Gravel Grinder News: Roval Launches Terra Gravel Wheel Series

The Roval Terra CLX-equipped Fara F|Gravel. Image: Rob Reedy
Gravel Grinder News: Roval Launches Terra Gravel Wheel Series – by MG

There are few upgrades you can make that have as much effect on your ride as a great set of wheels. And while there’s no shortage of great wheels on the market today, it’s an exciting development when Roval, a longtime leader in the space, introduces not just one, but two new high-end gravel wheelsets.

Here’s Roval’s announcement about the new wheels:

The Roval Terra Gravel Wheel Series

Wide, Light and Durable

Roval’s new Terra wheels bring leading-edge performance to the diverse needs of gravel and adventure riders. To create the models in the Terra line, Roval engineers carefully balanced the wide range of gravel riders’ needs to develop wheels with exceptional durability, class-leading weights, everyday functionality and uncompromising performance.

Leveraging decades of experience in composite wheel design and manufacture, Roval brought the Terra line to life. Designed as a system Terra wheels integrate lightweight carbon fiber rims with dependable DT Swiss hub internals and spokes. Terra wheels feature generous, modern internal widths – 25mm and 30mm(!) respectively, allowing riders to run a broad selection of widths, AND perform reliably over a huge range of tire pressures. 

Developing the Terra line presented new challenges to Roval engineers as they strove to make an exceptionally lightweight series of rims with exceptionally controlled and comfortable ride quality which also pass their standards for MTB use.

In the end, they passed through 20 iterations of the layup before landing on the final result, which provides MTB-ready durability with road-bike weights and ride quality suitable for the diversity of challenges drop-bar riders face in the dirt.

Wide and Wider: The 25mm inner width of the Terra CLX and CL can safely accommodate tires from 28mm up to 42mm wide, at whatever pressure you might want to pump into them. The Terra CLX EVO measures a massive 30mm between the rim walls. That’s wider than any other road wheel on the market, allowing safety and performance with tires up to 55mm wide. In either width, the rims are sized to optimize tire volume. Basically– if your frame has the clearance for it, these wheels will let you run just about any tire you damn well please.

MG descending
MG puts the Roval Terra CLX wheels to the test on a descent outside of Downieville, CA. Image: Billy Sinkford

Get Hooked: Hookless rims have become increasingly popular in MTB and some gravel applications as composite rims have come to the fore. Roval feels that it’s best practice to have a hook holding the tire bead securely, given the wide differential in tire size and potential for high pressures. This means adding a machining step after an already complex hand layup process, but that extra step allows Terra wheels to run just about any size tire at just about any pressure.

Roval Designed, DT-Powered Hubs And Spokes: Terra CLX wheels feature DT Swiss’ new 180EXP internals, offering lighter weight, greater stiffness and more reliable engagement. Roval chooses DT internals for all premium models due to the reliability and serviceability of their Star Ratchet system. The internals are housed in Roval’s AFD hubs, paired with DT Aerolite t-head spokes in a 2:1 lacing pattern for balanced spoke tension and a stronger overall wheel system. 

Roval Terra CLX front hub
Roval designed these smooth, beautiful and minimal hubs for the Terra CLX and Terra CLX EVO wheelsets. Rear hubs feature DT’s impressive new 180EXP ratchet system. Image: MG
Terra CLX | One wheel to rule them all

Intertwining the DNA of Roval’s mountain and road technologies, the Terra CLX offers unsurpassed toughness to weight. 1296 grams for a wheelset is light by any measure, especially when the rims are laid up to deliver a smooth and durable ride. The 25mm internal rim width optimizes tire volume and profile, enhances ride quality, and allows riders to choose from a broad range of tire widths.

Terra CLX EVO | Tomorrow’s Wheels Today

The Terra CLX EVO features a massive 30mm inner width – wider than any other road or gravel rim on the market, wider than a lot of mountain bike rims, too. This makes it a perfect candidate for riders looking to run seriously meaty tires – up to 55mm / 2.2” – without having to pay the weight penalty usually associated with wide rims and high durability. 1303 grams a set in 650b, 1357 grams a set in 700c. What kind of terrain is best suited to these brutes? All of it.

Terra Key Points:
  • MTB-level durability
  • Road-level weights
  • Layup optimized for ultimate balance of ride feel, durability and weight
  • Tubeless-first design; the best fit and easiest installation
  • DT 180EXP hub internals offer light weight, stiffness, reliability and ease of service 
  • Hooked bead for security with any tire choice
  • Tire compatibility for the widest range of options:
    • CLX: 700×28-42mm
    • CLX EVO 700: 38-47mm
    • CLX EVO 650: 42mm – 2.1″
  • Terra CLX and Terra CLX EVO Models will Retail for $2500
Initial Impressions of Roval Terra CLX Wheels

I recently traveled to Downieville, California recently for a hands-on introduction to the Roval Terra CLX and Terra CLX EVO wheels. We spent three days riding and thrashing the new wheels mercilessly in the rough, rocky, mountainous terrain.

