Roval has launched a 1,248g climbing wheelset and it isn’t tubeless

In-house wheel brand Roval adds two new models to the range, both for inner tubes only

Roval Alpinist CLX climber's wheelset

Roval has launched two new carbon disc brake wheelsets, the Alpinist CLX and the Rapide CLX. As its name suggests, the Alpinist CLX is aimed at climbers, with a headline weight of 1,248g.

The Rapide CLX is designed for riders who want a fast all-round wheelset, and comes with differential front and rear rim depths and profiles, and a claimed weight of 1,400g.

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Both wheelsets are disc brake only, with no rim brake or tubular versions planned, and are priced at £1,800/$2,500. And, surprisingly, neither is designed to be run tubeless.

Roval Alpinist CLX

Roval Alpinist CLX
The Roval Alpinist CLX is the brand’s lightest-ever clincher.
Roval

Roval says that at 1,248g, the Alpinist CLX is the brand’s lightest ever clincher road wheelset. But it claims it has achieved this without sacrificing strength, ride quality or durability.

To hit that low weight, Roval says it has engineered the wheel as a complete system, rather than treating each element individually, letting it remove mass where it’s not needed and remove stress points – for example, at the interface between the spoke nipples and the rim.

Roval Rapide CLX

Roval Rapide CLX
The Rapide CLX is designed to be a more all-round performer.
Roval

Meanwhile, Roval says that its goal in developing the Rapide CLX was “to make the fastest all-round wheelset in the world, merging light weight and low aerodynamic drag, without sacrificing the stable handling offered by shallower rims”.

The design of the Rapide CLX wheelset incorporates differential front and rear rim profiles, with a 51mm deep front wheel that bulges to 35mm wide. 

Roval says that the shape is optimised for stability in gusty crosswinds, which its testing has shown to be 25 per cent better than its 1,416g CLX50 wheels. Its research indicates that front wheel instability in brief cross-gusts leads riders to slow down in compensation, so a more stable front wheel lets you ride faster.

Roval says that the rear wheel is less affected by gusts, so the Rapide wheelset’s is deeper at 60mm and narrower, with a 30mm maximum external width, and is designed around reducing drag.

The aero treatment isn’t confined to the rim, with Roval having designed the hubs in both wheelsets with an aero flange. The brand says the hubs use wide bracing angles, letting it up wheel strength while reducing spoke weight.

Internally, the hubs use DT Swiss’s latest Ratchet EXP freehub mechanism and include sealed cartridge bearings.

Inner tubes required

Roval Alpinist
It’s notable that the wheels are not tubeless-compatible.
Roval

Roval has designed both wheelsets to be run with inner tubes rather than tubeless. It says that this has allowed it to design lighter wheels for performance road riders because the extra mass needed to build them tubeless-ready would have outweighed the benefits. 

That’s a surprise because most premium wheel brands have now gone fully tubeless, with the likes of the new 1,355g Zipp 303 Firecrest and the latest 1,266g DT Swiss Mon Chasseral wheels abandoning inner tubes. 

Roval’s parent Specialized itself has heavily promoted its tubeless wheelsets, with its sponsored pro teams riding tubeless clinchers to several victories in the last year.

Roval still leaves the door open to go tubeless with new models in future, though. 

Roval Alpinist CLX specs

  • Rim depth: 33mm
  • Internal rim width: 21mm
  • Spokes: 21 front, 24 rear
  • Hubs: Roval AeroFlange Disc
  • Weight: 1,248g (562g front, 686g rear)
  • Rider weight limit: 109kg
  • Price: Front £750 / $1,100; rear £1,100 / $1,400
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Roval Rapide CLX specs

  • Rim depth: 51mm front, 60mm rear
  • Internal rim width: 21mm
  • External rim width: 35mm front, 30.7mm rear
  • Spokes: 18 front, 24 rear
  • Hubs: Roval AeroFlange Disc
  • Weight: 1,400g (649g front, 751g rear)
  • Rider weight limit: 109kg
  • Price: Front £750 / $1,100; rear £1,100, $1400