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  1. #1
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    Roval Control 29 Breaking Spokes

    These are the OEM Roval Control 29 on a 2012 Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29 HT.

    Rear wheel. A drive side spoke broke late last season. The LBS ordered 8 spokes (2 of each length for the wheelset) for which I paid $33 for- no warranty. Since then I have broken another drive side in late March and I just replaced a non-drive side today. 3 spokes replaced so far. Is anyone else experiencing such a failure rate with these wheels? Is there any type of wheel replacement under warranty for so many spokes breaking, or am I SOL? All breaks have occurred at the hub where the spoke is inserted into the flange.
    2012 Cannondale Supersix Evo 2 /// 2012 Specialized Carbon 29 HT/Rigid /// 2000 Ritchey Swiss Cross

  2. #2
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    There are only two real explanations I can think of:

    One is tension that is way loose and nowhere near generally equal and transferring the stress to those spokes.

    Two is a rim that's way out of true and those spokes having to be tensioned way above what is normal, thereby causing them to fail when they encounter normal riding stresses.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    There are only two real explanations I can think of:

    One is tension that is way loose and nowhere near generally equal and transferring the stress to those spokes.

    Two is a rim that's way out of true and those spokes having to be tensioned way above what is normal, thereby causing them to fail when they encounter normal riding stresses.

    The rim is true and the spoke tension is even. Definitely not too loose. Just keeps popping spokes at the spoke heads- all different spokes.
    2012 Cannondale Supersix Evo 2 /// 2012 Specialized Carbon 29 HT/Rigid /// 2000 Ritchey Swiss Cross

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    Roval Control 29 Breaking Spokes

    Quote Originally Posted by agentsmith View Post
    The rim is true and the spoke tension is even. Definitely not too loose. Just keeps popping spokes at the spoke heads- all different spokes.
    3: Bad batch of spokes. Specialized has had that problem before.

    But they should be DT SuperComps (straight pull). Never cared for straight pull spokes because of limited availability. $33 is way high for 8 spokes. Could get CX-Rays for that
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentsmith View Post
    The rim is true and the spoke tension is even. Definitely not too loose. Just keeps popping spokes at the spoke heads- all different spokes.
    Just because the rim can be trued/ is true doesn't mean the tension is right. Even if they all feel "tight" doesn't mean it's right. Use a tension-meter or have someone that's built hundreds of wheels look at it.

    Even tension doesn't always exist and that's not necessarily bad. A new wheel will have fairly even tension, but if it gets knocked a little out of true, you need to use uneven tension to bring it back. That's normal over the life of a wheel. As long as it's within the design parameters, it will be ok. If you have to tension spokes ABOVE the design parameters to bring it back into true, you may get the thing true, but you'll start breaking spokes most likely. That's why I was suspecting this.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  6. #6
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    i just popped a head off my control sl's today. was literaly "just riding around". not too rough of a trail (alum creek p2). will be contacting specialized

  7. #7
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    Roval Control 29 Breaking Spokes

    Quote Originally Posted by dypeterc View Post
    i just popped a head off my control sl's today. was literaly "just riding around". not too rough of a trail (alum creek p2). will be contacting specialized
    Spokes usually break from fatigue, not a single incident, so having it happen while JRA is not abnormal.

    I had a nipple break recently climbing out of the saddle on smooth pavement. The wheel is 6 years old and well used so I do not blame my massive power output.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Spokes usually break from fatigue, not a single incident, so having it happen while JRA is not abnormal.

    I had a nipple break recently climbing out of the saddle on smooth pavement. The wheel is 6 years old and well used so I do not blame my massive power output.
    My wheelset is only 8 mo old and I'm only 130 lbs

  9. #9
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    Roval Control 29 Breaking Spokes

    Quote Originally Posted by dypeterc View Post
    My wheelset is only 8 mo old and I'm only 130 lbs
    But the stress that caused the break did not happen just at the moment it failed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    But the stress that caused the break did not happen just at the moment it failed.
    Understood. I'm just surprised it failed so quickly.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentsmith View Post
    Is anyone else experiencing such a failure rate with these wheels?
    Yes of course. For my last bike ( Stumpy FSR Elite 2013) I did not even bother,bought a new set of serious wheels even before the bike arrived. I've had a previous experience with a 2011 Stumpy fsr 26 and a 2012 Epic. If there's anything worst than their spokes that would be their hubs. Specialized should usually service them under warranty but I would strongly suggest you to invest in a better set of wheels,there's plenty of choices out there that will perform gazillion times better and won't break the bank.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devastazione View Post
    Yes of course. For my last bike ( Stumpy FSR Elite 2013) I did not even bother,bought a new set of serious wheels even before the bike arrived. I've had a previous experience with a 2011 Stumpy fsr 26 and a 2012 Epic. If there's anything worst than their spokes that would be their hubs. Specialized should usually service them under warranty but I would strongly suggest you to invest in a better set of wheels,there's plenty of choices out there that will perform gazillion times better and won't break the bank.
    +1
    I haven't even ordered my new Stumpy yet and already pricing out Stan's Arch EX's.
    I will use the stock wheel's for back up's.

