First Look: SRAM’s All New Roam and Rail Wheels – In the Pursuit of Balance
Balance. As SRAM says, You don’t win by being the lightest. Or the stiffest. Or the toughest. You win by being the fastest. In order to be the fastest, you have to strike the right balance between weight, inertia, engagement, stiffness, and ultimately, durability. A year and a half ago, SRAM introduced their Rise wheels to mixed reviews, however the new Roam and Rail wheels look like SRAM has taken their wheel game to the next level. Offered in both Carbon and alloy versions, the new wheels have all of the features you would expect.
Roll on for more.
Intended for anywhere from XC, Trail, to AM riding, the Roam 60 wheelset is built to withstand the burliest descents, but still be light enough for the climb to the top. Like all of the wheels in this launch, Roam wheels will be offered in 26, 27.5, and 29″ versions. Roam 60 is their Carbon Tuned high end offering made from unidirectional and woven carbon with an asymmetrical rim profile while the Roam 50 is the slightly less burly, aluminum XC and Trail version which takes advantage of their Taper Core technology to produce an alloy, asymmetrical rim with varying wall thickness that provides support where it’s needed and weight reduction where it isn’t.
Both of the Roam wheels feature a 21mm internal width, with the Roam 50 measuring 25mm external width, while the Roam 60 measures 3mm wider at 28mm illustrating the thickness of the carbon to withstand hard rock impacts. You pretty much can’t introduce a new mountain bike wheel these days without tubeless compatibility, and the Roams do not disappoint. In fact, they are UST thanks to nylon lockrings around the nipples meaning no need for a rim strip to go tubeless. SRAM didn’t go into detail about servicing the spokes with the design, though we hope that it will be user serviceable at least at the shop level.
Speaking of spokes, one really cool feature of both the Roam and Rise wheels is that each wheel only uses one spoke length. Called Solo Spoke, the asymmetric design meant SRAM’s engineers could build both the front and back wheels with the same light weight double butted spokes meaning you only need one spare in case any one spoke breaks. The system also means decreased spoke tension differential and the widest hub flange spacing possible for the strongest, stiffest build possible. The spokes are loaded into the beautiful hubs in their Double Decker design – straight pull spokes loaded one on top of the other in opposing directions. The new hubs will put the power down through a 36t Star Ratchet system (DT?) that should offer great engagement in a durable package. The hubs are also convertible to all axle types with Side Swap axle caps.
In their lightest configurations, the Roam 60 wheels weigh 1495g for 26”,? 1550g for 27.5”, and 1625g for 29”. The alloy Roam 50 is actually about 20 grams lighter per wheel, though this probably has something to do with SRAM specifying the 50 as only an XC/Trail wheel, while the 60 gets the nod for All Mountain duties as well. Roam 60s will be available in July (26”) and August (27.5” and 29”) with a retail of $2,199 MSRP while the Roam 50s will be Available in July (26, 27.5” and 29”) for $1,072 MSRP.
In addition to the Roam wheels, SRAM is also launching the Rail – a wheel specifically for All Mountain or Enduro use. Also available in all wheel sizes, the Rail uses almost all of the same technology as the Roam 50 in a wider, more aggressive package. With a 23mm internal and 28mm external width, the UST compatible Rail is a bit heavier at 1690g for the 26, 1750g for the 27.5, and 1830g for the 29″ wheels. Just like the rest of the wheels, the Rail will be offered either with an 11 speed XX1 compatible freehub body, or the standard 9/10 speed variety with Side Swap axle compatibility and the Star Ratchet internals.
- Weight: 170g Front / 410g Rear
- Non-convertible design—through axle only
- Alloy axles, steel driver body
- 32 holes—Black