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Roval unveils Rapide CLX and Alpinist CLX wheelsets

Roval has today unveiled two new wheelsets, with the Rapide CLX a new aero/all-round wheel entry into their product line and the Alpinist CLX climbing wheel the lightest road clincher wheels the company has ever made.

While neither wheel is a direct upgrade to entries in Roval's existing collection of road bike wheels, the company has instead sought to combine the best attributes in order to create the Rapide CLX. The wheelset combines the aero properties of the World Championship-winning CLX64 aero wheels with the CLX32 lightweight wheels, raced by Julian Alaphillipe at last year's Tour de France.

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The Alpinist CLX wheelset, meanwhile, has been created with climbing foremost in the mind. Roval has managed to shave extra grams from its premier climbing wheelset so the Alpinist CLX now comes in at 1,248 grams for the pair, some 102 grams lighter than the CLX32.

Both wheelsets slot in right at the top of Roval's road wheel range, although existing wheelsets such as the aforementioned CLX64, CLX32 and the all-rounder CLX50 will still remain available for some time.

The Rapide CLX and Alpinist CLX are both exclusively disc-brake compatible and, unlike the brand's existing range, forego tubeless compatibility entirely, with the company reasoning that the compromises made for them to be tubeless-ready would result in increased weight, which would have outweighed the benefits offered by tubeless tyres. 

"When it's possible to create tubeless wheel/tyre systems that outperform tube-type clincher systems, that's what we'll recommend to riders," read a statement from Roval.

Both wheelsets use DT Swiss hub internals and take advantage of the brand's new lighter, stiffer and more durable Ratchet EXP hubs.

The details: Roval Rapide CLX

Rim type: Carbon, clincher

Rim width: Front – 21mm internal, 35mm external; Rear – 21mm internal, 30.7mm external

Rim depth: Front – 51mm; Rear – 60mm

Spoke count: Front – 18; Rear – 24

Weight: Front – 649g; Rear – 751g; Set – 1400g

Roval's goal with the Rapide CLX was to make the fastest wheelset possible for real-world conditions, mixing both aero and lightweight sensibilities in order to do so.

Reducing instability in high winds was also a goal, avoiding the loss of speed and the possibility of crashes. A shallower, wider front rim was created while the rear wheel – which impacts stability less – is focussed more on reducing drag. As a result, Roval says that the wheelset is 25 per cent more stable than their all-rounder CLX50 wheelset.

Riding faster, farther and with more confidence in stability is Roval's 'bottom line' for the wheelset, which retails at $2500, and $1100 and $1500 for front and rear wheel separately.

The details: Roval Alpinist CLX

Rim type: Carbon, clincher

Rim width: 21mm internal

Rim depth: 33mm

Spoke count: Front – 21; Rear – 24

Weight: Front – 562g; Rear – 686g; Set – 1248g

The lightweight Alpinist CLX is built for one thing and one thing only – tackling the hills and mountains. Weighing in at a mere 1286 grams for the set, the wheels are the lightest road clinchers Roval has ever created.

By controlling all aspects of the build process, Roval says that it has been able to eliminate variables and increase the optimisation needed to construct the Alpinist CLX. Excess materials are eliminated during a precise design process which includes detailed spoke and nipple specification and rim interface angles.

The Aero Flange hubs, found on both the Rapide CLX and Alpinist CLX, add an aero touch, as well as increased strength, which in turn reduces spoke weight. The Alpinist CLX comes in at $2500 for the set, and $1100 and $1400 for front and rear wheels.

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Daniel Ostanek
Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.

 

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.

 

As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.