Review: Roval Control Carbon Wheels

Feb 3, 2022 at 17:07
by Mike Kazimer  

Roval's Control carbon wheels are the follow-up act to the very light, and very expensive Control SL wheels. The Control wheels use the same rim design as their pricier sibling, but use 28 spokes (instead of 24) and are laced up to DT Swiss' 350 hubs. The result is a wheelset that weighs a still-reasonable 1450 grams, with a price tag of $1,350 USD.

Roval says it's a “high-performance wheel that excels everywhere from World Cup XC races to your favorite weekend trail.” I'll admit, I didn't do any World Cup cross-country racing during my time on these wheels, but they have seen plenty of hard miles over the past nine months.
Roval Control Carbon Details

• Wheel size: 29"
• Intended use: cross-country / trail
• Rim material: carbon fiber
• Rim width: 29mm (internal)
• 28 straight-pull spokes per wheel
• Hubs: DT Swiss 350 w/ 36t ratchet
• Rider weight limit: 270 lb (122 kg)
• Weight: 1450 grams (1473 grams w/ tape and valve stems)
• MSRP: $1,350 USD
• More info: www.rovalcomponents.com


Roval Control Carbon wheels
The rims have a 29mm internal width, with a 4mm wide rim bead.
Roval Control Carbon wheels
The graphics aren't overly flashy, and blend in well.

DESIGN

The Control's carbon rim has a 29mm internal width, and an asymmetric profile that makes it possible to use the same 300mm spoke length for the entire wheelset. The rim bead is 4mm thick, a dimension that's intend to help reduce the likelihood of a pinch flat by spreading out the impact over a wider area. That way, the rim will hopefully act less like a sharp blade when a tire inevitably gets smashed against it.

DT Swiss's straight-pull Competition spokes are used on both wheels, and they're secured in place by DT's Prolock alloy nipples. The hub is DT's classic 350 model with the 36-tooth ratchet rings installed to create a 10-degree engagement angle.

DT's 350 hubs are equipped with 36-tooth star ratchet rings.
28 straight-pull spokes are used on each wheel, and there's a six-bolt rotor mount.


PERFORMANCE

I'll skip right to it – these wheels are very, very good. They've held up impressively well to everything I've thrown at them, and after nine months of hard use they only had one brief session in the truing stand to get rid of a small wobble caused by one of my poor line choices. They were installed on my Transition Spur for the entirety of the test period, with conditions including ranging from muddy to snowy and everything in between.

They may not be as light as the Control SL wheels, but they also don't emit as many 'twangy' noises when they're loaded up hard in a corner. Those 24-spoke SL wheels seem to express their discontent when you really lay into them, while the 28-spoke Control wheels were noticeable quieter, even when I was bashing my way through chunky sections of trail.

I tried the wheels with multiple tires, including the Schwalbe Wicked Will, Specialized Ground Control, Maxxis Forekaster, and more recently a Butcher / Eliminator combo to help deal with some extra-sloppy conditions. In all instances the tires seated without too much hassle. Some of the thinner casing tires needed a little extra coaxing, but that's due to the less supportive sidewalls rather than the rim design. The 29mm internal width is right in the sweet spot for modern tires between 2.3" – 2.5”, which is what most riders are running these days. I didn't suffer any flats during the test period, and there were definitely multiple hard impacts between the tire, rim, and the ground.

As far as ride feel goes, the Controls are pleasantly neutral. They're stiff without being too stiff, free of the harsh, almost wooden feeling ride that can come with some carbon rims (although that's become a much less common occurrence as rim designs have evolved). The DT Swiss 350 hub's reputation as a solid workhorse is well deserved, and it didn't cause any issues. As for the 10-degrees engagement angle, that was plenty quick for my tastes, and I'm also a fan of how quiet the hub is while coasting. It is possible to purchase 54-tooth ratchet rings to speed things up, although in my experience those aren't as durable as the 36-tooth rings.

The Spur has what I'd call a 'compliant' ride – flexy is too strong of a word, but it's also not the stiffest thing out there. That feeling was complemented nicely by the Control wheels – they added a little extra zippiness to the Spur's manners. They're billed as an XC wheelset, which I think is an appropriate designation, but they can certainly be pushed into the downcountry / light trail category as well.


DURABILITY

As I mentioned, I only need to do a quick true of the rear wheel, and other than that it's been very smooth sailing - sorry to disappoint all the fans of gratuitous carbon carnage out there. All the bearings are still free of any side-to-side play, although the driveside bearing in the rear hub has started to feel a little gritty. It's not enough to warrant replacing it yet, but some fresh grease is probably in order in the near future. Considering the number of muddy miles these wheels have seen the wear and tear is very reasonable.



HOW DO THEY COMPARE?

The Control Carbon wheels are an attractive proposition on paper, and out on the trail for that matter. There are lighter options, but those come with a significant price penalty.

The Reserve 28's are a very close competitor, but they cost $350 more and weigh 100 grams more than the Rovals when comparing the two DT Swiss 350 versions. Reserve does get a point in their favor for not having a rider weight limit (the Roval wheels have a 275 lb weight limit), and a better warranty program. The Control wheels do have a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects, but damage caused by riding is only covered for two years. With Reserve, if a rider breaks a rim while riding they'll replace it for free for life.


Transition Spur Kazimer
The Control wheels are an ideal match for a bike like the Spur.



