Roval (owned by Specialized Bicycles) today announces its new flagship 29in race wheelset; the Control SL. Available in 29in diameters only, the Control SL wheelset features wider carbon fibre rims than its predecessor – a move that Specialized claims has actually made these wheels faster. Along with its CNC machined alloy hub shells and DT Swiss Competition Race spokes, the new wheels are also lighter, with a set of wheels coming in as low as 1300 grams.
Roval was one of the first big wheel brands to commit to the hookless rim design for its carbon wheels (we reviewed the Roval Control Carbons some time ago), and that design carries through to the new Roval Control SL hoops. The rims feature Specialized’s 2Bliss ready profile for easy tubeless setup, though a new “Tubeless Plug System” has been implemented, according to the press release we’ve been sent. We don’t have any more images or details to help elaborate on what that is, but apparently it’s lighter than tubeless tape, and we suspect it will be an individual plug system designed to seal up each individual spoke hole. More details as we get them…
“Ask Jaroslav Kulhavý, and he’ll tell you—every gram counts in cross country racing. But with XC tracks becoming more aggressive than ever, just being a yweight wheel is no longer suf cient. Now, wheels need to be as tough and stiff as they are light, with all of the handling characteristics that seasoned XC riders have come to expect. These days, wheels need to be more like the new Control SL.” – Specialized Bicycles.
Roval Control SL Carbon Wheelset Specifications
- Carbon clincher rims w/Zero Bead Hook design
- 2Bliss Ready
- 25mm internal width & 30.4mm depth
- DT Swiss Competition Race spokes (24x front & 28x rear)
- DT Swiss Pro Lock hexagonal nipple.
- DT 240 hub internals with 54t Star Ratchet freehub mechanism
- Available in 142x12mm and 148x12mm (Boost) versions
- 29in diameter only
- Claimed eight: 1300 grams (Boost hub spacing)
- SRP: £1,540
According to Specialized, it was already pretty happy with the existing Roval Control SL wheels, though as modern rim widths have pushed wider, the company’s engineers decided to start testing. Drawing from the beefier Traverse SL rim, Roval sought to bring the benefits of using a wider rim to the much lighter XC race platform. Changes have been made to the rim depth as well, and the carbon layup too. The result is a new wider rim that measures 3mm wider internally compared to the outgoing Control SL rim, while coming in slightly lighter.
To validate the change in rim profile, Specialized conducted it’s own in-house testing by pairing up the new Control SL rim with a Specialized Fast Trak 2.0in wide tyre. Tested at both 20psi and 30psi, the new rim design apparently offers lower rolling resistance than the skinnier predecessor. Of course being wider, the new rim should offer increased sidewall support at lower pressures, and less tyre ‘wobble’ when riding through the turns.
It all sounds good on paper, and we’ll be eager to get our hands on a set of these to put the claims to the test on some proper British singletrack. In the meantime, you can get more info from your local Specialized dealer.