Described by Specialized as “an extraordinary wheelset for every application”, the Fusee SLX 23 is remarkably conventional. The 17mm inner/22mm outer width rim is slightly wider than average but not enough to fatten up a tyre, and the rim isn’t tubeless compatible.
DT Swiss butted straight-pull spokes tie the wheels together (20 front, 24 rear) in a reasonably tight build, and it’s a DT Swiss Ratchet System drive for the 11-speed-ready freehub.
Freehub engagement is slow (20 degrees of movement before it engages – 10-15 is more typical), but once locked in acceleration is prompt, with little inertia to create a sense of rhythm or pulse. Powerful riders will notice softness when really cranking the watts on steep climbs, and there’s steering slur if you’re really trying to scrub the edges off the tyres through corners.
The Rovals roll very smoothly over rough tarmac. While there’s no clever rim shaping, handling is totally neutral in gusty conditions thanks to the low 22mm-deep front and 24mm-deep rear dimensions. Though not that light for the price at 1,602g, the Rovals always seemed eager to pick up speed on rolling hills too.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.