Pros

+ Excellent price to weight ratio (for carbon wheels)
+ Great ride quality
+ Well built, and all the spokes are the same size

Cons

- There are more generous warranties out there





Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Roval Carbon wheels are highly recommended for riders looking for a light, responsive set of wheels for cross-country or general trail duty. You can save a few grams by choosing a more expensive wheelset, but unless you're gunning for glory on the World Cup circuit it's hard to see any reason to pay more. Mike Kazimer








195 Comments

  • 174 25
 Really digging how our new baseline idea of not breaking the bank on wheels is almost 1.5k.
  • 80 0
 Am I wrong thinking that now some people prefer carbon wheels because they know that if they break them they will be replaced free I just bought alu wheels and dented them the first lap, with inserts...
  • 55 1
 @Dogl0rd: a life time supply of rims is a good investment imo.
  • 21 39
flag Breeconay (Feb 8, 2022 at 8:17) (Below Threshold)
 Just get a dentist job, bro. It's not that hard.... lol I can't even type that without laughing.
  • 21 2
 At prices like these you can get 2 sets and still have money left over for a new S-works! As long as you start with $20k Smile
  • 74 3
 @Dogl0rd: That's why I got carbon wheels. They don't die a slow death like alu rims that get a ding here, a ding there, a wobble here, a wobble there. Carbon rims are either fine, or they're NOT FINE. And that can mean, practically speaking, years of hard riding without a single compromise in rim integrity. If I do something dumb on them, they're replaced for free. No constant truing, no bending rim walls back out, etc. I used to go through an alu rim once every 6 months. Never from catastrophic failure - just death from multiple impacts that carbon is shrugging off like it's NBD. Buying a $100 alu rim (and sometimes nipples/spokes) every 6 months becomes more expensive than carbon with lifetime warranty pretty darn quickly.

@HaggeredShins what? $1.5k is actually lower than the norm for carbon wheelsets (with DT350's especially) historically speaking, even talking pre-COVID prices.
  • 17 18
 @ShredTilBed: a good investment until a new standard comes out and theyre made obsolete
  • 13 14
 @rickybobby18: That only makes it worse! Putting 'not breaking the bank' and these kinds of price points together for what we're talking about--wheels--is cinnamon toast f*cking comical. A lot of people are normalizing it though, perhaps yourself included.

This is coming from someone with decent carbon hoops on almost all their bikes. I'm not going act like wheels at this price are a reasonable investment for the majority of riders, however.
  • 11 10
 Newmen Evo sl XA30 is lighter, aluminium and like half the price can't see why i would choose rovals over them if i didn't want to break the bank

heres a link
  • 87 11
 @HaggeredShins, you're reading waay too deep into a one sentence tag line. It actually says 'without totally breaking the bank.' They're obviously still expensive, and I'm certainly not trying to say that these are the way to go if you're looking for the cheapest wheels out there. However, the price is on the lower side compared to similar carbon options, which was the point I was making.
  • 17 4
 @mikekazimer: I'm with you. I also don't think I'm reading into it, though--how normative this level of industry pricing has become to the sport and community is showing through a bit every time we talk about what we're considering low-mid grade stuff within a respective category.

If we put these prices in front of our buddies who aren't deeply in the sport (and importantly don't know what you need to get into it) we're likely get some interesting looks, as I know I have.
  • 2 1
 @Dogl0rd: I never thought of this though I am fairly dim. Ok, so what rims have the best warranty terms with the most responsive customer service?
  • 15 0
 @HaggeredShins: this entire sport is a joke if you are talking price. I had as much fun on my 1990 Shasta Pachanga Comp as I do on my Yeti Sb 5.5 now. There are so many cheap bikes available. And they are so much better than my first "super bike" (02 Sworks FSR) that cost a hell of a lot more even before factoring inflation. NO ONE is being forced to buy expensive bikes, yet everyone I ride with is on at least $4k worth of gear on our rides. Welcome to consumerism!
  • 25 4
 Just stop being poor.
  • 8 1
 @moturner: Reserve: Lifetime free replacement even if breakage is user error. Santa Cruz customer service has a phenomenal track record: they've gone above and beyond for me and everyone I know every time there's been an issue.
  • 5 13
flag Muscovir (Feb 8, 2022 at 9:43) (Below Threshold)
 Right? $1350 USD for a set of wheels? Hard pass. It's not like DT Swiss doesn't sell EX1700's for less than half that price.
  • 16 4
 @HaggeredShins: BUT look at sports like shooting if you think mtn biking is out of line. Cheap rifle optic $200. "Great optic" over $3k. And that is on top of a rifle that cost over $2k, and ammo at $2 a round. Or a nice 1911 for $1500 and 40 cents a round, so about $50-60 a day for range time. DH skiing at $125 a day to get on the mountain and easily $2.5k in gear for good stuff. Or just buy budget gear for those who don't want to spend a fortune...$1k on a modern cheap bike will get years of entertainment and fitness with just a bit budgeted for wear and tear/replacement parts. Pretend you are a newb who walks into a store and asks to see a cheap bike...they won't be showing you what our sources as avid riders present to us addicts.
  • 1 9
flag jpmccrash (Feb 8, 2022 at 9:48) (Below Threshold)
 @Noeserd: what's Newmen? exactly.
  • 3 0
 @gonzocycle: German brand owned by cube
  • 7 0
 Love my traverse carbon wheels- worth the money no troubles at all in hard enduro setup. Riding it with Cushcore in the rear - just Perfect
  • 6 0
 @moturner: I'd say We Are One or Reserve.
  • 7 17
flag nickfranko (Feb 8, 2022 at 10:08) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: I would suggest you phrase it as such in the future. Considering there are a plethora of wheel options, the relativity is open to interpretation and comparison to all wheels available. Not just to some other carbon wheels that are even more laughably overpriced.
  • 4 4
 @Noeserd: Lighter? The Newmans are 1660g compared to 1450g for the Rovals?
  • 1 1
 @Noeserd: cool. never seen a set here in the states. and they are not lighter.
  • 2 0
 @Dogl0rd: I definitely feel this way. I have a set of we are one wheels. I came up short on a step down and destroyed the rear hoop. I had a replacement within a week. I’m definitely a loyal WAO customer for life and am a carbon wheel fan because of the warranties. Higher price of admission, but greater return on investment
  • 32 5
 @SprSonik: the most American thing ever is to have your first comparison a gun
  • 1 1
 @Dogl0rd: also save money on getting your wheels trued
  • 3 1
 @moturner: my friend cracked two bontrager rear wheels in the span of a month and they were replaced with few questions asked... So that's one anecdote of a good warranty...
  • 5 0
 @gonzocycle: the mailman from Seinfeld of course..

