Roval Traverse SL II Wheelset

Vital Rating:
Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
$693.80
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
$1,031.99
Free U.S. shipping on orders over $50, except bikes.
There is a $50 destination fee for bikes.
Tested: Roval's No-Nonsense Traverse SL Wheelset
The previous version of this wheelset was loved by enduro riders and cross-country whippets alike. Does the newest generation with its fancy Step Flange hubs, J-bend spokes, and a similar hookless profile live up to the task?
Rating:
Vital Review
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After a few years of real-world testing, Roval went back to the drawing board with their entire series of mountain wheels beforelaunching things last summer in Whistler. The latest Roval series features a number of refinements and has the potential to put the Roval wheelset near the top of everybody’s aftermarket upgrade list. Let's dig in.

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Excellent balance between stiffness and compliance
  • Much quieter on trail than previous version
  • 30mm inner width is perfect for most modern tires
  • Tubeless from the box
  • Same spoke length throughout
  • J-bend spokes all of the same length
  • Fast rolling
  • DT Swiss hub internals
  • Lifetime warranty
  • A bit pricey

Roval Traverse SL Highlights

  • Available in 27.5” and 29” wheel sizes
  • Hookless carbon fiber rim with 30mm inner width
  • Hand-built
  • 2Bliss Ready
  • Alloy hubs with Step Flanges
  • DT Swiss 240 hub internals
  • DT Swiss Competition Race J-bend spokes
  • Adaptors to accommodate all rear axle standards
  • SRAM XD and Shimano freehub compatible
  • 28 spokes front and rear
  • Limited lifetime warranty and **IT Happens policy
  • Recommended tire widths: 2.3" to 3.0”
  • Weight: 1,690g (27.5”) / 1,735g (29”)
  • MSRP: $1,600 USD

Initial Impressions

Out of the box, the relatively understated graphics of the Roval Traverse SL wheelset was somewhat refreshing. We appreciate that some folks love bright colors and bold graphics, but the understated Traverse SL takes the opposite approach and looks good doing it. They have plenty of bling factor but do not clamor for attention.

The wheels were quiet, creak free, and have not required a single visit to a truing stand. Running without inserts also meant that the rims suffered a number of hard impacts which had zero influence on the rim cosmetically or functionally.

At less than 1,800-grams, these wheels are svelte for the abuse they can tolerate. What left us more impressed is how little drag there was. The wheel bearings roll extremely smoothly and notably faster than most wheelsets, which meant they actually felt lighter on the trail than the scale would suggest. They did not feel slow on a 110mm cross-country bike, which isn’t the case for a number of enduro capable wheels we have tried on short-travel rigs. The DT Swiss freehub operates smoothly and the quick engagement provided near instant power.

Things That Could Be Improved

No doubt Roval’s engineers are already looking for the next improvement for the Traverse SL, but we were hard-pressed to find fault with them during over three months of riding. Once we mounted them and made a few notes, we rode them daily and did not truly appreciate them until we swapped back to a less expensive and less refined mid-range wheelset.

At the original $1,900 USD price point they were quite a bit more expensive than the previous Traverse SL wheelset, and $800 more than the Traverse Carbon version. Roval has since reduced the price to $1,600 USD. The more affordable Traverse Carbon version lacks a few of the features that make the top-tier SL such a great product, but most working class folks will have a tough time justifying the added expense.

Long Term Durability

With DT Swiss hub internals, a generous warrantyextending to a second owner, and a **IT Happens policy, it is evident that the folks at Roval are confident in the durability of their products. We expected our Traverse SL wheelset to require little maintenance and thankfully we were not let down. We spent months riding in dismally wet conditions, which included a chilly stint where temperatures were in the thirties. 

The wheels were quiet, creak free, and have not required a single visit to a truing stand. Running without inserts also meant that the rims suffered a number of hard impacts which had zero influence on the rim cosmetically or functionally. When a spoke does eventually let go, it is nice to know that we will be able to use easily sourced J-bend spokes. 

What’s The Bottom Line?

Even after a recent price reduction, the Roval Traverse SL wheelset costs a pretty penny. Fortunately, the performance, ease of maintenance, and serviceability are top-notch. The wheels have tolerated enough abuse to confirm that they can handle enduro racing and the weight and rolling speed means they are even capable of cross-country duties. They were never harsh, nor did they deflect as some carbon wheelsets do. The wheels are also much quieter on the trail than the previous version. Combined with a great warranty, the Roval Traverse SL wheelset is a great way to increase the performance and bling factor of any bike.

Check out www.rovalcomponents.com more information. 

_________________________________________________________________________

About The Reviewer

Joel Harwood - Age: 35 // Years Riding: 20+ // Height: 5’11” (1.80m) // Weight: 185-pounds (83.9kg)

Joel’s unique coaching background and willingness to tinker with products bring an objective perspective to testing. He dabbles in all types of racing, but is happiest simply exploring the limitless trail networks surrounding his home of Squamish, BC. Attention to detail, time in the saddle, and an aggressive riding style make Joel a rider that demands the most from his products while exposing any shortcomings. 

Photos by Jessie McAuley and Joel Harwood

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Specifications

Product
Roval Traverse SL II Wheelset
Riding Type
Enduro / All-Mountain
Trail
Wheel Size
27.5" (650b)
29"
Rim Material
Carbon
Rim
  • Zero Bead Hook design
  • Inner Rim Width
    30mm
    Hole Count
  • 28 front and rear
  • Tubeless Compatible
    Yes
    Rear Hub
  • CNC-machined alloy body, DT Swiss 240 internals, 54 tooth quick engagement Ratchet system, sealed cartridge bearings
  • Rear Axle
    12mm x 148mm (Boost)
    Front Hub
  • Alloy body, 19 and 31mm OD end cap options included, sealed cartridge bearings
  • Front Axle
    15mm x 110mm (Boost)
    Disc Mount Type
    6 Bolt
    Spokes
  • DT Swiss Competition Race J-Bend; single spoke length for each wheelset; two-cross lacing pattern
  • Nipples
  • DT Swiss Brass Pro Lock hexagonal
  • Colors
  • Carbon/Black (black graphic under clear coat)
  • Weight
    27.5": 3 lb 10 oz (1,645 g)
    29": 3 lb 13.2 oz (1,735 g)
    Miscellaneous
  • Handbuilt
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Recommended tire widths: 2.3" to 3.0”
  • Traverse SL 2019 model year release
  • Traverse SL II released July 2023
  • Price
    $1,375.00
    What do you think?
    Where To Buy
    Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
    International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
    Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
    International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
    $693.80
    Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
    International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
    Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
    International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
    $1,031.99
    Free U.S. shipping on orders over $50, except bikes.
    There is a $50 destination fee for bikes.
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