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Roval takes aim at gravel market with new Terra CLX and CLX Evo 650b and 700c wheelsets

Roval is seriously upping its offering to gravel, adventure and bikepacking cyclists with the launch of the Terra CLX and CLX Evo wheels, which feature very wide carbon rims, high-quality DT Swiss 180 hubs, extremely low weight and claimed mountain bike durability.

Roval is a familiar name in the road bike market, especially if you’ve ever ridden or bought a Specialized road bike, and Terra is a name we’ve seen on Specialized tyres in the past. We’ve previously tested Roval CLX 32 wheels repurposed as gravel/all-road wheels, but this new range shows a bigger commitment to gravel.

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The Terra name applies to a range of wheels with two rim widths and 650b and 700c sizes. Roval says it sought to create lightweight wheels with exceptional durability and ride quality which also passes their mountain bike standards.

The Terra CLX is 700c only and has a 25mm internal width rim designed for tyres ranging from 28 to 42mm wide. This ensures the wheel is versatile, you could easily run them with fat slick tyres for road duties and up to 90psi, or got with chunky off-road treads for exploring.

Terra CLX EVO 650b -5

The Terra CLX Evo (Evo being a popular tag on Specialized mountain bikes with a more aggressive build) comes in 700c and 650b and takes the internal rim width up to a whopping 30mm.

Roval says this ensures the rims are ideal for tyres up to 55mm wide, which will include a lot of XC mountain bike tyres that are starting to appear on gravel bikes tailored to technical off-road trails.

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Naturally, they are tubeless compatible, essential for off-road riding. Roval has used a hooked rim rather than the more popular hookless design in the mountain bike world. There’s a bit of a split between wheel brands going hooked or hookless, but Roval felt it was preferable to have a hook holding the tyre bead securely in place despite adding more complexity to the layup of the carbon rim.

To ensure tubeless inflation is a breeze, the rims have a narrow channel that is intended to push the tyre beads into contact to prevent air leaking when you’re trying to inflate the tyre. The rim profile is hooked to lock the tyre bead into place, which Roval says it does even at “ultra-low” pressures.

- Breadwinner + Terra CLX EVO 650 -2

Durability has been a cornerstone of the design too. The wheels have apparently passed the company’s off-road mountain bike test standards. And if that’s not enough, both wheels come with a lifetime warranty and no-fault crash replacement.  “If a rider damages their Roval product while riding within the first two years of ownership, we’ll replace or repair it for free,” explains the company.

Allied + Terra CLX -1

The rims are laced to the company’s AFD hubs with Aero Flanges spinning on high-quality DT Swiss internals and laced up with DT Aerolite spokes using a 2:1 lacing pattern. The CLX wheels use the range-topping DT Swiss 180 Ratchet EXP design, which is claimed to be lighter, stiffer and more durable than the previous design. The hubs are designed for 12mm thru-axles that are pretty much commonplace in the disc brake bike world.  Shimano HG and SRAM XDR freehubs are available.

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Roval claims that its approach to designing every aspect of the wheels as an “integrated system” from the flanger diameter, spoke count, lacing pattern and spokes, optimises the strength, durability, weight and ride quality, since it has eliminated all variables. Attention to detail extends to angled spoke holes and optimised carbon lay-up to reinforce the spoke holes to ensure an even distribution of pressure between the rim and spoke nipple.

Weight has been a key focus for the new Terra wheels. The Terra CLX has a claimed weight of just 1,296g, which is certainly very light indeed. The Terra CLX Evo commands a small weight penalty on account of the 30mm wide rim, but at 1,303g for 650b and 1,357g for 700c, they are still very light.

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Both wheelsets cost £1,850 and you can buy the CLX front (£750) and rear (£1,100) if you just need a single wheel. They’re available now with more info at www.rovalcomponents.com.  Roval is working towards expanding the price range of the Terra range, so more affordable models can be expected in the future. We can envisage a CL version with aluminium rims and cheaper DT Swiss internals to bring the price down a bit.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.