Roval Traverse SL Fattie Wheelset - Review

Jan 21, 2015
by Mike Kazimer  
Roval Traverse Fattie SL review

Roval Traverse SL Fattie Wheelset

As the saying goes, "everything old is new again," and when it comes to wheels, we're in the midst of a wide rim resurgence. Although once common in the DH world, the last generation of wide rims tended to be prone to denting and extremely heavy, traits that saw their popularity slowly fade. Now, the use of carbon fiber, along with updated rim profiles has helped usher in a new era, allowing for the creation of wide, strong, and light wheels that are aren't solely suited for the DH track.

Specialized's carbon rimmed Roval Traverse SL Fattie wheelset joins the recent wide rim movement with an internal width of 30mm and an external width of 35mm, and a light weight of 1550 grams for the 27.5" pair. The use of carbon fiber typically results in a wallet-emptying asking price, but the Traverse SL Fattie wheelset falls on the more reasonable side of the spectrum, coming in at $1,500 USD. For those not willing to shell out that much cash, Specialized also offers an aluminum option for $600 that has similar dimensions, but with a slightly different hub internals and a weight of 1690 grams. Specialized does impose a rider weight limit of 240lb for the carbon rimmed wheels, but no such limitation is in place for the aluminum versions.

Details

• Rims: carbon fiber, hookless bead
• Intended use: trail / all-mountain
• Width: 35mm outer, 30mm inner
• Diameter: 27.5'' (tested), 29"
• Tubeless ready
• Spoke count: 24 front, 28 rear
• 3 vinyl decal color options included
• 3 year warranty.
• Crash replacement: $125 per rim plus labor.
• Rider weight limit: 240lb
• Weight (actual, w/ rim strip): 1550 grams
• MSRP: $1,500 USD
www.specialized.com


Specialized Roval Traverse Fattie SL
The wheels are laced up with DT Revolution spokes and DT Pro Lock hexagonal nipples.
Specialized Roval Traverse Fattie SL
A hookless bead is claimed to give the rims more impact resistance, as well as being easier to manufacture.

Construction

The SL Fattie's carbon rims use a zero bead hook design that allows for a the creation of a stronger sidewall, one that's claimed to be more impact resistant than a more traditional hooked profile. It's also a design that's less costly to manufacture, which helps keep the overall price of the wheels down. During the assembly process the wheels are laced, tensioned and trued by hand; the front wheel is laced up with 24 straight pull DT Revolution spokes using a 2:1 pattern, meaning there are twice as many spokes on the disc side as there are on the non-disc side, which is radially laced. The rear uses 28 spokes and the more common 3-cross lacing pattern. What's the reasoning behind the reduced spoke count? Specialized claims that the rims used on these wheels are the stiffest they've ever made, and running additional spokes actually made the wheels too stiff. Plus, there's the added benefit of the weight reduction that comes with running fewer spokes. No special tools are required for truing, and the spoke nipples are accessible without removing the tire, making any trailside adjustments or repairs that much easier.

Both the front and rear hub can easily be configured for varying axle standards (15 or 20mm thru axle for the front, 142 or 135mm for the rear) by switching out the included end caps, and an XD drive is available for running a SRAM 11 speed cassette. The rear hub shell houses the same internals that are found in a DT Swiss 350 hub, including a 54 tooth drive ratchet system, which works out to 6.7 degrees between engagement points.

Specialized Roval Traverse Fattie SL
The front hub can easily be configured for a 15 or 20mm thru axle.
Specialized Roval Traverse Fattie SL
The rear hub houses the same internals found in a DT Swiss 350 hub, including a 54 tooth drive ratchet system.


Installation

The SL Fatties come with rim tape already installed, and valve stems are also included, so setting them up tubeless is extremely simple. There is also the option of replacing the rim tape with the included Delrin plug system that Roval came up with, an ingenious solution to close up the spoke holes which saves 60 grams. Tires from Maxxis, Specialized and Bontrager were mounted on the SL Fattie wheels at different points during the test period, and there was no trouble getting any of them installed with only a floor pump. Everything seated and sealed by the time the pump's gauge reached 40 PSI, and it was smooth sailing after that. The fit between the tires and the rim was snug, but not unduly so, which prevented any loud cursing or the smashing of inanimate objects when installing and removing the tires.


On the Trail

Detecting the difference between one set of wheels and another isn't always easy, especially when there's five or six inches of suspension involved, but that wasn't the case with the SL Fattie wheels. Within the first few hundred feet of trail their light weight was readily apparent, especially since the wheelset whose place they were taking weighed nearly a pound more. Standing up to sprint was met with a quicker than usual burst of speed, and the same held true on the descents. I took the SL Fatties on the most rugged trails around, wheel punishers full of sharp rocks, roots, and countless jumps and drops, and came away impressed. I'll admit to being skeptical of the low spoke count, and my track record with carbon wheels isn't the best, but these unflinchingly handled everything I threw their way, and they remained true for the duration of the test, without any spoke or rim damage despite repeatedly being taken on DH-bike worthy trails.

The stiffness of a set of carbon wheels is one of their most touted benefits, but just like with handlebars, trying to make them as stiff as possible isn't always the right tactic. I've been on wheels that felt too stiff, creating an unforgiving ride that's quite jarring, a sensation that gets old on long, rough downhill runs. Fortunately, Specialized has struck what seems to be the perfect balance with the SL Fatties. They're quite stiff without being harsh, with quick, precise handling that's extremely responsive to rider input.

I experimented with a number of different tires to see what effect the 30mm inner rim width would have on their handling. Of particular interest was how Maxxis' 2.3” Highroller II would fare, as this was the tire that ended up feeling too squared off when we ran it on Ibis' 35mm internal width wheelset. It ended up working just fine, with no adverse changes to its handling. If anything, the wider sidewall profile and lower pressures that were possible gave it even more traction, which was especially appreciated when navigating down steep chutes full of a mixture of mud and hoar frost.