  13. #13
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    Nothing short of ENVE's are as stiff and light as the Control and Control 29 wheels. When you get to affordability then nothing compares. Sure a broken spoke and a little more maintenance is required but then again you're saving lots of $$$

  14. #14
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    I just broke a rear spoke on this wheelset last week. Couldn't find any sign of outright damage on it aside from the clean break. The bad batch of spokes theory may be true.

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    Just called Spec and the warranty on alloy rim wheels is 1 year, so I'm SOL. At least I have more spokes left. It sure does turn me off to purchasing ANY Roval wheels in the future.
    2012 Cannondale Supersix Evo 2 /// 2012 Specialized Carbon 29 HT/Rigid /// 2000 Ritchey Swiss Cross

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentsmith View Post
    Just called Spec and the warranty on alloy rim wheels is 1 year, so I'm SOL. At least I have more spokes left. It sure does turn me off to purchasing ANY Roval wheels in the future.
    Don't feel like that,Roval makes some excellent wheels when you choose higher specs models. The carbon ones and the M5 Traverse EL are excellent wheels,they come at a good price and when paired up with a DT hub they are very easy to DIY service.
    I've beated the heck out of my old Traverse EL's and they never ran out of true,neither ended up with a broken spoke ever. Just stay away from everything that says "Hi-Lo" hubs and you'll be fine.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devastazione View Post
    Don't feel like that,Roval makes some excellent wheels when you choose higher specs models. The carbon ones and the M5 Traverse EL are excellent wheels,they come at a good price and when paired up with a DT hub they are very easy to DIY service.
    BTW, I misread the OP. I'm running the carbon Roval Control Trail SLs, and broke a spoke. I love the wheelset, and spokes can break for a lot of reasons, but I'll keep an eye on this issue. So, it can obviously happen on any wheelset.

  18. #18
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    Roval Control 29 Breaking Spokes

    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    BTW, I misread the OP. I'm running the carbon Roval Control Trail SLs, and broke a spoke. I love the wheelset, and spokes can break for a lot of reasons, but I'll keep an eye on this issue. So, it can obviously happen on any wheelset.
    Those have fewer and thinner spokes.
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  19. #19
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    Why should there be no warranty for broken spokes?!

  20. #20
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    Spokes are generally covered under the "manufacturing defects" which is typically rendered null and void by riding off-road/ lack of "proper" maintenance and any "adjustments" made by un-trained or non-qualified persons or qualified persons not using correct equipment.... basically: not covered under warranty.

  21. #21
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    I think you got maybe a bad wheel or a couple bad spokes. the roval control 29's on my epic expert have been flawless. they are the ones with the dt rear hub and dt spokes. I liked them so much I bought another set for my hardtail. haven't broken a spoke on either set yet. plus they both set tubeless super easy, with four different tires between both sets.

    paulca916.
    before you drop your money on a set of stans wheels take another peak at the rovals. i have had a set of stans wheels and they did perform pretty well although a little flimsy in the 26inch version which made me even more skeptical of there 29 inch version. when i bought my roval controls i got the end caps for the 15mm thru, 23mm and 28mm. plus the 142 X12mm thru for the rear and the 135mm endcaps. i believe you have to buy all additional end caps for the stans wheels separately.

    the roval wheels also come with dt swiss rws skewers which are awesome. the ones you get with the stans wheels didn't even have a name on them and felt really low end with a not so positive clamping feel.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecialWarr View Post
    Spokes are generally covered under the "manufacturing defects" which is typically rendered null and void by riding off-road/ lack of "proper" maintenance and any "adjustments" made by un-trained or non-qualified persons or qualified persons not using correct equipment.... basically: not covered under warranty.
    Aha, I understand. You have to bring the evidence that it was a manufacturing defect, otherwise no warranty. Funny.
    If you go to your specialized dealer it should be clear that this person is able to fullfil the needs of the customer and the warranty conditions under he has to replace the spokes and ask to get he money back from Specialized - so far the theory...