Which is totally relevant because of all the cool mountain bikes he had hanging in his room and the bike shop window they would walk by featuring the same bikes from his room...
  • 8 1
 @SprSonik: dude, you hit the nail on the head! I spent two days snowboaring at $125 per day, lifts were delayed, limited runs, my legs were shot, I don’t want to calculate how many $s per run. Sport of the bourgeois for sure! Our MTB hobby can be as expensive as we want it to be. No one is forcing anyone to buy a new dream build every year. And as for changing standards, old standard parts are still available.
  • 9 1
 @scamp123: when I think MTB is too expensive I compare it to tournament bass fishing, or riding/owning horses, and all of a sudden I feel super frugal again.
  • 6 1
 DT Swiss EX471 with hope hubs are my personal choice.
  • 4 2
 @Noeserd: Regarding Newmen Evo sl XA30 -- 1780gm is not less than 1450gm. They look pretty good otherwise.
  • 4 4
 @ShredTilBed: not sure how warranties work for you but I don't think you get free rims every time you break one for life lol the companies would go bankrupt.
  • 5 2
 @mhoshal: Lots of carbon wheel companies offering just that. Free rim replacement for life. Here are two quick ones off the top of my head but others do it as well:

We Are One - www.weareonecomposites.com/page/warranty
Nobl - noblwheels.com/warranty/?v=3e8d115eb4b3
  • 9 0
 @rickybobby18: To decide if you want to take up open water yacht racing, first stand under a cold shower, fully clothed, tearing up $100 bills as fast as you can. If you enjoy that, yacht racing is the sport for you...
  • 3 0
 @classicmoto: The Newman Evo SL XA30 are 1325g for the 29r set. 605g front, 720g rear. The weight you are quoting is for the aluminum wheelset my friend.

That said, cannot find any spec whatsoever about the "Newman hub" their wheelsets come with.
  • 1 0
 @moturner: I think most reputable carbon wheels come with good service. Like others say, Santa Cruz is known for excellent service.
  • 3 1
 @classicmoto: Correction, to myself, since you can't edit a comment here past 2 minutes or whatever it is--the Evo is aluminum, not carbon, my bad. You are correct there. However, there is no "Evo SL XA30" model that you reference, that is the problem... there is an Advanced SL XA30, at 1325g/set for carbon hoops. And there are the Evolution SL XA25 (25mm width), and the Evolution SL A30 (30mm width). Interesting side note, the max rider weight for any of their wheelsets, regardless of carbon or aluminum hoops, is listed at 125kg/275lbs.

But this is all moot, because now I want to know why @Noeserd is posting weights/prices for aluminum wheels on an article about a carbon wheelset? Were you duped like I was by Newman's naming conventions? I swear it took me like 3 visits to the site to sort out that the 'Advanced' were carbon, the 'Evolution' were aluminum. Derp. Therefore the most comparable wheelset from Newman in terms of the Roval set reviewed in this article would be the Advanced SL XA30 which are 28 spoke, 30mm width, Newman hubs, weigh 1325g for a 29r wheelset and run $1655US. That makes them 125g lighter and ~$300 more expensive than this Roval set.
  • 5 0
 Absolutely... that's CRAZY money. OK, in some contexts it's acceptable as things like houses and cars are expensive... but this is a MTB wheel, it's just bonkers that £1200 is classes as acceptable in some worlds. It's certainly not in mine.
  • 2 0
 @PaulinhoCascavel: Great choice. For me, Bitex hubs help bring them to an even lower price point.
  • 4 1
 @weeksy59: Here’s the thing that a lot of people don’t get. I have a few riding buddies that used to go through 3 to 4 rear wheels and maybe 1 or 2 front PER YEAR! They have moved to carbon and one guy hasn’t broken a wheel since, the other has broken a couple but with the lifetime warranty he’s fine. Both have saved a substantial amount of money by moving to carbon. They’re not for me… even though I’m just as fast as my two buddies I guess I just ride differently and don’t smash wheels **knocks on wood furiously**
  • 1 0
 @kajones: i don’t know bitex…gona loon it up
Cheers
  • 3 1
 @islandforlife: just add some more PSI for free
  • 2 5
 @islandforlife: it's the lifetime of the rims not your lifetime lmao.
  • 2 6
flag mhoshal (Feb 9, 2022 at 10:41) (Below Threshold)
 If you neg prop this you have to be stupid "lifetime" warranty means rim life not your life lol
  • 4 1
 @mhoshal: we’ll no shit, but the lifetime of a set of wheels can be a long time. My riding buddy has had his We Are Ones for 5 years and has had 4 replacement rims so far. No indication that they care or will stop him from future replacements.
  • 2 4
 @islandforlife: funny how it's always a "friend" that magically get the shit lmao usually that means the person is talking out their ass.
  • 1 5
flag mhoshal (Feb 10, 2022 at 2:50) (Below Threshold)
 @islandforlife: also you say "well no shit "but your last statement you literally claim you get rims for "life" as in you think your lifetime. That's absolutely false and you're only agreeing with me now because I called out your bullshit statement.
  • 3 0
 @mhoshal: dude you get as many rims as you need. Obviously it’s not going to last 49 f*cking years. I’m not sure why this is so hard for you to understand. Call them up and have a chat, it’s that simple.
  • 3 0
 @mhoshal: not sure what to tell you man. These warranties are pretty common. Ya, I still run aluminum, but buddies run Nobl and WAO’s. Lost of people do and have zero issues getting as many rims as they need. I don’t know what to tell you, this is pretty common knowledge. Call them up, have a chat, they’ll set you straight.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: with lighter Wheels/ tires/cranks what did your spur build weight come to??
  • 37 3
 @noplacelikeloam and @HaggeredShins I get the pain points of not cheap wheels... but when quality aluminum wheelsets are 800 (ibis s35) and range from 1,000 (dt swiss ex1700) to 1,400 (i9 enduro)... these carbon wheels stack up price wise. Throw in the warranty factor, the potential cost of maintenance (if you aren't truing them yourself) over the life of the wheelset, (5 years?) and these rovals are looking pretty damn good. For good measure, these are easily 1lb lighter then the choices I listed above, and come with the ideal spoke config (dt swiss comps... gtfo with anything that's not 1.8 double butted minimum) and again, these are looking like a really awesome wheelset.