It seems as if 30mm is still narrow enough to avoid negatively affecting the profile of most 2.3” tires that are on the market. The profile does become more squared, but not to the extent that occurs with the super wide, 35mm or greater rims, and the center tread still remains elevated enough to preserve the handling during cornering. Other tires that were used during the test period included a 2.3" Specialized Butcher, along with a 2.3" Bontrager XR3 and an XR4. The rounder profile of the Bontrager tires was particularly well suited to the wider rims, giving them a very predictable feel in all conditions. While ideal tire pressures will vary depending on tire, terrain, and rider weight, I was able to run pressures in the low 20s without experiencing any excessive rolling or squirming, and the bead stayed securely seated without emitting even the slightest burp of sealant.

23mm left and 30mm rim Maxxis Highroller II
The Highroller II on the left is mounted to a rim with a 23mm inner width, while the one on the right is on the 30mm SL Fattie. On the wider rim the tire's width, when measured from sidewall to sidewall increases slightly, and the side knobs stand up straighter. You can see how the tire on the SL Fattie is a bit flatter in the center portion compared to the one mounted to the 23mm rim.

Issues

The occasional high pitched 'thwang' that the wheels emitted during hard cornering or slightly off-kilter landings was the only issue I had, and it's a fairly minor one at that. The noise is likely the result of the low spoke count and straight pull spokes reverberating from being rapidly loaded and unloaded. At first I thought that incorrect spoke tension could be the cause, but I found everything to be as it should be - there's simply something about the SL Fattie's design that makes them a little more resonant than other wheels I've been on recently. Otherwise there's nothing else to report – the bearings are still spinning smooth and are free of any play despite being subjected to numerous muddy, grimy rides, and the wheels haven't needed to be trued yet.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesI'll admit, I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to wheels, and I'll always have a soft spot for a handbuilt, aluminum rimmed, 32 hole, 3-cross wheelset, but spending time with the Traverse SL Fatties had me singing a different tune. Wide, light, stiff, and strong, they have all the qualities a high end set of wheels should possess, and the fact that they're not exorbitantly priced (for a top of the line carbon wheelset) earns them bonus points as well. In fact, I'd say that Specialized have created a benchmark that other companies would do well to try and emulate - the SL Fattie's numbers all add up to make an impressive wheelset, one that would be an excellent upgrade for just about any bike out there. - Mike Kazimer




Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review.




182 Comments

  • + 33
 I sell Specialized in my shop, and have a bunch of customers on the new fatties. Most of my customers report being able to run several PSI lower with the fatter rims compared to the last generation Roval Carbon Controls. I have had a pair of the last gen Carbon Controls on my bike for the last year, with just over 5,000 miles on them, and they are rock solid. If these rims are as durable, they should be considered bombproof. Specialized wheels and tires are some of the best products the company makes. The rear hub is fantastic as well, but DT Swiss gets the nod for that. Super easy to service.
  • + 6
 I went for that "few PSI lower" with my rims with 28mm inner width and... as far as tyre stability gets truly improved and you may run less PSI without tyre squirming too much, after the second puncture in sidewall of Rock Razor Evo SS I decided to stay pretty much where I was before on rims with 21mm inner. That is particularly importnat if you are using aggro tyres with channel in the middle like Butcher or Minion, because lower PSI still makes your tyre bottom out and eventually pinch flat, but rim will get serious beating when channel between knobs bottoms to the edges of the rim.
  • + 6
 Waki: get Schwalbe procores. No more pinch flats or dents. Wide rim plus light tire plus procore equals heaven.
  • + 0
 I don't get that many pinch flats where I ride as speeds are too low so the only thing I am curious about is how the tyre feels with lower pressure. I may buy it, but first I want to try to ride them. My friend bought a set so we'll see during the year
  • + 1
 Your friend bought procore? Where??
  • + 0
 Not sure if he has it already, I know he was ordering it
  • + 1
 I would also like to ride Procore but there isone great problem. Modern wide rims usually have a very low max pressure (btw. I can't find the figure for this rim). But the procore runs at 6bar which is often like twice the maximum pressure for the rim. Could anybody clarify this problem please? Is it safe?
  • + 3
 "Loud cursing and the smashing of inanimate objects". .. I'm so glad I'm not the only one that does that
  • - 11
flag MDRipper (Jan 21, 2015 at 10:10) (Below Threshold)
 Over 5,000 miles in the past year? I kinda call bullshit. You would have to ride almost 14 miles literally everyday for a whole year to get over 5,000 miles. So im guessin a lot of those miles were not on trails, cuz 5,000 miles in a year on trails is a lot.
  • + 19
 @MDRipper - That's not as hard of a number to achieve as you'd think, especially if you ride more than 14 miles on each ride. It's only 167 rides of 30 miles. In a place with year-round riding that's very doable.
  • - 3
 I've had three warrantee rebuilds and one cracked rim in 14 months of use (on the old version). I see they have got rid of the DT super comp spokes....so might have sorted the issues. I would personally never buy another big s wheel again...resounding thumbs down.
  • + 2
 Yeah its doable, but are all 5,000 miles a true test of the wheels strength? Unless you only ride park, a lot of those miles are just gona be riding up a hill or a flat section to get to a trail. Nevertheless 5,000 miles is a lot on a wheel, in my area tho 5,000 miles on strictly trails with no uplift is a whole heap if you have a full time job.
  • + 1
 @MDRipper: I road 13,000 miles last year (although 1/2 was road bike, so probably around 8,000 if it was all dirt). 5,000 mi on dirt is normal for most of my friends. I can ride almost everyday where I live and average 20 hours per week.
  • + 1
 @MDRipper - I live in southern AZ. I ride 5+ days a year, year round. I still suck and ain't that fast though.
  • + 1
 Fair enough, where i live there are a lotta rocks and steep hills, you go up a hill then go down. No flat areas and no gradual hills with prolly 9 months of solid riding time before the weather turns crappy, so it is just hard for me to imagine riding 5,000 on JUST trails, i can see that happening with road access and fire roads, but just trails? That would be pretty impressive with a job and other obligations, at least in my area.
  • + 3
 I'm in Utah and it's easy to do 30-50 mile rides strictly on single track. Take that.
  • - 2
 Take that?? Didn't think this was gona be a "i can ride more than you" competition. You live in utah and your point is?? We all ride differant trails, you might ride 50 miles a day, but try that on a trail that is 80% rocks and 20% dirt, you prolly wouldn't even get to 20 miles. A guy above said he rides 8,000 miles in Nevada!?!? Haha why would you even need these wheels in the first place??
  • + 3
 @MDRipper, I feel you man. There is a huge difference between rocky places and buff single track with high speeds. Depending on terrain I can easily double my avg speed and distance per ride.
  • + 2
 @MDRipper I feel you on the job thing. I have a 62 mile trail system 5 miles from my house in central Texas, but I don't know how to put in 500 miles a year with a more than full time job and a wife who I actually want invest time with. Hate to see how low the mileage is when we have kids...
  • - 1
 carbon is so weak... i shred too hard for that stuff
  • + 0
 Anyone had to replace a spoke on these wheels yet? I have had to replace spokes on Rovals before and the way certain hubs are designed you need to de-tension the entire wheel to remove and install the spoke. Not sure if the big S did that with these hubs (looks like they did) but it was a deal breaker for me in the past...
  • + 17
 "The occasional high pitched 'thwang' that the wheels emitted during hard cornering or slightly off-kilter landings was the only issue I had"

