Roval Launches 3 New Traverse Wheelsets

Jul 20, 2023 at 17:13
by Mike Kazimer  
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Roval, Specialized's in-house wheel division, has released three new Traverse wheelsets aimed at trail and enduro riders. The SL and HD wheelsets use new carbon rim profiles and layups, and there's also an alloy option that uses shot-peened 6013 aluminum for improved durability.

All of the models are covered by a lifetime warranty, along with a 2-year “It Happens” no fault crash replacement program.

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Traverse SL II 240

• Carbon rims
• DT Swiss 240 hubs
• DT Swiss Aerolite spokes
• Weight: Wheelset 1,645g, Front 767g, Rear 878g
• Price: Front: $925 / Rear: $1375 | Total: $2,300
Traverse SL II 350

• Carbon rims
• DT Swiss 350 hubs
• DT Swiss Competition Race spokes
• Weight: Wheelset 1,751g, Front 807g, Rear 944g
• Price: Front: $600 / Rear: $900 | Total: $1,500 USD

Traverse SL II

Roval says the Traverse SL II is their lightest trail wheelset yet, with a claimed weight of 1645 grams for the 240 model, which uses DT Swiss 240 hub and Aerolite spokes, and 1751 grams for the 350 model with DT Swiss 350 hub and Competition Race spokes.

The front and rear carbon rims have different designs, with compliance and comfort higher on the priority list for the front, and impact resistance and lateral stiffness taking precedence for the rear. Both rims have a shallower, wider profile than before, and a 5mm Flat Top bead profile that's claimed to dramatically reduce the likelihood of a pinch flat compared to a round bead. The internal width is 30mm, and the rim has a 20mm depth.

All of the carbon rims use a new ThreadBed valve that threads directly into the rim, eliminating the need for a compression nut. Other tubeless valves are compatible too, but they'll need the usual o-rings and compression nuts to prevent air loss.

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Traverse HD 240

• Carbon rims
• DT Swiss 240 hub
• DT Swiss Aerolite spokes
• Weight: Wheelset 1,706g / Front 768g, Rear 938g
• Price: Front: $925 / Rear: $1375 | Total: $2,300 USD
Traverse HD 350

• Carbon rims
• DT Swiss 350 hub
• DT Swiss Competition Race spokes
• Weight: Wheelset 1,801g / Front 806g, Rear 995g
• Price: Front: $600 / Rear: $900 | Total: $1,500 USD

Traverse HD

The Traverse HD wheelset shares most of the design features found on the SL wheels, including the ThreadBed valve and Flat Top bead profile, but it uses different rim shapes and carbon layups to increase the overall strength. That extra strength comes with a little extra weight – the Traverse HD 240 weighs 1706 grams, and the HD 350 weighs 1805 grams. Those are still quite reasonable figures considering the wheels' intended usage.

The SL wheels are aimed at trail riders, and the HD wheels are geared toward riders who have enduro races and bike park laps on their calendar. Since the wheels are sold separately, there's no reason why a smooth-but-aggressive rider couldn't pair an SL front wheel with an HD rear to gain even more compliance up front.

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Traverse Alloy

• 6013 aluminum rims
• DT Swiss 350 hubs
• Sapim D-Light spokes
• Price: Front: $300 / Rear: $550 | Total: $850
• Weight: Wheelset 1,904g, Front 897g, Rear 1007g

Traverse Alloy

Rounding out the new wheels is the Traverse Alloy wheelset, which weighs 1904 grams and is priced at $850. The rims have a 30mm internal width, and a bead shape that's intended to bend inwards if it's hit hard enough, hopefully preventing any air loss and keeping the tire on the wheel.

The one thing absent from the list of options is a 27.5” front wheel – riders on mixed wheel and full 29” setup are taken care of, but the dwindling number of riders rolling on two 27.5” wheels will need to look outside of the new Traverse collection for a new front wheel.