I get the carbon hate... I've blown up my fair share of carbon wheels. But over the lifetime of the wheelset... I find that carbon hoops generally provide a decent value proposition provided the cost to move from AL to Carbon is under 500. Ideally, I'd shoot for a 300 price delta to push me over the edge.
  • 18 6
 Many factory wheelset prices like DT, Spec, Ibis are skewed. They cost up to 50% more than what you’d pay for building them yourself. I paid 600€ for high end DT alloy rims and Hope 4. If I chose DT350 hubs like I intended (not available) the price would be 100€ lower. With LB carbon rims and DT240 hubs you have a carbon wheelset for 1000€. The question is then not Carbon vs Alloy, the main question is why buy Factory wheels considering how much you pay for convenience of getting a built wheel right away.
  • 8 0
 @calmWAKI: I thought about the LB route, but decided on WAO instead because of the crash replacement factor. A $1000 self-built wheelset from LB gets a lot more expensive pretty quickly if you're gonna be breaking one of those rims.
  • 11 6
 @rickybobby18: it depends on so many factors. I’d say personal destructive tendencies and location around the world being most important of them. North America is pretty much as far from me as China so I’d need a spare alloy set anyways to use the lifetime warranty policy to its full potential. That is why I choose alloy DT - they hold up, weight penalty is minimal over actual carbon counterparts and I can get virtually every kind of their rims in 2 days max. The closest carbon rim worth considering is Newmen but they are pricey and aren’t stocked as well as DT.
  • 9 1
 @calmWAKI: I agree with you... I build my own wheelsets and I generally want my AL wheelsets to come in under $700 dollars (dt350, ex511, dtswiss comps) and my carbon wheelsets under $1,000. But for those costs, I get very little in the way of warranty, I'm doing the work myself building them and I have to spend time sourcing parts etc. The truth is that non-name brand or chinese carbon wheelsets are rarely under $800 delivered any more. For the average consumer that can't build/true their own wheels and isn't going to deal with the time investment involved... these rovals are a great deal... especially to get a carbon wheelset under 1500g with dt350s... that in and of itself, isn't easy to do with chinese hoops under 1,000.
  • 8 0
 DT Swiss EX1700 costs like 550€ in Germany. If you're not a weight weenie, there's not really any reason to buy anything more expensive.
  • 4 0
 @minimusprime: This is a bit of a one off but I purchased a set of Light Bicycles AM927's with DT 240 exp (straight pull/centerlock) hubs with DT D-Light spokes for just under 1200 USD shipeed 3 day air during their Black Friday sale. I usually build my own wheels (have built at least a dozen wheelsets with LB rims) but the price was so good it was cheaper than buying the parts and building myself.
  • 3 1
 @OnTheRivet: a mate got the same deal. 3 rides later, cracked a rim and their “deal” they can offer him is $425 AUD to replace.
Hope yours hold up!
  • 3 1
 @minimusprime: the problem in th calculation is that EX471 costs 75€. XM841 90€. That's quite a few rims until you ge to the price of We Are One. That's pretty much the number of rims that I destroyed in my lifetime Big Grin
  • 4 0
 @SIZ: I've got 4 bikes with LB rims in the garage without issue. Just sold a 5010 with a 4yo set of LB wheels that were perfect. Shit breaks.
  • 1 0
 @Muscovir: you can get the Mavic crossmax xl for 400€. For that price its a very good wheelset. I cant think of " needing" a 1k or more wheelset.
  • 1 0
 @OnTheRivet: i still got the LB wheels i bought 2014, never trued, still going strong.
  • 1 0
 @calmWAKI: DT costs $150 for EX511 or XM481 here, inc squorq nips. I also think inserts are a consideration, ime Al rims can get flat-spotted or even cave-in easier because inserts distribute forces across the width of the rim rather than only on the bead. I lost an EX511 last year in a hit I thought was way too gentle, didn't even flat. Also seen catastrophic collapses and outright failures in Al I think are made worse by inserts.
  • 1 0
 @davec113: Interesting perspective. I'll give it a thought about inserts making it worse. I did wreck EX511 quickly, same with M502 but I would attribute it to extra width and the fact that the 30mm rim flange is likely to end up between the knobs of a Minion or even Assegai. The thing is that when I ride wide rims (and I even had 35mm internal on the front) I hear the tire bottoming on them far more often than on 25mm, particularly in the rough corners. I rode carbon 35mm in NOBLs once and I heard the tire hitting the rim all the time. And it was on a DH bike. I then rode same track on my 25 EX471 and barely heard anything. I was running enxact same pressures. When running DD or DH casings I really don't feel any benefit over narrower 25mm rim. That day on those NOBLs I stopped a few times to check if I haven't punctured as carbon sounds more than alu. So width must be a factor too.
  • 23 1
 Con: The graphics aren't overly flashy, and blend in well.
If I have carbon wheels, the whole world needs to know, damn it.
  • 9 1
 I pulled my Enve decals as soon as I got my wheels home. Can't stand the look at me bling on stuff like that.
  • 8 1
 Great review. I'd be really interested in hearing about your impressions of the Wicked Will, Ground Control, Forekaster, Eliminator and other light trail tires you've tried. Recently tried a pair of Rekons and it was eye opening how fast yet grippy tires can be.
  • 1 0
 Yes please - would be great to hear Mike's comparison thoughts on those tyres - and other relatively grippy XC options. I've been riding Conti CrossKing Protection recently and am pretty impressed with the speed coupled with half-decent grip.
  • 5 0
 Which did you prefer - the new Spez Ground Control or MAX Forekaster? I really liked the Forekaster, and while swapping tires is absolutely the lowest cost way to see big changes in the bike, it is still not a cheap/easy exercise in my world to try as many tires as I'd like.
  • 6 1
 If you are after a tire like Forekaster try Bontrager SE4 if you can. It loves to get rowdy.
  • 5 0
 @calmWAKI: I was really impressed by that tire. Rekons were even better, but wore out lickety split
  • 6 1
 This is a pretty good value for a set of sub 1500 gram wide XC wheels, especially after the specialized.com signup discount. I used it for both amateur racing and weekday chunky trail riding. The width is perfect for 2.25 and 2.35 XC tires. I don't feel wobbling tires anymore.

