Specialized unveil new Alpinist CLX and Rapide CLX wheelsets

New wheelsets are pitched at climbing prowess and all-round performance

Roval – the wheel branch of Specialized – has released two new wheelsets: the lightweight, climbing oriented Alpinist CLX and the Rapide CLX, claimed to be the ‘fastest all-round wheelset’ the brand has ever produced.

Both wheelsets are being produced as disc brake only models further pushing the trend towards the more reliable stoppers and signifying an additional nail in the coffin of rim brakes for high-end use.

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Slightly juxtapose to this forward thinking is the fact Roval has gone against the flow of recent wheel advances by designing both sets around a tube type setup rather than the increasingly common tubeless setup.

Both wheels also stick to a narrower internal diameter, signifying compatibility with narrower tyres as well as being usable with the trend of ever expanding tyre volumes.

Alpinist CLX £1850

Roval has focussed the Alpinist CLX on achieving a specific goal – to be the lightest road clincher wheelset it has created. The Alpinist CLX hits the scales at 1248 grams a pair (un-verified by Cycling Weekly), making them seriously light for a 33mm deep carbon rimmed wheel and sure to appeal to riders looking to reduce mass where it counts the most.

The rim measures 21mm internal diameter so should work with tyres from 700x23c upwards, Roval has not included the external measurement for comparison.

The front wheel weighs in at 562 grams and features 21 DT Swiss Aerolite spokes in a 2:1 spoke lacing ratio, with a two cross pattern on disc side and radial on the opposite side. The 686 gram rear features the same 2:1 ratio, this time 24 DT Swiss Aerolite spokes are laced one cross on non-drive and two cross on drive side.

Hubs are Roval’s latest AeroFlange design, with the rear utilising DT Swiss EXP internals. Both hubs are for centre lock disc rotors and have 15x100mm and 12x142mm bolt thru axle compatibility. Only a Shimano compatible freehub option is listed but Roval has done replacement SRAM XDR freehubs for other wheelsets.

The Roval Alpinist CLX is available with either a gloss black or white graphics package. The wheelset includes Roval wheels bags and Roval’s lifetime warranty and NoFault crash replacement policy.

Retail pricing is £750 for front, £1100 for rear.

Rapide CLX £1850

Built from the idea of combining the high performing CLX 64 and CLX 32 wheelsets, Roval is claiming that the new Rapide CLX is “the fastest all-round road wheelset ever produced by Roval” and it firmly believes the Rapide CLX is “fastest in the world right now”.

Roval has approached the building of a fast wheelset from a slightly different slant and has worked to reduce instability caused by wind gusts, a factor it says is paramount to increasing speed and stability. Roval state that due to the slowness of human reaction times riders often correct for sidewinds after the event, slowing down and correcting steering at a time that will mainly just cause a drop in speed.

To this end, it has worked on rim shapes that reduce the impact of sidewinds, meaning that riders need to correct less and therefore maintain speed more consistently.

This translates to a front rim that is both shallower and wider than the rear owing to the fact that the front wheel is considerably more affected by sidewinds than the rear. Since the rear is stabilised more by the rider it is deeper and narrower with more of a focus on reducing drag.

Roval Rapide CLX front and rear rim profiles show the very different designs.

The front carbon rim measures a 21mm internal diameter, 35mm external and a depth of 51mm. The rear has the same 21mm internal measurement but the outside diameter is 30.7mm and the rim has a depth of 60mm. Roval claim that the Rapide CLX yields less drag than most 65mm deep wheels and offers 25 per cent more stability than its own CLX 50 wheel.

The Rapide CLX features the same 2:1 spoke ratio and pattern but uses less spokes on the front wheel than the Alpinist CLX, with just 18 DT Swiss Aerolite spokes used. Hubs and all other features and included parts are the same as the Alpinist CLX.

The Rapide CLX weighs in at a claimed 1400 grams per set (649g front, 751g rear). Retail is set to be the same as the Alpinist CLX.