Xentis Disc Wheel Review
So fair to say that when I first saw a photo of a prototype of Xentis Mark 2 disc I had to have one and put an order in with Paul to make sure when it came on the market I got one of the first ones off the production lines. Paul ensured I got my wish. I had visions of doing tri races and taking off minutes from my overall times as well as having one of the nicest looking rigs out there anchoring my P5.
Did the disc wheel live up to my expectations? In the training rides the bike flew and it was easy enough to hit 50 kph on the flat – holding that speed for more than a couple of km never a realistic option though – but hunkered down – knocking on 40 kph for an hour was becoming a reality.
Having completed a few tri races with the disc I can say I am edging closer to that 40 kph goal than ever before and just need the right course on the right day to do that (Olympic distance being the goal here). Is it faster than the 5 spoke Xentis Mark 2 rear I usual train and race on? Who knows! But it certainly makes me feel I have bought “marginal gains” and it looks the part too with pre race conversations being “all about the disc”.
The true value of the wheel and true test of the wheel came into its own at the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships this year where I was racing in the TT and the Road Race down-under in Perth. Most riders were doing one or the other race or if mad enough to do both races then they had took two bikes on hand.
For numerous reasons, including my P5 (6) isn’t UCI legal, I decided to take one road bike and two sets of wheels. Thus for the 19 .38 km TT race I used my Storck road bike with clip-on aero bars, an aero bottle (why not) and the Xentis set up seen here in the photos.
The TT race was held on Rottnest Island off Perth, and what a stunning scenic course it was. A loop of the island was on the cards with riders going off in 30 second intervals. The race briefing promised us winds from front, back and both sides. With winds forecasted for 24 kph it had the potential for an interesting time.
The bike simply flew and with it being a technical course, in the middle section, a road bike wasn’t too bad an option. I went out steady enough and built up the speed, caught two riders by half way then in the back end was caught by two other riders and managed to pace off one of them for the remainder of the race (keeping a legal distance as no drafting rules applied).
The bike was rock steady with any angle of wind and was dream to handle. The only limiting factor was me and maybe on a TT bike I would have been a tad quicker. That said with a FTP of 255W, I managed to do an average of 299W and at times was hitting 714W up some of the climbs, heart rate averaging out at 175 bpm…..and an average speed of 38.9 kph and a max of 59.3 kph giving me 18th overall out of 30 plus starters in my age group (first GB rider … well other guy was disqualified for cutting off the front part of his seat to meet the scrutineers’ measurements).
Overall I was very satisfied and considering lack of specific short distance TT training, carrying too much weight and being 56 years of age I have nothing to complain about and, on the day, could not have gone any faster or ridden better on the equipment I selected here.
Three days later with Xentis wheels off the bike, normal bottles affixed, no clip on aero bars and road racing wheels I tackled the 105 km road race. First 50 km was a dream, up at the front sheltering behind the Australian and NZ riders who were nicely pacing it and riding in the top 10.
Then we hit the hills and that extra weight came home to roost – I was spat out of the back of the lead pack, then spat out of the back of the follow group, then ditto the follow group of the follow group before settling in and coming home safely.
Overall, and to be fair, probably a bit tired from the TT effort and I think TT and Tri is where the focus needs to be for me unless I can dump 15 kgs of body weight. For sure the Xentis Mark 2 disc will be my selected Tri race wheel on anything but the Kona course, where disc wheels are banned.
One extra piece of kit that Paul and the team fitted was a Quarq power meter; it got the road bike over UCI limits on weight (was too light without it) and has proven to be another useful aid to training and racing that I highly recommend – especially as it has been 100% reliable. Loved the product so much I bought two, one for the road bike and one for the Tri bike. As always the team at BikesnBites looked after me like I was a pro and turned the bike around in record time.