First Ride: SRAM Roam 30 and Roam 40 wheels

26er 27.5 29er Wheels

The hits keep coming with two new wheelsets from SRAM

Not only does this Canyon have a pair of SRAM’s new Roam wheels, it’s replete with the new SRAM X1 drivetrain, SRAM Guide brakes, a RockShox DebonAir Monarch Plus shock, RockShox Pike fork and a RockShox Reverb seatpost. In addition to looking and riding pretty, the parts are a testament to SRAM’s relentless product development over the past couple years. Photo by Adrian Marcoux/SRAM.

To say SRAM has been on a product introduction roll this year would be an understatement—new forks, new shocks, new drivetrains, new brakes, new upgrades and now (more) new wheels. It’s like the Chicago-based company grabbed one of Al Capone’s Tommy guns and started firing out new product. And from what we can tell, they’ve hit the target every time—including the pair of new wheelsets announced today, the Roam 40 and Roam 30.

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As we sit here stunned and trying to absorb yet more cool product, we came up with some one-word descriptions to re-cap some of this years SRAM highlights…

“Exotic” aptly describes RockShox’s new RS-1 inverted fork. With a ride quality that really needs to be experienced to understand, the RS-1 not only pushes the technology envelope, but price points as well.

“Resurgent” is a good word for SRAM’s Guide brakes which hold the potential—if our early tests are any indication—to put the company in a leadership position for stoppers, a category that’s been their Achilles’ heel for years.

“Accessibility” is the name of the game for the X1 drivetrain just released today. While it’s not cheap, the lowest-cost-yet 1×11 group makes the technology available to the widest swath of riders yet.

FC of Mtbr going down a limestone outcropping in Terlago, Italy. Photo by Adrian Marcoux/SRAM.

Finally, for the new Roam 30 and 40 wheels the word “maturity” comes to mind… and a quick maturity at that. After entering the wheel business just three years ago, SRAM has progressed by leaps-and-bounds offering not only great high-end product, but now, amazing price-point performance as well. Sure, maybe buying road wheel manufacturer Zipp helped with the learning curve, but whatever. The point is the product is good and it’s dialed.

Ratcheting in Double Time

At the heart of SRAM’s Roam wheels is the company’s Double Time ratchet mechanism. This design ensures that two very stable pawls engage with a ratchet ring at the same time to balance out and cancel the torque-stress on the bearings. The Roam 30 has two pawls that engage with a 26-tooth ratchet ring giving that many points of engagement. The Roam 40 employs another pair of pawls at a 50-percent timing offset so it cuts the engagement rotation in half, delivering 52 points of engagement in one revolution. This results in a responsive wheel with delay-free power delivery.

Photo by Adrian Marcoux/SRAM.

HOT TIP: You can add a pair of pawls in the Roam 30 hub and essentially turn it into a Roam 40 hub with 52 points of engagement. The extra pawls are available as service parts.

Speedballing

Also notable are SRAM’s Speedball bearings. With a contact seal on the outward facing side and non-contact seals on the inward side these bearings optimize the balance between contamination defense and the introduction of friction. The bearings are custom too with the tightest tolerance available to reduce any bearing play that can translate to large movements at the tire. It never needs to be preloaded either as it will be as tight and free-rolling as possible.

Double-triple-qualdruple axle

SRAM designed the Roam hubs with accommodating the multitude of wheel axle types in mind. The hub’s end caps are swappable to just about any modern mountain bike wheel attachment configuration.

Photo by Adrian Marcoux/SRAM.

HOT TIP: Even 20mm SRAM end caps are compatible with these wheels if the user happens to have a need for those.

Blade runner

SRAM uses straight-pull, bladed spokes on both wheelsets. Roam 30s come with single-butted 2.0 spokes while the 40s come with double-butted 2.0/1.8 spokes. In both cases, the spokes are strengthened with more material near the head as that area experiences the most stress.

Photo by Adrian Marcoux/SRAM.

One cool feature is that a single length spoke is used throughout the wheelset. If you need to replace any spoke front or rear, drive or non-drive, only one length is required. Instead of spoke prep solutions which can be inconsistently applied, SRAM uses special Taper Grip nipples to mechanically prevent the nipples from loosening once tensioned.

Continue to Page 2 for more on the SRAM Roam 30 and 40 wheels and full photo gallery »
About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • gg says:

    Awesome another “special part” ! Standard J-bend please + normal nipples.
    … SRAM uses special Taper Grip nipples …

  • Shawn says:

    The wide rim revolution is coming. SRAM is missing it. See a Derby rims.

    • Mtbr says:

      Shawn- Interesting and timely comment…a pair of Ibis wheels with Derbyesque, 41mm-wide rims just landed on our doorstep today (http://reviews.mtbr.com/?p=107559). While we are very curious to see how they perform, the wide rims are unproven at this point. Time will tell.

  • Liberty555 says:

    What on earth is a “torque – stress” on the bearings? The whole role of the bearing is to provide no resistance to torque. If you are referring to an out of balance load given the tension in the chain is offset from the centre of the hub then as far as the bearing is concerned this is a radial load. Or if you are referring to distortion in the hub causing the bearing to skew about its centre, then it would be a very small distortion, because if it were large enough to be perceptible surely it would cause jumping off the chain. Can you clarify?

  • roger says:

    YOU MEANT 41mm CARBON RIGHT?! You couldn’t ride a 41mm aluminum 29er wheel!

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