The only con for me: 6-bolt rotor. But Galfer has some sick 6B rotors.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/21939421
  • 9 1
 I think signing up for the Speci newsletter gets you 15% off these wheels.
  • 4 0
 How beautiful is that Spur with those wheels and tyres?

Frame matches the rims and tyres and even the Kashima looks perfect for those sidewalls. Matchy matchy but still very understated and tasteful. Something like an SLX or XTR crank would finish it off.
  • 8 1
 Nice review, want these wheels.
  • 7 1
 As Mike points out the difficult with these is the Reserves and their lifetime guarantee.
  • 7 4
 I don’t like how Specialized runs their business model, but their products are really good. The Roval is no different: good wheels at good prices. I have no complaints with mine ( not the same as the wheelset in the review).
  • 9 3
 Do you think there is any correlation between the way the business is run and why the products are so good? lol.
  • 7 0
 Say no, say no, don't fall into the trap!
  • 7 2
 @MikeyMT:

Please explain how suing small business owners over the name of their cafe correlates to their products being good?
  • 5 4
 @Saidrick: yawn...~10 year old example on a case that was dropped anyway.
  • 5 0
 @MikeyMT:

More recently, as in last year, Specialized cancelled existing customers orders from Mikes Bikes, when Mikes Bikes sold their company to another buyer, instead to Specialized.
  • 4 2
 @MikeyMT:

www.bicycleretailer.com/industry-news/2021/01/14/specialized-and-ex-employee-settle-case#.YgLBHHrMKUk

In the complaint Parenti had said she "endured a hostile work environment where women were treated as less competent than men and, worse still, as sexual playthings for upper management." She was among the Specialized employees laid off in April as the company cut costs in the early days of the pandemic lock-downs.
  • 5 4
 @Saidrick: Shocking to not want to drive the sales of a parent organization that is a majority stakeholder in your competitors. Sounds like they could have handled the transition better...but sounds like a good business decision to me.
  • 6 6
 @packfill: Case was dropped with no settlement....you tell me what you think happened.

Look I have no stake in the company nor do I care...these are just business decisions...is what it is, they have no obligation to be nice, make the world a better place, etc...they have one obligation, make money.
  • 9 5
 @MikeyMT: what nonsense. Corporate social responsibility is a very real thing.
  • 3 7
flag wolftwenty1 (Feb 8, 2022 at 11:55) (Below Threshold)
  • 2 0
 @MikeyMT: Hmmm....

Specialized Bicycle Components and Lauren Parenti have agreed to settle the lawsuit that Parenti filed last month. The former graphic designer for the brand had charged that she was terminated in violation of federal and state civil rights and employment laws.
  • 1 2
 @packfill: Last sentence of the first link you posted gives away what actually happened...corporate speak is all in the details my man.
  • 3 0
 @MikeyMT: Right... after people come to a settlement, the court dismisses the case.
  • 1 2
 @packfill: LAST sentence...not the second to last.
  • 3 0
 @MikeyMT: Right.. you do understand that it's a settlement, she didn't drop the case, right? those are two different things.
  • 3 2
 @packfill: I think you need to re-read the article, she dropped the case and settled (based on the article). But spoiler...settlements that are 'won' dont result in this: "Both sides have agreed to bear their own legal costs."

Look...either way we're both projecting on shit neither of know the answer to. Wheels are great, let's leave it at that.
  • 1 0
 Agree. I have a set of last generation Traverse SLs and they've been fantastic. I have them on my trail bike but they've held up just fine after multiple days at the bike park on that same trail bike. The build quality is really nice and they just flat look cool.

