The Alpe D’Huez is an iconic climb that has become a fixture of the Tour de France since its first appearance in 1952. The 13.8 km (8.6 miles) road connects Bourg d’Oisans to the ski resort of Alpe d’Huez through a daunting 1850m (6070ft) climb. Recognizable by its snake-like route and 21 hairpins, the climb pushes riders and their bikes to their limits. Inspired by this climb, Token developed their DHuezz alloy road wheelset to provide riders with a lightweight and high performance climbing wheelset. As a part of Token’s Zenith product line, the DHuezz wheels utilize the latest technology and components including Z1 hubs and a ceramic coating.
The Token DHuezz wheelset provides a compelling combination of affordability and high performance.
Designed as a rim brake only wheelset, the DHuezz wheels combine a narrow 18mm inner width (22 mm outer width) and a shallow 22mm rim depth. While this limits the maximum tire size to 700×25 (note Token offers a variety of wider wheel options), it makes the DHuezz wheels a great upgrade for road bikes. To further keep the weight down, a claimed 1406g (our scales recorded 1474g), the front wheels have 18 radially laced spokes and while the rear has 22 spokes diametrically laced (a non-symmetric lacing pattern). Despite all the technology of the DHuezz wheels, the retail price is more affordable than similar lightweight wheelsets on the market. Token also provides a 2 year warranty and crash replacement program to provide peace of mind.
|Category||Bicycle Road Wheelset|
|Measured Weight (in g)||1474 (with Shimano 10-11s hub)|
|Likes||+ Affordable price|
+ Impressive braking performance
+ Highly responsive and lightweight
|Dislikes||– Limited to 700×25 tire sizes|
– Requires carbon brake pads
– Visible edges on gold accent decals
|Where to Buy (US)||Token|
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Token ships the DHuezz wheelset in a durable cardboard wheel box with each wheel carefully wrapped and spaced apart to avoid damage. Out of the box, the DHuezz wheelset already has pre-installed rim tape making tubeless conversions a breeze. Token also throws in a few extras with the wheelset. So you effectively get:
- DHuezz Wheelset
- Two pairs of Token Carbon Red All Weather Brake Pads
- Set of Vigilante QR Skewers
- Warranty Card
- Instruction Manual
While Token offers two freehub body options, SRAM XDR and Shimano/SRAM 10-11s, we chose the latter for this review.
FIT & FINISH
Although the DHuezz wheelset is a traditional alloy rim brake clincher, thanks to the ceramic coating, they visually look more like carbon. The ceramic coating results in a matte gray finish that nearly hides the brake surface and improves the durability of the wheels. Token’s website describes the finish as denim blue, but in person they only have the slightest hint of blue to them. Token has also added a few design details to make the DHuezz wheels stand out. Each wheel has an anodized gold nipple and a triangular gold decal below it. While this is unique, the decal is fairly thick and has an obvious edge to them which makes it look a little cheap. The Token decals on the wheels are also ghosted in black for a subtle look during the day, but are reflective during the night for extra safety.
Token also includes a slew of acronyms when describing the DHuezz wheelset. Everything from AL+ (an optimized aluminium alloy), CFT (ceramic flame spray technology), CRP (crash replacement program), DSP (diametric spoke pattern), and WGM (weapons grade machining). Most importantly, the included 2-year warranty and a 35% discount with the crash replacement program provide a lot of value. The wheels also feature ‘premium bearings’ which are described as high strength carbon that ride smoothly and silently. Although relatively quiet but still audible is the characteristic ‘clicking’ from the rear hub when coasting. We definitely prefer the DHuezz hub sound over some wheelsets that sound like bee’s nests when coasting.
Tubeless tire installation can be something of a hit or miss depending on what combination of wheels and tires you use. Installing tubeless tires requires additional steps than traditional clincher tires so there are more opportunities for things to go wrong. In our case, we decided to install a set of Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galactik 700×25 tubeless ready tires as they are optimized for low weight and performance. With the rim tape pre-applied by Token, doing the tubeless conversion on the DHuezz wheelset is straightforward but requires sealant and valves. The soft tires made it easy to install the tires without resorting to tools or any profanity. Once the tires were mounted on the rim, we used our Topeak Tubibooster to quickly secure the tires to the rim.
On the road, we found that the DHuezz wheels provided an excellent combination of compliance and feedback. Particularly with the grippy Hutchinson Galactik tires, the wheels provided confidence to speed down steep descends and also grind up steep climbs. Particularly compared to the Mavic Ksyriums with Continental 4000S II tires that we also ride with, the Token DHuezz wheelset provides a much smoother and faster ride. The traditional harshness with the high-pressure 700×23 tires were gone, and replaced with a more supple ride that still transmitted enough feedback to be able to feel the road.
Acceleration and handling was also improved, as the DHuezz wheels are very responsive thanks to the lightweight design. This particularly paid dividends when climbing, as it felt easier to do long slow steep climbs. The shallow rims of the DHuezz wheels also means they are less aerodynamic than deep dish carbon wheels, so it does take slightly more energy to maintain higher speeds. We’ve logged a few hundred miles on the wheelset thus far, and haven’t experienced any issues or broken spokes yet. We’ll update the review if any issues arise during longer term riding.
Although disc brakes have quickly become a standard for road bikes, well designed rim brakes can offer similar performance and modulation. With the DHuezz’s ceramic coating on the braking surface and included Token all weather carbon brake pads, we were quite impressed with the consistency and stopping power. The softer compound of the carbon brake pads provided confidence that we could stop the bike at both traffic intersections or bombing down local descends. However, the Token carbon brake pads produce a lot of brake dust and due to the red color pads result in a red tint that covers a portion of the rims after each ride. Once the Token pads have worn out, we’ll likely switch to different brand carbon brake pads to avoid having to regularly clean off the brake dust.
Overall, we found that the Token DHuezz is a lightweight, high performance climbing wheelset. The impressive lightweight and affordability compared to similarly spec’d wheels make them an excellent upgrade. Although the narrow rims can only accommodate a maximum 700×25 tire, we found that the ride was smooth and supple. Installing tubeless Hutchinson tires was also trouble free thanks to the pre-applied rim tape and hooked rim design. Also the ceramic coating and low spoke count also gives the wheels a premium appearance. While alloy rim brake wheelsets aren’t cutting edge, the Token DHuezz provide a compelling combination of affordability and high performance.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Token. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.