Roval – the Specialized owned wheel company, has had a notable absence in its tyre line up, lacking a gravel-specific model. Roval’s engineers were keen to correct that, trying to balance the wide range of gravel riders’ needs (we take our gravel bikes down mountain bike trails, but still expect wheel sets to be light and responsive on the road).
Roval Terra Gravel Wheel Series
Enter the Roval Terra Gravel Wheel series – with its tag line of “Wide, Light and Durable”.
The wheels have been designed as a system, integrating lightweight carbon fibre rims with DT Swiss hub internals and spokes. The wheels sets feature generous, modern internal widths – 25mm and even a 30mm option – recognising that gravel riders are running a broad selection of widths and looking to wider tyres for a little more comfort.
Developing the Terra line presented new challenges to the Roval engineers as they strove to make an exceptionally lightweight series of rims with exceptionally controlled and comfortable ride quality which also pass their standards for MTB use.
Apparently, in the end, it took 20 iterations of the layup before landing on the final result, which provides “MTB-ready durability with road-bike weights and ride quality suitable for the diversity of challenges drop-bar riders face in the dirt.”
Wide and Wider
The Terra CLX comes with 25mm internal width and can safely accommodate tyres from 28mm up to 42mm wide, at whatever pressure you might want to pump into them.
While, the Terra CLX EVO measures a massive 30mm between the rim walls. That’s wider than any other road wheel on the market that we can think of, and wider than a many mountain bike rims were even a few years ago. Roval claims these are designed for tyres up to 55mm wide, but presumably could cope absolutely fine with even wider (says Tech Ed Tom, writing this and looking at his own set of 2.5in MTB tyres mounted on some 30mm rims from another manufacturer).
In fact, Roval claims that in either width, the rims are sized to optimise tyre volume. Basically– if your frame has the clearance for it, these wheels will let you run just about anything you damn well please.
Hookless rims have become increasingly popular in MTB and some gravel applications as composite rims have come to the fore. Roval is bucking that trend slightly as it feels that it’s best practice to have a hook holding the tyre bead securely, given the wide differential in tyre size and potential for high pressures. This means adding a machining step after an already complex hand layup process, but adds in flexibility when it comes to rubber width.
Roval Designed, DT-Powered Hubs And Spokes
The Terra CLX wheels feature DT Swiss’ new 180exp internals, offering lighter weight, greater stiffness and more reliable engagement. Roval chooses DT internals for all premium models due to the reliability and serviceability of their Star Ratchet system. The internals are housed in Roval’s AFD hubs, paired with DT Aerolite t-head spokes in a 2:1 lacing pattern for balanced spoke tension and a stronger overall wheel system.
The Terra CLX’s 1296 grams for a wheelset is light for a road wheelset by any measure, never mind one which is designed to take the rigours of off-road riding too. The Terra CLX Evo, with its slightly wider rims adds a bit of weight (about 100g when comparing the 700c model).
The wheels are available in three options:
- CLX 700 – 25mm internal (28-42mm tyres)
- CLX EVO 700 – 30mm internal (38-47mm tyres)
- CLX EVO 650 – 30mm internal (42mm – 2.1″ tyres)
We are checking UK pricing, but expect it to be similar to the dollar numbers. Terra CLX and Terra CLX EVO Models will retail for $2500