  23. #23
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    My spoke broke right at the head which indicates a manufacturing defect. I can see if the spoke was bent or broken between the head and the nipple thread then it's on the owner.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by adumb View Post

    paulca916.
    before you drop your money on a set of stans wheels take another peak at the rovals. i have had a set of stans wheels and they did perform pretty well although a little flimsy in the 26inch version which made me even more skeptical of there 29 inch version. when i bought my roval controls i got the end caps for the 15mm thru, 23mm and 28mm. plus the 142 X12mm thru for the rear and the 135mm endcaps. i believe you have to buy all additional end caps for the stans wheels separately.

    the roval wheels also come with dt swiss rws skewers which are awesome. the ones you get with the stans wheels didn't even have a name on them and felt really low end with a not so positive clamping feel.
    Just talked to Specialized yesterday about getting Roval Carbon hoops only since I want to use Industry Nine Torch hub's (120 Pt engagement compared to 36 pt).
    My LBS is calling to get me price's this coming week if the price is to crazy I will go with Light Bicycle Carbon hoops and see how they last.
    ​​
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  25. #25
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    A broken spoke at the head indicates over-stressed spoke due to forces being applied... impact forces from having the spoke too loose or tension forces due to over-tightening.... not a defect in manufacturing.

  26. #26
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    Just relating my experience, though with an older set of wheels and certainly not the roval Carbons. I had similar issues, spokes frequently and then incessantly popping on my rear wheel. This was a 08 stumpy and it began at around 18 months of use. Bike was well cared for by me, and taken to the LBS where I bought it from for any major services. Spec warranty replaced the entire rear wheel for me.

    Just my experience.

  27. #27
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    Broke another spoke on my rear Control SL. Just over a month after the first one went. Same side. At the head too. I'll be talking to Spec to see what they think...

  28. #28
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    Did you get any feedback from Specialized? I have a set of carbon Roval Control SL 29 wheels and have also broken several spokes on the rear wheel, just as you have described.

  29. #29
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    I've just had 4 rear spokes replaced. 1 broke when riding (the 2nd time this has happened) and the others looked damaged. It appears as thought they had got damaged due to chain drop, although this is something which I cannot recall.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentsmith View Post
    These are the OEM Roval Control 29 on a 2012 Stumpjumper Expert Carbon 29 HT.

    Rear wheel. A drive side spoke broke late last season. The LBS ordered 8 spokes (2 of each length for the wheelset) for which I paid $33 for- no warranty. Since then I have broken another drive side in late March and I just replaced a non-drive side today. 3 spokes replaced so far. Is anyone else experiencing such a failure rate with these wheels? Is there any type of wheel replacement under warranty for so many spokes breaking, or am I SOL? All breaks have occurred at the hub where the spoke is inserted into the flange.
    Do you happen to know the spoke length for the drive side and non-drive side rear spokes on those you purchased?

    Not positive how straight pull spokes are measured. They may be measured from the underside of the spoke head where it contacts the inside of the rim (nipple seat) rather than the top of the spoke head.

    Trying to help a friend rebuild his rear wheel (Roval Control 29), and it appears that it will be a challenge to find the hub dimensions, not to mention, I haven't found a spoke calculator that will calculate straight pull spokes.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj View Post
    Do you happen to know the spoke length for the drive side and non-drive side rear spokes on those you purchased?
    Found though Google:
    SPECIALIZED | Roval Control 29 Carbon spoke lengths

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burning Matches View Post
    Thank you!

  33. #33
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    Roval Control 29 Breaking Spokes

    Just to provide a data point, I've broken three spokes on my 2012 Roval Control 29 (alloy) back wheel. I've got a decent size (~3-4mm) hop in the back wheel too, it might be time for rim replacement. I might go for a Stan's ArchEX for a replacement rim on the back. One nice thing about this wheelset is that there's 32 holes in the rim, so most rims will work with the wheelset.

    I'm on a hardtail, I'm not that smooth, I was in pisgah when they broke and I'm fairly big at 190 pounds. Spoke breakage is not really anything new for me so I didn't really make a fuss when they broke, I just took them to the shop to be replaced.

  34. #34
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    Roval Control 29 Breaking Spokes

    Well I think I jinxed myself. I did a cross race on my Rovals this weekend and managed to break a spoke warming up. I didn't have a spare set of wheels, so I decided to remove the spoke and race anyways. I broke another one during the race, so I just backed off and finished the race.

