Of all the high end carbon road wheels on the market, Xentis might be one of least known here in the States. Made with Austrian precision, that seems to be changing as Xentis expands their presence in North America and continues to introduce new models.
One of their latest models, the Squad 4.2 Disc Carbon Clincher was just introduced at Interbike a year ago. After breaking them down in our first look, it was time to see what the Squads were like to live with for a season. There was definitely a lot to love, but also room for improvement…
Having spent most of their time installed on my Volagi Viaje, the Squad 4.2 clinchers will find themselves more at home on road bikes rather than gravel, cross, or adventure bikes. In road trim with slick tires the Squads best attribute is their ride quality, hands down. Perhaps the definition of what carbon wheels can do for road feel on your bike, the wheels absolutely sing along the pavement.
Aero performance on the road is pretty subjective, but I did notice very little pull of the front wheel in heavy cross winds. They certainly feel fast, but since I don’t have access to a wheel tunnel I can’t vouch for the performance of the Active Turbulator lip on the rim. The 42mm deep rim section will require the use of a valve extender or tubes with 60mm valves – standard 48mm valve don’t leave enough purchase for most pumps.
Technically, the 4.2s are listed for running 18-25mm tires. I mounted up tires that went way past that size restriction without issue, but I’m guessing the recommendation is based on the relatively narrow rim channel. Built with just a 12.6mm internal width, and 21.2mm external width the Xentis hoops don’t really fit into the current trend of wider is better. That also meant that any tire we mounted ended up measuring narrower than the listed size. The Vittoria Rubino Pro 28mm tires above measured just 26.1mm.
The narrow profile didn’t seem to affect the handling much on tires below 28mm, but it would definitely be a detriment to wider tires than recommended. A note for a comment that came up on our first look, the Squad carbon clinchers are perfectly capable of handling 100 psi. In fact, the useable pressure goes all the way up to 145 psi – when using an 18mm tire. As the tires grow in size, Xentis recommends lower and lower max pressures down to 116 psi for a 25mm tire.
For my needs on the review, the hubs were ideal, but with the new crop of disc road bikes that may not be the case. It should be pretty easy for Xentis to update the Squad 4.2 discs for the future, but the current QR5 quick release hubs may limit their use with newer frames running thru axles in the front or even rear. The 6 bolt brake mount may also be a stumbling point if you are set on running the Shimano Ice Tech Freeza rotors which are still only offered in Centerlock.
With that said the hubs did prove to be very smooth and show zero signs of wear after some serious abuse. Freehubs are available in either Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11, Campagnolo 11, or even SRAM XX1 so plenty of options there. Also as Michael with Stage-Race pointed out below, the Xentis 4.2 rims are available in custom builds which should take care of any thru axle compatibility issues.
So just who are the Xentis Squad 4.2 Disc wheels for? Well, you need to have a bike with quick release axles front and rear (135mm on the rear), you should be happy running tires smaller than 28mm, you must weigh less than 240 lbs (110 kg), and you will need a brakeset where 6 bolt disc rotors are OK to use. If you fit those criteria and don’t want to hold out for something tubeless, the Squad wheels are worth it for their ride quality alone. As one of their first products in the road disc space, we have a feeling that the next version will appeal to a wider range of users.
Xentis Squad 4.2 Disc Wheels are available in either white or stealth black graphics from Stage Race Distribution for $2,599.