I would have never expected a set of 24/28h wheels to hold up that well over chunky bike park laps but they certainly have. My only complaint is they seem to burp a little easier than the alloy Spank hoops I have on my actual park bike.
  • 7 1
 Excellent wheels. Best price-to-weight-to-performance ratio in the game.
  • 4 2
 Pretend these wheels don't have any warranty at all, then compare them to other wheels. Yeah the warranty is stated to be mediocre, but in reality it doesn't exist. I bought an Sworks Epic Evo that came with the SL wheels and when the freehub failed after 3 weeks, I was told repeatedly at a Specialized corporate store that it was somehow my fault AND nothing was wrong. Fortunately for me DT Swiss took care of the issue directly. After this experience a couple of my friends told me similar stories. Specialized plays these games all the time.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer - I agree with everything in this review except for one detail: My set shipped with 3 spoke lengths for the replacement spokes - 298, 300, and 301mm

I bet you could get away with only carrying a 300mm spoke when traveling, etc.

But yeah, the ride is excellent, the price is really fair for what you’re getting, and the lack of weight is a real plus for the type of riding I like. (Technical trail, with challenging climbs and tight precise rocky descents)

I’m running these on an Epic Evo and they feel like they were designed as a system to perfectly complement that frame.
  • 2 0
 Could you use just the one length? Any builders know if 2mm difference is too much?
  • 9 4
 @mobiller: That figure (2mm) is really the maximum of the acceptable leeway for a spoke length that's a little off of perfect. But if off, you always want to be longer rather than shorter in a build. You're not likely to toast through 301 mm spokes in a build meant for 300 mm anytime soon -- and there can even be advantages to going "too long." Namely, you will run the spoke further through the rim and help to eliminate the most common location of a stress riser in the nipple: the area underneath the nipple head, where it hooks up with the rim hole. Additionally, going long is like adding (non-messy) Loctite or some other adhesive agent to a spoke. The spoke will run out of threads and end up tacking in part using the non-threaded and higher-friction section below its threads, which then makes the spoke resistant to vibration-caused loosening during riding. The only hard no - especially with alloy nipples and particularly if the alloy nipples aren't Double-square or Squorx-head designs (which essentially "fit long" as standard) - is to run 298 or 299 mm spokes in a build meant for 300 mm. Spokes that are too short will almost always cause problems over the long run. This likelihood perhaps gets magnified in the case of a wheelset such as this one, where people may ride it beyond its factory-intended level of aggressiveness. The more you intend to push a wheelset, the better and more accurate the build needs to be in the first place.
  • 3 2
 @HogtownWheelsmith: 2mm is definitely not acceptable leeway to be off on spoke calculation, up or down. 2mm is more than "a little off perfect". Regurgitate Bill Mould all you want, but when your spokes are poking 2mm out the back in of the nipple, that is a sight you are a hack.
  • 3 2
 @mobiller: 2mm to short and you will probably not enter the head of the nipple and you will be destined to crack off nipples. 2mm to long and you will bottom out your nipples before you achieve tension. This is generally regarded as bad work unless you follow the Bill Mould school of thought. But, a spoke poking 2 mm out the back of a nipple will more than likely puncture your rim tape on harder hits with some rims. Shallow compliant rims work best with slotted nipples and properly sized spokes. 2mm up or down is too much.
  • 4 3
 I've been running a set of carbon wheels for about a year on my one bike. After about 3000km they're holding up really well. One broken spoke on the rear wheel about 6mos ago, but other than that anomaly they've been fine. (That being said, even with the broke spoke they stayed pretty true) In the same amount of time I've ruined two Al rims on my other bike. The good thing there being that the cost is low enough that I can cycle through damaged Al rims fast and keep lacing them to my DT hub. I spent marginally more on the carbon wheels then I spent on my aluminum set, but I've since bought three hoops the Al set is creeping up to the cost of the carbon set. If I was paying full price and spending $75-100 for each rim to be re-laced, the AL set would be the more expensive set.
  • 3 0
 What kind of AL rims are you running that you keep going through?
  • 1 0
 @bigogoat: It was one DT Swiss, and two Bontrager Line 30s since I've gotten my carbon set., I'm on my second DT Swiss rim now (it's the spline 1700 I think? Hard to remember anymore) This rear wheel has actually seen four rims in four seasons and two hubs. I do ride hard tails, so when (not "if") I come up short or charge too hard into baby heads the rear wheel takes a beating. It's like 75% user error, but the carbon rim doesn't seem to want to fail, in spite of several hard hits and a couple good cases. What a racket though when you bash a carbon rim into stuff.
  • 12 11
 Why are we still discussing Alloy vs Carbon rims? Polarizing mess. There are different carbon rims and different alloy ones. in terms of quality and designated use. If I had a short travel Trail bike / DC bike I’d totally run carbon and kept a spare wheelset. Enduro/ DH ? Not so much. Times have changed, bikes are faster, average rider level keeps going up. I remember very well when I could run 1ply Exos tubeless and now I won’t leave home without an insert in the rear. Even on local XC trails. In the mountains: proper casing, proper insert. In a way inserts made carbon rims much more viable.
  • 7 1
 is average rider getting better, OR is tech hiding flaws and letting people ride above their limits? Wink
  • 7 4
 @SprSonik: I’d rather give them the benefit of doubt.
  • 3 1
 @SprSonik: OR 29er wheels are inherently weaker and heavier than what came before?
  • 2 2
 @SprSonik: humans are designed to walk, run, jump, climb, maybe swim. Anything at speeds faster than that on a bike is "riding above our limits"! Smile
  • 2 4
 @SprSonik: I would say it’s 100% the latter, hence the trend towards massive wheelbase / reach numbers.

