Roval Traverse SLII Wheelset Review: More Than A Threaded Rim


Roval Traverse SLII Wheelset Review: More Than A Threaded Rim

With its claims of 21% more vertical compliance, a 15-25% stronger profile, pinch-flat eliminating design and an innovative threaded rim and valve stem, the Roval Traverse SLII has a lot to offer. Not to mention, there’s a lifetime warranty. Let’s dive into all of those claims and details today with Spencer’s Roval Traverse SLII wheelset review…

That was quite the word soup of claims and amenities to be listed in one long run-on sentence, but we had to get through it. We’re gonna dissect those claims one by one and run the numbers on this slick new wheelset from Roval, Specialized’s wheel brand.

Run the Numbers

Claimed:                                   Actual:
Total: 1751 g                             Total: 1756 g
Front: 807 g                             Front: 809 g
Rear: 944 g                               Rear: 947 g

Not much to report here, claimed weight and actual weight are damn near spot on. At 1756 grams these wheels are about 50 grams lighter than other 29er carbon wheels I’ve reviewed such as the WTB CZR and We Are One/I9 which all clock in around 1800-1850 grams. When you factor in that I’m running a tire that weighs more than the rim, the difference is negligible.

For the duration of the review, I rode Specialized’s Butcher Grid Trail 2Bliss Ready T9 Soil Searching in 29×2.6. I hate the name, love the tan sidewalls, and haven’t found a tire with stickier rubber. Heavy, durable, and good looking for these harsh desert conditions.

Quick Hits

  • 20mm depth
  • 40mm external width
  • 30mm internal width
  • 5mm bead width
  • 28H front and rear
  • Threaded valve insert
  • Ratchet 36t internals 10 degrees engagement (DT 350 hub as tested)
  • 275 lb rider weight limit
  • $1500 $1125 for the set on sale right now!

Pretty standard here as well with the exception of the 5 mm bead width. This “Flat Top” bead profile claims to “require 85% more force to pinch flat compared to a standard round bead.” Specialized say this virtually eliminates pinch flats and has a patent pending. I didn’t have any issues with pinch flats during my review, though nothing is infallible especially bike rims.

The Traverse SL II wheels are available laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs (as reviewed) or 240 hubs. If you want to save some grams and have the Ratchet EXP system you can upgrade to 240 hubs. As I mentioned above, I usually have to ride very heavy tires so I opted for a heavier hub since I wouldn’t be saving many grams anyway. If you want the lightest possible version you can get the lighter hubs and save 60 grams.


The standout feature of this new wheelset, for me at least, is the new Roval Threadbed Valve. Both the valve stem and rim are threaded so instead of straining your fingers to tighten a small nut you can simply tighten the valve stem into your rim. The internal opening of the valve stem has 5 mm hex tooling. If something were to go wrong you can still use a normal valve stem as well.

To save weight and optimize the ride feel, Roval made the front and rear rim layups different. Providing strength and weight where it’s needed and weight savings where possible. This leads to the claimed, “15% greater front wheel strength and 25% more rear wheel strength than the previous Traverse SL.” This front/rear specific layout also claims to be “21% more vertically compliant than the previous Traverse SL.”

On the Trail

Many of the aforementioned claims are hard for me to properly examine in a very unscientific and experiential riding environment. You’ll have to take Specialized at their word for some of the claims. I won’t claim to be able to sense 21% more compliance in the sea of variables such as front/rear suspension, carbon bars, and variable tire pressure. Despite all the marketing jargon, this is the first carbon MTB wheelset whose warranty I haven’t had to test during my review. The wheels have held up splendidly through the roughest trails in the Tucson area.

The wheels are the lightest that I’ve as tested thus far and could be even lighter with the DT Swiss 240 hub set option. I love the very quiet ratchet on the 350 hubs, though now I can hear all my cables rattling instead of the ratchet buzz. I had a few moments where it felt like the ratchet slipped under a steep climbing load. The engagement is far from high in these crazy days, but I didn’t feel kneecapped at any point in technical trail sections.

The Threadbed Valve is truly what I was most excited about. I don’t know why it took the industry so long to get to something like this. My fingers still ache from trying to tighten down the little nuts on valve stems to stymy an air leak. Even the ones with tooling still never feel tight enough. I tightened the valves to spec when I installed them and never worried about it since then. It would be nice if there was some way to tighten the stems without taking off the tire if such a case were to occur.


  • Innovative valve design solves the problem of leaky valve stems
  • Slightly lighter than comparable competition
  • DT 350 hub set and j-bend spokes are reliable and easy to find replacement parts
  • Rims have proven to be strong and lightweight
  • Lifetime warranty when registered within 90 days of purchase (two-year “it happens” no-fault crash replacement as well)


  • 36t ratchet is not high engagement
  • No way to tighten the valve stem without removing the tire, though I never needed to.

I’m impressed with the Traverse SLII from Roval: strong, good warranty, and innovative amenities. Upgrading to carbon wheels can be a big expense so knowing you are getting something guaranteed to last (or it will be replaced) is important. The lightweight aspect of carbon rims is great, but for riding such heavy tires, the weight savings are outweighed by the gains in reliability and strength. In that regard, the Traverse SLII has passed my test.