Sibling Rivalry: Roval Terra C – by Greg Gentle

“Engineered to be as diverse as the ever-expanding terrain drop bar bikes are exploring, the Terra family introduces a suite of new best-in-class products to expand your ride beyond the pavement.” -Roval Components

In 2020 Roval introduced the Terra lineup of adventure drop-bar products including a new carbon handlebar and several wheelsets. The Terra CL and Terra CLX carbon wheels further expanded Roval’s dominant footprint in the high-performance wheel market further distancing them as just a “house brand” for Specialized Bicycles. The Terra CLX wheels were featured here last season.

When a new family member arrives, it is not uncommon for siblings to be a little jealous of all the redirected love and attention. The Terra C is no exception–the other Terra wheels have good reason to be jealous. To offer a carbon wheelset with the new bulletproof DT Swiss 370 hubs for $1000 is going to get a lot of attention.

Launched in May of 2021, the Terra C was built on the success of the Terra line of carbon wheels yet offering a wallet-friendly alternative to its siblings. The $2500 Terra CLX is first in class but comes with a matching price tag. Recognizing the CLX price point is out of reach for many, Roval listened to your calls offering the all-new Terra C for $1000 a pair.

The Build

The Terra C Carbon comes in at just over 1600grams. Pretty impressive considering the $2500 Terra CLX is only about 300 grams lighter. Beyond an affordable price point, the Terra C comes with the following specs:
• 25mm internal, 32mm depth
• 1,610 grams/pair
• Tire range: 28c-47c
• Shimano or XD compatibility
• Terra carbon rims
• New DT Swiss 370 hubs, center lock, 18T ratchet-through axle

The carbon rim on the Terra C is crafted using a Resin Transfer Molding system maximizing strength and performance. The Terra C uses the same rim profile, spoke, and hub architecture as the Terra C’s pricier siblings resulting in a bomb-proof wheelset for all-terrain adventures.

The Set-Up

My tire of choice is the Terrene Elwood. Setup on the Terra C rim was a piece of cake. During my test window with these wheels, I was able to mount a 35c and 40c Terrene tire on the hooked rim without any tools. By designing a hooked rim, the Terra wheelset is ready for a wide range of tire sizes and tire pressures—further expanding their appeal. I was ready to ride in 15 minutes after adding sealant and airing the tires up with an air compressor.

I left the wheels untouched for a few days to see how well they maintained tire pressure. I was impressed to see only 2-3 psi loss over a five-day period.

The Ride

To get the party started I slapped on a 16t Surly cog on the Shimano freehub and prepared for a few weeks of singlespeed action. The stripped-down drive train allowed me to really concentrate on how the wheels respond both on and off the beaten path. Lucky to have hero gravel just beyond my driveway, I spent several weeks pounding out miles to see how they respond. Impressive ride quality was evident right away.

Powering up steep climbs was a breeze offering minimal lateral flex. I could feel only a marginal difference in the wheel’s acceleration compared to the Terra CLX. The DT Swiss 370 hubs are a little heavier, but the engagement is efficient and gets you where you need to go.

The Big Test

Sure, buzzing around on a single speed is one way to get an idea of how a wheelset is going to perform under load. But the big test is how the wheel performs under serious pressure. How about a 240-mile gravel race?

The Day Across Minnesota leaves Gary, SD at the stroke of midnight. Racers chase the stars across Minnesota’s western prairie finishing on the banks of the Mississippi River in Hager City, WI. The DAMN is not for the faint of heart. I expected to be out on the border-to-border course for a minimum of 15 hours. I clocked in just over 17 hours all said and done. A guy gets to know his bike and components under these conditions.

Photo by – Todd Bauer of TMB Images.

On course the Terra C exceeded expectations for ride quality and performance. The first 65-miles were fast and furious averaging speeds over 20 mph. The stiff, yet compliant carbon rims tracked well in loose class-5 gravel, kept me between the ditches on the fast river valley descents, and climbed like a pro-level wheelset.

Photo by – Todd Bauer of TMB Images.

The Final Word

Gravel riders and off-road drop-bar adventure junkies looking for a carbon wheel option that won’t break the bank should look no further than the Roval Terra C. Offering best-in-show performance, consistent reliability, and a marginal weight penalty compared to pricier offerings from Zipp and HED, this is one of the best deals on the market right now.

About Gomez 2576 Articles
Just an old cat that rides bikes, herds pixels, ropes gnomes and sometimes writes stories. I love a good story.

1 Comment

  1. Great review! I’ve been looking for a set of wheels to up grade the pathetic stock wheels on my Bianchi Arcadex.

    Your 15 hour plus race testimony sealed the deal, as that’s far more then I ever expect to attempt.

    Thanks for taking the time to write and post.

    Now; I think they are even on sale ????.

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