Let’s take the Specialized Enduro as a good example - Lots of people riding size large enduros, that would probably be better suited to riding a medium, but the larger reach inspires confidence at speed and allows an average rider to plow through rough stuff easier. A lot of the feedback on reviews and from consumers is that it’s an excellent bike, but a bit of a pig in tight stuff, which is true if you’re riding the upper size limit. If you size down slightly it’s actually relatively nimble (For a 170mm travel enduro frame). Charlie Murray is a good example here, who chooses to ride the medium in the EWS.
  • 1 1
 @rickybobby18: no, they literally aren't designed to do any of that. Pretty much everything humans do is a fluke of nature.
  • 4 4
 @jawa: long time ago one troll invented a term “Jerrymetron”. But that basically brought DH dad culture to Enduro. Even around 2015 DH/moto dads would ride 18kg DH bikes but then the less travel is more trend happened. And we can see it with DH Pros who build their own bikes that they keep numbers shorter and steeper than Nicolai. I mean Gee, Neko and Gwin can be counted in.

But there is no point saving them from themselves. Ride whatever brah. But rims do get an extra beating
  • 1 0
 The amount of Alloy rims I've destroyed on my enduro bike, i took the plunge and bought a set of Nobl TR37's end of last year, expensive yes, but easily worth the lifetime warranty alone. Ride quality is damn good too. Will be building a Tallboy in the near future and I'll be going with the TR32's on that. It's a one and done purchase IMO.
  • 2 1
 Okay so those prices are USD.. just taking exchange rates into acount the roval's are about $1730CAD. Woven Carbon M7AM wheels from across town here in Ottawa would cost the average buyer about $200 less and have a better warranty.

wovenprecision.com/mountain-wheels
  • 1 0
 I had nothing but problems with the 2019 Carbon Rovals that came on my old Stumpjumper. The rear hub would always get play in the bearings and need to be asjusted, the spoke tension would go out and need to be tuned, and I broke 2 rear wheels in a short period. After the last warranty I swore I would never run them again. Sold them, bought some NOBLs, and started running great carbon wheels that never need to be tensioned or trued and don’t break!
  • 3 0
 In the end, the most important things for me with Carbon wheels are: do they break and how is the warranty?
  • 4 4
 Ive ridden these. They are great wheels and insanely light and a good bargain. The real downside is that they are not very stiff. I had em on a stumpy 130 flexstay bike and I felt like the rear wheel was just too flexy for me at 180. I am no pro but definitely no how to ride well enough to push the stiffness of a wheel. Perfect wheel for something like the Spur.
  • 7 7
 Calling a $1350 wheelset a bargain is a pretty weird take
  • 2 1
 Roval site specifies 4 different spoke lengths for Control 29 Carbon 6B XD:
"Spoke length: Front Driveside 301mm, Non-Driveside 300mm , Rear Driveside 298mm, Non-Driveside 301mm"

So which is correct?
  • 2 0
 I used these on my enduro for a few months and thrashed them, finally broke the rear one on a line that wouldve broken any wheel. They will hold up on a trail bike for sure.
  • 1 1
 Wheels in general are flippin expensive purchase on its own, considering how relatively simple they are.
But check this out to calm yourself down - why would you spend £1000 on a pair or Ti cranks (pictured) if the cranks at 10th of the price will do the same exact job with only small weight penalty! And they are not even pretty Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Looks similar in price and specs to Nobl TR32 with DT350s. I've been impressed with how fast the Nobl's make my bike feel, haven't used them long enough to have an opinion on durability.
  • 1 1
 I ordered a set of these last week for my Spur, as they've got some great reviews online from various bike magazines (including this one). They should arrive on Friday.

However, I'm second-guessing myself now, and am thinking of returning them and buying another set of DT Swiss alloys (XM 1700).

I've been running a set of XM 1501s on my previous "downcountry" bike (130mm forked Giant Anthem 27.5) for the past 3 years and they are still running as straight and true as they day I bought them. They cost $600 for the set. Not a single ding, dent, or bend anywhere to be seen, and I have ridden that bike way outside of its comfort zone.

The XM 1700s are 400 grams heavier than these Rovals but will no doubt be much stronger. Specialized couldn't even give me an ASTM rating for them when I emailed them. All the promo vids for these wheels are heavy on lycra, gravel roads, skinny legs and tiny helmets, and I'm worried that my ride quality will suffer if I don't have confidence in my gear.

If they had a genuinely good warranty like WAO and SC/Reserve, but I'm hearing reports that the lifetime warranty on these Rovals is pure BS, and a "no fault crash replacement" will set you back the better part of €600.

Decisions decisions.
  • 2 0
 Update; the wheels arrived, fitted them to my Spur. They are awesome. No complaints here.
  • 14 10
 Alloy nipples? Pass.
  • 10 4
 I don’t know why you are getting downvotes. Alloy nipples are shite, especially on a carbon rim! Here’s how alloy nipples look like in a carbon rim just few months after tiny leak of sealant happens: galvanic corrosion pulverizes them. One after another. Buy loads of rim tape.

www.instagram.com/p/BekRLrSBDnC/?utm_medium=copy_link
  • 7 1
 @calmWAKI: And the weight penalty for brass is miniscule
  • 1 2
 @DirkMcClerkin: depends who you ask Smile 64 brass nipples will weigh up to 60g more than alloy. One way around it is to at least use torx nipples because the depth of insertion passes the nipple head so chance of the nipple failing at the base of the head is smaller. But if you treat your carbon rims + alloy nipples with loads of water and worse: sealant, shit will go down in a very nasty way. Some say that anodizing helps. Yes to a point. The reality is though that as you are reaching target tension while building a wheel the nipple will start rubbing hard against the eyelet and anodizing will get stripped off. In the worst possible place! - base of the nipple head. Brass will corode too but it takes far more time.
  • 2 0
 @calmWAKI: must be the tube cartels that prefer alloy…
  • 5 0
 @calmWAKI: That number is about 30% high. 20g-24g per wheel is the weight penalty of brass over aluminum, for 28 or 32 spokes respectively.
  • 3 5
 @50percentsure: I was 6g off per wheel... my God... and you have a nerve not to mention nipple length? The longer the nipple the bigger the saving. This site is about facts you see. Hahaha Big Grin
  • 4 0
 asdf
  • 6 3
 I have these wheels. They are good. I like them on my bike.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: 'nuff said.
  • 2 0
 I was trying to reply to @deez-nucks .
  • 1 2
 Should have said when you crack another Reserve rim, Santa Cruz will replace it.

