Token T28 wheelset  £1250.00

8/10

Lively lightweight race wheels with good build quality and really impressive bearings

Weight 1186g   Contact  www.i-ride.co.uk

by Mat Brett   August 31, 2013  

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Token's T28s are very lightweight and reactive tubular wheels that have proved to be perfectly reliable throughout testing.

The one thing I'm not so sure about, though, is Token's exclusive Anti-Vibration Technology (AVT). Let me explain a little about that...

Token's AVT comprises a layer of material they use in the rims – both front and rear. They've not released details of the material because they don't want anyone to copy the technology, but they say it has very similar qualities to Kevlar and it's sandwiched within the carbon-fibre right around the diameter of the rim profile. Token actually leave a small window in the tyre bed, close to the valve hole, where you can see a yellow patch of the material.

As the name tells you, the key reason for adding the AVT is to reduce vibration, but Token say that it adds a lot more strength and stiffness to the wheel too. If you crash, for example, Token reckon that the wheel will keep its shape better. They're using it in their T90 tubular wheel too, and also in their C55 and C590 clinchers too.

Does it reduce vibration, though? Well, in use you'd be hard pressed to say that these wheels feel remarkable in that respect. That's not to say that the AVT isn't reducing vibration, but there are a whole lot of factors that influence the amount of buzz that makes it through a wheel: the individual wheel components, spoke tension, the tyres you use, tyre pressure... and plenty more.

If you had exactly the same wheel set up exactly the same way, but without the AVT layer in there, maybe you'd be able to discern a difference between them... but that wheel doesn't exist so we can't tell you for sure.

Putting the AVT to one side, these are certainly very good wheels. The T in the name is for tubular and the 28 is the depth of the rim in millimetres. There's a C28 clincher version too. The rims are 21mm wide.

The T28s are very lightweight. Ours weighed 517g (f) and 669g (r) – a total of 1,186g. A pair of Token's own Shark Tail skewers add 78g. Token say that each rim weighs 310g, although we didn't take the wheels apart to find out.

They're made with Token's own Arsenal hubs, with sealed TBT (Tiramic Bearing Technology) bearings (the T28 wheelset is also available with Enduro bearings for £1,150). These use ceramic balls that Token say are lighter, faster to accelerate and more durable than steel alternatives. They're laced to the rims with Sapim's excellent CX-Ray Aero spokes, 20 radial in the front wheel, 24 at the rear: eight radial on the non driveside, 16 three-cross on the driveside.

With the tubs glued on and carbon-specific brake pads (included) in place, these wheels are immediately impressive. The most impressive feature is that they spin up to speed super-fast and those bearings really are remarkably smooth. They're excellent quality.

Being relatively shallow, the rims aren't affected much by sidewinds. I've been using these wheels for eight weeks and they've never been difficult to handle in any of that time. I'd say these are a good option for racing in virtually all conditions. You might prefer a deeper rim for improved aerodynamics, but you then run the risk of them not being suitable on some days.

The T28s are pretty stiff too. There are stiffer wheels, but there's nothing to cause you any worries here, not even if you're a large rider who throws down a lot of power or chucks the bike hard into the turns. I found them to be well behaved throughout.

Braking on the carbon braking surface is okay. It's neither especially good nor especially bad, just normal by carbon standards – meaning that it's decent enough in dry conditions but a way behind aluminium in the wet. The brake track is still in very good nick; you'd expect it to be after just a couple of months.

The same is true of the wheels as a whole. I've had no issues at all in terms of maintenance and the rims are still round and true. If you do ever need to adjust the spoke tension, the nipples are located externally at the rims, so that should be an easy enough job. Taking the cassette off to return the wheels to Token revealed just a small amount of marking from individual sprockets on the freehub body. It really isn't much, though – they're marks, not gouges.

If you have £1,250 to spend on a pair of wheels, lucky you! There are lots of excellent wheels to choose from so it's not an easy decision. If you're after lightweight, sprightly tubulars, these are certainly worthy of your consideration, it's just that, personally, my buying decision wouldn't be based on their anti-vibration qualities.

A very good two-part wheelbag is included in the price.

Verdict

Lively lightweight race wheels with good build quality and really impressive bearings

road.cc test report

Make and model: Token T28 wheelset

Size tested: 700c tubular

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

-Rim: 28mm Aero Profile 700C Carbon,

310g/pc

-Hub: TK198TBT Arsenal Hub, 20/24H,

Tiramic Bearings

-Spoke/Nipple: SAPIM CX-RAY Aero

Black Spokes, Alloy External nipples

-Free Wheel Body: Shimano & SRAM

or Campagnolo compatible

-Weight: 1132g (495g+637g)

-Supplied with:

TK220 Shark Tail Skewer

TK3212 Wheel Bag

TK343 Carbon Brake Pads

Extra Spokes & Nipples

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

You're not going to go for these wheels if you want the ultimate in durability; this mark reflects their durability as lightweight race wheels.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Again, you're probably not going to spend £1,250 on a wheelset if value is your highest priority, but these offer a lot for the money, as lightweight race wheels.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The lightweight and the silky bearings.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Out of my price range, but they're certainly worth considering if you have the cash

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

 

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