More information: specialized.com

Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,710 articles

136 Comments
  • 44 1
 Instantly every commenter on Pinkbike is an Principal Engineer in Composites.
  • 7 0
 No way! Let me update me resume now that's great news
  • 3 0
 @Bro-LanDog: no resume required, we believe you
  • 2 0
 Senior Principal Engineer, promoted a few years back after my 100th ENVE joke. It made all my dentist friends jealous.
  • 5 0
 It was a big leap, career-wise, from eastern bloc war expert, to submarine design and oceanography specialist, to carbon engineer but I did it. And all in 8 weeks.
  • 1 0
 Giveover it took me 25 years , you telling me i could have had instant awesome and known about bubbles
  • 1 0
 @kmg0: im starting to wonder if this wasnt my entire instagram career in a nutshell
  • 46 5
 Dont know much bout anything, but bubbles in the vut out show pic leave much to say!
  • 22 6
 Spec crabon rims are made of explosium: air bubbles help them detonate on impact. I don't know anyone who has owned a set and not broken them.
  • 25 1
 Wild they couldn't cut another section for the marketing photo, makes me wonder if that's the cleanest one they found
  • 37 1
 Engineering design often copies structures found in nature. In this case, swiss cheese.
  • 12 0
 Photoshop Philip was on vacation last week, I guess.
  • 14 0
 It's the same as with santa cruz. They did an instagram video where they cut up a santa frame to show how it is of better quality than some cheaper brand's frame. But the santa had voids in the carbon layup while the cheaper frame didn't:
www.instagram.com/reel/CpDeo1FrApu/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA=
  • 4 1
 I want to agree except an almost identical hole on both rims seems like too much of a coincidence.
  • 2 0
 @Bro-LanDog: “It happens “
  • 4 0
 @bashhard: That sucks. But then again, they explain that the Nomad frame had successfully completed the full run of fatigue- and impact testing, despite the production flaw. So even though the frame itself had a small imperfection, it was still (demonstrably) super strong.
  • 31 2
 After spending a good chunk of time on the old Traverse AL, I was nothing but impressed. Nothing special but held up against some serious abuse and didn't get too bent out of shape ever. Will probably try these out.
  • 9 2
 Don't you mean, nothing too special-ized?
  • 6 2
 Really? I had a set come stock on my enduro and I FUUUUCKED those things fast. Swapped back to my reserves and hardly take them out of true.
  • 1 1
 @Darwin66: I had a set of alu come on my stumpy and the rear one lastet exactly 14 days, while the front one is still perfectly true after 3 years of quite hard use. So overall for a wheelset on a 3500 euro bike I think I am quite satisfied.
  • 3 0
 The Roval Traverse 27.5 that came with 2018 Levo's and Kenevo's were made of cheese.
  • 2 0
 @LemonadeMoney: on the Status too. Unbranded Roval, but still, whole system was 2-ply soft. Debonded the free hub driver from the shell on one, detonated another, warped another so bad it couldn't be trued.

My cheapo secondhand Bontrager Line Elite carbon wheels have been laser straight on my Evo for a full year now.
  • 6 0
 @sjma: The 'unbranded' wheels are very different - for my sins, I have used both types.
  • 2 0
 @sjma: as Dave said, I have both Status and EVO, and the former wheels are nowhere near the quality of the Roval. It's unbranded S crap.
  • 20 0
 “Since the wheels are sold separately, there's no reason why a smooth-but-aggressive rider couldn't pair an SL front wheel with an HD rear to save a little weight while still keeping the extra rear wheel strength.”

The weights show a 1g difference in the 350 case actually the HD is lighter in the front. Either a mistake or this statement is misguided.
  • 18 4
 “Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of sh!t. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will.”
  • 3 0
 Solid comment and movie quote sir
  • 3 0
 I'm fine with these wheels, but that quote will always get the thumbs up!
  • 21 4
 Why would I buy these when WAO and Santa Cruz Reserves exist?
  • 10 13
 Because reserves are ugly?
  • 1 0
 I don't think many people are purchasing Roval as an aftermarket option. Sure, they'll sell them to you - but these are principally designed as in-house spec for their OEM builds.
  • 5 4
 There is a certain type of person that just drops their bike off and the shop, says "I want carbon wheels!", then picks it up a week later without doing any market research. Me, you, most of the people commenting here probably don't fall into that category, but there are many who do and these will end up on their bikes.

