While cross country racers are pushing their bikes harder than ever before, weight will always be a priority for competitive riders. Roval’s 2020 Control SL Team Issue wheelset comes in at an amazingly low weight, but these are not ‘race day only’ wheels; the new rims are stronger than the outgoing version, and employ thick sidewalls to resist pinch flats.
If you’re a serious XC rider, you might be sold on the weight alone. At 1240g, the Control SL Team Issue wheelset is the lightest pair Roval has ever developed – and that includes their road wheelsets! And yes, those are 29er, the only size they come in. We were told the entire front wheel weighs less than a full water bottle, so I checked: A full 24oz bottle is considerably heavier.
This article covers all the specs and details of the Control SL Team Issue wheelset, we have a full review coming in a minute to see how they performed on the trails. Here’s all the tech on how they achieved that weight…
Roval Control SL Team Issue tech specs
Roval designed the Control SL Team Issue wheelset as a complete system rather than designing a rim, then a hub, then lacing them up. This approach results in fine details like drilling the rim and hub spoke holes at exact angles to reduce stress, and designing the hub around lighter weight straight pull spokes.
The Control SL Team Issue wheels were designed to be laterally stiff but also offer increased vertical compliance. The new wheels are 50% more compliant than the previous Control SLs, yet they offer 29% more impact strength. There is a specified rider weight limit on the Team Issue wheels, but it’s quite generous at 270 lbs.
2020 Roval Control SL rim profile & weight
Roval says the biggest time loss in XC racing is due to flat tires, and as race courses get rougher they made a point of addressing that issue. The Control SL’s sidewalls now have 4mm-wide flat tops to help resist pinch flats. Roval experimented with 16 different hook shapes before settling on this one, and they say the new rim takes 22% more force to pinch a tire versus the outgoing model. The thicker sidewalls will also better resist cracking when these wheels are worked hard.
This means riders can run lighter weight tires on these svelte wheels, greatly reducing their overall rotational weight. Riders can also run lower pressures without worrying about pinching, and still enjoy solid tire support from these 29mm internal width rims.
The new Control SL rims have been totally redesigned with a shallower, asymmetrical shape for 2020, and they weigh in at 358g apiece. The asymmetrical shape allowed Roval to stick with one spoke length for both wheels, and maintains nearly equal spoke tension from one side to the other. Offsetting the spokes also allows for maximized bracing angles from hub to rim, optimizing the wheel’s strength and lateral stiffness.
For the weight weenies, Roval is including rim plugs that can be run instead of rim tape, saving you precious grams. The Control SL rims were shaped with special depressions to accommodate the plugs. The plugs can conveniently be popped out individually to replace spokes, whereas rim tape has to be completely removed and reinstalled. This concept has been seen before from Velocity with their Veloplug, but Roval appears to have added o-rings to the plugs to ensure a perfect seal to run tubeless without tape.
2020 Roval Control SL hub details
The Control SL Team Issue’s hub shells were made by Roval, with internals supplied by DT Swiss. The Team Issue wheels feature a Roval/DT Swiss EXP rear hub with 54t engagement, which produces a nice loud buzz. To keep its weight down, the redesigned front hub has no axle inside. The entire front hub now weighs less than the previous hub shell alone. Roval is being a little tight-lipped about how, exactly, this works, preferring to keep the launch story focused on the system weight. But we’re digging and will update as we get more info. The Team Issue wheelset comes with Boost-spaced axles only.
The Control SL Team Issue wheels are exactly the same as the wheels Roval’s team riders run on race day. The wheels come with unique blue decals, and only 600 sets will be available in a limited run release. The Team Issue wheelset retails for $2,650, and is available now online and through Roval dealers.
Roval does plan to expand the Control SL wheel line with more offerings in regular production numbers, so watch Bikerumor throughout the summer for news on what’s coming next.
All Roval wheels are hand-built by their assembly team. In addition to a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects, Roval will offer their “**it Happens” No Fault Crash Replacement Policy on the new Team Issue wheels (USA only). Check out Roval’s website for details and be sure to check out our First Ride report on the Team Issue wheelset.