.6 and 2.2 inch.



We regularly check on bicyclerollingresistance.com to see what the best performing tyres in the market are.

Click here to see the Road application.


We regularly check on bicyclerollingresistance.com to see what the best performing tyres in the market are.

Click here to see the Gravel application.


We regularly check on bicyclerollingresistance.com to see what the best performing tyres in the market are.

Click here to see the Cross-Country application.


Your frame manufacturer will likely have advice on what rim & tyre combo will fit.

If not, never fear! Contact us and we’ll do our best to help.

Rim brakes apply pressure via brake pads to the rim of the wheel; disc brakes apply pressure via brake pads to a specific rotor (which, like pads, is replaceable).

Most people agree that disc brakes are much more consistent (read: better!) across all riding conditions.


Quick disclaimer here – we are not associated with any brake pads brand, and our answer to this question is just our opinion.

We'd recommend using SwissStop Black Prince carbon brake pads; however Shimano carbon brake pads do work quite well!


Quick disclaimer here – we are not associated with any brake pads brand, and our answer to this question is just our opinion.

We'd recommend using Shimano Dura Ace centerlock rotors for Road and Gravel and Shimano Deora 6-bolt rotors for Cross-Country - but all disc brake rotors work well! If you can't get hold of Shimano's top offering, you may consider Sram's Centerline rotors.


There are lots of technical aspects to this question. 

There is no ‘perfect hub’ for all riders, and what one rider needs might be different to others. However, there are indeed notable differences which will impact durability, ease of servicing, quality of bearings used, weight, material used, reliability, aesthetics, and sometimes even an increase in aerodynamic qualities.

We have two choices in hubs (even though we primarily choose to work with DT Swiss due to its wider compatibility with parts and drivers) – Novatec and DT Swiss. DT Swiss are our premium hubs for riders who want the best in their wheels, 

Novatec are the best value for money ratio hubs -superb performance for the price.

A specific comparison between the two;

  • DT Swiss 350 Classic Front: Aluminium hub / 150grams / 2 steel bearings

  • Novatec A291SB (SL-Pro line) Front: Alloy hub / 60grams / 2 steel bearings

  • DT Swiss 350 Classic Rear: Aluminium hub / 267grams / 4 sealed bearings steel / Alloy cassette body / Star ratchet 18 Teeth engagement system (can be upgraded to 36T and 54T)

  • Novatec F482SB (SL-Pro line) Rear: Alloy hub / 228grams / 4 sealed bearings steel / Alloy cassette body / 4 Pawls system engagement system

Main differences between the two are the hub body material (aluminium versus alloy) and the engagement system. DT Swiss goes for a more robust and better power transfer hub system (star ratchet), Novatec emphasises on weight gain and provide a Pawl engagement system which DT Swiss believes is less efficient than a ratchet system because of smaller contact surface area and shorter lifespan. 

The importance of speed of engagement is something clearly noticeable during climbs.

The differences between the hubs will be felt on durability, maintenance and performance. It obviously depends on how often you ride, the weather, and your experience and performance as a rider.


Working on it.

Although we're currently doing some research to answer this question to the best of our ability, at this stage we'd say; not much difference.

Being able to tell the difference in performance for (pretty much) every rider out there between a straightpull and a J-bend spoke system is near impossible. J-bend is the mainstream system while straightpull is becoming a bit more popular lately; there are differences in length, structure, lacing, tensioning and pressure loads, and also in cost and availability, being the first (J-bend) the more affordable and readily available.

We're continuing to learn on this front, and will evolve our answer as well (if applicable) our wheel componentry in the near future -we currently use J-bend stainless steel spokes on our Novatec hubs and straight pull in our DT Swiss hubs.


There are 3 key drivers of weight in a bike wheel: the rim, the hub and the spokes.

  • Our rims, both the rim-brake and disc-brake versions, are made completely from carbon. Rims represent about 60% of total wheel weight.

  • We have a small selection of hubs that you can choose from for any wheel (apart from our rear disc wheel that uses DT Swiss only and our Tri-spoke that uses Novatec only) which include Novatec (front/rear) and DT Swiss 350 (our preferred option due to, mainly, compatibility and maintenance). Hubs represent approximately 30% of total wheel weight.

  • We use Pillar PSR and Sapim CX Aero spokes for increased aerodynamic efficiency and best-in-class weight for stainless steel spokes - moving to carbon spokes will reduce weight but result in decreased lateral strength, meaning it'll be easier to break them (& it's super pricey to do too!). Spokes represent about 7% of total wheel weight.