Especially since Specialized has been buying up bike shops all over the US, they now have sole distribution for parts like this at a lot of local shops now.
  • 2 0
 @KJP1230: every big specialized shop has these hanging out near the service area ready to sell and install
  • 2 0
 @rich-2000: I’ve never heard this, curious why you feel they’re ugly? Not defending them just would like to hear your side.
  • 2 1
 @YRneroh:
I just find the inside profile where it goes up and down for every spoke ugly. Would rather a circle!
  • 2 0
 @rich-2000: ah yes, i agree it is unsightly. the rectangle isnt too hot from a top down perspective
  • 3 0
 Why would I want to give pon my money to buy a set of overpriced runs to fund the expected level of warranty claims
  • 17 3
 I'm my last industry those cut outs would have been an example of what would be a rejected component. Really poor layup and bubbles is literally the worst defect in composites next to dry fibres, the lighter bits
  • 3 0
 specialized will sell that as a premium "fact 11m carbon"...
  • 10 0
 I have a pair of the Roval Traverse aluminums in 38mm width that I got in like 2016 or 2017 that I used/abused. I have a set of Enve wheels as my primary now, but the Rovals are still kicking around for my DH / Park riding. They wont die.
  • 9 0
 I've been on Roval carbon rims for about 4 years now, I have to say they've been mint from the get go. I can't remember the last time I had to tighten a spoke and touch wood they've not missed a beat. I'm one very clumsy rider too.
  • 5 0
 I've been on 2 sets for the last 6 years 27.5 then 29. I've broken a spoke , they've been bulletproof
  • 1 0
 I have a set of ~2018 vintage Traverse SLs on my trail bike and they've done well. They've even seen a handful of bike park days with no issues. The only thing I did to them was replace the aluminum nipples with brass after one cracked, but that's about it.
  • 10 3
 I guess I'm the odd man out. I've had one set since 2014 and they're still perfect and now do duty on a XC bike.
I purchased another used set around 2019 from a well known Specialized sponsored EWS racer ( meaning they were abused) and they too have been flawless and still do duty on my enduro rig.
The alloy ones that came on my Kenevo SL have been put through the wringer and have never been trued ( rare for me on alloy).
Suffice to say that I would 100% recommend and buy more of them.
  • 5 0
 Either some of you have access to return/damage data from all wheel companies or you're content with making snap decisions based on a sample size of one IG video of a wheel bursting.