It just mean that the spokes unloads, so there is not enough spokes to maintain the rim. Carbon is strong, but nobody want wheels that only rely on rim strength only.
  • + 15
 Nice product at a competitive price, but I'd prefer to support Derby for his efforts to bring wide carbon rims to the market in the first place.
  • + 2
 I agree, I just picked up some derbys and am building up this week XD
  • + 4
 Derby's on my Tallboy LTc. Over a year now.... The shit.
  • + 1
 Derby doesn't offer an aluminum version, I wish he did. It would be my next rim.
  • + 4
 Derbys and a nice pair of new 40pt engagement Hopes. Beautiful, functional and strong, $1000.
  • + 4
 Lets get a pb review on derby! A lil spotlight on the small guy doin large (wide) things..
Been thnkn bot derbys+ck hubs. Kinda waitn for tires to catch up tho
  • + 5
 Running Derbys with CK's on the DH bike for 6 months now at Whistler and on The Shore. Have been bomb proof. Noticeable improvement in traction and cornering. And they come in 26".
  • + 2
 Got my Derby's built this week, can't wait for the snow to melt and to test them out on the trails.
  • + 1
 @alexsin you've been running Derbys? how long? I'm looking for wide carbon for my new Following and reviewing all the options, including Derby, Ibis, Nobl
  • + 1
 I also have Derby wide 29 on my Tallboy LTc since last summer. Fantastic. Would have considered the Roval Traverse Fattie SL (which was announced but not available yet) but low spoke count spooked me (200 lbs). Cost was about the same with custom handbuild and slightly better DT240s hubs.
  • + 8
 I ride an Enduro 29er w/ the fatties. Yes, I am a hack! I tend to ride over, rather than around. I am not smooth or graceful; I am an outa-shape 40yo 225 lb "dump truck". When in doubt, lean back and ride it out!! My bike has made me appear to be a better rider than I am by a country mile, and has bailed me out when I have been in over my head countless times!
I ride Bootleg every weekend I am not riding a bike park somewhere. I bought these wheels 4 mos. ago and absolutely love them. Very stiff and firm under my over-weight hack riding style. My stock aluminum wheels had become so dented and weak, not only did my lbs not want me riding them for safety concerns(also were untrue-able), but they were so "flexy" and flimsy the bike would not track under my weight in corners and g-outs. Even with my hack riding style these wheels perform great. At least once a week I hear the loud plastic-like thud of my carbon fattie bouncing off one of the million large rocks at bootleg, yet when I inspect my wheels, I find no evidence of such impact! (I do not recommend this riding style/technique)
I Have sliced a few spokes due to high speeds and rocks getting kicked up into wheel. I would prefer a larger spoke but other than an occasional guitar twang under heavy pressure, they are Great!!
Very surprised w/ impact resistance and will probably invest in the Procore system when available.
  • + 2
 Good to hear as I'd say I fit the same category. My biggest concern is a blown rim over a high speed rock garden. We need more reviews from people like this instead of smoothies that weight a buck 20. Thanks.
  • + 2
 I sit around 220 with a full camelbak. I would gladly test any carbon rims a company wanted to send me and write up a review. Passing the Thrasher test would put a rim in an elite group.
  • + 1
 It might be helpful if I mention I run a spec butcher w/ 27psi in front, a slaughter w/ 31psi in rear. Both Grid casing.
  • + 2
 enduro29erHack, how are they holding up ?
I fit somewhat in that category (210#, tend to plow rather than bunny hope over things). Just got an Enduro 29 that came with those wheels so hoping they would last - worry about spoke count though. Running Mobby Nic Evo/Snake 2.35 (22psi) front, Rock Razor EVO/Snake (25psi) rear - only have 2 rides so far.

Procore sounds interesting as I managed to destroy a 26" DH derby rim on my 4th day at whistler earlier this year (tire had loud pop, rim was exposed soon afterward - Derby did not want to crash replace (lame). Spec list #125 crash replace, but hopefully I won't have to find that out.
  • + 1
 I'm interested in how these have held up as well now that you have a full summer on them?
  • + 1
 Managed to crack the bead hook a few nights ago on a brand new set of these. Charged a rock garden that i all ways bomb and manged to get a pinch flat and crack all in one blow. Wasn't even that nasty of a hit, so pretty bummed. Fighting with LBS and roval for a crash replacement right now. All i can say is make sure the shop you purchased the wheels from is an authorized crash replacement shop for roval, because roval is wanting $400+ to fix. They also told me that if this shop does rebuild the wheels it will void the warranty because they are not certified. I knew this day would come but not this soon and not this much of an hassle
  • + 1
 @Kevlar337: you should not have an issue as long as it’s a specialized dealership , I believe $100-$150 is the typical cost for crash replacement from roval/Specialized.
  • + 10
 I've never really been into fatties, but those wheels make me want to go hogging.
  • + 0
 Go ride a Bucksaw if you get a chance. You'll be blown away. I haven't met someone who didn't love it yet.
  • + 2
 I have heard the Bucksaw is incredible. A teammate of mine said the ability to control your traction was incredible.
  • + 1
 That, & the fact that it doesn't feel sluggish at all, just super capable.
  • + 9
 They should reveiw the $600 al for us hobo folk.
  • + 4
 Yes! Please!
  • + 4
 I third this motion. Some of us still prefer metal to expoy. At least our wallets do...
  • + 2
 PB feedback on the Velocity Blunt 35, Velocity Dually, AM Wide Lightning or any other wide aluminum 29" rim would be appreciated. Many manufacturers are claimed fairly light weights. Would love to hear about their performance.
  • + 1
 Spillway, I don't have Blunt 35s but I have the standard 27.5 Blunts. Softest rim I've ever used. I would clean the bike and find another large ding in the rim and I didn't even recall hitting anything. The bead hook would fold over so much it would pinch the tire's bead (probably the only reason the tire didn't leak air out of the deformity). And my trails are about as groomed as you are ever going to find, very few rocks and I'm lightish (160lbs) and smooth. I have a spare brand new blunt rim that I could swap for one of my dinged rims but I ain't even gonna bother. I'm have to assume the 35s are made with the same material. Happy to be proved wrong.
  • + 7
 Wow 41 comments in and not one Specialized hater on here yet. They must be still sleeping.
  • + 0
 Maybe because the big S did something right here. Especially marketing.
  • + 4
 In the market for some carbon wheels so when I saw this reviewed in pinkbike I got excited. Sadly its not available in 26 of which i am riding now. Then again this is specialized's Roval. Sweet wheelst though. The weight is impressive for its wide profile. I'll keep looking.
  • + 4
 You can still go for the Traverse SL 26ers. Super solid! But not as wide of course. I have been rocking mine for 2 years, abusing them like there is no tomorrow and they are still going strong. Highly recommended.