Other less contributors to overall wheel weight are nipples and rim tape, with an estimate of 3% of total wheel weight. Leaving out everything regarding tire systems (tire, tube (if clincher), valve extenders, rotors/brake pads and/or sealant (if tubeless)


Ideally, you’re able to do, at least, a few rides on the wheels you'll race on before a race to get an idea of how they will handle, but there's no reason you can't train on carbon wheels year-round.


This is fully explained here (working on the link)


There are a few things that are important when looking after your carbon wheels.

Using the correct brake pads for rim brakes is important for extending the life of your wheels – carbon wheels require carbon-specific brake pads. In addition, keeping the brake pads clean will help to avoid extra wear on your rims.

Cleaning your wheels (and the rest of your bike) will also help to avoid premature wear to your rims and brake pads. We’d recommend using soapy water or bike cleaner to do this.

Checking the spoke tension on your wheels is important, especially with disc brake wheels. This can be done easily with a spoke key, or if you’re not confident, quickly by your local mechanic.

Checking your hubs (or hub bearings) and cleaning/re-greasing them will help to extend the life of your wheels.

Not leaving them exposed to direct sunlight. It could both damage the brake track as resin would lose its braking power (rim brake only wheels), and could also cause the tyre to explode and damage the rim (this is common in the UAE heat)

Check out our installation and maintenance booklet here (working on the link)


Check out our extended blog post on this exact topic.

Yes they do, click here


Yes you can -if you live in NZ or UEA.

As we increase our presence we expect to be able to expand our rental program beyond these two countries. 


We see 2 main reasons for that;

  1. Our vision is to make carbon more accessible, and one of the main levers to accomplish this is to make it more affordable. Our Gross Margins (retail price - costs) are designed to maximise affordability and our continuity as a business. We believe our gross margins are significantly lower than the competition's (aka we make less profit). As we grow and scale we are hoping to transfer better efficiencies into even further price adjustments.

  1. Our cost structure is very lean. Our kiwi attitude of doing as much as we can ourselves before engaging with third parties impacts our branding, marketing, storage, testing, quality inspections, social media, website design and maintenance, carbon wheel expertise (design, componentry), customer service, and more. Our manufacturing partners focus on R&D and production with our guidance and oversight, and we then bring a best in class product to your door.

Carbon fiber was invented in the 50s and its application to cycling already started in the 80s and 90s, we think it is time for carbon to go mainstream. You shouldn't be paying a premium on carbon fiber products anymore. 

From our end of 2019 research work.

Based on +30 brands identified globally a rim brake 60/60mm set would fluctuate between $1,150 (lowest price found -ICAN), and $9,160 (highest price found -Lightweight).

The large majority will fall on the $1,000 - $4,715 (Zipp) range, with almost half on the $2,000-3,000 bracket, and the other half on the $3,000-4,000 bracket.

Our answer at this time, is that the average price of a 60/60 set is approximately NZD 3,000

Our 60/60 rim brake version begins at $1,465!


Talk to us, send us an email to javiergarcia@nscarbon.com, or if you’re in NZ directly to chrisdunn@nscarbon.com , or DM to our instagram account @nscarbon.


An athlete is part of our DNA and the NS family. We envision longer relationships where performance is a strong factor. They help to strengthen the product via constant feedback and increase our exposure and brand awareness. 

A Brand Ambassador is usually a one-year relationship based mostly in exposure and brand awareness. 

The reward systems are different.


We’ve collaborated with Tinman Triathlon event, Taylored Health, Goodzone, Soomom, Kia Ora (Air NZ’s in-flight magazine), New Zealand Cycling Journal and Hakune, so far.


You can contact us a variety of ways:

Email: team@nscarbon.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nscarbon/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/negativesplitcarbon/

Website message box: https://www.nscarbon.com/contact


The answer is, it depends.

3 potential scenarios;

  • We've got the wheels in stock in market- next day delivery. We are constantly looking for ways to increase our stock position in-market to respond faster to demand and hope this scenario would be predominant in the near future.

  • We've got the rims in stock at our factory in Xiamen, China - 2-3 weeks delivery. The time to install decals, build, ship to us, deliver to you.

  • We need to manufacture from scratch - 4-5 weeks delivery.

From our end of 2019 research work.

We believe the global market is currently quite concentrated in 16 brands; Zipp (owned by SRAM), DT Swiss, Enve, Roval, Campagnolo, Mavic, Shimano, Bontrager (Trek), Fulcrum, Giant SLR (Giant), FFWD, HED, Vision, Knight, Lightweight, Easton, Reynolds, Ritchey, Profile Design, Prime and Swiss Side.

Some, like us, are challenging status quo.

Here in New Zealand, the only local brands are Wheelworks and nscarbon.