Buying a new wheelset can be a tough pill to swallow. Why? Well, a solid wheelset these days can cost a mint. $800-$1000 is commonplace for a durable, high-quality mountain bike wheelset with some of the latest carbon fiber designs (Easton Haven, Syncros FL25) costing $2,000 or more. But what do you get for that investment? Hopefully with the Roval Traverse EL wheelset you get long-time lovin’!
Specialized-owned Roval wheels have garnered quite the reputation in the short time they’ve been on the market. Specialized wanted to build wheels, but didn’t want to slap their brand on them, so they revived an old wheel brand and have now built quite the spectrum of wheels for all levels of riding and all sizes of wheels–both road and mountain.
Roval Traverse EL Wheelset Features:
- E5 alloy, welded high-strength disc rim with eyelets; tubeless compatible (26mm W x 18mm H)
- Front hub: includes quick-change 20mm/15mm/QR end caps (my sample came with the 2009 front hub)
- OS28-compatible for Future Shock forks
- Rear hub: CNC-machined alloy body, high quality Swiss-made internals, ratchet and cassette body, and sealed cartridge bearings
- 24-spoke DoubleDrive front pattern, 28-spoke 3x pattern supports disc brake and loads to the rear wheel
- DT super comp 2.0/1.7/1.8mm round spokes
- DT pro lock hexagonal alloy nipples
- Roval steel quick releases
- Wheelset: 1550g
- Q/R: 125g/set
- MSRP: $800
Roval Traverse EL Wheelset Review
Anxious to get these on the trail, I split time on the Felt Compulsion 1 with these and the solid Fulcrum Red XL 1 wheels that came standard on that rig. In the end, it was a great head-to-head test with the Traverse EL’s holding up quite well against the comparable Fulcrum hoops.
Looking over the lacing patterns of the Traverse EL, it’s quite a variety from the front to the rear and drive vs. braking sides. this is all done in calculated fashion to increase stiffness and ride quality. With 32H spokes, you get a stiff and reliable wheelset.
Tubless-compatible, the Traverse EL features lightweight E5 alloy that also sports one of the most protective paint anodization of any wheel I’ve seen. It’s near impossible to scratch these rims. the rim profile provides enough width (26mm) and height (18mm) to accept even the widest tires and maintain the right lateral stiffness and compliance. I tested them with the WTB Wolverine 2.2’s and found them both easy to mount and easy to ride.
I pushed the Traverse EL’s hard on my test rig and loved the overall feel. While the engagement may not be as quick as some (I never once felt like the drivetrain wasn’t there the instant I needed power). Stepping on these wheels, they respond well and roll quickly.
On the downhill, I could lean into these wheels and they always tracked well and rebounded in and out of corners with a predictable swagger. only on a few really hard corners did I feel the rear wheel flex ever-so-slightly. That minimal flex is very small and doesn’t distract from the overall performance of these wheels — in fact, most people will never notice.
The front hub is easily-converted to nearly all standard axle diameters with the included or available end caps. I ran these with the RockShox Revelation Team which uses the Maxle Lite 20mm system. Changing the endcaps is easy, but does require the removal and re-attachment of the disc brake rotor should you interchange these wheels across different bikes.
I’m very impressed with Roval’s wheelsets and the Traverse EL performed admirably alongside the Roval Control EL 29er wheelset I’ve been flogging all Summer.
NOTE: The wheels I tested were actually the 2009 Roval Traversee models. I’m told the only difference between mine and the 2010 model is the front hubs and cosmetics — everything else is the same.
Good Traverse EL
- Lighter than many competitive wheelsets
- Works with all major front axles out of the box (9/15/20mm)
- Durable rim finish resists scratching and cleans up well
- Specialized dealers are everywhere — easy to find and easy to service should the need arise
- Predictable handling in all terrain
- Respond well when pushed hard
- Flexibility of going tubed or tubeless
Bad Traverse EL
- Just a little more rear wheel flex than I’d like to see… pretty minor, but perceptible
- A few minor cosmetic quibbles due to the older model year that aren’t the case with 2010+ models (cheesy QR’s, Roval hub sticker instead of etching, odd silver spoke pattern here and there)
Bottom Line: Roval Traverse EL Wheelset
The top-notch Roval Traverse EL wheels are one of the many contenders in the higher-end wheel market. I like that they are backed by Specialized, so the warranty and service will be unmatched. I was also impressed by the rim’s finish and resistance to scratching. Overall, these are a solid wheelset in a competitive market segment.
More Info: Roval Wheels Specialized.com