Tech of the Month October: New Roval Rapide CL II and HED Jet 180 wheels, fresh Turbo tyres from Specialized, Outdoor Vs Indoor winter training and Factor's Ostro Gravel bike

We discuss the merits of winter training indoors and out as well as looking at a new line up of road tyres from Specialized

Tech of the Month
(Image credit: )

This month we ponder is winter training over as we once knew it? Given the improvements to indoor training tech, from the turbo trainers to the virtual apps, is there any longer a reason to get cold and wet as you log your winter miles? Let’s just say opinions are divided! 

We discuss the launches of Roval more affordable Rapide CL II wheels and Specialized’s range of S-Works tyres as well as look at the possible virtues of HED’s Kona Ironman-specific Jet 180 wheel.

Finally our Bike of the Month is Factor’s OSTRO gravel, which is a lightweight, race-ready machine that we put through its paces in a recent gravel event.

There's a lot of exciting tech and talking points to enjoy. But first read on for the highlights.


For this month's Garmin Giveaway, we’ve got the Garmin Varia RCT715. It houses a 1080p camera and shoots at 30fps so you’ll be sure to catch any close passes and registration plates while you’re out on the road. 

 It also features Automatic Incident Capture that ensures it continues recording “before, during, and after” an accident. 

It can be controlled via the Varia app and footage will be beamed to it as well making it easy to transfer to a computer should you want to. This is all alongside the benefits of the radar system which lets you know about traffic coming up from the rear.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply click this link or fill in the form below. We’ll get in contact with the lucky winner by the end of this month. If you don’t end up being the lucky one – don’t worry, we’ll be running it again next month.

Roval Rapide CL II wheels

Roval's new Rapide CL II wheelset

(Image credit: Roval )

Given that the Roval Rapide CLX II wheels were released just four months ago, the launch of the Rapide CL II is less an example of trickle down technology and more a case of a quick deluge.

The far more affordable CL IIs boast the same rim profile, maintaining the 21mm inner rim width, the 51/60 front/rear rim depth and the 35/30 front/rear outer rim width. So how has Roval managed to shave off £1000 off the price of the CL IIs compared to the CLX IIs?

The cost saving is to be found in both the hubs and the spokes. The DT Swiss EXP hubs with ceramic bearings are swapped out for the Swiss brand’s ultra reliable 350 hub, while the DT Swiss Aerolite spokes are exchanged for straightpull DT Swiss Competition Race spokes. Perhaps surprisingly, the weight penalty is minor, making the Rapide CL IIs just 70g heavier.

Given the considerable price difference and both the tried-and-tested reliability and serviceability of the DT Swiss 350 hubs, the CL IIs look well placed to reach a much wider audience than their flashier sibling.

HED Jet 180 wheels

HED Jet 180 wheel

(Image credit: HED)

There are deep section wheels and then there's HED's Jet 180. It’s the deepest rim we’ve ever seen and essentially resembles an aerodynamic doughnut, with the 180mm depth leaving only a small hole and little room for the hub and some stunted spokes.

Why not just use a rear disc wheel you may ask? At the Ironman World Championships in Kona, full disc wheels aren’t allowed, so HED have created the Jet 180 as a loophole of sorts. It certainly makes the product a niche one and while it will be offered for general sale really it was designed for the benefit of a few HED-sponsored riders who compete at the Kona event.

HED engineers say it's the fastest non-disc wheel it's made, some 5-8 watts better than its next deepest wheel. Despite the hole it’s actually heavier than the brand’s Vanquish RCD disc wheel but in an arena where aerodynamics trump weight this is likely of little concern for potential buyers.

Specialized S-Works Turbo tyres

Specialized's new line up Turbo tyres features four offereings

(Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized’s new line-up of S-Works Turbo tyres have already received plenty of attention thanks to a few significant professional wins, most notably Remco Evenepoel’s maiden grand tour victory at this year’s Vuelta. 

The Turbo range consists of four tyres - the Pro T5, the SW, the SW 2BR and the SW Rapidair - with prices staring at £35 for the Pro T5 and going up in increments of £10, eventually reaching £65 for the top-tier SW Rapidair 2BR. 

So what’s new? In keeping with modern wheel trends, the new Turbo tyres are compatible with hookless rims, thanks to a Zylon reinforced bead. They also use a revamped compound, indeed compounds, across the range. Two are used on each tyre, with the T2 compound running down the centre and the T5 on the shoulders; the former is designed to lower rolling resistance while the latter is there to improve grip.

Outdoor vs Indoor Winter training

Image shows rider on a winter bike with mudguards.

(Image credit: Future)

Unquestionably indoor training has improved considerably in recent times. Noisy, unstable turbo trainers have been replaced with smart direct-drive trainers that are quiet, efficient and connect seamlessly to a range of third-party apps that allow you to train and race in a virtual world. 

With winter soon arriving we ask whether these improvements, coupled with keeping out of the wet and the cold, avoiding traffic, and not having to dress up like your heading for a spot of skiing in the Alps, could sound the death knell for winter training as we once knew it?

Typically, when the clocks went back, your fancy summer bikes were cleaned and put away until spring. In their place came the winter bike. A reliable old friend, often made of steel, it was equipped for the weather, mudguards always on, and usually consisted of a mix of parts taken from your ‘good’ bikes of old. It was a bike for steady miles, which as the saying goes, would then make for summer smiles. 

But for some, perhaps those of a younger generation, this tradition is less known, so less observed. Why bother getting cold and wet when you can train efficiently indoors, while still ‘meeting’ your riding mates in the virtual world? Like we said, perhaps it’s a generational thing.

If the CW team is anything to go by, the verdict is inconclusive. While indoor training has obvious benefits during the colder months, the sensation of riding outdoors in a range of conditions hardens the reserves and can often raise the spirits too.

Factor OSTRO Gravel

Image shows Factor Ostro Gravel

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

Our bike of the month for October is Factor’s Ostro Gravel. We were lucky enough to have one to use during the British Gravel Championships, although a puncture put paid to any podium bid.

You’ll be able to read more about Stefan’s ride, and his thoughts on the bike, in his review, but the sub-8kg Ostro Gravel is certainly an intriguing proposition. Gravel bikes designed primarily with racing in mind are the latest sub-set in the ever-growing gravel bike sphere. 

The Factor takes cues from the Ostro VAM road bike, using kammtail tube shapes and an integrated cockpit to improve its aerodynamics. It’s also designed to work with a range of tyre widths, including narrower slicks, seemingly giving it a bit of ‘one bike to conquer them all’ appeal. 

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for twenty five years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He has been a cycling enthusiast from an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a keen follower of bike racing to this day as well as a regular road and gravel rider.