On wheels, totally don't get the "downcountry" thing. At what point is riding no longer downcountry? From an engineering perspective, what does that look like? How big of a gap/drop/rock garden/feature is no longer downcountry?


Would big jumps but long smooth transitions be too much for these (thinking Trestle laps)? What about purpose built "enduro" trails (Glorietta NM)? High exposure with huck to flats (Gold Bar)?

I get not everyone has riding that burly close by, but is this a product where you'd have to tell your riding buddies "Naah bro, skipping this line. Got my downcountry wheels on."?
  • 13 3
 Down Country is about finding meaning in riding chicken lines as you pass to later phases of life. You no longer get triggered to send everything, second thoughts come more and more often. At some point the drive to send gets replaced with drive to come home. Shrooms and edibles help with that a lot. You become softer but in a good way. Of course whether change of riding intensity dictates changing bike to one with less travel may be debatable. We are capable of rationalizing anything, especially men who want to motivate a purchase of a new toy.
  • 1 1
 @calmWAKI: that’s a fun definition, and I’m old enough that I should (but don’t).

When it comes to wheel strength though, I’d like a more definitive answer.
  • 2 2
 @wyorider: If you have less travel and flimsy tires you just can't ride as fast as with lots of travel and sturdy casings with big knobs. So a chance of hitting a rock at speed fatal to the rim is less. You may also choose to huck less as the bike offers less error margin. I rode a Down Country bike once on A-Line sized jumps and I say screw that. You may also choose mellow trails by default.

So less speed -> less kinetic energy on smoother trails and less hucking.
  • 5 2
 We need a trail tire shootout
  • 5 0
 The Ground Control Grid T7’s Kaz is using (pictured in this article) are very impressive.
  • 1 0
 I dont think anyone said 'Downcountry'. Its an industry marketing term, not use by real world bikers. Maybe its just used behind the paywall so we cant see it being used.
  • 4 2
 Are they Shimano Microspline compatible?
  • 4 4
 I believe they are not. Huge negative, odd review omission
  • 11 2
 @DirkMcClerkin, they are - the hubs are regular DT Swiss 350. You would need to buy a different freehub, so that would bump up the price by $90 or so, but it's an easy thing to swap.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: Ah, I see. They come with XD drivers with no option for Microspline, that's why I was confused. Cheers
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the correction, XD in title and couldn't find option on website. But it's about the hub, duh.
  • 5 4
 Bontrager kovee xxx --- just get the wife an onlyfans account and thank me later
  • 1 1
 stay away from the new EXP as they strip quickly and leave you on the trail(had 2 new sets do it). The original style is king never had an issue.......
  • 1 0
 Excellent set of wheels and from personal experience Specialized stands behind their warranty.
  • 2 0
 For this price tag, I would expect a DT240 hub…
  • 2 1
 Great review.

Editor: Please add "straight pull spokes" to the minus column.

Undoubtedly an oversight on Mike's part.
  • 4 3
 I can’t see any reason why I would get these over a Nobl TR32
  • 12 0
 Probably for the wider internal widths and wider rim beads.
  • 2 1
 Aren't NOBLs made in China? Or am I just wrong?
  • 4 0
 I have TR37s and love them. But there is a pretty big difference between these rims and the TR32s... Wider rim and lighter rim... System weight could be about the same, but rim weight being lighter is what makes the ride feel more efficient, not just system weight.
  • 2 0
 I think just the rims are from China, NOBL builds the wheels in BC.
  • 6 2
 @HB208: Nobl's are Light Bicycle rims.
  • 1 0
 @OnTheRivet: Not sure if Light Bicycle manufactures Nobl rims or not, but Light Bicycle does not sell similar rims directly. I have a Light Bicycle wheelset and a Nobl wheelset, and Light Bicycle does not directly sell any rims with the "sine wave" spoke reinforcement like the Nobl's have. The Nobl's also have front and rear specific rims, and while you can mix and match Light Bicycle rims, they aren't specifically designed as a pair. Light Bicycle may be contract manufacturer, but they are a unique design to Nobl.
  • 1 0
 Anyone know why Specialized says these are not compatible with inserts?
  • 1 0
 I run Rovals and love them!
  • 1 0
 But do they come in SCS version?
  • 2 3
 Why 6bolt? Even sram makes CL hubs these days..
  • 2 5
 That's a lot of money to pay for a wheelset that won't be as strong as a metal pair for less than half the price. Money doesn't buy sense though.
  • 2 0
 But will those metal wheels be as fast? These are clearly marketed as xc or trail wheels, and thus speed is more important than ultimate strength. I have a bunch of wheels on a bunch of different bikes some aluminum, some carbon. All things being equal the carbon rims are stronger and more reliable, until they're aren't. Carbon takes dings and dents better, and almost anytime a carbon rim breaks or will break so would a aluminum. Carbon is more expensive to replace if second hand, out of warranty, or warranty sucks.

It's almost like bike parts are all various compromises. Ride what you like and what you can make reliable and affordable for your situation.
  • 1 3
 Cute wheels but no Super Boost Shimano options.
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