Roval Control 29 Carbon Wheels Test – Wheelsets – Wheels
Roval’s Control 29 Carbon wheels combine the brand’s carbon fiber Control SL rims with user-friendly DT Swiss 350 hubs to create a competitively priced, weighted mountain bike wheel set aimed at racers and cross-country racers. privateers looking for fast and fancy hoops for their backcountry builds.
Our test set came in at 1480g (690g front, 790g rear), which is more than acceptable for a wheelset costing just over £1000. On the trail, the controls feel good.
Roval is Specialized’s in-house wheel brand and offers a range of wheels from road, gravel and triathlon to cross country, downcountry and trail.
Roval Control 29 Carbon Wheel Construction Details
At the center of the wheels are DT Swiss 350 hubs. These feature 28 straight pull spokes, front and rear.
DT Swiss hubs are reliable operators. The ease with which the freewheel bodies can be switched is excellent – they simply pull out and snap in, while access to the bearings is also good.
The 350 hub uses the Ratchet freewheel system, which does away with pawls and instead uses two pawls that interlock together. This gives an engagement angle of 10 degrees. However, it is not possible to upgrade to the higher specification Ratchet EXP system.
These wheels come with regular end caps and RockShox specific torque end caps for the front hub. The rotors attach via a six-bolt mount.
The DT Swiss Competition Race spokes are heavily reinforced to save weight – around 70g per wheel, according to DT Swiss.
On the outside is the Control 29 carbon rim. This has an asymmetric profile, with the spoke holes staggered. It allows better triangulation of the spokes on the hub, giving a stiffer construction for the weight and minimizing the differences in spoke tension on each side of the wheel.
Plus, in doing so, Roval uses the same spoke lengths throughout the wheel’s construction, which makes maintenance a little easier.
The rim has an internal width of 29mm, designed to work with the current crop of wider XC tyres. The rim wall is 4mm wide, which is quite wide. The idea behind this is to offer extra strength, resisting damage when hit with a sharp edge. It also helps dissipate forces during an impact, which, in theory, reduces the risk of tire pinching.
The rim comes with tubeless tape already installed and a tubeless valve in place. A lifetime warranty is also offered.
Performance of the Roval Control 29 Carbon wheels
On the trail, I found the Roval Control 29 Carbon wheels to perform well, both in an XC setting and in a lighter trail setting.
Installation and inflation were easy. With push-on/pull-off axle ends and freewheel, it’s easy to get the right setup for your bike. There is a bit of wobble in the end caps which can be frustrating when trying to get the wheel in your fork quickly and is more noticeable with the torque caps in place.
Mounting tires is a simple job. The center rim well is wide and deep enough to easily accommodate tire beads giving plenty of clearance, while the rim itself is shallow making it easy to use tire levers if needed .
The wheels are pre-taped, and that’s a job tidy too. This helped with inflation, without frustrating slow leaks. All the tires I tried were inflated with just a track pump and minimal effort.
The rims are nicely shaped, and with an internal width of 29mm, they pack plenty of volume into the 2.3-2.5-inch rubber. This improves both grip and ride comfort, as lower pressures are possible, with less risk of a puncture. Thanks to this and the wide rim wall, I have yet to suffer a flat while riding these wheels.
That’s handy, because Roval says these wheels aren’t compatible with rim inserts, which are designed to help with tire stability and help further reduce flats.
It should be noted that they have a system weight limit (rider, kit and bike combined) of 125 kg. With a lightweight construction and 28 spokes, more loaded or heavier riders may detect a bit of twang, but keep it within the intended design limits of XC and fast trail riding, and I suspect the vast majority of cyclists will have no problem with their construction – I certainly did not.
The 10 degree engagement angle is good, if not the fastest. Some riders prefer downward engagement angles towards the 3 degree mark, as this gives quicker reactions to pedal inputs. On full-suspension bikes, there is a trade-off that faster engagements can exacerbate the pedal-bounce feel on strikes, however. On a hardtail, I think a faster engagement would be better.
Bottomline of the Roval Control 29 Carbon Wheels
Considering they weigh less than 1500g, I think the Rovals represent good value for money for carbon wheels.
A slightly fancier, possibly faster rear hub wouldn’t hurt, certainly if your bike isn’t prone to pedal bounce, but it’s hard to find fault with these wheels for the money.
Their construction is good, the tires explode wide, providing excellent ride feel, and the reliability of the DT Swiss hub is well known. As such, I would recommend these wheels for XC and downcountry applications, assuming they fit your budget.