Roval were the first company to offer a factory built wheel solution, this was way back in the ?70s so you can be forgiven for not knowing! By working with Roval, Specialized have analysed the drawbacks of other wheel types and eliminated any compromises within them.
Their new flagship wheel set is the Rapide Star. This uses the new Starhub design and has a 32mm deep carbon rim. This wheel design has the lowest drag and highest drive efficiency of any design based on tests performed by the MIT.
The hub design gives the wheel a greatly reduced frontal area and as a result reduces the drag from spokes that affects other wheels. This gives a lower drag than the eponymous Specialized tri-spoke and handles extremely well in cross winds. The penalty for this aside from an unusual looking wheel is the weight.
At 1750g per pair they are certainly not the lightest wheels and we all know that rotating weight is a big enemy. Specialized have build bikes light enough to now concentrate on putting weight in areas where it has a benefit and they feel that these wheels are one of them.
For more new products, check out Cycling Weekly‘s ‘New for 2007’ special, on sale from Thursday December 7.