TESTED: Ben’s Specialized Roval Traverse Fattie 148 wheelset

Features:

  • E5 high strength alloy rims 29mm internal width
  • 24 spoke front / 28 spoke rear, using DT Swiss Revolution spokes
  • Front Hub: Alloy body, 15x110mm thru-axle only. 15mm end caps included
  • Rear Hub: CNC-machined alloy body, high-quality DT 360 internals
  • Includes SRAM XX1 11-speed freehub and 148 end cap
  • Compatible with Shimano 10/11 speed freehubs
  • Total weight: 1700g
  • Supplied with tubeless vales

Specialized Roval Traverse Fattie 148

The Roval Traverse Fattie from Specialized caught my eye as an affordable (£400) wheelset with 29mm internal rim width, boost spacing and claims on the website that it had “the ability to stay true after launching off drops” and “being light enough to efficiently pedal to the top of a climb”.

Full info is available here on the Specialized site.

It didn’t quite go to plan

A little more research showed that these wheels are specced on various models of the Specialized Enduro bike, both in 29 and 27 inch versions. I thought that it should be up to the job despite the low weight of just 1700 grams for the 27 inch wheels tested.

Sadly, in my case at least, it didn’t work out.

My second ride on the Roval Traverse was a day on the uplift at Bike Park Wales, hitting full top to bottom laps of the reds and blacks in the park. I was riding with Maxxis Double Down casing tyres, a Flat Tire Defender tyre insert fitted and my long term Merida One Sixty.

During the day’s riding I came up a little short on a couple of jumps, catching the knuckle and bottoming out, but nothing too harsh. Otherwise it was just the usual case of riding the trails in the same way I’ve done hundreds of times before.

Not so good

By mid-afternoon, the rear wheel was written off. I hadn’t held back on my riding but I hadn’t done anything heavy enough that I would expect to kill a rim.

A massive flat spot appeared in the rear rim and the wheel lost tension in half the spokes. It still held air, and was still just about useable, but the rim is completely beyond saving and the spokes now de-tension every hour or so of riding.

The front wheel had better luck but did need some attention and, despite never being crashed, needed a tune up. I suspect that it wouldn’t fare well if I nose-cased a jump or really smashed it into a square edge rock or big root.

Stans Flow EX3Stans flow EX3

The Specialized website talks about “shredding rowdy descents” and about the Roval being a tough wheel set.

From my experience though, it is just too light for this sort of riding under a fast or aggressive rider. It feels like the rims are too lightweight and the spoke count is just too low, with 24 up front and 28 on the rear.

And some positives

Is it all bad? Nope, not completely.

There’s a real bonus on the climbs and you can immediately feel benefits of the light weight compared to my other, heavier wheels.

When you stand on the pedals you get a real surge forwards and they do accelerate better in a sprint situation than a 2kg plus wheelset.

The wide rim gives a great tyre profile, leading to predictable grip in turns and they were easy to set up tubeless with just a track pump.

We think:

Would I recommend these wheels for an enduro racer or hard riding shredder who enjoys the odd uplift? No, sorry.

They’re just not tough enough for the job, although you may just be able to get away with the front wheel paired up with a heavier, tougher rear wheel if you are looking to save a few grams and don’t tend to destroy front wheels.

I do think that there is a place for these wheels on the bikes of lighter, less aggressive riders where they will take less abuse and should stay true under mellower trail riding conditions.

Love it

  • Feel fast and light on climbs and sprints
  • Easy to set up tubeless with just a track pump
  • A good choice for lighter riders and less aggressive trail riding

Could do better

  • Not tough enough for aggressive riding in our experience
  • Rear wheel failed after 1 day of riding at Bike Park Wales
  • Spokes came loose on the front wheel after 1 day of riding at Bike Park Wales

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