First Look! 2012 Roval Control Trail SL wheelset

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!

marc

www.specialized.com

Comments

Epic26r - 09/08/11 - 10:22am

Just wonder how rock friendly the rim sidewall is…..my XTR’s (sweet @ $600) show a pretty hard life from NC trails.

Steve M - 09/08/11 - 10:24am

Those things sure got beaten by the ugly stick. Probably induce a seizure at the right speed.

indiefab - 09/08/11 - 11:55am

Steve M-
You must see a new Ferrari go buy and think “How do they sell those hideous pieces of junk?”.
Bravo Spec & DT. We will continue to drool.

kcr138 - 09/08/11 - 1:19pm

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.

Greg - 09/08/11 - 1:54pm

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…?

Richard La China - 09/08/11 - 3:17pm

What improvements have been made over the 2011? What were the issues with the 2011 version?

Gillis - 09/08/11 - 5:50pm

I know these wheels are tubeless but is it me or does it look weird to see wheels with valves and no tires? (second photo).

Marc - 09/08/11 - 6:27pm

@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…

marc

Steve M - 09/08/11 - 6:56pm

indiefab

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…….

Matt - 09/08/11 - 7:59pm

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).

Robin - 09/08/11 - 9:43pm

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

greg - 09/08/11 - 10:25pm

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.

Mortimer - 09/09/11 - 2:21am

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).

Epic26r - 09/09/11 - 10:15am

amen Mortimer – “Rim Dings”. Good thing there’s a Visa for that.

Greg - 09/09/11 - 2:33pm

@marc.
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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