“Token is more than just a bike company and we want our products to reflect this. When a Token product is in your hand, you’ll clearly see the pride and craftsmanship used to make it. Over a decade ago, we began our journey to make high-quality and innovative products for people who love to ride. We have learned a lot of lessons over the years and this has helped us to constantly improve.” -Token
In the big scheme of the universe, a decade is a mere blip. In the bicycle industry, a decade is an eternity. In just ten years, electronic drivetrains and disc brakes on road bikes have become par for the course, and 11-speed is so 2009. This decade has seen the development of gravel bikes, bikes that resemble a cyclocross bike but with bigger tyre clearance and a comfier ride, and a bunch of other stuff you never realized you really needed (but somehow immediately wanted). Riders are flocking to gravel bikes and roads in search of adventure, camaraderie, and a break from the humdrum of traffic and everyday life.
Carbon fiber wheelsets are now considered the norm, even for riding the potholed and washboarded roads that constitute some of the gravel cycling experience. Ten-year industry veteran, Token, joins the gravel party with a new carbon wheel option, the RoubX Prime Disc Brake Allroad Wheelset. We beat it up around the dirt roads of Gainesville, FL, and beyond to put them to the test…
Token tout the RoubX wheelset as a one-size-fits all design, intended for cyclocross, cross country mountain bike and gravel bike use. That’s a lot to ask.
The RoubX’s hookless, tubeless rim supports any tyre between 700c x 38mm, all the way up to 29 x 2.1″.
Built with carbon rims featuring the company’s RAR rim profile, Token is confident their wheelset will leave others way behind. Token aren’t forthcoming about the meaning of RAR on their website; Radically Awesome Rim?
Actual Weights & Specs
Placed onto my trusty gram scale, the front wheel with rim tape installed weighed 710.5g. Advertised weight is 671g, which I assume is for a bare wheel.
And the rear wheel, 833g with rim tape installed. Advertised weight is 823g, again I assume for a bare wheel with cassette body installed. Combined weight of both wheels is 1,543.5g, which is 49.5g more than the manufacturer’s spec weight of 1,494g. Taking into account most manufacturers add a fudge factor of about three percent for weight, Token is at least decently close.
At the heart of Token’s RoubX Prime Disc Brake Allroad Wheelset are the company’s “D1” hubs. Internal specs aren’t published in great detail, but the high quality “Premium” bearings employed in the wheelset feel smooth with adequate shielding from the elements.
Token rely on Shimano’s centerlock disc brake rotor mounting standard, which is a boon if you swap rotors in and out as often as I do reviewing various wheels and bikes. It also typically produces a lighter wheel weight.
Disc Rotor and Tyre Installation
Rotor installation is a breeze with center lock, and the fastest, in terms of rotor swaps, of the two rotor standards.
For the duration of the review, I mounted Hutchinson’s Verde tyre in 700c x 38mm. Both tyres mounted easily to the wheels, without the need to pry them on with tyre levers. The tyres inflated nicely, courtesy of Bontrager’s TLR Flash Charger pump, but I’d expect the Topeak Joe Blow Booster pump would have no troubles either. Use an air compressor? Even easier. Sealant used was Orange Seal’s Endurance Formula.
As a final note on this subject, tyres were easy to remove from this wheelset. I’ve ridden at least two different wheel brands in the past that required an insane amount of force to remove tyres – tyre brand was irrelevant. This isn’t so handy when you’re standing by the side of the road. This issue needs to be factored into your purchase decision, especially in this day and age of tubeless gravel tyres.
Token RoubX Prime Disc Allroad – Ride Review
At 1,543 grams, the Token RoubX wheelset one of the lighter Allroad/Gravel bike wheelsets currently available. The RoubX’s decently light weight translates into good acceleration and excellent handling characteristics, especially in crosswinds. With a rim depth of 33mm, the rims are aero enough to perceive some benefit, but not deep enough to be blown all over the place. Remember, a typical gravel tyre adds additional height to one’s bike versus a 700c x 25mm road tyre, which also affects gearing and adds a virtual wind sail to one’s wheelset. Extra surface area equates to more area to catch the wind.
Once accelerated to a rolling speed of 20mph (32km/h) on a fast and smoothish gravel road, the Token RoubX’s hum along nicely and hold their speed well. I am no aerodynamic wind tunnel expert, but the aero effect of these wheels and most aero wheels on gravel is questionable, particularly when you factor in how disruptive a 35mm+ wide gravel-specific tyre can to be to air flowing across the bike. Thankfully, I believe in the power of placebo. Thus if I feel fast, I am fast… at least in my little world! The RoubX wheels felt fast, and I would be happy riding these wheels fitted with WTB’s Exposure 700c x 32mm tires if I were inclined to knock out a few roadie miles.
