There is an art to building a wheel—one a machine simply can’t master. Roval wheels are hand-built to ensure the quality and integrity of the product. From design and engineering, all the way to the final execution, there's simply no substituting the hands-on experience and meticulous attention to detail a human being brings to the whole process. The true craft of hand-building a wheel really shines through when it comes to the slew of judgment calls that need to be made at the time of the build itself. The assembly of individual parts, the balance of tension, roundness, and straightness of the wheel—these are the key components that ensure a well-balanced and high-quality wheel.
When our carbon rims were first being developed, we ran into many challenges. Along with wheel impact strength, getting the desired stiffness and weight mix right, and delivering a high-quality final product, there was this question—how to have a bead hook on the rim to hold the tire on? The choices were to either bond one onto a rim, or machine one out. Both of these options made serious compromises to the weight and strength of the rim itself. A chat with a tire engineer at Specialized yielded an interesting, and a seemingly crazy idea. Why not just leave the bead off altogether? Cars and motorcycle wheels do fine without them, why not a mountain bike wheel? With the tolerances of modern manufacturing of both rims and tires far exceeding what was possible in the '60s and '70s, we moved forward with the idea. By adding a little rim height and keeping to our high-quality construction, the hookless rim was born, and is now featured on all our mountain bike wheels.
Making a wheel aerodynamic so that it will “slice through the wind” and add speed to your ride doesn’t just come down to the shape. The whole system—the weight of the wheel, stability, braking, and construction—must also be considered. With this in mind, we create computer simulations and designs to test models against certain performance parameters. Of these simulations, we then test and validate in the Win Tunnel, while also testing in the real world with riders. And while we consider combinations of weight, speed, and stiffness for multiple experiences, we also look to maximize the aerodynamic benefits for every road wheel throughout the line during this process.
Before a Roval wheel design ever goes into production it goes through multiple levels of testing, both in our engineering test lab and in the real world. Wheels are subjected to assembly-and-cut inspection; impact, stiffness, and blow-off testing; set up on machines to simulate and measure wheel fatigue over thousands of rotations; spoke pull out tests, and brake heat tests. The results from these lab tests are combined with real-world testing to ensure the Roval wheel you end up with is the highest quality it can be.
A Roval wheel is built as a system with considered design decisions. We don’t focus on individual pieces of the wheel and look at how each part affects the others. A good example of this is a spoke breaking on a mountain bike wheel, where the spoke breaks by design, as opposed to the rim. While 32s keep the weight light and ensure stiffness for the overall system, we use thicker gauge spokes on the non-drive rear wheel at a penalty of only seven grams. Why? That stiffness would have cost 20g in the rim.
Roval drive systems are manufactured to the highest quality, due to our partnership with DT Swiss. These drive systems are Swiss-engineered for high tolerance and quality, reliable and predictable engagement, and are tool-free for easy servicing. This partnership gives us design and engineering freedom backed with the manufacturing quality we require for all Roval wheels.
Good news: We've partnered with STIKRD, which means that we're proud to introduce custom Roval decals. Our partnership started when we saw what these guys were doing, and how rad they were making bikes look with our wheels and custom decals. We know we're not alone in our love to make our bikes look rad, and STIKRD helps us do just that.
How does it work? Just follow the link over to STIKRD.com and select the Roval wheelset that you have. Design your own decals, and then hang tight for a couple of days while they're printed and delivered to your doorstep. It’s that easy.Design Now