ROVAL TERRA CLX II – AN ALL ROAD WINNER
The Roval Terra CLX II hits the jackpot for road and gravel cyclists. This one wheelset excels across a broader range of terrain and surfaces than most other high-performance all-road wheels we’ve tested and does so at a better price.
My fellow tester Miles calls the Roval Terra CLX II “quiver killers” after doing a range of road, gravel, and cyclocross rides and races on them. I used them to “cat up” and keep up on lumpy group road rides and challenging gravel ones.
By definition, all-road wheels perform well both on and off road. They don’t have weaknesses on either surface. But while some are good at a lot of things and even better at others, the Roval Terra CLX II wheelset is better at most things.
For example, the Terra CLX II excels on New England gravel rides where there is typically 1000 feet of climbing every 10 miles. It flies uphill on 38-40mm range tires, handles well through the loose corners, and is stout on Class IV technical sections.
After training with these Rovals on gravel for a week, Miles chose them for the unforgiving Vermont Overland race. The Overland includes seriously rocky and unmaintained logging roads where you need to pick your lines carefully while still going fast (it’s a race!). Light on the climbs, tough in the rough stuff, and confidence-inspiring through the corners, the Terra CLX was the right choice.
Being both stiff and lightweight (1278 grams with HG freehub), they also go uphill as well as any dedicated road climbing wheelset we’ve tested. Miles set some climbing PRs with these wheels while I kept up with my buds on climbs where I typically get dropped.
Yet, despite their weight and relatively low profile (33.0mm measured), they are also great all-around road and racing wheels. With 28mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR tires inflated in the low 50psi range (25.3mm internal width, 68kg rider weight), you’ve got a race-ready setup.
The Terra CLX II wheels’ ability to maintain speed on fast courses surprised us. While you would want deeper wheels for a flat time trial, these Rovals handle better than most of any depth when cornering, on descents, and over rolling terrain. They snap up to speed in sprints, and you can drive them through corners.
Riding the Terra CLX II as a last-minute replacement for a damaged, deeper wheelset, a rider we loaned them to felt these characteristics early into a highly technical, six-corner crit. That inspired confident, aggressive riding and a finish position as high as he could have hoped for on any wheels.
Stable in sidewinds, the Terra CLX II is also very compliant. That might be surprising for a wheelset as responsive when accelerating and cornering as these. But given the ample internal rim width, there’s plenty of opportunity to create a comfortable combination with the right tires and inflation pressure.
Miles paired the Roval Terra CLX II with 40mm Schwalbe G-One RS (review coming) at 20 psi front, 23 psi rear inflation pressure. They tracked well over the Vermont Overland’s wet, rocky surface this year, providing enough give through the wheels, bike, and hands that he still felt safe through the tough, MTB-type descents and his body wasn’t wrecked after the race.
I rode 28mm Vittoria Corsa Pro TLRs at 60psi on the Terra CLX II for a ride filled with climbs and rollers on cracked, mostly worn pavement that felt supremely comfortable at my touch points. If only my legs and lungs felt half as good!
Roval uses the DT Swiss 180 ratchet EXP internals with ceramic bearings in their CLX II hubs, ones I find roll smoother and quieter when easily and regularly cleaned and greased than DT Swiss’s 240 internals.
If you love to mix it up and ride aggressively, fast, and comfortably on a range of road, gravel, and cyclocross terrain and surfaces, the Roval Terra CLX II with the right tires is an all-road winner.
Note that it’s the Roval Terra CLX II I’ve reviewed here. The first generation Terra CLX (heavier and no longer made), Terra CL (different hub and spokes, heavier), Terra C (different rim, hub, and spokes, considerably heavier), and Terra CLX EVO (dedicated gravel wheels) while less expensive, perform differently enough not to be considered in the same all-road performance discussion with the Terra CLX II.
And at its US$2500, £2500, or €2850 retail price, while not cheap, the Roval Terra CLX II is still less than its all-road competition in most currencies. You can order it while supporting the site’s ability to provide more independent reviews like this one at no additional cost to you when you buy it through these links to Performance Bike, Tredz (10% off with code ITKTDZ10), and Cyclestore, each an online store I’ve vetted and recommend for their competitive prices, selection, customer satisfaction, and reader support.
See how this wheelset compares to others in my review of the Best All Road Wheels.
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Thanks, and enjoy your rides safely! Cheers, Steve