Cross Country racing is pretty exciting these days, with super tight racing on some courses that are pretty technical, compared with the courses of years gone. Roval's new Control SL Team Wheelset are designed to meet the needs of modern XC. They come in at a claimed weight of 1240g for a complete set, and a nice, wide 29mm internal width for plenty of traction and a little more cushion. Keep reading for the full release from Roval.
"Bringing the new Control wheels to life involved a rigorous cross-examination of everything we’ve ever done, and ultimately led us to develop an entirely new wheelset from axle to rim. The new Control is an exercise in radical design, no-holds barred engineering, and state of the art production.
Weight is always going to be a paramount concern when it comes to XC wheels. Every single gram counts when hunting podiums or personal bests. Rotational mass is the enemy of speed; it dulls handling and saps precious watts. Being heavier than other light wheels doesn’t win races. Being the lightest might. At 1240 grams per set, the new Control SL Team Issue is the one of the lightest mountain bike wheelsets on the market. It’s also lighter than most road wheelsets.
Durability matters. Having the lightest wheels used to be good enough for bragging rights, no matter how questionable the longevity. Those days are gone. The lightest wheels on the market aren’t worth much if they can’t deliver you to the finish line, or if they leave you stranded miles from the nearest road. Through rigorous prototyping and a grueling series of testing protocols — both in the test lab and in the real world — the new Control delivers a toughness and durability exceeding that of many much heavier all-mountain wheels.
Ride quality is tailored to the demands of modern XC and trail riding. The shape of the new Control rim is carefully designed and laid up to be laterally stiff so that they track with precision, yet vertically compliant enough to deaden trail buzz and deliver a smooth ride. This ensures razor sharp handling without harsh side effects, ultimately reducing rider fatigue and improving lap times.
Pinch protection is something that most people don’t talk about. Meanwhile, the single biggest time loss in XC racing is due to flat tires. So it makes sense that if the goal is getting from point A to point B as fast as humanly possible, then something should be done to reduce the risk of flat tires.
Notice the top of the rim wall on the new Control rim. See how it’s wider than usual? We stopped accepting the status quo and decided to do something about pinch flats. That rim top is 4mm wide, and this width and specifically designed shape means that it takes 22% more force to pinch a tire than before. Rider can now ride harder, on lighter tires, at lower pressures, with fewer flats. Beyond any talk of gains made by less rotational weight or improved ride quality, reducing the risk of flat tires GUARANTEES a faster wheel.
Fewer flats: 4mm flat-top requires 22% greater force to pinch-flat
Greater durability: System approach of combining asymmetrical rim with custom designed hubs which help balance spoke tension and allow single spoke length assembly
More control: 29mm internal rim-width reduces squirm and increases tire volume
Better ride: Double the vertical compliance with 29% more impact strength keeps you on line and maintains grip and speed
Instant classic, limited edition
1240 grams is an obscenely light weight when talking about mountain bike wheelsets, the kind of weight that XC racers dream about. But light weight alone is no longer enough. So, we sweated the details and engineered the new Control SL Team Issue wheels to be sharp handling, smooth riding, extra durable, and less likely to pinch-flat your tires, in addition to being some of the lightest weight production wheels on the planet.
No punches were pulled. These wheels use the lightest hubs Roval has ever made, period, along with a rim that has been designed from the ground up to meet the rigors of modern high-performance XC riding and racing. This is a very limited production run, carefully hand-built and finished with a special graphic treatment.
Control SL Team Hub
To build the lightest wheels, you have to consider every single component that goes into those wheels. The hubs on the Control SL Team Issue are a prime example of that detailed scrutiny. They are the lightest Roval hubs ever made. Straight pull spokes use slightly less material than j-bends, so they were used here. The spoke holes are drilled at a precise angle to match the rims directly without any undue stress.
The freehub utilizes DT Swiss’ EXP mechanism; 54t engagement, fewer moving parts than before, less drag, and outboard bearing placement all work to ensure that these wheels deliver strength and durability without any excess flab.
Asymmetry begets symmetry
The asymmetric design of the Control rim offers some subtle but important benefits. With the spokes offset to one side of the rim, this allows us to reduce the spoke offset that usually occurs at the hub. In turn, this means we can generate greater bracing angles for the spokes between the hub and rim, while also minimizing the spoke tension differential that often occurs between drive and non-drive side spokes. The end result is a wheel that is stronger, laterally stiffer, more durable, and in the case of the Control, allows us to utilize the same length spoke throughout the whole wheelset.
Design. Prototype. Test. Test again. Every step of the Control design and prototyping process leads to this. Control field testing included a deep pool of critical and talented riders around the globe, who punished our work in all conditions, from World Cup races to crushing backcountry miles. They made it their mission to sniff out weaknesses and expose them. Sometimes they sent us back to the drawing board, and we thanked them every time. Control wheels also endured thousands of hours of gruelling lab tests—simulating exaggerated real world forces – generating relevant data regarding strength, stiffness, weight, and other critical measures. We compared the test data to all the relevant wheels we’ve made in the past, and to every respected wheel in the market.
The result? Control wheels excel in both qualitative and quantitative test results."