SRAM Roam 60 wheelset

December 26, 2014

Dave's has had SRAM's Roam 60 wheels on board his long travel 29er, Here's what he thought

Roam 60 wheelset
Fisher Outdoor,
by Dave for Ten months.

Roam wheels
The Roam 60 is SRAM’s flagship all-mountain wheel. It’s been designed to embrace everything a mountain will throw up at you as you throw your bike down it; embracing it and, I guess, shrugging it off. Being the all-singing, all-dancing model, it’s the Roam 60 that gets fancy carbon rims.

With a 21mm inner width and UST compatibility, the rims are built with SRAM’s Taper Core profile which focuses material to resist impact forces, using a mix of woven and unidirectional fibres, reinforcing the sidewalls but tapering to a thinner profile where it’s not needed.

Now, mention carbon wheels and most people start thinking cross-country and lightweight. But SRAM has taken a different approach with the Roam 60, focusing instead on the ability of carbon to be built into something stiff and strong without too much of a weight penalty. Given the level of abuse these wheels are designed for, these 29er wheels still weigh in at a decent enough 1,660g. That’s similar to the aluminium-rimmed Roam 50, but much stronger.

Sapim CX Sprint Bladed straight pull spokes are used to hook up a SRAM-designed and DT Swiss-built hub. One nice touch is the fact that both wheels use a single spoke length throughout, which really simplifies spares packing for long trips away.

The rear hub makes use of DT’s star ratchet freehub which has proved very reliable throughout the test. The wheels offer a reassuringly quick hook-up from freewheeling. The DT Swiss internals also offer a lot of peace of mind given the known reliability, good sealing and ease of servicing. Despite putting ten months of riding time into them, they haven’t needed touching with a spoke key yet and have no noticeable play in the hubs.

I’ve ridden carbon rims before and was impressed by the way they transformed the ride of the bike they were fitted to. Similarly, strapping the Roam 60s to my Tallboy LTc it was noticeable just how much more precise the bike felt. Tracking through rock gardens showed just how well the wheels held up in the rough stuff, giving nice direct steering with no noticeable flex. I’ve happily hammered them down a wide variety of trails from Lakeland passes, Enduro World Series rootfests and local tech, and never once felt they would let me down.

In all the time I’ve ridden them they haven’t faltered once. They’ve put up with some gnarly riding and some clumsy big hits when I’ve managed to get a line horrendously wrong, and despite a couple of small battle scars they’ve proved themselves to be a pretty tough pair of wheels. On the ups and alongs they’re not too shabby either and are happy to translate your inputs into acceleration or efficient climbing, like you’d expect from a performance cross-country wheelset. They’re a sprightly set of wheels that are up for a bit of argy-bargy – perfect I guess for 140/150mm trail bike territory.

It’s fair to say that £1,600 is a fair chunk of cash for a set of wheels, but I’m not sure I’d be as happy on something substantially cheaper and the Roams are definitely ballpark for most carbon wheelsets out there. If you’d asked me a few years ago I’d have told you they couldn’t be worth the money but having tried these wheels, I wouldn’t want to give them up.

Overall: Pricey but so worth it. A stiff, strong wheelset that’ll keep you pointing exactly where you want to be when the trail gets rowdy.

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