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Stan's NoTubes Avion Disc Pro wheelset review

NoTubes' first carbon road wheelset knocks it out of the park

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The Stan's NoTubes Avion Disc Pro may be the company's first aero carbon road offering but its performance and design rival offerings from companies with far more experience

The Stan's NoTubes Avion Disc Pro may be the company's first aero carbon road offering but its performance and design rival offerings from companies with far more experience (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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End caps on the hubs are easily interchanged for use with different axle standards. Multiple sets are included

End caps on the hubs are easily interchanged for use with different axle standards. Multiple sets are included (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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The Center Lock splined interface allows use of Shimano's excellent 140mm-diameter Ice Tech rotors

The Center Lock splined interface allows use of Shimano's excellent 140mm-diameter Ice Tech rotors (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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Sapim CX-Ray bladed stainless steel spokes are used all around

Sapim CX-Ray bladed stainless steel spokes are used all around (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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The new Neo Ultimate hubs offer up an unusually speedy five-degree freehub engagement as well as much larger-diameter bearings and axles than before for better long-term durability. Bearings on this test wheelset have indeed held up very well despite seeing plenty of adverse weather

The new Neo Ultimate hubs offer up an unusually speedy five-degree freehub engagement as well as much larger-diameter bearings and axles than before for better long-term durability. Bearings on this test wheelset have indeed held up very well despite seeing plenty of adverse weather (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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Details, details: there's a flattened section at the valve hole for the valve stem nut

Details, details: there's a flattened section at the valve hole for the valve stem nut (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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The aluminum nipples are externally located for easy servicing

The aluminum nipples are externally located for easy servicing (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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The wide rim is intended for use with similarly wide rubber. Stan's NoTubes recommends nothing narrower than 25mm

The wide rim is intended for use with similarly wide rubber. Stan's NoTubes recommends nothing narrower than 25mm (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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One of the hallmarks of Stan's NoTubes wheels is easy tubeless compatibility and that carries over to the Avion Disc Pro. Even with just a standard floor pump, tubeless tires seat and inflate easily

One of the hallmarks of Stan's NoTubes wheels is easy tubeless compatibility and that carries over to the Avion Disc Pro. Even with just a standard floor pump, tubeless tires seat and inflate easily (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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The blunted-profile rims measure 41mm in depth and 28mm in width (exteral measurement)

The blunted-profile rims measure 41mm in depth and 28mm in width (exteral measurement) (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)
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No radial lacing to be found here!

No radial lacing to be found here! (Image credit: James Huang / Immediate Media)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Long a fixture on the mountain bike scene for its hassle-free tubeless rims and wheels, Stan's NoTubes recently finally launched into the carbon aero road wheel market with the new Avion range. Just as you'd expect, they're a breeze to set up tubeless, lightweight, and – at least relatively speaking – a decent value all things considered. Excellent performance at a lower price than the competition? Sign me up.

One look at the Avion Disc Pro's spec sheet reveals its progressive nature. Internal width on the tubeless-compatible full-carbon rims is a healthy 22mm – wider than just about any other road rim on the market – the new Neo Ultimate rear hub has an unusually quick five-degree engagement speed, and despite having a versatile 41mm rim depth and new-school fat 28m-wide section width, the actual weight for a complete set is just 1,477g (631g front, 846g rear) including the factory installed rim tape and tubeless valve stems. And that's with the hubs configured in thru-axle guise front and rear, too.

  • Highs: Impressively light, excellent build quality, easy and reliable tubeless setup, quick-engaging rear hub, smart aero rim profile, comparatively economical, generous axle compatibility
  • Lows: Temporary seal drag
  • Buy if: You're after a feature-packed set of tubeless- and disc-compatible carbon aero road wheels and don't want to pay a premium for one of the big brands

Plumping up your rubber

Numbers don't always align with how a product feels in the real world but in this case, the Avion Pros perform just as the spec sheet would suggest – which is to say, very, very well.

NoTubes proudly claims the rim's ‘RiACT' rim design yields a softer ride than comparable aero-profile carbon hoops. That may very well be true on a bench test but on the road, what's much more noticeable is how the wider rim profile and shallower bead hooks really plump up whatever tires are mounted. For example, a set of 28mm-wide Specialized S-Works Turbo Road Tubeless tires (my current go-tos, by the way) measure a whopping 30.5mm even at just 60psi while offering superb traction, heaps of comfort, and sufficient air volume for hours of off-blacktop riding – all with no tangible hit in rolling resistance or weight, either.

For the record, NoTubes recommends that the Avions be paired with rubber between 25mm and 40mm in width but anything you put on here – tubeless or tube-type – puffs up in similar fashion.

Granted, that characteristic is mostly shared with other rims of similar dimensions. Case in point, there's not a huge difference in ride quality between the Avion Disc Pros and a set of Bontrager Aeolus 5 TLR Disc 3 wheels (which are just 2mm narrower) but it's a dramatic change in feel as compared to a more traditional set of wheels with just 15-17mm of space in between the bead hooks. Call the hype police on me if you wish but if you're still on 15mm-wide rims and 23mm-wide tires pumped up to 110psi, the difference is truly revelatory.

Of course, no review of an aero road wheelset would be complete without some mention of speed but without the benefit of a wind tunnel, it's impossible to say just how ‘fast' these are. Are the Avion Disc Pros noticeably faster than non-aero wheels? Absolutely, especially at higher speeds. But are they two seconds faster than something else over 40km? Your guess is as good as mine.

Light and stable

More applicable to most riders' real-world needs is the fact that the wheels are noticeably light (claimed rim weight is just 415g) and stable enough in strong crosswinds to be used as an all-around aero wheelset. I wouldn't say the Avion Disc Pro's blunted profile is quite as immune to gusts as the Easton's latest Fantom models or the Enve SES 3.4 but it's still worlds better than more traditional V-shaped aero wheels.

Here on the Colorado Front Range, early winter conditions are notorious for brutal Chinook winds coming down out of the mountains, directly orthogonal to one of the most heavily trafficked routes out of Boulder. Even on the worst days, the Avion Disc Pros were still quite manageable.

Overall wheel durability has been excellent, too, with no truing required even after weeks of punishment on rough dirt and gravel roads (and yes, even just a bit of singletrack tossed in for good measure).

While the rim profile itself may not shatter any major barriers, the Neo Ultimate hubset certainly bucks the trend in road wheelsets with its unusually quick five-degree freehub engagement. This isn't a huge boon when riding on asphalt or dirt (or gravel, as the case may be) but it's a most welcome feature for 'cross, particularly on technical climbs when traction is limited. There's a bit more seal drag from the rear hub that I'd prefer but it does break in over time and in a month of regular testing – including lots of time on wet, muddy, and slushy roads – the bearings and freehub mechanism have held up admirably.

Perhaps where the Avion Pros are most impressive is at the cash register. They're hardly cheap but still quite the relative bargain when held against the mainline competition. Those previously mentioned Bontragers share similar rim dimensions and tubeless compatibility but with 170g more weight and almost 30% more cost. Enve's SES 3.4 Disc is slightly lighter but even more expensive and with a narrower, non-tubeless rim while the Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher Disc Brake is about the same price but as heavy as the Bontragers and as narrow as the Enves while lacking tubeless compatibility.

If you're okay with an extra 100g (and a 10-degree engagement speed), that price gap widens even further with the second-tier Avion Disc Team model.

NoTubes forged its well-deserved mountain bike wheel reputation on smart rim designs and good value, and the company seems to have carried over both to the Avion Disc Pros. If there are any notable downsides, I'm still looking for them.