Settled on a wheel size, and now looking to upgrade? Following the carbonizing trend of bicycle frames, more and more wheels are being made from the black fiber promising lighter weight, more stiffness, and higher strength. After checking out Token’s new Vigilante V32CB carbon mountain bike wheels at Eurobike, we just got in a pair for a closer look. And some riding of course. Priced lower than most of the competing wheelsets (except the forthcoming NOX 27.5), are the radical looking Vigilantes a viable option?
We take matters into our own hands after the break.
Billed as an all-mountain set of wheels, the Vigilantes use Token’s AVT (anti-vibration technology) material on the inside of the carbon rim that supposedly gives the wheel a higher tensile strength while cutting down on vibration felt through the wheels. Built to be as burly as possible while keeping it light, the wheels do carry a 90kg weight limit (200bs).
The Vigilantes ship with a standard rim strip – don’t confuse it for Gorilla tape even though it looks very similar. This is one area of the wheel’s design that seems a bit lacking as there isn’t any real tubeless system designed for the wheels. The rim is designed to hold a tight seal on a tubeless bead and Token said we should be able to use Stan’s rim tape to set the wheels up tubeless which did seem to work, sort of.
Likely due to the rather bulbous 30mm external width and accompanying 23mm internal width, mounting tires on the Vigilantes is extremely difficult. I hate using tools to install tires on rim. Even more so when the rims are carbon. Without tire levers though, you aren’t going to get tires on these rims, at least not the tires I was trying. After attempting to mount 3 different tires (two of which had been mounted on our ENVE AM Carbon test wheelset), I resorted to a pair of Schwalbes that were new in the box. Known for being fairly loose compared to other tires, I managed to install a pair of Racing Ralphs, though not without the use of tire levers. The concerning part is that if it is such a struggle with perfect conditions in the work shop, what will it be like if you get a flat on the trail (not to mention the high probability of pinching a tube while using tire levers to install the tire)? Yes, I did try using a tire jack, but due to the width of the tire and rim, it didn’t work.
The other issue you will run into with setting up these wheels tubeless is finding a tubeless valve stem that is long enough to clear the 32mm deep rim. Out of the valve stems in my tool box, Bontrager TLR valves fit, but just barely. Many others were simply too short. The wheels ship with valve extenders, but those only help if you’re running tubes with 32mm valves (you really want 48mm valves for these wheels). So, if you’re planning on setting these up tubeless, your best bet is probably to go with a road tubeless valve like Stan’s 44mm.
On the plus side, with how tight the tires are on the rim, you can easily inflate a tubeless set up with a hand pump – it will just take a bit of a struggle to get it to that point.
Vigilante wheels are built on Token’s sealed bearing Duplex hubs which offer the ability to run most common axles sizes out of the box. The front hub includes caps for QR, 15mm thru, and 20mm thru while the rear is compatible with 135mm QR or 142x12mm thru. Along with the end caps, to of Token’s excellent internal cam quick release skewers are also included. Chance are, if you’re riding 27.5, you probably have thru axles on your mountain bike, but the skewers are nice enough that you will probably find use for them on another bike!
Laced using a 3x spoking pattern with standard J-bend Sapim CX-Ray aero spokes, the rims are held to the hub with alloy nipples.
Inside the rear hub is a buzz saw of a freehub with 6 pawls that are quite tall. The two slots down the middle of each pawl are for the circular springs that keep the pawls in place. Because of the amount of engagement, this is one of those freehubs that you have to wrap a rubber band or twine around the pawls while inserting it into the hubshell, removing it just before it’s fully installed. Gaining access to the freehub is easily done by using two 17mm cone wrenches to remove the end caps.
Set up for 15mm thru axle/142×12 and with the rim strip installed, the wheels clocked in at 840g for the rear, and 760g for the front (1600g total) – right around the weight of Bontrager’s Rhythm Pro, although the Bontys include the tubeless system.
The Vigilante skewers use an internal cam design and are impressively light – about the weight of a pair of Shimano Ultegra skewers.
Vigilante wheels carry a US retail of $1,782 and will be available shortly through Token’s new US distributor Burgess Bikes, as well as continued offerings from Tufo North America.