Following Roval's recent foray into cockpit components with the launch of the Alpinist bar-stem combo, the American brand has today unveiled an all-new aero bar, known simply as the Rapide Handlebar.
Roval takes full advantage of access to parent company Specialized's wind tunnel and works equally closely with pro riders. Over recent years, Roval has forged a reputation for making high-end wheels and obsessing about the details and, in many ways, the Rapide handlebar follows the same blueprint.
Through extensive testing in the affectionately dubbed 'Win Tunnel', you will find the usual promise of aerodynamic advantages, watts saved, and minimal weight compromise. Roval claims the Rapide handlebar is worth 20 seconds vs a round bar, although the context to this testing is not supplied, and therefore it's unclear as to what wattage or speed this is claimed.
Roval also claims a weight of just 225 grams in a 42cm width, which if accurate, would make the Rapide handlebar very competitive, especially among other leading aero handlebars.
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The handlebar is new-to-market for consumers as of today but it's seen extensive use already and has been ridden to victory more than a dozen times by Mark Cavendish and Sam Bennett. It's the feedback of these riders that have yielded some stand-out features.
Instead of needing to compromise for the promise of aero efficiency, the Rapide considers comfort. The airfoil is offset forward to offer greater wrist, forearm, and knee clearance.
There are also features that appear to be borrowed from Specialized's Aerofly II handlebar. For example, instead of a smooth and slippery surface on the unwrapped tops, Roval has integrated texture which it claims will help to ensure a solid connection to the bike even with sweaty hands when climbing in the heat. At the end of the textured section, there is a recessed step to keep the bar wrap flush.
The design features a 125mm drop and 75mm reach with two degrees of flare at the drops. There are four widths available, including 380mm, 400mm, 420mm and 440mm.
The Roval Rapide handlebar is available at Roval today with pricing set at $350.00.
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