For the duration of the review, I wasn’t kind to these wheels. They saw duty on my local and nearby dirt and gravel roads (Watts Dixon can testify how awesome the riding is here in Florida), some of the trails that make up the yearly Tour de Gainesville route (an MTB event), and general riding around the place.
The Token RoubX wheels stayed perfectly in true, a good testimony to the skills of the wheel builder and quality of materials used. The wheels have plenty of logos and graphics adorning them, but they are subtle in that their gray color blends well with the color of the rim and tyre.
Thus, the RoubX’s aren’t too flashy. With that said, Token does offer a much brighter livery with fluoro green logos, which won’t suit every rider, or bike. If I had more time, I would have fitted WTB’s Resolute or Panaracer’s Gravelking SK tyres to this wheelset, both of which have tan or brown sidewalls available. That really adds a touch of class and makes one’s wheelset and bike stand out from the crowd.
In sticky situations like the one pictured above, the rear hub’s engagement system worked adequately well when I had to pick a delicate line and finesse the bike. Or, those times when you’re riding the wrong bike on an MTB trail, and you need to make a last-second change in direction. I’ve ridden faster engagement systems, but considering this wheelset’s intention is mostly gravel, they are well up to the task. Freewheel operation is quiet during coasting.
I’m unaware of a rider weight limit on this wheelset, but yours truly weighs anywhere from 155lbs to 160lbs/69kg to 71kg, dependent on how much I’ve been stuffing my face. The RoubX wheels have been rock solid and I’ve been most unsuccessful at budging them laterally during out of the saddle efforts. The thru-axle interface is a no brainer for me on disc wheels nowadays, and as expected, no rotor rub when I attempted to throw the bike and wheels about the place.
Tyre pressure is one of the biggest factors to ride quality and the most overlooked factors regarding overall comfort on a bicycle. I’ve run into so many blokes at a gravel ride or race, banging on about the merits of suspension on gravel, yet their tyres are inflated to 50psi or higher. Why?! Drop your tyre pressure and enjoy the free suspension effect of a comfy ride.. and roll faster too. Depending on the tyre, I generally inflate to 32 to 35psi on the front, and 35 to 38psi on the rear. Those were the pressures I ran with the Token RoubX wheels, all of which resulted in a smooth ride.
There’s nothing bad to say about Shimano’s hydraulic disc brakes. In fact, this paragraph is almost a moot point. Mount your disc brake rotors, align them with the calipers and go ride. Zero issues. On the Token RoubX wheelset or any other, if your bike is fitted with true hydraulic brakes, they’ll bring you to a screeching halt in wet or dry conditions.
Token RoubX Prime Disc Brake Allroad Wheelset – Summary
The Token RoubX wheelset is well-built from high quality materials and proven to be a reliable and flexible package that is perfect for gravel cycling. From here, I may further test their “all road” claims and mount some really wide tyres, such as Schwalbe’s Furious Fred (they measure about 2″), on my Lynskey PRO GR. These tyres are suitable only for the smoothest of gravel roads (they’re a bit flimsy) and will only fit on a bike with serious tyre clearance. But, they roll oh so fast. I’ll report back if there’s anything newsworthy about that setup.
- The wheel end cap system and easy axle swaps for the rear wheel make this wheelset almost future proof… until another standard is concocted.
- Decently light weight with good acceleration and ability to hold speed.
- Easy to mount and remove tyres.
- Excellent build quality.
- Subdued look, which is a good match for most bikes.
- Straight-pull spokes are fantastic until one of them breaks. For this reason, I prefer J-bend. J-bend spokes can easily be sourced at your local bike shop. A potential owner should think about acquiring a few spare spokes for this wheelset.
- No valve cores supplied with the wheelset. This may have been an oversight (?) on this review wheelset, but a wheelset of this nature should arrive ready to roll with tubeless tape installed and valve cores on the wheels, or at least supplied.
The Token RoubX wheels are a little reclusive at this time, and generally appear on UK-based sites only at the time of writing. For what they are -good, high quality wheels- they are well priced at $US 1,325.00 / £1,099.00 GBP (remember, the exchange rate varies). Compare this to a carbon wheelset of similar quality and weight, and you’ll be paying a lot more.
Article by Gravel Cyclist. Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.