The wheels were mounted to a fleet of dream bikes provided by Mike at Blacksmith Cycles in Toronto, Ontario. The beautiful Fara F|Gravel I tested was equipped with SRAM Red eTap and a shiny new set of Roval Terra CLX wheels and 42c S-Works Tracer tires.

Fara F|Gravel
MG was impressed with the performance of the Roval Terra CLX-equipped Fara F|Gravel. Image: MG

Since I was riding an unfamiliar bike, it was initially a bit more challenging to break the wheels’ performance out from the rest of the bike, but as a package, the Terra-equipped Fara was impressive. It felt quick, responsive and capable. The wheels definitely added to the ride, spinning up quickly and handling with calm, composed confidence.

While we primarily spent time on the Terra CLX wheelset during the Roval press camp, we’re working to get one of the first sets of Terra CLX EVO wheels in for testing on more familiar bikes and terrain. We’ll also be able to compare their performance to other elite carbon wheels from Shimano and Cantu, among others. Stay tuned for that review to come soon.

Don’t wait for our review to check out the Roval Terra wheel family for yourself. Head on over to RovalComponents.com to learn more.

Note: Roval Wheels covered travel and expenses for Riding Gravel’s trip to California for the Terra press event. We are not being paid or bribed for our coverage, and strive to give our honest opinions throughout. Special thanks to Mike at Blacksmith Bikes for providing the Fara F|Gravel we rode.

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6 Responses to Gravel Grinder News: Roval Launches Terra Gravel Wheel Series

  1. Koyote October 8, 2019 at 8:41 pm #

    “Note: Roval Wheels covered travel and expenses for Riding Gravel’s trip to California for the Terra press event.”

    I just want to state that I am pleased to see this disclaimer. I don’t begrudge anyone for taking advantage of the press opportunity — it allows you to share the product info with us, and no one expects you to pay for such trips out of your own pocket. But there is another gravel-oriented website that does NOT disclose such things, and I trust them less because of it.

  2. DT October 9, 2019 at 7:11 am #

    I’m sure these are awesome wheels, and I was really excited until I saw the price.
    If I’m dropping that kind of coin it’s gonna be on a set from Ogden Utah, who use proper CX rays and are available with actual aftermarket hubs from North Carolina!
    That bike looks really cool too, I’d never heard of that company before.

  3. MG October 9, 2019 at 9:22 am #

    Hey @DT – I respect your opinion, but having ridden the wheels from Ogden, I’d recommend you give the Roval wheels at least an in-person look before you come to judgement. You won’t speak down about the hubs once you see them. Also, I’d put DT Aerolite spokes up against CX Rays any day from the standpoints of long-term durability and ease of maintenance/truing (less spoke wind up during maintenance.

    The Fara was an eye opener for me… For a bike and brand I’d never heard of, it impressed me with its balanced ride and overall handling. We hit some fast, rocky descents that were more MTB territory than gravel bike, and it handled them all with aplomb. I was stoked.

    @Koyote – Thanks for taking the time to say that, and thanks for reading.

    I hope you both get out for rides today! Cheers!!

  4. Ron October 9, 2019 at 12:11 pm #

    Are you guys going to do a write-up on the Fara bike? I’ve never heard of them before. I see they don’t have some stats like standover, BB drop, frame weight, etc on their website. At first glance at what is provided, the frame seems remarkably similar to the Open UP. .

  5. MG October 9, 2019 at 2:34 pm #

    Hey @Ron – I spoke with Mike at Blacksmith Cycle yesterday and it sounds like I’ll very likely be getting more time with the Fara soon, so your wishes may be coming true. Your eyes aren’t fooling you on the likeness to the Open UP. I don’t recall the exact relationship, but my recollection is that the designer of the F | Gravel was at one time part of Cervelo. I’ll get my facts straight and will include that background in my review of the bike.

  6. Doug October 31, 2019 at 9:53 am #

    Roval gets it! Wider is better and the “lightbulb” look of 700x40c tires in i21 rims is not only bad looking but poor preforming.
    Personally I’ve been using alloy rims with i25 and i26.6 width. 3.1 lacing with DT Super Comp. spokes. I’m not sure if I’m going to get into carbon rims because I like the supple feel of alloy. But the fact that Roval is wider might have me considering a 650b wheel set so I can mount wider more supple tires.

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by Riding Gravel 2014