As the snow begins to thaw, my thoughts start going from fatbikes to gravel and dirt roads. As the perfect interim while the trails dry out, the often wet and muddy forest roads are excellent candidates for the foul weather stopping power of disc brakes. Which is exactly why I can’t wait to get these new Xentis Squad 4.2 Disc wheels mounted up so I can go explore wherever the bike takes me. In what should be a big upgrade in terms of rotational mass and stiffness, the Austrian built Xentis Squad 4.2 clinchers combine a 42mm deep rim with straight pull spokes for on and off road performance.
Get the vitals after the jump.
When these wheels first showed up at the office, judging by the box I was pretty certain that I would be giving Stage Race Distribution a call to let them know that FedEx trashed the wheels. Imagine my surprise to find the wheels perfectly happy inside the impressive Xentis padded wheel bag. Wheel bags aren’t usually on my mind, but this was a real world test that it passed with flying colors thanks to the ample padding and toggle ties inside to keep each wheel in place. FedEx approved.
You really can’t take in the the Squad 4.2s without noticing the 42mm rim – specifically the Active Turbulator lip. While it may seem like a gimmick, there are parallels to be drawn with Reynolds’ SLG lip on their aero wheels which make it seem like this concept really does hold water. Or disturb air, or something. The idea is that the Active Turbulator creates turbulence behind the wheel for improved aerodynamics but also allowing for a shallower rim which will handle better in cross winds. By current standards, the Squad 4.2 rim is on the narrow side with a skinny 12.6mm internal width, and 21.2mm external width. The lip of the rim is quite thick which cuts down on the measured size of the internal cavity.
If you’re into the details, you’ll love the fact that Xentis builds in a computer magnet right into the carbon rim. The magnet is offset from the valve to create a more balanced wheel, and you don’t have to have a magnet hanging off your spoke. Pretty neat. There is also an anti rattle rubber grommet for the valve, and according to Stage Race an RFID chip somewhere in the wheel for tracking! Just like all the Xentis wheels, the final run out and wheel check are hand written on the rim adding a nice touch to a premium wheelset.
Obviously, the big story here is the addition of disc brakes to the Squad 4.2. In addition to the disc specific rim, the wheels receive straight pull 6 bolt disc hubs.
Both hubs are laced with 28 straight pull nail head bladed spokes to offer the performance necessary for discs. The 135mm wide rear hub uses a fairly standard three pawl system with 32 teeth on the drive ring, though thanks to the springs and long arms of the pawls it has a very light feel to the engagement. Freehub bodies are available for Shimano/SRAM 10/11 speed, Campy 11 speed, and even SRAM XD drivers for XX1.
Mechanic’s Corner: To access the hub’s internals pull of the non drive side cap with your hands. Then you will need a 5mm allen wrench and some kind of wrench for the flat that is machined into the axle. A park BO-2 fits perfectly, don’t ask how I found out. The pawls are were a little dry on the inside, so it’s worth using something like Dumonde’s freehub oil to lube em up.
At 850g for the rear and 740g for the front with rim strips, the wheels clock in at 1590g for the set.
No high end wheelset would be complete with out some posh skewers, and the Xentis models don’t disappoint. The Ti external cam skewers weigh 58g for the pair.
Xentis Squad 4.2 Disc wheels are sold in the US through Stage Race Distribution and carry a retail price of $2,599.00.