If there is one upgrade every cyclist lusts for, its carbon fiber wheels. Not only are they lighter and stronger than traditional wheels, but they can also have aerodynamic benefits as well. XeNTiS is an Austrian company that makes arguably one of the most unique carbon fiber wheels on the market. Unlike other carbon fiber wheels that are open mold designs with a few decals put on them, the XeNTiS are handmade in Austria. The Mark3 SL wheels are one of XeNTis latest wheelsets and are the lightest iteration of their popular Mark3 wheels. At over 300 grams lighter than the standard Mark3 wheelset, the Mark3 SLs offer the same aerodynamic 42mm deep, 26 mm wide rim profiles with a five spoke design. The 622x18c Mark3 SL are currently designed for disc brakes in either a tubeless ready clincher or tubular option with 23-33mm tire compatibility.
Utilizing a monocoque carbon fiber construction, the Mark3 SLs aren’t just another pretty wheelset, they are designed for durability. The wheels utilize XeNTiS’s own XH004 hubs combined with CeramicSpeed bearings for a smooth ride. XeNTiS even offers the standard Mark3 wheels in clincher, tubular, rim brake, and gravel variations (compatible with upto 40mm tires) making it easy to find the right wheelset for your application. Here, we specifically review the clincher Mark3 SL wheelset which currently retail for €3899 incl. VAT which is about $3900 with VAT removed. While the pricing is comparable with high-end Zipp or Corima wheelsets, the Mark3 SL’s unique design ensures they’ll never be mistaken for knockoffs or a different brand. XeNTiS also offers a tiered three year crash replacement program and a two year warranty on the wheels for additional peace of mind. As current owners of an original Mark1 wheelset, we were excited to compare it with the improved design and lighter weight Mark3 wheels.
The XeNTiS Mark3 SL wheels offer an impressive combination of aerodynamic and durability with their monocoque carbon fiber spoke design.
|Retail Price||€3899.00 w/ VAT (~3900 USD)|
|Measured weight (in g)||1444 (total) – 676 (front) / 768 (rear, Shimano freehub)|
+ Unique and aerodynamic five spoke design
+ Robust monocoque carbon fiber construction
|Dislikes||– Premium price|
– Limited dealer network in the US
– Relatively narrow rim inner width
|Where to Buy (US)||XeNTiS|
The wheelset arrived securely packed in a large cardboard XeNTiS branded box with the wheels safely tucked away in a padded wheel bag inside. What is included in the box is:
- XeNTiS double wheelbag
- XeNTiS Mark3 SL front/rear Wheel
- Manual / Warranty booklet
- Rim Tape
- Cassette spacer
The branded zippered wheelbag is padded and feels well made with a divider between the wheels to prevent damage and internal pocket to hold accessories.
FIT & FINISH
While there are a wide variety of carbon fiber wheels on the market, what sets the XeNTiS apart is the unique five spoke monocoque carbon fiber construction. The single piece design offers more rigidity, safety, and lighter than multi-piece designs (i.e. such as the ill-fated Spinergy Rev-X use of bonded/riveted spokes). These aren’t a race-day only wheelset either, as XeNTiS offer the Mark3 variations in both rim brake, tubular, and even a reinforced gravel bike version. Handbuilt with 3K Carbon, the Mark3 wheelset are designed with aerodynamic spoke profiles in order to offer disc wheel-like performance while still being easy to manage in crosswinds. Although the Mark3 SL variation isn’t as light as other climbing wheelsets on the market, the ~1400g weight is impressive with the aerodynamic deep rim profile and spoke design.
Visually, the Mark3 SL wheels have a restrained and minimalist design. The 3K carbon fiber is finished in a matte clear coat for UV protection. There aren’t any flashy graphics to cover up the carbon fiber. Instead, there is only a single small blue XeNTiS logo on each wheel and a reflective Mark3 SL product name on the rim. Each of the five spokes also have an aerodynamic profile and have a curved design that makes the wheels look fast even when they are standing still. Overall, the design is impressive and is far lighter than the thick spokes and hubs bodies would suggest. The Mark3 SL disc variation also looks significantly cleaner than the original rim brake Mark1 wheels as they don’t have a metal braking surface and have a more refined design.
ON THE ROAD
To evaluate the Mark3 SL wheels, we set them up with some high performance Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport with a standard inner tube which installed easily. The lack of traditional spokes leaves the inside rim profile smooth which means tubeless tire setups should be hassle-free. We found the combination of the high performance tires and the aerodynamic Mark3 SL wheels to be smooth and impressively quick. The wheels produce the characteristic ‘whomp whomp’ sound of carbon fiber wheels and accelerate quickly. Whether we were climbing up steep hills or riding the drops at top speed, the wheels felt responsive and fast. Despite the deep rim profile and large spokes, the Mark3 SL wheels were also easy to control in crosswinds. The wheels are an impressive combination of lightness and aerodynamics which makes them well suited as a do-it-all style wheel you can train and race with.
Overall, we found the XeNTiS Mark3 SL wheelset to be well constructed and impressively fast. The wheels disprove the common saying “you can’t buy speed” as the ~1400 gram weight and aerodynamic profile are eager to go fast. Although the premium price will also lighten your wallet, the Mark3 wheels have a distinct five spoke monocoque construction that is hard to confuse with any other brand. The spoke design also looks fast whether you’re parked or sprinting while providing an aerodynamic advantage and controllability in crosswind situations. Unless you’re a weight weenie, the standard Mark3 wheels also offer similar performance for a more affordable price point that should impress most cyclists. As owners of the original Mark1 wheels we can also confidently say the monocoque construction offers durability and reliability to hold up to long term use. If you’re looking for unique and high performance carbon fiber wheels, we definitely suggest looking at the Mark3 SL wheels or the other Mark3 wheelset variations XeNTiS offers.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by XeNTiS. 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.