Specialized says the Roval Control SL Team wheels are the World’s lightest, and they could well be right


Specialized has a new XC wheelset out that weighs just over a kilo, and that makes them the lighest MTB hoops in the world (we reckon). Spesh says the Roval Control SL Team wheelset is also the fastest in the world, and it’s true that Specialized’s Factory Team riders have dominated the year so far, winning a string of races on them.

Roval Control SL Team wheels

Roval Control SL Team wheels are claimed to weigh just 1,190g, a whole 9g lighter than the Bontrager Kovee RSL claimed weight!

Roval Control SL Team Wheels need to know:

  • Just 300 Roval Control SL Team wheelsets being produced
  • The price tag is £2,700, which is pricey by anyone’s standard
  • Specialized claims they’re the lightest XC wheels in the world, weighing just 1,190g
  • The flat top bead shape claims to eliminate pinch flats
  • Carbon spokes save weight, while the hub is a DT Swiss built design

Wheels don’t make a win though, so here are the bald facts: claimed weight is just 1,190g including tape and valves, there are only 300 sets being made, and you’ll have to pay a hefty £2,700 ($3,300) if you want in. It’s no secret that the best mountain bike wheels can really change the way your bike feels, and the previous Roval Control SL wheels really did right tight and fast. Team edition wheels weigh around 60g less, but is weight still the most crucial part of a decent set of XC wheels?

Roval Control SL Team wheels

Peter Sagan wheelie seems to like the new wheels (sorry)

What’s different with the new Roval Control SL Team wheels?

If you follow XC racing you’ll have likely seen Specialized’s Factory Team racers dominate the year so far. Now we’re not saying it’s because of these wheels, but those athletes have gone some way into shaping the development of the new Roval Control SL Team wheels. And why wouldn’t they? As they are, in fact, the reason these wheels exist – and as Specialized claim, they are the “lightest and fastest” in the world. So it’s only fitting that their pro riders get to use them. But what’s new compared to the Roval Control SL wheels the brand launched a few years ago?

Carbon fibre spokes are the main weight loss supplement for the new Roval wheels

First up is the weight difference. It’s around 60g difference, with the new Control SL Team wheels weighing in at a claimed 1,190g. Specialized has achieved this by optimising the rim shape and layup, as well as their new carbon fibre spokes. Apparently these are 29% lighter than their steel counterparts, whilst being more durable and stronger.

Roval Control SL Team wheels

The new wheels have already seen several victories this season

Control and speed

As the XC courses get more technical, it’s more important than ever to have wheels that provide control and are durable enough to take on the trail in front of them. The new Roval Control SL Team wheels’ rims and carbon spokes combine torsional compliance with lateral stiffness, providing what Specialized say is predictable steering with maximised traction.

No more pinchflats, and much less chance of breaking a wheel, Specialzied claims, thanks to the new rim profileThey’re also claiming big things when it comes to durability. These new wheels require an apparent 33% more force to fail than their ‘closest competitors’. This comes from the new carbon spokes as well as their redesigned rim shape which they also say helps to almost entirely eliminate the threat of any pinch flats occurring.

Roval Control SL Team wheels

A fancy box with some fancy extras, just a little feel of luxury when you buy these limited edition wheels

Road bike use

Should roadies be riding the new wheelset too then? It’s certainly light enough, Cycling Weekly reckons the best wheel for low weight is the top end Enve SES 3.4 Disc, a wheelset that’s some 200g heavier than the Roval Control here. Roadies are also rocking disc brakes these days, so feasibly the XC wheel could slot into a road bike, and plenty of frames now come with a Boost 148x12mm back end. It’s the front they’d struggle with though, the Roval Control uses a standard 15x110mm hub, something that doesn’t exist on the road.

Roval Control SL Team wheels

Now you might wonder what exactly you get for £2,700 – hath no fear, Specialized has designed an exlusive box to make it that little bit more premium. Inside you get a whole host of things besides your wheels, including two custom water bottles, an S-Works Renegade tyre and S-Works Fast Trak tyre, Roval branded Dynaplug Racer Pro and an extra set of plugs, and personalized letters from S-Racing riders among other things.

In terms of options, the wheels come with an XD and Microspline free hub body, and are available in 29in rims only. More information can be found on the Specialized website.