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Roval Control SL 29 148

Ask Jaroslav Kulhavý, and he'll tell you—every gram counts in cross country racing. But with XC tracks becoming more aggressive than ever, just being a flyweight wheel is no longer sufficient. Now, wheels need to be as tough and stiff as they are light, with all of the handling characteristics that seasoned XC riders have come to expect. These days, wheels need to be more like the new Control SL 29 with 148 rear spacing.

When our riders asked us for the ultimate cross country wheels, we knew that they were really asking for some pretty specific features. They had to be light in order to be low in the inertia and weight departments, strong enough to take on rocks and roots on a short-travel race bike, and wide enough so that the tire profile was optimized for both traction and rolling resistance—not an easy feat.

To check all of these design boxes, we started by looking at our Traverse SL rim to see if we could extract the wide-rim benefits while keeping the weight at, or below, the previous Control SL—the existing benchmark. Based on the width we knew was ideal for the desired ride characteristics, we tuned the rim shape to optimize the stiffness, weight, and ride quality of the system as a whole—too tall and the wheel rides too stiff, too shallow and the wheel is too flexy. Our engineers meticulously went through rim shape developments to find the perfect balance and optimal geometry, and after fine-tuning multiple layup iterations and schedules, we ended with a 25-millimeter internal width rim that's approximately the same weight as the previous Control SL.

Being able to add material and width (3mm to be exact), without a weight penalty makes for a stronger XC wheel, but we weren’t content settling with just an increase in strength. With our goal being the fastest race wheelset available, we took the new and old rims, paired them with a set of size 2.0 Fast Trak tires, and performed rolling resistance tests at both 20 and 30 PSI. The result? The new, wider rim tested faster at both pressures, confirming our line-wide hypothesis that wider is not only stronger, but also faster.

Keeping the Zero Bead Hook design, the new Control SL rim keeps all the sought-after features that come with this design—added impact resistance, easy tubeless tire installation, and a better tire seal on the rim. And with a lighter rim, you're also rewarded with extremely low inertia, that translates to faster accelerations for the punchy efforts required of XC racing. Focusing on the wheels as a system, we kept with our core design tenants of lightweight and durability, so we made sure not to skimp on the build. Each wheel is built by hand, and while this is somewhat of a lost art, we know that a real person can achieve qualities that a machine simply can’t. When hand-building, little discrepancies can be found that would otherwise be missed by a machine, so we took the refined 2Bliss Ready rim and matched it with our CNC-machined hubs with DT Swiss Competition Race spokes. The hub internals feature sealed bearings and DT Swiss 240 internals with a 54-tooth star ratchet in the rear, making for lightning fast engagement.

Finally, with the 110/148 variant, you receive all of the benefits that Boost spacing offers. By increasing the width of the front and rear hub flanges, and in turn, increasing frame and fork clearance and stiffness, you obtain a stiffer, stronger, and more durable system at a minor weight penalty.

If you’re in need of sub-1400-gram, race-ready wheelset that has handling and strength of a modern trail wheel, the Control SL 29 148 is the perfect choice.

Rider Reviews

  • 4.5
  • 4 Reviews

Great XC Wheels

We've been riding ROVAL CONTROL SL Wheels since 2015 when we got our first EPIC 29s. I'm on my 4th S-Works Epic since. After making a poor terrain transaction, the rear rim was fractured. Our Local Authorized S-Works Dealer submitted the warranty and wheel, and it was rebuilt with a new hoop within a week and half, the (what looked like New) wheel was back on the EPIC. Now I ride the 2020-21 S-Works EPIC HT and 2021 S-Works EPIC FSR with the New ROVAL CONTROL SLs. Outstanding... wider, lighter, stronger and FASTER! We've been so stoked with ROVAL over the year that we rock the CLX 32s, 50s, 64s, RAPIDEs and TERRAs. They all perform as promised. The CLX TERRAs are incredible. I ride and terrorize them on my Belgian Waffle Roubaix (2020 Roubaix, ""32 All Conditions"" - Heavy-Duty Gravel Bike) and 2021 CruX - ""33 Tracers"". ROVAL backs all these Wheels because they know they're worth every fiber.


Name:
Storm R.

Helpful?

Great warranty if needed.

Super light rigid and fast.


Name:
Brandon

Helpful?

Roll well but Durability is Questionable

Performance seems to be very good, and they're light, however I had the misfortune of cracking the rear wheel on my 5th ride. Just bad luck but a rock flipped up and impacted the wheel in the area just between the spikes. I thought the impact just chipped the carbon. A crack has since formed and warranty hasn't been as easy as I had hoped. Personally I cant imagine using these wheels unless it was short track racing. If your climbing smooth trails that are like dirt sidewalks, they're great. Accelerate quickly, roll well, stif, but I need to be able to finish the ride or race so I'm out on future carbon wheels for mtbing.


Name:
Chad C.

Helpful?

Great wheels!

I've had these wheels on 3 of my mountain bikes and have been really impressed with the performance and how well they hold up over time. They're lightweight and stiff and hold a line really well through rocky, rooty technical terrain. Love them!


Name:
T M.

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