@ 86kg, I run 26 PSI front / 30 PSI rear.
  • + 2
 Industry Nine wheels. Similar price, on Reynolds carbon rims, but with the sweet Industry Nine hubs. They'll make them in any size that you want.
  • + 3
 Light bikes 38 wide x 32 deep, 420g and only $170 for the 26"
  • + 2
 Derbys come in 26".
  • + 1
 I've seen some crazy sweet deals on 26" carbon wheels lately. I'd go shopping if I were you. My friend got Easton EC70 26" wheelset for something like $450cdn recently, from ChainReactionCycles. Good luck.
  • + 1
 You can check out Woven Precision too. ~$300 cheaper than these and available in 26". 1543g for 26" wheels, 1651g for 650b.
  • + 1
 I have Woven wheels on my Rocky Element BC Edition (29er). Awesome. To say that the wheels have been transformative from an experience standpoint would be an understatement.
  • + 2
 Running these on my YT capra with Minion 2.3 EXO, 22-24psi in front, 26-28psi in rear.

Best wheelset I've ever ridden... Stiff, light, grippy as hell! And 1/2 the price of Enve.

Up until this point I have light-bicycle rims champion....
  • + 2
 Can you give any feedback about the light-b rims? They are still under $400 (USD) for a pair w/o hubs.
  • + 1
 Yep, they're great and still under $400 for a pair.
  • + 3
 What he said. I've been running a pair of 29er light bicycle rims on hope pro 2 evos with dt spokes and they weigh 1510g which is incredible for a 29er wheelset. They have been on my tallboy LTc for over a year, and apart from a spoke going twice (once my fault and once an alu nipple's fault) they have been bomb proof. Amazing value for money.

But I'm an even bigger fan of the fattie wheelset, although are they worth twice the price of the LB? Probably not. Bike investment is exponential - double the price gets you 20% better. Double it again for 10% better etc
  • + 0
 I have both the www.light-bicycle.com rims and the Roval Control Carbon 29s. The LB set is stiffer due to the higher spoke tension and Sapim CX-Ray spokes are stronger. The weight for the LB wheels came in at 1515g prior to converting it from 135mm to 142x12mm. Now they are at 1480g. I am interested in trying a set of the Fattie SL
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer
Ride some hardpack or loose over hard with that 2.3 HR2 up front and get back to me about the profile not being too square......2.4HR2 is a much better choice for a front tire on those wheels...that said I'm happy to be back on i25s
  • + 2
 Dear maxxis, hurry up w/2.4 dhf minion!
  • + 1
 2.7 DHF is the same size as 2.4 HR2, look at the ISO sizing. Maxxis changed their sizing between when those two tires were developed.
  • + 1
 Maybe so, but 2.7 isn't offered in the "lighter" casing type as my dhf 2.3 (which measures 2.35 btw)..right?
  • + 1
 I run the 2.3 HR2 on my Bronson and the cornering is trash, i feel like I'm going to be bucked off on a weak burm.
  • + 1
 @wydopen - My comment about the HR2's profile was more to illustrate the differences between the tire's shape on a 23mm vs a 30mm rim. No matter what, it does have a rather square profile, and it wouldn't be my first choice for hardpack condition on any width of rim. Luckily, the trails I typically ride tend towards the loamier side of things, and it works well as a rear tire.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer I was glad to see you include that photo and discuss it although I would like to see it talked about more. I thought it was also good Jason from WTB talked about i27 being the widest people should be running with the current tire selection. I just spent the last month testing several different internal rim widths...I think allot of people could benefit from an article going into the differences between a standard width rim vs something with a i30 width. The difference in strait line traction vs cornering traction with the different widths is quite dramatic, more than people realize. You would have to test somewhere without hero dirt as that can mask a poor tire profile.

