Road.cc: Ventous Disc Review
Token Prime Ventous Carbon Disc Road Wheelset
Token has produced some excellent kit over the years and the Prime Ventous Carbon Disc Road wheelset is no exception. Build quality is excellent, they look great, perform really well and are pretty good value too.
- Pros: Modern spec, fits both QR and thru-axle, tubeless-ready, quality construction and accessories
- Cons: Er, none
Something like a full wheelset needs a good test during its review period and this new disc version of the Ventous range dropped just at the right time, a couple of weeks before I rode Land's End to John o'Groats again on the Deloitte Ride Across Britain. That's an almost 1,000-mile journey in just over a week, taking in every road surface (and quality of) you can imagine, in all weathers, with stiff climbs and fast descents adding to the fun.
Taking them out of the box when they arrived, I was immediately impressed with the look and finish of the wheels, the matt black with subtle highlights and logos giving a stealthy look.
Build quality is very good with the wheels using a full-carbon rim, Pillar Wing spokes and Token's own D1 hubs, backed with a two-year warranty. Also in the box was a neat accessories case with beautifully machined parts to convert from thru-axle (as supplied) to QR; QR is how I would run them, so the first job was to swap the carriers over which was a simple job and done in minutes with only cone spanners required.
Tubeless rim tape was already installed so it was just tyres, valves, discs and a cassette to finish the job. I went with my preferred 25mm Schwalbe Pro Ones for rubber, and although they were a tight fit, as expected, they just about went on with no tools though they did take a bit more effort with the thumbs than other wheels I've ridden recently (tools on a carbon rim are best avoided anyway). Discs and cassette were standard Centerlock jobs.
With sealant added, they inflated onto the rim easily with a track pump and straight away showed the trend for wider rims, the internal width spreading the tyre out so that it was a nice curve flush with the external 27mm edge. Mounted on the bike they looked great, and spinning the wheels led to a long wait for them to stop on the quality sealed bearings.
With the good weather still holding and time in hand before the big ride, I used the bike and wheels sparingly but first impressions were good – very good. Smooth and quiet (including the freehub), they picked up well and gained speed noticeably quicker that the Ultegra wheels I had been running; the ride was much better.
On to the main event then, and nine days of hard riding on all manner of surfaces and varying speeds. The early couple of days were super-hilly, lots of out of the saddle grinding and fast descents on the other side. The wheels were stiff but did have a little give under pressure – I'm 90kg – but weren't fazed at all and continued on at pace whatever the gradient, the acceleration when cracking on at the base giving a welcome extra bit of speed to carry up.
On the other side, the super-smooth bearings and stiff construction made for a very controlled descent, inspiring confidence (in part to the rubber) on the twistier sections.
Rough sections of tarmac were dealt with easily too, the wheel absorbing a reasonable amount of buzz and again feeling very composed; even the odd small hole wasn't an issue.
On the flatter, faster days the wheels came into their own, being designed for quicker riding where the aerodynamic profile and rim width properties work best. Punting along at decent speeds was a breeze (literally most of the time with a tailwind), making my job easier when needing to catch groups on the road. On the days we didn't have a tailwind it was a stiff crosswind, and here the wheels did need a bit of managing. Despite only being 36mm deep they did catch the wind somewhat, but not to the extent that it was a big problem; a little forward planning and road positioning negated the issue.
As the days wore on the wheels continued to impress, with a growing confidence in their abilities and, importantly, quality. We had days of warm sun and torrential rain, with one particular day taking us down one of the filthiest, pot-holed roads I've ever ridden. By the end of the event – they weren't washed at all – they looked atrocious, but still spun smoothly and were as true as the day we started the adventure, with zero issues at all over the nine days. Not even a puncture – thanks Schwalbe.
After a good wash back at home they looked tip-top once more, the finish holding up well with just the odd stone chip on the rim surface.
They're pretty competitive when it comes to price too: Hunt's tubeless-ready 50 Carbon Wide Aero Wheelset is cheaper but heavier at £919 and 1,537g (claimed); Mavic's Cosmic Pro Carbon disc brake wheelset is very similar at £1,049 (1,479g) but isn't tubeless, while Zipp's 302 disc brake wheelset is £1,299 (1,695g), and again not tubeless.
Overall, I was super-impressed with these Token wheels and would gladly ride them every day after the punishment they endured with ease. They look good, perform well and are great for the money, with the quality of the components and competitive weight justifying the cost against competitors in the sector.
Excellent quality full-carbon clinchers with modern design and specs that deliver a great package for the price