Pinkbike: Where anecdotal evidence reigns supreme.
  • 8 1
 Looks great. I'd be interested to see a long term review on these.
  • 5 7
 Coming out in exactly 2 weeks since mounted, its as long as they'll last..
  • 7 0
 -100 grams=$800?
  • 4 1
 That's how it goes. I once calculated the step up from XT to XTR averaged out to $10 per gram across a groupset. So it's good value. /Irony
  • 6 0
 Keep in mind a 240 hub set is $80 more and the spokes are $1/Ea more.., retail. $136 of that is entirely justifiable.
  • 1 4
 No one mentioned “threadbead” technology. The mad engineers at Roval did it, they put threads in the rim for the valve…. No where near the bead.
  • 4 0
 @jfranci3: They put threads in the rim bed, hence "ThreadBed". Swing and a miss champ.
  • 1 0
 @cmrn: whoops... either i misread or there was a correction :-)
  • 7 3
 My old Rovals, several pairs, didn't last one descent down the whole enchilada. Spokes everywhere.
  • 1 0
 Same, every few weeks another thin spoke would snap
  • 1 0
 We need more core technology branding in rims and everything really. Aside from spank. How about bead core. Or corebead. And the alloy version could be called corn bread corebead. and a Tippie signature model could be fro-core. And so on and so forth.
  • 2 0
 Roval AL 29 never worked for me. Always loose spokes and bent after every other ride. Got me self a set of dt swiss e1900. Never looked back. Not so say the price differences!
  • 1 0
 Pricing seems good, and the specs add up. I do with companies would use a hub with more engagement. I was stuck between I9 Enduro S and the Reserve Alloy's, and went with the I9's as I like the fast engagement, which I know isn't for everyone, but I prefer it.
  • 1 1
 Reserve alloys are cheaper.
  • 1 1
 @Roost66: but then you are stuck with pon mass produced rims and a fancy marketing campaign
  • 1 0
 @Roost66: On sale the I9's were cheaper, and the hubs are nicer.
  • 1 0
 @dmackyaheard: I9 rims are made of butter
  • 4 0
 Rovals have always worked great for me. These look good I’m sure they will be great.
  • 3 0
 $850 for an alloy wheelset with 2 year warranty? Hard sell when reserve HD alloys are $700 and the RaceFace turbines are $789 and come with an unlimited lifetime warranty.
  • 1 0
 If the Reserve HDs ever come in stock.
  • 8 3
 The nobl choice is…..?
  • 14 5
 We Are Ones
  • 1 0
 @birdsandtrees: I hope weareone didn’t lie about their published wheelset weights because that’s really been stopping me from buying anything else
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: wait they lied about their weights or something? They definitely don’t feel any heavier than other burly wheel sets I’ve ran.
  • 2 1
 @birdsandtrees: no I’m just saying the weight in combination with their reported durability and the price makes a lot of far more expensive carbon wheels not so appealing
  • 4 4
 @fewnofrwgijn: yea they’re the real deal. Ran Unions and now Convergence and will always be on WAO. There’s a reason why people always mention em on a wheel article hahaha. Got mine built with Hope Pro 5 hubs on Custom Wheel Builder for $1,313. Soooo good.
  • 1 0
 @birdsandtrees: great deal... Where do I find that hookup?
  • 2 0
 @birdsandtrees: My next set of wheels will also cost me 1313 as well. With 350 hubs instead.
  • 2 1
 @wantriot: customwheelbuilder.com