Where you running the 2.3 HR2 up front?? The sideknobs end up slightly narrower than the casing making for very little traction when leaning as a front tire. I also found it acceptable as a rear but that and the 2.3 Minion were unrideable for me up front on the wide rim. I don't know what I'd call the dirt on my home trails but it is on the hard and loose side. The original highroller and minion were developed here and they both work pretty well on hard rocky conditions, especially if you have it paired to the proper width rim. I've gained allot of speed with the i25's and HR2's.
  • + 1
 I'd say the tires will be caught up(specd for wide rims) by eurobike.
We shall see if boost 148 gets adopted as 650b/29 standard by then too.
  • + 1
 Spesh sent me the wheel set off the Carbon elite as I had an issue getting a back rim that was damaged very nice of them indeed. Anyway this wheel set has the better hubs but not just that the first ride out on my Spesh Enduro 29er the wheels were so much stiffer compared to the entry level ones I got with the bike. I didn't think it would make any difference at all but they have blown me away the bike tracks solid now in corners I just don't feel any flex at all. So I think the carbon will be worth it for sure. As for tires I have used Maxxi Highroller 2 evo and love them but the new spesh slaughter one is amazing totally love it fast rolling and very grippy the wider rim defo gives you more foot print and as for tire pressures I have 19 in the front and 22 in the back and it rocks with this setup
  • + 1
 I had the Carbon Fiber Controls on my 29" Enduro, and as was previously mentioned, I too rode the piss out of them over the nastiest terrain(embedded and loose rocks, jumps, drops etc.) with neither rim ever needing so much as a truing.
This time around on my Enduro 27.5", I elected to save the $1000 and go with the Aluminum variants.
I was able to weigh both sets before I pulled the trigger, and at least on the gram/postage scale I used(at my LBS), there was only an 80gr difference between the two sets. For me personally, I'd ask my wife to shoot me in the pooper if I EVER paid $1000 to save 80-grams, so this decision was a complete no-brainer.
As far as tire size is concerned, I took advantage of the extra width and mounted up a Hans Dampf 2.4(actually 2.5) in the front, but stayed with the stock-size 2.3 Slaughter in the rear.
One would expect the new Slaughter at the very least, but even the produced-from-now-on Butcher/Purg to be engineered to fit[properly] on the 30mm rim(i.e. the tire takes it's designed shape and profile when mounted on these wider rims), but after comparing their profile on these rims to 'em on the old-style narrow(er) wheels, they clearly aren't.
Still, I could tell straight away in a particular section of trail I ride that is a sand-over-garage-floor, off-camber, quasi-sweeper, that you take at 25mph+/-, the Fatties and their extra width really DO provide more traction. Usually my front end will slide when I hit this particular section of trail, but I've now ridden over the same section with the HansDampf/Slaughter combo mounted on a pair of Traverse Fatties, and the front end hasn't slid ONCE.
Probably the best $600(I actually paid $540 w/tax) I've ever spent on a MTB
  • + 1
 Interesting opinions - I've been toying with Fat / Carbon for a while and haven't realy found satisfactory feedback until now. The only thing I'm left wondering is, if the carbon rims are considerably stronger than their equivalent width Alus whilst saving the 80g. I suppose until someone destruction tests an alu next to a carbon, we'll never know...
  • + 1
 @YoKev, What type of riding do you do? I am looking at the aluminum Fatties nad there are 0 reviews out there on them. Rave81 up above thought they were to flexy, which has been my concern.
  • + 1
 Are they as stiff as the carbons?
  • + 4
 I have a DH bike in addition to my Enduro, and I ride both bikes on the same descents. Since I pedal the bike to the top, I guess you could call it All Mountain riding.
The descent itself is a bunch of exposed rock, and loose rock everywhere. In and around the exposed rock is sand-on-garage-floor. When it rains(rarely), it actually turns to a nice loam for a day.
The carbon Rovals I had were 29", and they were MUCH stiffer than the stock aluminum rims that came on the bike. The stock wheels were 2200gr noodles.
The aluminum Traverse Fatties I have on my 27.5" feel plenty stiff as well. If I had to give an answer, I'd say that they're at LEAST as stiff as the carbon Rovals, if not more. They're not overly-stiff however. The wheels feel fluid.
As you can imagine, the terrain I described above kinda beats the snot out of the wheels and suspension. There's an area where you have to brake over some exposed rock with straight edges. I watched a buddy brake through there on his stock 29" "Expert'(2014, so last gen Rovals) right after he bought the thing, and those wheels were twisting like they were gonna come out on the other side as pretzels. The Fatties stay completely composed.
While I rode my carbon 29" wheels over and through the rocks, and they came through pretty-much unscathed, as you prolly know carbon fiber doesn't do well with direct impacts. Why I never took any rim-shots while I had those things I'll never know, as I just plain don't have that kind of luck. I would have to be saving a TON of weight, and/or my alum Fatties would have to be twisting like wet noodles in order for me to consider carbon wheels anymore.
These Traverse Fatties are so close in weight, and are so strong that the $900 I saved by buying them instead of the carbon Fatties made the decision a TOTAL no-brainer.

