When a wheelset proves to be light, stiff and durable, it becomes pretty hard to put together a particularly interesting review, but we’ll try!
The Roam 50s are SRAM’s versatile alloy-rimmed trail wheel. There’s also a carbon version, the Roam 60, which isn’t actually any lighter, but has the strength and stiffness benefits of carbon construction.
It’s worth mentioning too that SRAM have the serious cross-country crowd covered with the lightweight Rise wheelsets and if you’re more gravity oriented, there’s the tougher Rail series wheels too. Put simply, SRAM now have a shedload of wheels for you to pick from. You can get the Roam, Rise and Rail wheels in 26″, 27.5″ or 29″ versions. We tested the big 29er hoops.
Since we first received these wheels, we’ve only had a month or so on the trails with the Roams so we can’t honestly comment on the long-term durability, but we’ve not been nice to these wheels in order to cram as much punishment in as possible in a short period.
In a nutshell, these wheels are as true as the day we fitted them, the sealed bearings and superb freehub are still spinning perfectly smoothly, and we’ve suffered negligible air loss with them set up tubeless. Speaking of tubeless, the rims come pre-fitted with a super tough tape that seals up the rim bed nicely, plus valves are included.
The Double Decker hub design is very low profile, which looks good, but it does mean the spokes are very long – something that many 29er wheels try to avoid in order to maximise wheel stiffness. That said, these wheels are surprisingly stiff, more than stiff enough for all but the heaviest or roughest riders. Furthermore, the 21mm internal rim width gives your tyres a good measure of support too, helping keep everything going where you want it to, rather than squirming about.
On the subject of spokes, SRAM have made life very easy for mechanics the world over, but using the one spoke length for both drive-side and non drive-side of front AND rear wheels! No more spoke length calculators!
The axles are modular, so you can run all the common dropout configurations, and the freehub mechanism (DT’s Star Ratchet) is one of the easiest to maintain on the market. We love servicing these freehubs, the simplicity is just so perfect.
On the subject of freehub bodies, if you’re running the SRAM XD body for SRAM’s XX1 or X01 cassette, make sure you use lots of grease when you install the cassette. We had a drama with a cassette getting stuck and it was a real battle to free it (almost resulting in a ruined XX1 cassette; now that would’ve been expensive).
We’d love to try the Roam 60 carbon versions of these wheels, because we’re very impressed by the 50s and can only imagine how good the stiffer carbon rim would make this wheelset.