Highly recommend. Talented wheel builder and super responsive to any inquiries.
  • 2 1
 @fewnofrwgijn: My WAO union wheelset actually came in lighter than they stated on the website.
  • 1 0
 Broken in my garage and waiting for them to send a new rim, as usual.
  • 1 0
 Managed to kill a NOBL rim recently. They made me fully whole on it but I just don't really trust carbon rims at all now. Was really hoping they'd make failed rims a thing of the past.
  • 2 0
 Those cut-away samples though. Inconsistent lay-up with dry fibers and voids in several places. Signs of very low manufacturing quality.
  • 2 2
 why they are lacing asymmetrical rims to DT Swiss hubs? they made those hubs with slightly larger diameter on the drive side so you use same spoke length on both sides with regular rims (even same spoke length on front and rear wheel)
  • 3 0
 Really? DT still recommend different spoke lengths when using one of their symmetrical rims on one of their hubs. A larger drive side flange is typically for trying to balance spoke tensions and reduce bracing angle a bit.
  • 3 0
 i wish there was a picture of the threaded valve stem, thats the only thing thats interesting to me here
  • 2 0
 @browntown40: Thanks!
  • 2 1
 $1500 with DT350's? I have the same setup with WAO Unions and paid about $1350. Weight is about the same. Not sure if the warranty is better or not.
  • 1 3
 But the we are wins will break lol
  • 3 1
 1300 extra $ usd for 259grams. Sl2 vs alloy. Am I reading that right?
  • 6 5
 Overpriced, overweight. One day I would like to be pleasantly surprised by a wheelset
  • 2 0
 I'm impressed with DT's discontinued XM 1501 Spline - 1720g aluminum, all-mountain tough. You can still get them for $800 a set: www.jensonusa.com/DT-Swiss-XM1501-29-Wheels-OE
  • 1 1
 Probably overbuild (overweight) to make up for the lack of quality in the rim.
  • 2 0
 nukeproof.....................
  • 5 4
 Meh, you can get a set of WR1 Unions with 350 hubs at the same weight that are cheaper and bombproof.
  • 2 1
 Why is this getting down voted?
  • 2 0
 @Bro-LanDog: Im thinking the down votes are from folks that don't think you can get WRI with 350s for $850. I didnt down vote, but I doubt the info provided.
  • 2 0
 @Baller7756: I just used fanatik's builder to make a rear for a little over 700? I'm confused lol
  • 2 0
 "it happens" is USA only. That's a shame...
  • 1 1
 What is the point of quoting wheel weights, when the only important and distinct thing here is the rims. What do the rims each weight!?!?
  • 2 4
 Good luck getting anything warrantied by Specialized. I’ve had nothing but terrible customer service from them. Rear triangle on my frame cracked a year after purchase and they found an excuse to call it crash replacement, not warranty (has scratches, must be a crash). To top it off they sell me a part that doesn’t match the rest of the frame because they don’t sell just the frame in the color I own and take two weeks to ship it to my local dealer?!?! Their products are extremely overpriced and they don’t have the service to match. Never buying Specialized again.
  • 2 1
 Despite the hate, the Control Carbons have been great in a year of socal trail riding and a few XC races.
  • 9 12
 I don't know why anyone would buy these over the competition. They have known nipple corrosion issues that really haven't been addressed. Plus for wheel builders I guess. The Pics of the cutaway show a lot of voids too, not something I would be proud of as a manufacturer. Companies also really need to stop with the "radial compliance" marketing. All of the actual lab tested deflection models show that it's so minuscule that no one would be able to decipher the difference. Much bigger difference can been seen in suspension setup, tire casing and pressure.
  • 4 0
 Are you saying there's not appreciable radial stiffness differences between wheels?
  • 2 2
 OMG, speak the truth about the nipple corrosion. My buddy blows through spokes non stop on his traverse. On the flip side.. All the rovals other than the traverse with the nipple problems have been flawless.
  • 3 0
 The lab tested deflection models show up to 10mm of flex or more, that’s a pretty significant difference whether you’re talking about tire size, suspension travel, or rim flex
  • 1 0
 @Bro-LanDog: Yes and no: the difference in compliance between wheels can be real, but we're measuring the wrong thing. It's less about radial compliance and more about lateral compliance. (@Thecommoncoy is correct that radial tire compliance makes radial wheel compliance trivial in its contribution to ride feel, though compliance has a significant role in preventing tire and rim damage.)

A laterally compliant front wheel does take the edge off. Most rear wheels already have about as much compliance as they can handle, especially deflection away from the cassette, so there's less opportunity to increase compliance at the rear.
  • 2 1
 @Bro-LanDog: Im definitely saying that. Everything that I have seen suggest there is no real difference in radial deflection. lateral deflection is also minute. The difference we see with lateral deflection in the case of carbon vs aluminum is that aluminum will deflect and the source of force where carbon will overcome spoke tension and create a lever on the wheel. Thats out of the saddle sprinters on road bike can feel their rims touch their brakes with carbon. That phenomenon won't happen with aluminum.
Things I have noticed in the real world is carbons ability to hold G outs and track a bit better. I would also bet in a double blind experiment, no one would be able to tell what wheel they are riding.
  • 2 1
 @fewnofrwgijn: I have never seen any tests that suggest a 10mm deflection. With normal riding loads we are seeing less than 1mm deflection both laterally and radial. At 10mm deflection, aluminum would probably fail as that suggest a much higher yield load that the system could take. Carbon wheels at 10mm deflection or more might fail or just lose all spoke tension.
  • 2 2
 @combfilter: hope you dont mind if im not blowing spokes on your traverse friend
  • 2 2
 @Thecommoncoy: so a zipp moto and an enve m9 have the same radial compliance? Or a spank 350 and a race face arc? Because my experience is that there is not insignificant difference of feel between different rim designs.
  • 1 0
 @Thecommoncoy: You are talking completely out of your arse.
  • 1 1
 @cmrn: Based on what, do you have any extensive knowledge of the testing that has been done and proven my point.

I get it though, say something that goes against the marketing narrative and get blasted on here.
  • 1 1
 @Bro-LanDog: I don't have any knowledge of the radial deflection of those specific rims but I would say, based on all other testing I have seen, that they are very close in radial deflection. Most likely with a few MM.

