Roval launches low-priced Rapide CL II wheels, using CLX grade rims

Fresh after the 2022 update of its top-of-the-range CLX wheels, Roval has announced a new version of its less expensive Rapide CL wheels.

Rapide CL II rims, like the quietly cast Alpinist CL II wheelset, stand out because they incorporate exactly the same rims as the Rapide CLX II wheelset, claiming the same stable aerodynamic performance we experienced ourselves in our review of the top tier set of wheels. wheels.

However, in order to achieve a cheaper price of $ 1,750 / £ 1,500 / € 1,800 / AU $ 2,600 for a complete wheelset, the Rapide CL II uses DT Swiss’s 350 hubs with stainless steel bearings, along with the brand Competition Race straight-pull spokes.

Roval Rapide CL II highlights

  • Aero wheel set optimized for 26mm tires
  • Specific front and rear rim profiles
  • Front rim: 51mm deep, 35mm wide (external)
  • Rear rim: 60mm deep, 30mm wide (outside)
  • Internal width 21 mm
  • Tubeless compatible
  • DT Swiss Competition Race straight-pull spokes, 18 front / 24 rear
  • DT Swiss 350 hubs with steel bearings
  • Weight limit of 275 lbs / 125 kg
  • Declared weight: 1,590 g (including tape and tubeless valves)
  • Price: $ 1,750 / £ 1,500 / € 1,800 / AU $ 2,600

Just as fast … for less?

The Rapide CL rims are made using the same CLX grade carbon layup.

Although the new Rapide CL II is priced significantly less than the twin Rapide CLX II wheels, Roval says the cheaper wheelset will provide “the same speed as the Rapide CLX II, the same efficiency, the same incredible handling and stability in any condition for more cyclists. ”

That’s a bold claim, but because the Rapide CL II uses exactly the same rim designs, even down to the CLX grade carbon layup, it’s fundamentally believable.

Each rim receives its own design, optimized for its position on the bike, with Roval confirming its 25% stability improvement over the previous generation CLX 50s.

The front rim is 51mm deep with an outer width of 35mm (internal width of 21mm), while the rear rim features a deeper section of 60mm with a narrower outer width of 30mm (also 21mm internally).

The designs are said to give optimum performance and, above all, stability in real-world conditions. The US marque says that while ultimate aerodynamic optimization is important, smoothing out losses from a more nervous wheelset will also see measurable improvements in efficiency.

The Rapide CL II wheels feature exactly the same rim design as the top of the range CLX wheels.

Roval’s designers used reaction time studies and what it says is the first rider reaction time modeling algorithm to optimize the wheels for gusts of wind lasting between 0.5 and 2 seconds.

In the hands of a human, the Rapide CL II (and CLX II, for that matter) wheels are said to reduce the chances of overreacting to a gust of crosswind, which in turn reduces the need and severity of a second. countercorrection – both, Roval says, ultimately cost the speed.

Meanwhile, the hooked (as opposed to hookless) tubeless rim design remains, allowing riders to choose clincher or tubeless tires, depending on their preference. Roval also claims that the design makes assembly easier, safer, and capable of supporting tubeless pressures up to 110psi (if desired).

As with the Rapide CLX II, the Rapide CL II’s rims are aerodynamically optimized for use with 26mm wide tires, although they can accommodate tires up to 35mm wide at pressures up to 110psi (tubeless) or 130psi (with air chambers).

Roval states that 38mm tires are the maximum compatible width, but for all tires 36 to 38mm wide you will be limited to 60psi regardless of the mounting method.

What am I sacrificing compared to the Rapide CLX II?

The Rapide CL II gets a DT Swiss 350 hub, laced to straight-pull spokes.

To achieve the lowest price, of course the Rapide CL II wheelset was subject to some concessions over the CLX II.

Firstly, the hubs are DT Swiss 350, as opposed to the Roval AeroFlange Disc hubs seen on the CLX II.

These use a proven 36-tooth star ratchet design with 10-degree engagement, but do not feature DT Swiss’s latest EXP layout seen in its more premium 180 and 240 hubs.

For comparison, the Rapide CLX II features this EXP design inside the custom body and optimized for aerodynamics, while also rotating around the SINC ceramic bearings. The Rapide CL II gets the standard DT Swiss alloy bodies and stainless steel bearings.

The 350 hubs accept straight-pull spokes, with the Rapide CL II using the Swiss brand’s Competition Race spokes (which are not aerodynamic profiles), rather than the Aerolite spokes you’ll find on the Rapide CLX II.

That said, they are arranged in the same two-cross front / rear 18 radial arrangements as the top tier wheelset.

These component changes are likely to lead to some form of performance loss over the Rapide CLX II, though Roval doesn’t define what that might be.

All in all, the Roval Rapide CL II wheelset is said to weigh 1,590g (725g at the front and 865g at the rear including rim tape and valves), which is just 70g more than our measured weight of 1,520 g for the Rapids CLX II.

As you may have guessed, all that extra weight comes from the hubs and spokes, minimizing any gain around the rotating edge of the wheel.

Prices and availability of Roval CL II wheels

The Roval Rapide CL II wheelset is now available in all territories, at the following price:

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: $ 1,750 (wheelset), $ 1,025 (rear), $ 725 (front)
  • UK: £ 1,500 (wheelset), £ 850 (rear), £ 650 (front)
  • Europe: € 1,800 (wheelset), € 950 (rear), € 850 (front)
  • Australia: $ 2,600 (wheelset), $ 1,500 (rear), $ 1,100 (front)

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