The Long and Winding Trail to Awesome

Black and white image of male cyclist speeding

The best rides are never easy. The best trails often require some serious bushwhacking. The same could be said of the quest to develop our Traverse wheels to be the best trail wheels around. We went down some deep engineering rabbit holes en route to creating our 2019 Traverse line. Along the way, we ran into dead ends, got bushwhacked more than a few times and cratered an R&D line item or two. But ultimately we found our way to the best riding, most durable, easily serviceable trail wheels possible.

Overhead view of male cyclist riding down narrow mountain trail

We’re going to deviate from the generic “See all the shiny new products!” bit for a second, because what you don’t see in our new line up is almost as important as what you do see.

We’ve experimented with radically textured carbon rims (project “Stegosaurus”) that should have delivered improved lateral rigidity and better vertical compliance.  In theory, it was an awesome concept. On the trail, performance was just meh. Similarly, we’ve chased the lighter and stiffer design unicorn and found that there really is such a thing as “too stiff”. Harsh.


Closeup of Traverse 30mm internal rimThe innovation gods are insatiable. They demand sacrifices in the form of endless CAD sessions, long nights in the test lab and relentless trail testing. We give it to them—it’s in our job descriptions - but we’ve also come to a realization of late. The innovation gods are also fickle and do not suffer change for change’s sake lightly. As it turns out, our tried and true Traverse rim profile, complete with Zero-Hook Bead (a feature we invented), is thoroughly kick-ass.

The Traverse’s 30mm internal rim width? It meshes beautifully with a massive range of tires. There are flashier, more exotically-shaped rim profiles—we know because we’ve created them. We also know that the Traverse rim profile strikes an excellent balance between strength and ride quality. So we’ve maintained that profile and focused on perfecting both the carbon construction and layup schedule.

Closeup of step flanges on Traverse SL hub


We’ve tucked intelligent details throughout the Traverse line—seemingly small touches that can make a big difference on the trail, or at the shop. Case in point, the “Step Flanges” on the Traverse SL hubs.  Look closely - those aren’t normal flanges. By machining the flanges we’re able to run all spokes head-in, without the spoke kink at the flange that so often can lead to stress-risers, fatigue and premature spoke failure.  Fewer busted spokes equals more ride time, and that measure is very important to us.


We could make a sexier wheel, laced with five hexagonal spokes, or some psychadelic carbon fiber snowflake looking thing. It might look cool. With some luck, it might even hold up to actual riding. Maybe.

Instead, we’ve chosen to build wheels that are light, strong and easily serviced in the event that you case that next jump or take the worst line possible at the highest speeds through the ugliest rock garden. J-Bend spokes, for instance, get the nod. You can find them at any bike shop in the land. What’s more, each spoke on the Traverse is the same length, which makes getting the right replacement spoke a painless affair.

Traverse wheels are built to be true to the ride. We designed them to perform, built them to last, in order to keep you riding instead of wrenching.

Black and white image of tire being tested in lab

More From The Journal

Dramatic closeup of Chuck Teixeira

Chuck Versus the World

This is Chuck Teixeira. He’s one of our lead engineers, and is the living embodiment of the phrase “born on wheels.” Maybe not actually born on wheels, but real damn close. More

Julian Alaphilippe finishing race as fans cheer him on in costumes

A Wheel For All Seasons?

This sleek and handsome pair of hoops is our CLX32 wheelset. A subtly aerodynamic rim that outperforms many deeper… More