Hope this helps
  • + 1
 @YoKev, Thanks for the info, That is a ton of help!
  • + 1
 Keep in mind that the hubs are different. The carbons have the drive ratchet with fast takeup; the aluminums don't.
  • + 1
 I like the Derby rim but it seems the only drawback might be the 28 or 32 hole configurations only. This may make a wheel set that is overly stiff and or heavy for lighter riders like myself. I have a set of these on order. First Specialized product in years for me. I am currently running the 24 spoke I9 Trail wheels with the new Torch hubs with no issues. Lets see if wider is better.
  • + 1
 I had the aluminum version of this. I wasn't happy because to much flex. I sold it and then I bought the LB Dh version 650b which is 1/2 the price of roval carbon in Australia, I'm pretty happy with the LB. It's light and very stiff.
  • + 1
 I've been running these wheels for a couple of months now on my enduro expert 650b. I'm in love and will most likely never ride anything else. My ride generally goes up a couple thousand feet, and back down. So i'll ride to the top with around 35 psi and come down with just over 30. Anywhere in that 30-35psi mark is $, i've tried lower but still prefer the pro's of the firmer tire. I'll add that i weigh 155lbs as well. I'm 'somewhat' fast and an aggressive rider. I like to charge it. Definitely recommend these.
  • + 1
 Very stylish front wheel hub and asymetric spoke pattern. Together with the graphics, it makes it all look great. I am just wondering. Everybody speaks about rims width. Wider is better. Taking into consideration a 2.35" tire, what exactly is narrow, wide or too wide in therms of dimensions in mm or inches. Do we already know? I mean 30mm inner is wide, or is is it narrow? How about 40mm of inner width or 45mm? Too wide? What are the results of using too wide rim? Is is a too square tire prophile? Would it help or would it spoil cornering traction or rolling resistance. Dear Pinkbike and dear Riders, please state you own opinions replying to my comment.
  • + 5
 they had a whole article with sciencey stuff when this all started happening again last year. Look that up.
  • + 2
 Do you remember the title?
  • + 1
 I personally find 28mm inner to be more than good for 2.3-2.5 tyres. I'd have to try 35mm inner to say if something is too wide. It must depend on application as well, some trial riders may appreciate it when riding in the woods.
  • + 1
 What if I mounted 2.35 on a 40mm inner rim? Would it be a perfect square or even a "U" shaped tire prophile and does it help in corners to have a more square prophile, assuming I ride the same pressure etc. I found the article, but I just want to know some opinions.
  • + 3
 Try it cheapest possible way, buy a bottle of vodka or six pack of good beers and give to the first guy you see on such wheels so that he borrows them to you for a few days. Don't trust internet, ever. Reviewers don't pay for stuff they test, they will always be at least a bit numb. People who buy stuff for lots of money will rarely complain, particularly opinionated guys who write a lot - they want to believe Big Grin
  • + 1
 I planned to gather a lot of opinions and extract an average one.
  • + 6
 I think that, as we can see in the case of hammershmidt (where are they?), carbon (slight disillusion lately) or wide bars/droppers/ slack head angles (not going anywhere, rather increasing in popularity), it takes like 5 years before valid opinions appear. There are only two good judges - you and history
  • + 1
 There is the sheldon brown width chart you can use as a guide: sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html Even he admits it's conservative, though.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns I love my hammerschmidt!
  • + 3
 Off course hamncheez, because you are a toy lover, like every neoliberitarian. I run socialistic one ring!
  • + 0
 The chart says 25mm inner rim for 57mm wide tire and there is freedom recommended for exceeding any widths. I am currently riding 27mm inner rim and 59mm tire. Mike Levy recommends the wider the better in his advice to all of us. The only thing I know from the past is don't put wide tire on narrow rim, but I did and had no issues except for some slight difficulties in assembling. Well, I think 30mm rim and 60mm tire is ok, but what if.. ? I am so curious about what happens to traction when a 60mm tire meets 45mm rim. I think it won't be any square. Im my suspicion 1ply tire will act like a schwalbe super gravity system. It should be much more stable, resist snakes much better and should roll much worse, but grip much better. I am waiting for Pinkbike user in posession of a fatbike, whose curiosity is just being stimulated by my words. A fat bike rim and a typical downhill tire. How does it look like and how does it behave? I don't believe I am the only one interested. It's a question now who is brave enough to admit he's got a fatbike. Maybe anyone from the Pinkbike Staff is willing to help me / us.
  • + 1
 Aahh ok now I get ya!
  • + 4
 I can speak to experience with typical DH tires & 35mm IW Spanky Stiffy rims: They squared off the tire to the point where the bike felt sluggish to change direction. shifting the bike from left to right felt like it required a lot of effort. The fact that tires haven't caught up to wide rims is what's kept me from going to truly wide rims yet. Specialized probably went with 30mm as a compromise due to tires not really being ready for truly wide rims, since they can just release a wider rim as soon as the tires are ready. In general, if you can wait, I'd not buy a new wheelset until new tires optimized for really wide rims show up, then upgrade both at the same time.

The exception being Fat & plus bikes, where the tires are already designed for a wide rim. Part of my desire for a 27.5+ wheelset & tires is that it's the first truly wide rim+tire setup designed for aggressive riders. It may really be a half measure though: I tested a Salsa Bucksaw Sunday, & can say without any reservation whatsoever, it's the best bike I've ever ridden. I would own one in a heartbeat, if it was affordable for me. Hell, I'd own it as my only bike even: it was that good.
  • + 1
 @groghunter Yes! I was about to say I want to try 27.5+. The first one I saw was that proto Rocky Mountain that had 2.75 inch tires on it.
  • + 2
 I observe Pinkbike conversations are often about predictions. I see the future about tires of 60mm or so and rims no more than 10mm narrower than tires. Just as wide as it can get not to get rims damaged. A lot of traction, less weight, new tire and rim designs and almost nothing compatible with the older stuff, just to get more money. Put two seperate air chambers inside and just wait for the revelation of the new loud bike standard name.
  • + 1
 Only real change I'd make to that @jedrzeja is that I don't think tires will stop at 60mm. 27.5+ is about 70mm, & a Salsa Bucksaw is a 1.2" bigger tire than those... & it felt anything but sluggish. that bike riiiiiiiiiiiiiiipped.
  • + 1
 I have no scientistic data to back it up but when I ride XC/AM, 2.5" Minions DHF feel more sluggish for me than 2.3" Butchers, both given same pressure... how can that be?
  • + 1
 When you start talking that small a difference, there's so many factors at play that it's hard to tell. slightly different rubber durometer, slightly taller or shorter knobs, hell anything.
  • + 1
 Butchers 2.3 can be wider than 2.5 minions. Apart from that there is difference in thread design, so the more sluggish you feel the tires are, the more they are probably designed to grip it laterally in corners, or traverses. This way you need to apply more force to rotate the wheel. The theory of steering involves rotation aroung one point and it is impossible to use only such a point in reality, because the front tire rotates sliding its patch that touches the ground. It can be heard. This is the same story about the rear tire, but only in very tight corners. We hardly ever go straight across riding our bikes. It is always turning slighly left or right and the sluggish feel comes from the sence of touching bars.
  • + 1
 @groghunter by 60mm tire I meant the most common representative of a typical tires that we use going offroad. Vast majority uses 2.35 to everything starting from AM to DH. Depending on a producer, it's about 60mm. There is a reason for that. We don't need more. Fat tires are to provide some suspension and a larger patch on really soft surfaces like snow, sand, small stones. In most cases and most bike trails, a 60mm tires is more than enough grip and still reasonable rolling resistance.
  • + 2
 groghunter - thank you
jedrzeja - Butchers Control 2.3 are as wide as NNics 2.25, measured 55mm on 21mm rims (casing volume). On 27mm internal rim, Butchers come to 58mm. My Minions EXO 2.5" are 61mm wide (casing volume) on 21mm internal UST ETRTO GTFO OMG LOL rim.
  • + 1
 @jedrzeja Until sunday, I would have agreed with you. After riding a Bucksaw, bigger tires, with modern design, feel like all positives, no negatives. These ain't the heavy 2.7 Freeride tires we rode in yesteryear. best bike I've ever ridden, of any variety. It was mind blowing.
  • + 1
 Maybe I need to do the same test ride, but testing a whole new bike does not have to mean one of the components is better. You changed too many aspects to get a believable impression. It would be more valid if you took the new bikes tires and put it on your old bike, if they fit.
  • + 1
 Somewhat, but those tires are the elephant in the room. They affect everything about how the bike handles. you aren't going to forget they're there, but at the same time, they don't really feel like they're holding you back, either.
  • + 0
 Sorry to spam the comments lol, but a lot of the people who own these wheels end up swapping the DT (revolution?) spokes for stronger Sapim spokes and it has always taken care of the "thwang" sound. I think the DT spokes were the only design flaw of the wheelset.
  • + 1
 Or you could change them for DT Comps if you don't like Sapim.
  • + 1
 I have strongest Pillar aero spokes and I will never ever buy such lightweight spokes again. I may for my wife, but not for myself. They go like crazy. I am a weekend warrior since I got kids and I still managed to break 4 spokes in a matter of a half of a year, two of which when a branch coming into the derailleur dropped chain from highest cog onto spokes. They just went clunk!!! Two other broke when a half of an inch branch came into the wheel on uphill! One broke other bent a lot. It has never happened to me on DT competitions and I do get branches into wheels often. Going from Comps to Revs, barely saves 50g per wheel and they are a nightmare to build a wheel with. Having said that I would never re-lace a wheel just for the sake of getting different spokes. I'd just replace them as they go.
  • + 1
 I'm a light guy, & I shy away from spokes like Revs as well. If for no other reason than the pain in the ass spoke wind-up during the build. The fact that I use spoke prep probably doesn't help, but I like how it keeps the wheel solid, but still truable once the build is done. Other stuff I've tried left the nipples loosening on their own, or the nipples hard to turn(& therefore causing more wind-up) after a few months.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns Did you get the bladed Pillar spokes? I have built two sets of wheels with those spokes [ordered rims and spokes from LB to build with my existing hubs], and they were very easy to build. Spoke wind-up was easy to see and just as easy to fix. I ended up with very even spoke tension without much effort.

