Specialized Roval Traversee wheelset review£499.00

Trail-tough but cross-country-light all-rounders

BikeRadar score4.5/5

These superlight wheels from Specialized rewrite the rules on wide wheel weight, but are tougher than you might think and make great all-rounders. 

The weight loss starts at the low profile E5 alloy rim, and the Traversees feel as fast as most top cross-country race wheels, weighing in at just 1,582g. 

At 26mm wide they add extra stability under tyres up to 2.4in, and reduce the tyre roll that can often burp air out of tubeless setups.

They distort slightly under maximum brake and cornering loads on hard surfaces, but as they’re half-a-pound less than the nearest competitors we’re not surprised. We’ve not warped, bent or dinged them despite serious abuse of several sets.

As long as you’re careful not to damage the rim strip, get it seated properly and sluice the tyre with some sealant, you’ll have no trouble running either tubeless or tubeless-ready rubber.

The DT Super Comp spokes are laced 24 two-cross on the front and 28 three-cross at the rear. Spokes remained tight, and our wheels are still die-straight after several messed-up drop-offs. We put much of this down to the rims, which are wide enough to resist abuse that might kill a cross-country-width rim.

They come with front wheel fittings for quick release, 20mm and 25mm axles. These require no tools to swap, and the process takes longer to explain than to achieve.

The DT Swiss ratchet internals are a proven system – think of the high price as a shrewd investment. They certainly sound precise, and never missed a beat when we rode them.

If you expect burly wheels to look and feel like they fell off a tank then you'll be pleasantly surprised by the Traversee, with their catwalk looks.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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