Token isn’t new to South Africa, but it has a new importer, so we’re seeing a lot more of the brand, which is Taiwan based and performs it’s own R&D i.e. not a “copy-brand”. Token gained prominence largely through it’s road and triathlon products, but it’s making a big push in the mountain bike market too.
The MTX Carbon wheels have 18mm wide rims (internal width), which are on the narrow side of current trends. There’s a more traditional hook on the rim bead and it’s a monocoque construction rather than bonded, which is apparently stronger.
Token uses a patented process called Anti-Vibration Technology (AVT) – a material sheath/strip (Token is secretive of it’s exact material spec) within the rim’s carbon layup to dampen vibration and add strength.
The wheelset comes with bladed Sapim spokes that are laced in a three-cross pattern for increased strength and external nipples for ease of maintenance.
The MTX Carbon wheelset can take either a quick release or a thru axle conversion, which is included with the purchase, as are the QR skewers and a wheel bag. The front hub can take 9×100 QR or 15×100 through axle sizes, while the rear hub accommodates 10×135 QR.
Construction and finish of the hub appears to be of a high quality, while the addition of Token’s Tiramic (ceramic) bearings is a bonus for a lower-friction roll. The Sharktail skewers are equally well made and finished with an easy, predictable cam action, helped no doubt by the brass cam. These actually have received an hounourable mention at the Red Dot Design Awards and an IF award.
The high-gloss finish is a welcome change to the plethora of stealth matt finishes that is so common currently.
The first outings were on four Gauteng trails in two days, all on our alloy hardtail component test mule over some properly rough and rocky terrain as well as some super-smooth, flowy hardpack.
Despite some direct hits from loose rocks, we were surprised at the resilience of the finish on the rims as well as how they maintained their ‘true’.
With a narrower rim like this your tyre becomes more ‘bulbous’ in shape, which leaves the sidewalls more exposed than on a wider rim. We never experienced any sidewall damage, but this could be due to experienced rider line-choices.
Also impressive and noticeable was the incredibly smooth rolling hubs, most evident on small accelerations and climbs. Low-resistance hubs are one of the least appreciated but possibly one of the most accessible performance improvements you can make.
How did we feel about Token’s AVT? Well, without doing a comparative laboratory test, it’s difficult to tell if they make the rims stronger and dampen trail vibration. Tyre width, type and pressure as well as spoke tension all play a factor in ride feel. We like to test wheels on the same alloy hardtail all with the same tyres (currently VEE Rubber’s Trax AM and Rail models – 29×2.25 dual compound) and the same short-travel fork to get a true feel for the wheels and not be affected by other factors.
Overall, we were impressed with the Carbon MTX wheels – light, smooth-rolling and, seemingly strong. This particular model has a 90kg rider weight limit, so is unfortunately not TREAD Buffalo-proof.
But then these are race-performance wheels, so there has to be a compromise somewhere. For a lightweight, stiff carbon racing/performance wheelset the MTX wheels are surprisingly compliant over terrain and equally strong. In terms of price, they’re less than R20K and weigh 1650g (with rim tape and brake rotors), almost half the price of some bigger-brand carbon race wheels at similar weights.
All of Token’s wheels come with a 5000km or 2-year warranty, whilst the carbon wheels also have a crash replacement policy.
WEIGHT: 1650g (with rim tape & rotors); 4005g (with tyres, cassette & sealant)
CONACT: www.tokencycling.co.za, 011 465 4819
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 37, Dec 2015 – All rights reserved