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Modern trail bikes maintain composure in situations once reserved for downhill race bikes, and as a result, wheels are now confronted with more abuse than ever. At the same time, riders are demanding bikes that are light enough to comfortably pedal all day. These seemingly incompatible goals are exaggerated on 29-inch wheels. Solving this problem served as the motivation for SRAM to build the ROAM 60 29in Carbon Clincher UST Wheel.
SRAM's engineering team must have been tempted to go all-out with the weight reduction of the ROAM 60's carbon rim. Thankfully, though, instead of focusing on shedding grams at all costs, SRAM placed a higher priority on durability. This resulted in the ROAM 60 weighing in within 10 grams of its aluminum counterpart. And this starts to shed light onto why the carbon fiber ROAM 60 is both stronger and stiffer than the aluminum ROAM 50. A quick glance at the cross-section of the rim reveals a main cavity that's thinner on the sidewall than at the bead hook or the spoke bed. The sidewall thins gradually, which provides a strong base for the bead hook. As a result, it resists deforming under hard impacts. SRAM calls this rim profile Taper Core, and it essentially means that SRAM has optimized the carbon layup in order to place more material where it serves durability, not where it doesn't. Ultimately, this results in a thinning of the rim profile elsewhere in order to optimize the balance between weight and strength.
The Taper Core rim profile is shared with the alloy ROAM rim, but unlike its alloy counterpart, the carbon ROAM 60 rim gets a boost from SRAM's Carbon Tuned construction. Basically, SRAM combines woven carbon fiber with unidirectional carbon, and the result is a wheel with a precisely tuned blend of stiffness and compliance. The internal construction of the rim employs woven directional fibers, which enables the rim to compress vertically under high loads. This yields an added degree of compliance in comparison to an aluminum rim. Meanwhile, the unidirectional carbon fiber finds its way into the external construction, which increases the rim's lateral rigidity. And in terms of benefit, this makes for precise tracking through corners and rough terrain. Basically, the ROAM 60 rim is more vertically compliant, laterally stiffer, and much more resistant to denting than its aluminum sibling.
The cross-section of the ROAM 60's rim also reveals an asymmetrical shape that offsets the spoke bed. However, this isn't a mere novelty. Instead, it's actually key to building the ROAM wheels with zero dish, while simultaneously maintaining even spoke tension. Basically, with a traditional symmetrical rim, the spokes on the drive side must be shorter in order to keep the rim centered relative to the dropouts. Unfortunately, though, the discrepancy in spoke length puts greater tension on the drive side spokes than the non-drive side spokes. As a result, this imbalance reduces the overall strength of the wheel. However, in the case of an offset rim design, like the ROAM, the spoke bed aligns with the hub shell. This keeps both the spoke tension and spoke length equal on both sides, while the shape of the rim centers the tire relative to the dropouts. This way, the ROAM wheel maintains correct spacing and reap the benefits of even spoke tension. And remarkably, this is achieved with identical spoke lengths on both sides of the hub, at both the front and rear. This not only adds strength, but it also means that one replacement spoke is able to be used on the on any side of either the front or rear wheel.
SRAM's Wide Angle rim shape provides a 21mm internal width. And, along with the wide rim profile, the ROAM rim uses UST standard bead hooks for an easy tubeless setup. However, there are holes for the spoke nipples, so you'll need to apply tubeless-approved sealing tape if you're planning on running a tubeless setup.
At the center of the ROAM wheel, you'll find user-friendly hubs. A straight-pull spoke design is employed, as opposed to a traditional J-bend spoke. As a result, stiffness was improved, while also adding the benefit of making on-the-fly spoke replacements a bit easier. The axles use push-on end caps at front and rear, meaning that fitting these wheels to nearly any mountain bike axle standard will be a breeze. The freehub is available in both a standard 9/10-speed configuration, as well as SRAM's XD freehub body. And regardless of the version, both freehub designs run on DT Swiss's Star Ratchet system. Not only has the Star Ratchet system earned a reputation for light weight and durability, but its design enables home mechanics to overhaul the rear hub without any proprietary tools.
The SRAM ROAM 60 29in Carbon Clincher UST Wheel is available in the color Black and in a 29-inch wheel size. Please note that this wheel is sold individually as either a front or rear. At the rear, you have the option of selecting from either Shimano/SRAM 10-speed or an 11-speed SRAM XD freehub body.
- Item #SRM0531