Regarding the breakage, could it just be bad luck? I've snapped DT Comp spokes when sticks decided they wanted to impede my progress, but not the Pillar bladed spokes. I am going to assume that I will hit something that snaps a Pillar spoke someday, it's just a matter of time.
  • + 1
 Yes pinkrobe - their bladed spokes. Super hard steel, you can feel it instantly when trying to bend them with fingers. I meant that it is hard to build a wheel with Revolutions, as they wind up as hell. Some wheel builders put kind of flag from scotch tape on spoke to see how it winds up. It may have been a bad luck, off course. I mean that I get branches into the wheel occasionally because it's windy here and they often lay on trail. I also ride off trail sometimes Wink I was just surprised it happened on uphill
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns I race CX with Pillar bladed spokes on all my chinese carbon wheels and I'm a fatty and have them on a pair of 650b wheels on my SS. Never had an issue with breakage or tensioning. Maybe your wheels got over tensioned when built?
  • + 1
 It may be. It is hard to nit keep them super tensioned with a super stiff carbon rim. Otherwise they get noisy cling clamg when doing S-turns on asphalt Big Grin
  • - 1
 I've recently purchased some fattie rims and in my opinion one pretty big negative is the huge difference in drag , they are much harder to pedal simply due to the increased tread on the ground, which is great when descending but pedalling flat and not too steep stuff they undoubtedly make your bike Slower.not sure they were designed for Over here in south east england!
  • + 3
 Fattie, but not Fat: have i got this right?
  • + 2
 Didn't the PB community just decide the other day that rims over 25mm are no bueno for tires under 2.5"?
  • - 1
 Keep lapping up the marketing bs Gareth. Have you ever noticed how no one from the industry ever chimes into these discussions with actual figures? It's because they don't want you to know they're pulling your pants down. Of course not, it's understandable. They want to make money which is fine. What I don't get is how and why there are so many carbon fanboys defending them and trying to justify the asking price, which is quite obviously ludicrous. Go and ask tor dad what he thinks about a thousand pound pair of wheels. I'm sure he agrees with me.
  • + 3
 Dude I'm 33 years old!!!! hahaha. I have the ability to think on my own. Yes they don't chime in as people that expect everything for free drip like a broken tap, like you are right now. I guess it's quite simple- If you can't afford it or more importantly, don't want to spend that cash on something that you perceive to be overpriced, DON'T buy it. If you're happy with your your standard salon car, don't go window shopping at a Ferrari or Lambogini showroom......... Companies will produce and supply something and f the customer thinks its a good price and wants the product, they will buy it. If it's seen as too highly priced, the product won't sell and the company make a loss or, reevaluate the price. Hey, the technology will improve on producing items like this in the coming years and thus, you'll see Carbon items on many builds of different brands, as standard. You can be cynical all you want mate. The only reason we are on this site is to look at Bikes being ridden and reviewed. If you don't like the industry, then I suggest you look into a sport or pastime that doesn't involve Marketing and a company trying to make a profit. I hear Naughts and crosses is the next big thing! watch out though- RedBull and Monster are investing so get in there quick........
  • + 2
 54T Ratchet is where it's at. I wonder if the price of said ratchets will be best through Spec or Trek dealers?
  • + 1
 They are $60 each from Trek.
  • + 1
 Think I've seen them for a similar price as "DT Swiss" online a few places.
  • + 1
 uh can i buy a pair of these in 26" please specialized......i have a nice dent in my traverse rear wheel and need an upgrade...26!
  • + 2
 Interested to hear your thoughts on the Roval Fatties vs. the Ibis 741s.
  • + 2
 Fattie Wheelset that isn't for fatties!
  • + 1
 It annoys me how a WHEEL SET is 1500$, i could buy a decent X-C bike with that money
  • - 1
 These wheels a garbage!!!! They spent more time in the shop then on my bike!! 3 broken spokes!! A complete relace!! Till I finally pull a nipple though the wheels and hoop replaced. Sold em as quick as possible!!!
  • + 1
 has anyone tried 2.1 width tyres on these rims? I want to put a 2.1 Ground Control on my rear.
  • - 1
 Not 1 mention of a broken spoke... Must have been a 2 week review without enought time for corrosion to build and fail. Roval wheels need relacing after the first year of riding...
  • + 1
 Once you wreck your alu rims, buy Derby's and reuse your hubs for a new build. $1000 rebuild for me.
  • - 1
 Sorry to be such a negative nancy here--and no, I'm not a new Schwalbe tire--but "Delrin plug system that Roval came up with":

