Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Neugent Cycling

As he promised, John Neugent has returned to the black-label component market six months after he shuttered Neuvation.  Enter Neugent Cycling.

John's business this time is limited to wheels.  He appears to be making what were his top alloy and carbon wheels, having jettisoned the builder spec versions.  Pricing has stayed about the same as before -- in the range of $500 for a sub-1500gm alloy wheelset; $900 for a sub-1500gm carbon wheelset; with substantial savings if you are prepared to go tubular and a slight up-charge for a "big and tall men's" (my phrase) build.  He is also offering a Powertap wheelset for approximately $1000 built and, keeping up with the current fad, is offering wheels built with disc hubs.  ($549 for a set of 1420gm tubulars with disc hubs is a hugely competitive price point.)

I like the level of detail in John's description of the wheel-building process.  The insider know-how and gossip has always been half the fun of following John's business.  Shopping his web-site makes you feel like you are sitting on the counter in the shop chatting with the wheel-builder while he is putting the finishing touches on your new hoops.

At HBC we had good but not perfect success with Neuvation wheels.  P__'s wheelset on the FC600 I bought her last fall have held up perfectly and both ride beautifully and look beautiful.  My C50 carbon clinchers worked fine for a race wheel, although they needed occasional truing.  They have now become eye candy on a wall-mount build.  And the custom-made Powertap rear/White Indus. front with Hed Belgium rims I ordered from Neuvation have been great training wheels. Sam has had at least three pair of Neuvation wheels through his garage over the years.

Commenters on prior posts have been uniformly appreciative of the quality of Neuvation products.

My summary assessment is that for the price and weight Neuvation was the best deal in wheels with the very occasional exception of a true fire-sale on a top-end Mavic.  Were I in the market I may shop around for a short while, but I would finish any search at Neugent Cycling.

A side note:  Neuvation used to advertise all its wares at discounts -- it was one of those pricing strategies that suggested everything was constantly on fire-sale.  Neugent Cycling is not (so far) doing that.  I wonder if that had something to do with the abrupt close.  Consumer protection regulators have sometimes seized on false discounting behavior as a basis for deceptive advertising claims, and California (where Neuvation was located) is known for aggressive consumer protection regulation.  If so, that's too bad.  Say what you will about pricing practices, nobody ever got taken advantage of buying from Neuvation.


sam said...

I've got about as many wheels as Imelda Marcos has shoes. About half of them thanks to Neuvation's sales.

I've had more out-of-true issues with them than I've had with Ksyriums, but then for a few hundred bucks for a lightweight wheelset, it's tough to complain.

Regardless, I'm glad to see him back. Presumably he's structuring this business so he can stay low-volume. I hope he can be successful with it.

Unknown said...

I've never ridden a Neuvation wheelset. It sounds like I'd better learn to true wheels before I go that direction, but maybe I will do so down the road. The Zipps seem remarkably durable and hold their true better than one would expect. You pay for it, of course.

I think Neuvation needs a different name. It doesn't sound fast, but more like an unwieldy and laborious process. But maybe others disagree.

Max said...

One could write a book about the differences in our approaches to gear shopping. You've certainly had success with the "get what you pay for" approach. My own has been "buy cheap and frequently and something will work out."

sam said...

I prefer the hybrid approach: buy expensive and often.

But I'm still not any faster. said...

I am new to age 49...because my orthopedic surgeon who reconstructed both my knees says so ("Don't run, cycle!"). So after buying an old but remarkably well maintained and tuned Centurion Dave Scott Ironman (1986, Shimano 600, gray and silver) to beat up with my240 pounds as I get in shape and get my cycling legs under me, I found a Craigslist ad the other day for a NeuvationBike auction by a company out of Atascadero, CA (near Mr. Neugent's base of SLO). To make a long post short, I bought a carbon fiber frame for $80 plus the 15 percent auction fee for a total of $92! Can't wait to build it out.

Max said...

DMS: Great find. I had one of those Neuvation carbon framesets in my shop for a week due to a shipping error (ended up with his aluminum frame instead). They are beautiful -- and reportedly quite high performing. You didn't ask, but if you are shopping for parts -- has been my go-to source for low-cost full groupsets and wheelsets of all stripes. I hope you will post a link to a picture when you get it built.

And many congrats on taking care of the knees and taking up the sport!