SRAM Roam 50 29er mountain bike wheels review$1,072.00

Aluminium trail wheels for hard-ridden 29ers

BikeRadar score3.5/5

SRAM's new Roam 50 wheels tread a fine balance between low weight and high strength to create a responsive yet tough trail wheel, but you pay for the privilege.

At 1,641g (769g front, 872g rear) they actually weigh less than SRAM's Roam 60 carbon wheels. They're light for an alloy-rimmed wheel and very light for one with a 21mm internal, 26mm external tubeless rim.

There's a lot of clever metal-working in the rim making that possible, including their Taper Core butting that creates a thick outer edge for dent resistance with a thinner, lighter centre. We haven't dinged our test rims yet, even running very low tubeless pressures thanks to the secure and refreshingly easy to inflate UST rim profile.

The Wide Angle rims were happy to support any tyre we tried during testing, with even the monster 29x2.5in Maxxis Minion DHF not looking as pinched as it does on most wheels. The best stability results we got were using the relatively low profile Maxxis Ardent Race 2.2in tyres pictured that you see in the photo.

While initial pick up can be slow due to the 20-degree engagement gap from the tough DT Star Ratchet freehub, acceleration is good once they've engaged and they always feel lively and keen to change direction or hop and pop on the trail.

While placement is very easy, overall stiffness and tracking precision is best described as middling. They're not as obviously accurate or sharp in feel as Mavic's 100g heavier but thinner CrossMax ST wheels, but they don't stumble and twang like a lot of light alloy wheels do.

Critically we didn't have to alter our line choices or corner exit expectations much compared to the SRAM Rise 60 wheels they replaced on our test Tallboy LTc. This balance isn't accidental either as SRAM and its development riders, such as the legendary Nico Vouilloz, have deliberately designed some compliance into the wheels to increase traction and make them more durable in the longterm.

Damage repair and user friendliness is also greatly simplified by the fact that SRAM's unique Solo Spoke design means all of the 24 Sapim CX Ray straight-pull spokes in both wheels are the same length. The press-fit hub adaptors for the QR/15mm front and QR/142x12mm rear changes are ambidextrous too, which makes things easy.

So far we haven't had a single durability issue with any of the several SRAM mountain bike wheels we've used over the past 18 months, which is impressive for a first generation design.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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