By Symon Lewis
Stiff, light and strong
The new CLX range comprises a 64mm deep, 50mm and the Roval CLX 32 Disc wheels tested here that fall into the lightweight category. The rear weighs in at 740g and the front 610g – not bad for a disc-brake wheelset.
Specialized say the Roval CLX 32 was engineered in its own wind tunnel with 24mm wide tyres to get the best aero package as possible, and it seems to have worked, and these feel great at all speeds. Their light weight definitely helps their acceleration and the aerodynamics help slice through the air, which heightens their all-round ability.
Ceramic bearings are a tidy finish to this high-end wheelset and help them roll nicely. By being light and not so deep these spin up quickly and hold speed well too. I’d happily train on these, race on these and use them everyday for commuting.
Now these rims are tubeless ready, but a colleague and I found the wide rim made the tubeless set up difficult, even with the help of dedicated tubeless pumps. However, the advantage of this is getting tyres on and off is easy, but getting them seated is a pain, and will require a bit more grunt work than narrower rims.
Thankfully the American brand provides QR and 12mm bolt thru caps with the wheelset (as well as pair of tubeless valves) so you should be able to work with whatever spindle type you use.
But it is not just the tech specs that are excellent, the ride quality is every bit its match and that's exactly why the Roval CLX 32 Disc wheels have landed a spot on Cycling Weekly's Editor's Choice for 2017.
The 32s use the centerlock system for the discs and have a very wide internal carbon rim which sits at 20.7mm. They certainly look very wide and the 26mm tyres they were fitted with sat perfectly, giving a great contact patch on the road allowing for better comfort and rolling resistance on the typical broken roads of the UK.
Despite the light weight Specialized claims, these carbon hoops are tough enough for cyclocross and while we haven’t pushed these off-road, we can confirm they brushed off typical farm tracks and weathered winter lanes without buckling or needing a true-up.
The brilliant thing about disc brakes is that the rim will never wear and, as long as you look after the ceramic bearings, they should stand the test of time too – regardless of whether you're riding cross or just on the road. There can't be many better upgrades for those who have dived into the disc-brake world.
Class leading wheels
Specialized is throwing around some big claims surrounding the Roval CLX 32s. It has wind-tunnel tested all of the rims and claims the Roval CLX 32 to be class leading in terms of weight and aerodynamics, suggesting they are faster than some wheels twice the depth.
In our testing these claims certainly felt like they could be true, with the wheels feeling light and stiff, rolling up to speed very nicely and then staying there.
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