Whether your current bike has boost spacing or 142, Roval has you covered. They’re shipping wheelsets in either configuration, as well as Torque Tube for the RockShox RS-1 fork. The company also offers a boost conversion kit for $55, so you can modify a 100/142 wheelset to work on boost frames.
The hubs utilize DT Swiss’ proven 240 internals with a 54-tooth star ratchet. Replacement parts and aftermarket hop-ups are readily available. The one major difference is that Roval has added an additional labyrinth seal up front to keep grime out and help extend bearing life.
Another minor change worth noting is that the new wheelset uses DT Swiss Competition Race spokes. These triple butted spokes are slightly thicker and easier to source than the DT Swiss Revolution spokes used previously. This small change helps increase durability and serviceability without compromising weight or performance.
The 100/142 version weighs 1320 grams. Boost spacing adds 10 grams to that total. The TT/142 and TT/148 versions weigh 1371 grams and 1381 grams respectively. The new Roval Control SL wheelset will start shipping on Specialized Epic XC bikes in March and will be available aftermarket starting in June.
On the Trail
To get a baseline for the new Control SL wheels, Roval first put us on the Traverse SL wheels that inspired them. It’s an odd comparison because the Traverse wheelset is targeted towards the gravity crowd. In fact, they’re raced at the pro enduro level by Jared Graves and Curtis Keene. Yet despite their burly intentions, the wheels are downright light at 1,570 grams. That’s on par with some XC wheels.
After a test lap, we headed down to the beach for some whiskey and a wheel swap. Next up, the new lighter wheelset. After powering through a big road loop the day before, my legs felt wooden. Loaded down with food and an adult beverage, the situation should have only gotten worse. But turns out shedding a quarter pound of rotational weight per wheel is no joke.
Starting back up the hill, the bike felt noticeably faster. From sprinting to climbing, it was as if I’d unlocked another gear. That lack of rotational weight also made a significant difference when cornering. Compared to the feel with the heavier Traverse wheels, the bike now took on a surgical like precision when hitting corners.
The only place I missed the added stiffness of the Traverse wheelset was when straight-lining rocks. Here, the lighter wheelset had a tougher time holding a line. However, that more compliant feel better matched the riding characteristics of the hardtail they were mounted on.
At $1900, the Control SL wheelset retails for more than many trail worthy hardtails. For some, that number may be hard to swallow. But if you’re in the market for a high-end carbon wheelset, that’s a veritable bargain.
For comparison’s sake, the Valor Pro from Stan’s retails for a similar price and comes in at roughly the same weight, but have a 3.4mm narrower internal rim diameter. The ENVE M50 retails for $800 more, weighs ~125 grams more with DT hubs, and is 4mm narrower.
At under two grand, Roval has delivered one of the lightest and widest XC wheelsets on the market. It uses proven components that are easily sourced, they’re hand built, and everything is backed by one of the largest dealer networks in the country.
For more info, visit rovalcomponents.com.