Specialized Roval Carbon Control Trail SL

2013 Specialized Roval Control Carbon 29 mtb wheels04 254x300 Specialized Roval Carbon Control Trail SL

Specialized Roval Control Carbon Wheelset

Specialized are getting pretty good at figuring out that mountain bikers are getting a lot more demanding when they shop for components. Even serious amateurs are getting ready to spend some real cash on upgrades, but they really want their money’s worth. They want performance, they want versatility, and they want value. Specialized answered all those questions with the Roval Carbon Control Trail SL wheelset. At $1650 for the pair, these wheels are going to be very competitive in the trail race wheel market.

Truly versatile, if you ride Specialized

Some trail riders will look at these wheels, and say ‘they ain’t tough enough for me’. That’s a shame, because unless you are really hitting the rough stuff (in which case go look at the Traverse wheelset), then put the Roval Carbon Control Trail SL to the test. Mega tough spokes, with old-school lacing shrugs off the bumps and jumps. It may get some sideways glances from the racer types with their superlight spokes, but you’ll be replacing yours a lot less often. Those classic spokes will come in handy too on the racecourse, as there is no sign of flex or flop when you’ve got to power down and nip past the slowpoke in front of you. It all looks like a very fun wheel that should get a lot of followers, until you realize the hub only fits 142+ Specialized frames – it’s a tad too wide for most other makes. That said, Specialized is responding to complaints about this, and an adapter is available. Another cool feature that screams versatility in the concept is that there’s a model for 29ers too.

Fast, too. Really fast.

Of course, these wheels are carbon, so they are really for a little more speed when it counts. That’s why Specialized haven’t gone for super wide, super tough rims. At 28mm on the outside, these rims are wide enough to be pretty forgiving over rocks and roots, and give you the cornering stability you need especially in a trail race environment.  If you’re on a wet or rough course, don’t be afraid to let he pressure down – you’ve got the width to handle it. Even so these wheels aren’t the widest, but you’ve got to give a little strength away to get the weight down.

We’ve said the Specialized  Roval Carbon Control Trail SL wheelset can take a fair hammering, but at only 1600g for the pair, these are crazy light and ought to be your fist stop for Cross Country race wheels. One thing to think about is the 240 pound rider weight limit. It may seem like enough, but add in all  the stuff mountain bikers carry on the trail – water bottles, camelbaks, tubes and tools, and you might find that threshold is closer than you think. Not to be rude, but if you’re chasing that weight limit then there are cheaper options than carbon wheels to get faster anyway. If that’s you, take a look at Specialized’s aluminum Roval Control Trail wheelset model that can take the weight, weighs in at only 1650g, and costs only $650.

If you are ready to spend a bit to get yourself competitive among the cross country weekend warriors, but can only afford one really good trail wheelset so it also has to be pretty rough and tumble, then the Specialized  Roval Carbon Control Trail SL wheelset is just about perfect.  These wheels are lighter than even some top end carbon race wheels, yet they can take you out on those reckless weekend trail rides too. They are as much as $1000 cheaper than their rivals, bringing top quality trail race wheelsets into the reach of the serious amateur.

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