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Roval Control 29 Carbon wheels review

A well-priced wheelset for cross-country racers and lightweight trail riders

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £1,150.00 RRP | USD $1,350.00 | EUR €1,300.00 | AUD $2,000.00
Roval Control 29 Carbon wheels for mountain bikes

Our review

Light, reliable carbon hoops for weekend warriors and lightweight trail slayers at a decent price
Pros: Good ride quality; easy to live with; low weight for the price
Cons: Axle end-cap wobble is a bit annoying
Skip to view product specifications

Roval’s Control 29 Carbon wheels combine the brand’s carbon fibre Control SL rims with pocket-friendly DT Swiss 350 hubs to create a competitively priced and weighted set of mountain bike wheels aimed at privateer cross-country racers and riders looking for some fast, fancy hoops for their downcountry builds.

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Our test set came in at 1,480g (690g front, 790g rear), which is more than acceptable for a wheelset costing just over £1,000. On the trail, the Controls feel great.

Roval is Specialized’s in-house wheel brand, and offers a range of wheels from road, gravel and triathlon through to cross-country, downcountry and trail.

Roval Control 29 Carbon wheels build details

At the centre of the wheels are DT Swiss‘ 350 hubs. These feature 28 straight-pull spokes, front and rear.

DT Swiss hubs are reliable operators. The ease with which freehub bodies can be switched is great – they simply pull off and push on, while access to bearings is also good.

The 350 hub uses the Ratchet freehub system, which does away with pawls, and instead uses two ratchets that key in to each other. This gives a 10-degree engagement angle. It’s not upgradeable to the higher-spec Ratchet EXP system, though.

dt swiss 350 hub
DT Swiss hubs have an enviable reputation for reliability.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

These wheels come with both normal end caps and RockShox-specific torque caps for the front hub. Rotors attach via a six-bolt fitment.

The DT Swiss Competition Race spokes are heavily butted to save weight – around 70g per wheel, according to DT Swiss.

At the outside is the carbon Control 29 rim. This has an asymmetric profile, whereby the spoke holes are offset. It allows for better triangulation of the spokes over the hub, giving a stiffer build for the weight, and minimising spoke-tension differences on each side of the wheel.

Furthermore, by doing this, Roval uses the same spoke lengths throughout the wheel build, making maintenance that little bit easier.

roval control carbon rim
The carbon rim is broad, aiding tyre volume.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The rim has a 29mm internal width, designed to work with the current crop of wider XC tyres. The rim wall has a width of 4mm, which is fairly wide. The idea behind this is to offer additional strength, resisting damage when hit with a sharp edge. It also helps dissipate forces during an impact, which, in theory, lowers the chance of pinch puncturing the tyre.

The rim comes with tubeless tape already installed, and a tubeless valve in place. A lifetime warranty is also offered.

Roval Control 29 Carbon wheels performance

Male cyclist in red top riding the Specialized Epic EVO Expert full suspension mountain bike through woodland
The wheels work well on XC and downcountry bikes.
Steve Behr / Immediate Media

On the trail, I found the Roval Control 29 Carbon wheels performed well, in both an XC and a lighter-weight trail context.

Installation and inflation proved easy. With push-on/pull-off axle end caps and freehub, getting the right setup for your bike is easy. There’s a bit of wobble in the end caps, which can be frustrating when trying to get the wheel in your fork quickly and is most noticeable with the torque caps in place.

Mounting tyres is a simple job. The central rim well is wide and deep enough to easily fit tyre beads, giving plenty of slack, while the rim itself is shallow, aiding the use of tyre levers if needed.

The wheels come pre-taped, and it’s a tidy job too. This helped with inflation, with no frustrating slow leaks. All the tyres I tried inflated with just a track pump and minimal exertion.

The rims are well shaped and, with an internal width of 29mm, they give plenty of volume to 2.3-2.5in rubber. This aids both grip and ride comfort, because lower pressures are possible, with a lower risk of puncturing. Thanks to this, and the broad rim wall, I’m yet to suffer any punctures while riding with these wheels.

roval control carbon wheel
The Roval Control Carbon wheel represents good value for money for a carbon hoop.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

This is handy, because Roval says these wheels aren’t compatible with rim inserts, which are designed to aid tyre stability and help further reduce punctures.

It’s worth noting that they have a system weight limit (rider, kit and bike combined) of 125kg. With a light build and 28 spokes, harder-charging or heavier riders might detect a little bit of twang, but keep them within their intended design confines of XC and fast trail riding, and I suspect the vast majority of riders will have no issue with their construction – I certainly didn’t.

The 10-degree engagement angle is good, if not the snappiest out there. Some riders prefer engagement angles down towards the 3-degree mark, because it gives quicker reactions to pedal inputs. On full-suspension bikes, there’s a trade-off that quicker engagements can exacerbate the feel of pedal kickback on hits, though. On a hardtail, I feel a faster engagement would be preferable.

Roval Control 29 Carbon wheels bottom line

Given their sub-1,500g weight, I feel the Rovals represent good value for money for carbon wheels.

A slightly posher, perhaps faster-engaging, rear hub wouldn’t go amiss, certainly if your bike isn’t prone to pedal kickback, but it’s hard to find fault with these wheels for the money.

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Their construction is good, tyres blow up broad, offering excellent ride feel, and DT Swiss’ hub reliability is well known. As such, I’d recommend these wheels for XC and downcountry applications, assuming they fit your budget.

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $2000.00EUR €1300.00GBP £1150.00USD $1350.00
Weight 1,480g – for set
Brand Roval

Features

Brake type Disc
Hubs DT Swiss 350
Rim internal width 29mm
Rim material Carbon
Spoke count 28 front, 28 rear
Tubeless compatibility Tubeless compatible
Wheel size 29in/700c