www.velocityusa.com/product/accessories/veloplugs
  • + 5
 They do look similar, but the Roval plugs have an o-ring that allows them to be used without a rim strip when running a tubeless setup.
  • + 4
 Do they really work like they should?
  • - 3
 "Innovate or die..." Or in Specialized terms "Copy and kill off..."
  • + 3
 Those look really cool
  • + 1
 Would still take a set of 36 hole mag 30's over these...
  • + 1
 I plan on getting a set of these this year.
  • + 5
 Congratulations!
  • + 2
 but Enves....
  • + 10
 Eh, 1 set of these and $1500 extra or 1 set of ENVEs. All comes down to what's valuable to you or not.
  • + 4
 And Enve's are not known for their durability.
  • + 22
 Or Hope pro II's laced to DT Swiss EX471 for only $600, and the rest of the money can be used on a prostitute.
  • + 2
 See my comment above. Finally someone else up to their nuts in reality! Holidays, cocaine, prostitutes. Fuck it, there are hundreds of ways to better spend money than carbon rims
  • + 2
 priorities guys... carbon rims are (mostly) for people trying to shave seconds of a race run at high level race. Havign lighter rims obviously helps long rides be less painful but maybe not worth the pricetag. Aluminium rims are for the rest.
  • + 2
 I don't understand why everyone is geeked about Hope Pro 2s. I went through three rear hubs before switching to King. So in the end it was more expensive, although I did have plenty of time for prostitutes while my bike was in the shop. And carbon rims are not about shaving seconds off your time, they are about not having wet noodles for wheels. But I am 230 lbs and if I was 175 I would prolly feel different.
  • + 3
 Blind test. Do it pinkbike.
  • + 2
 LuvAZ - certainly here in the UK, it's really easy to get spares for Hope hubs, and they're easy to maintain. And a lot of us are geeked because we respect Hope as a company, and for good reason. If I could afford CK hubs, I'd get them, but for now, Pro 2s are just fine. If I lived in the US, where CK stuff is cheaper, I'd probably buy everything that brand makes, just as I do with Hope in the UK. I do also love my 240s hubs as well though Wink

As for a wide rim resurgence, it does all sound like marketing hype. I've been running EX729s for ages, that size of rim just makes sense.

Abzillah - yes, EX471s look nice. I've also got EX500s on Pro2s. Did the EX471 replace that rim ?
  • + 2
 When getting new wheels, get the best wheels you can afford 2pairs of and enjoy always having the rubber of choice for that day. I would feel stupid meeting people If I was on eneves.
  • + 1
 @Diabolicus :
Yes, the EX471 is the wider and lighter version of the EX500.
I am running two sets of EX500 on Hope Pro II's on my AM and DH bike.
Also, Chris King is almost double the price of Hopes here in California.
Regarding reliability, I have owned 3 sets of Hope Pro II's, and two of them I still have and I haven't had any issue with them.
Probably about 10,000 miles on two sets of Hope Pro II's each so far, though I sold one bike with hopes out of the three.
  • + 2
 Neat!
  • + 1
 240lb weight limit??? I'm right there, and I ride aggressively. No thanks!
  • + 1
 No rider weight limit on the alloy versions
  • - 3
 Nice wheels, if you have the money, but just saying, flow ex's on pro2 evo's all day, any day!.
  • + 7
 Yeah I run flow ex hope hubs but they are 300 grams heavier all day. Just saying.
  • - 1
 rim tape is not ust.....
  • + 2
 yes, and for the better as relatively soft tape seals better than metal
  • + 4
 Gorilla tape is the bee's knee's.
  • - 2
 until the spokes fill up with sealant or then there is the tyre change issues Reality is hard to take but UST equals a UST rim and a UST tire combo the rest are BANDAIDS.
  • + 2
 yea yea madmon, I was like that in 2010 as well. In last 4 years I tried stans, frequency and light bicycle with rim strips and there is no way I will buy ust rim, and I will defo not buy UST tyre. Not only they are havier than standard tyres they are also worse than most. Many DH racers who use tubeless, use regular versioons of Minions and HRs because... they leak less. Schwalbe TLR tyres are faultless. It's just ridiculous to argue more about it. Nipples fill with sealant... jesus...
  • + 1
 I have a useless Stan's rim that has seized nipples because of sealant getting under the bandaid solution. That is my ONLY non ust wheel. The rest are crossmax sx and st's and they are all bombproof. You can use whatever you want. I am not a PRO RIDER that some company indulges in my quests for useless combos to get a tad more speed. YA I actually pay for my shit so I buy stuff that comes complete and needs no alterations to work well and will sustain the test of time. Any time I want to change tyres....say from a hans damp to nic it takes about 10 minutes with a floor pump, a damp rag and a small amount of Stan's to replace the little I lose transferring. There is no examination and fixing of whatever band aid rim strip or ghetto valve set up I just pass a cloth over the smooth interior of the Mavic rim and pump it up and whipe up a small mess. There is also NO to LITTLE leakage over time. I have not added any air in over a month to all 3 bikes. Unlike a non-use tire that passes noticeable air daily. these are facts you can not WAKI argue about. ya jebus
  • - 1
 AND.......the Big S makes rims to fit the Big S's tyres. Period.
  • + 4
 Big S are my favorite tyres, they fitted and sealed perfectly on LB rims using Stans tape - using track pump. I have never ever managed to inflate TLR tyre on Mavic or Shimano UST rim without a compressor, furthermore it is impossible to inflate non-ust Continental tyres on Mavic and Shimano rims at all, while having no probs with stans or WTB Frequency. I had 2 different sets of Deemaxes, Cmax STs, 819 and 3.1Ds. Narrow, heavy with proprietary spokes or nipples. Sometimes I think Maxtal is a kind of cheese they make in Grenoble. Paid 40 bucks to replace 2 spokes in STs - way to go. Next time be more careful when installing tape of right width.
  • + 1
 The major tire manufacturers barely make any of their tires in UST, plus too many internet stories (for what they're worth) of people ripping the bead clean off a UST tire because the design makes the bead thin in one spot. Was thinking about mavics but thought better of it. Tubeless compatible all the way!
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.089347
Mobile Version of Website