The year of the lightweight trail wheelset continues!

As we noted last month, Roval’s Control Trail AL wheelset makes a good case for itself: Wide rims (21mm inside), a DT Swiss sourced freehub and spokes, a competitive weight and price, and a limited lifetime warranty all look very good on paper. On the trail, my set has been trouble-free, with demerits only coming from a bit of flex when compared to the competition and some odd spoke noise when braking in rough terrain.

After reading that review, the folks from Specialized’s wheel house were in touch, confident that the new 2012 models would address my complaints. Would we like to have a look at the revised carbon-rimmed version? Would we ever.

Fresh off the FedEx truck, here is our First Look at Roval’s 2012 Control Trail SLs wheels. Hit the jump for more details, the surprising price and even more surprising weight…

Roval's color scheme is distinctive- and hard to miss.

Roval's color scheme is distinctive- and hard to miss.

Mmm... Carbon.

DT Swiss 240 internals should make for solid engagement and a long life

...and the only prescription is... MORE CARBON!

It’s not uncommon for components’ published weights to be a bit off from their delivered weights. What’s not common is for products to come in below their advertised weight. A wheelset weighing at 70g less than advertised is all but unheard of. That’s what happened with the Trail SLs: Advertised at a very competitive 1,350g, my scale reported 1,280g for the pair (26in size, 135mm QR rear/15mm thru front). Repeatedly. That’s 180g lighter than Easton’s benchmark Haven Carbon. The included valve stems were 5g apiece and the very nice titanium QR skewers were 50g and 55g. The price? $1,650, or just over twice that of the ALs. That’s not cheap by any measure, but these have to be some of the least expensive carbon-rimmed trail wheels on the market.

Could they be using a bladed DT Aerolite spokes to make the red stand out even more? Hmm...

With a couple of scoops of Stans liquid, the Ground Control Control (not a typo) 2Bliss 26×2.3 (590g) and Purgatory Control 2Bliss 26×2.2 (710g) tires seated very easily despite being hand-mountable. The wheels are all mounted up and ready for a weekend ride… Stay tuned for an initial review in a couple of months!



  1. kcr138 on

    indiefab – I think these wheels look more rice burner than Ferrari. And yes, when I see a fart sounding, neon colored compact sedan go by, I think “How do they sell those hideous pieces of junk?” Flashy, not classy.

  2. Greg on

    just for reference. Are these a competitor to the Carbon Havens? Or the XC90’s? The Havens are billed as a AM wheel. I don’t think these Rovals are…?

  3. Marc on

    @greg: As a trail-oriented wheelset, these are closer to the Havens (and come stock on the 5in Stumpjumper and Camber). Roval do a lighter still (1,200g claimed) XC race wheelset that I would see competing with the XC90s.

    @Richard: Check out last month’s review of the Control Trail ALs (linked in the text). They are a bit flexier than, say, Crossmax STs or American Classic All Mountain wheelsets, and can make some weird spoke noises when braking on really rough terrain…


  4. Steve M on


    I think Ferraris are fun to look at. I would hazard to say that they would never paint a 90 degree pie shaped wedge red on a black wheel…….

  5. Matt on

    Suck it haters. These things look sweet. Looking forward to hearing if they perform as good as they look (and they better given that price).

  6. Robin on

    I never thought the recent incarnation of Roval brought anything interesting to wheels, but these look damned nice……well, aesthetically, anyway.

  7. greg on

    these have been out for a few months. sold a pair back then. i was pleasantly surprised when they came in under weight as well.
    VERY impressive wheel. customer absolutely loves them. the standard, non “trail” version has been tough as nails on my bike, and on every customer’s epic sworks, too…
    the fact that theyre at least $500 less than the next carbon competitor is icing on the cake.
    availability is the only drawback.

  8. Mortimer on

    Maybe they they are Ferrari esque. Expensive to repair and maintain. Service intervals come up very quickly and cost a small fortune. Yes the wheels seem “bling”. I hate bling.

    So some people like them some don’t. I’d rather black with silver J bend spokes. The one thing I do like is the notion of “life time warranty”, if they back it (though I assume rim dings won’t be looked at).

  9. Greg on

    Thanks. Is saw the “SL” and then wasn’t sure what the race set was labeled as. I guess the race set doesn’t use the “trail” moniker.
    I’m all for carbon rims, can’t wait til I can afford a pair.


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