My point really is that marketing has a major grip on people and can be a very strong placebo effect. People feel the need to justify their purchase or will even have a confirmation bias when riding wheels that are marketed a certain way. If someone was able to do a double blind experiment with wheel, I bet the results would be pretty eye opening.
  • 2 0
 @Thecommoncoy: 'a few mm' at what force and what direction? There's rims I can't keep spokes in for more than a run and it is 100% due to elastic deformation of softer wheels. There's placebo sure but for people who actually ride it's not hard to tell a difference between different rims/wheelsets. It's one of the more drastic changes you can make.
  • 1 1
 @Bro-LanDog: I completely agree with you in regards to wheels being a drastic change. Higher end wheels are typically stronger and lighter.

Lab testing and the forces tested at usually test all the way to failure. Someone has the data but it isn't shared with the general public at all. My main point really is the marketing of radial compliance just really isn't as big of a deal as manufactures claim. It's just the trending topic right now.

Maybe I'll use this as a catalyst to set up and do some testing between different brand. I know there is a lot of data testing that was done on lateral deflection of road wheels awhile back. Again, they were all within 4mm at the same load applied.
  • 1 0
 @Thecommoncoy: Watching you pretend to do engineering is like watching a kid pretend to drive a car - you're both only able to imitate how you think it's done, which makes it obvious you don't really know how it's actually done.
  • 1 1
 @cmrn: So you're a mechanical engineer?
  • 1 0
 @Thecommoncoy: I finished high school.
  • 1 1
 @cmrn: Gotcha, so you really have no basis for judgment. Just a typical internet troll who knows everything.
  • 1 0
 @Thecommoncoy: I don't need to judge, I know. Which is why it's obvious that you don't.
  • 1 0
 Stoked to try those new Aluminum traverse wheels
  • 2 5
 I don’t understand the fascination with wheelsets. If you buy a decent bike these days you’re getting a decent wheelset. What difference is an aftermarket wheelset like these honestly going to make? If your original wheelset dies then sure…but even then you could just get a replacement rim/hub or whatever and pay a local shop to fix it.

Are wheelsets really just a very expensive vanity item? Which is (sorta)fine.
  • 3 0
 I bought a 4.5k slayer that came with wtb i29 rims. Honestly there's a big market for better wheels due to shite like this.
  • 2 0
 @darkstar66: you could have not bought the slayer buffy
  • 2 1
 There's a bit of an improvement to be made going from a lot of OE wheelsets to something like a Hope/DT custom set for about £500. Very diminishing returns after that though (and probably diminishing durability too).
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: What sort of improvement would you expect over a decent OE wheelset? I just can’t really fathom how there is any noticeable difference for the average joe once you factor in tyres, pressure, suspension etc.
  • 1 0
 @Mooweeman: I think the biggest noticeable improvement is actually the rear hub, it's an easy area for a lot of bike suppliers to 'cheap out' on. Kind of crazy when you think about how you can actually get pretty good (Taiwanese) hubs for good prices, and DT swiss/Hope (and probably others) in the big scheme of things aren't that expensive either actually.

What could be really nice (and will never happen!) would be if rim ERDs were somewhat standardized so it was easy to change between manufacturers and not have to change all of your spokes as well...
  • 1 4
 A reputable wheel builder shouldn't lace a new hub to a used rim
  • 1 1
 @browner: oh man for a night with the real slayer I'd have sacrifice more than 4.5k and shit wheels
  • 1 0
 Pinch flats and tubeless?
  • 2 2
 They lost me at no 27.5 Fr and R. I will therefore continue to ride Spank on my Specialized Enduro.
  • 1 0
 I would… the xc version have been great.
  • 2 1
 the truth is nobody cares for roval wheelsets
  • 1 0
 NOBL or I9 …..I dont really stray from them
  • 4 5
 Rovals are good for a half season, then can’t survive a truing/tightening.
  • 1 1
 Can’t be a b and ride a cannibal, gotta commit
  • 1 1
 Happy lil devil







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