    When I took it to the shop, the mechanic started working on replacing the spokes and he noticed that the spoke tensions were all out of whack. When he was trying to even out the spoke tensions, spokes just starting breaking. He called Specialized, and they told him that the straight pull spokes have issues. Apparently they wind up over time and fatigue. When that happens, you need to buy a new wheel or have it rebuilt.

    I ended up buying a new wheel, it just wasn't a Roval. Went with a Stan's ArchEX build.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by msrothwe View Post
    When I took it to the shop, the mechanic started working on replacing the spokes and he noticed that the spoke tensions were all out of whack. When he was trying to even out the spoke tensions, spokes just starting breaking. He called Specialized, and they told him that the straight pull spokes have issues. Apparently they wind up over time and fatigue. When that happens, you need to buy a new wheel or have it rebuilt.

    I ended up buying a new wheel, it just wasn't a Roval. Went with a Stan's ArchEX build.
    Really struggling to accept this. My wheelset has done 5000 hard kms, and I have broken 4 rear spokes none from the front, mostly attributable to spoke damage. If what your LBS told you was true there were would numerous tales of significant failures, and there just aren't...

    On the other hand, my 2011 SL's have needed periodic spoke tightening, especially the rear.

  36. #36
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    When I got my 2012 S-works Stumpjumper FSR last spring, I had the shop swap the regular Roval carbons for the SL versions on Epics. I am 175lbs, and ride and race pretty hard. So far no broken spokes, and the wheels are as true as the day I bought them. Sounds like some people just get a bad batch. No way would I got to a flexy Stans alloy rim. My brother has ridden 4 times on his new Scalpel carbon 1 with Reynolds carbon wheels, and just broke a spoke on the rear. But Reynolds is taking care of him, and will completely rebuild the wheel in the winter.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdalcanto View Post
    When I got my 2012 S-works Stumpjumper FSR last spring, I had the shop swap the regular Roval carbons for the SL versions on Epics. I am 175lbs, and ride and race pretty hard. So far no broken spokes, and the wheels are as true as the day I bought them. Sounds like some people just get a bad batch. No way would I got to a flexy Stans alloy rim. My brother has ridden 4 times on his new Scalpel carbon 1 with Reynolds carbon wheels, and just broke a spoke on the rear. But Reynolds is taking care of him, and will completely rebuild the wheel in the winter.
    I think you're right about it being a bad batch, but evidently specialized doesn't think so. They just said that it is what it is and I've got to pay up to get a rebuild if I want spokes that won't break. I don't mind paying, but with no customer support at specialized, I'm going to go to a different brand.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by msrothwe View Post
    I think you're right about it being a bad batch, but evidently specialized doesn't think so. They just said that it is what it is and I've got to pay up to get a rebuild if I want spokes that won't break. I don't mind paying, but with no customer support at specialized, I'm going to go to a different brand.
    I guess the thing is that it would mean a bad batch of spokes (DTswiss at that), as there are no issues with the carbon rims or hubs. If that was the case I would expect a large number of other OEM's to be involved....

  39. #39
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    Roval Control 29 Breaking Spokes

    I'm not sure what the issue is, but I have the alloy versions if the Roval Control 29s, not the carbon ones.

  40. #40
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    2 more spokes broke this year, for a total of 5 spokes replaced in the rear wheel.
    2012 Cannondale Supersix Evo 2 /// 2012 Specialized Carbon 29 HT/Rigid /// 2000 Ritchey Swiss Cross

  41. #41
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    I've had my Roval Control 29 Carbon wheel set for over a year and have had 4 spokes break on me in the rear. I weigh 173 pounds and don't ride the MTB that much as I alternate during the week between the MTB, road bike, and CX bike.

  42. #42
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    I have broken 3 spokes in 3 weeks on my OEM Roval Control 29, LBS is relacing a new set of spokes since they are supposedly back ordered on a full replacement wheel. I was considering the new Fattie SL's and keeping my Control's as a backup wheelset but it looks like the Fattie's use the same DT spokes and not sure if I trust their strength. Anyone have insight on improved strength of carbon Fattie spokes?

  43. #43
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    I've broken four spokes in the last 6 months and never broke one in the prior 5 years of riding...before the Roval Control Carbon 29. This wheelset was much lower cost than the Enve Carbon which is why I went with them. I guess you get what you pay for. The cost savings is certainly not worth the frustration.

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