Today, Roval is rolling in two new wheelsets. In spite of both being very light, the two have very different characteristics. While the Alpinist CLX is all about building the lightest wheel possible, the Rapide CLX focuses more on all around speed without giving up too much in terms of weight.

New Roval Alpinist CLX is their lightest road clincher yet, Rapide CLX aims for fastest all around

Speed in the wind tunnel is one thing, but controlling that speed out in gusty conditions is another. If a deep profile aero wheel is a handful to control out on the road, it doesn’t really matter how fast it is if you can’t ride it in a straight line. Here, Roval claims that they studied the human reaction time to find out just how much short gusts of wind affect a rider’s speed. They say that often, when you go to correct for a wind gust, due to the delay in reaction time, you’re usually adjusting after the gust has already subsided. Build a wheel that isn’t as susceptible to wind gusts, and you’re left with a faster wheel in real world conditions.

New Roval Alpinist CLX is their lightest road clincher yet, Rapide CLX aims for fastest all around

What makes a more stable wheel? Roval states that it’s mostly about the profile of the front wheel, so the Rapide CLX has a 51mm deep and 35mm wide profile that claims to increase stability in cross winds by 25% over the CLX 50. The rear wheel doesn’t play as big of a role in the control of the bike, so Roval uses a 60mm deep, 30mm wide rim out back. Combined, Roval makes the claim that these as a pair are faster than most 65mm deep wheels, but with 25% less steering torque input compared to the CLX 50.

New Roval Alpinist CLX is their lightest road clincher yet, Rapide CLX aims for fastest all around
The AeroFlange hubs include the new EXP freehub internals from DT Swiss.

New Roval Alpinist CLX is their lightest road clincher yet, Rapide CLX aims for fastest all around

Built with their AeroFlange Disc hubs, the carbon wheels are clincher only and are not tubeless compatible. Claimed weight is 1400g for the set (649 F / 751g R), and pricing is set at $2500 for the set or $1100 for the front, and $1400 for the rear.

New Roval Alpinist CLX is their lightest road clincher yet, Rapide CLX aims for fastest all around

Alpinist CLX

In contrast, the Alpinist CLX holds the title of the lightest road clincher Roval has ever made. For those who still geek out over having the absolute lightest bike, this 1,248g wheelset will help you get there.

New Roval Alpinist CLX is their lightest road clincher yet, Rapide CLX aims for fastest all around


Once again, these carbon clinchers are not tubeless compatible since the overall goal was to reduce weight as much as possible. At 33mm deep with a 21mm internal width, rims are laced to their AeroFlange Disc hubs with 21F/24R spokes. All Roval carbon wheels carry a maximum rider weight of 240lbs or 109kg.

New Roval Alpinist CLX is their lightest road clincher yet, Rapide CLX aims for fastest all around

Like the the Rapide CLX, these wheels are sold in disc brake configurations only, and carry the same pricing structure of $2500 for the set, or $1100/$1400 individually. Both wheels also include the Roval “**it Happens” No Fault Crash Replacement Policy which covers the wheels (if purchased in the USA) for any damage that occurs while riding within the first two years of ownership.


  1. That is extremely strange and makes no sense. Why would Specialized, or anyone for that matter, come out with TWO new wheelsets that aren’t tubeless compatible? Something is not right.

    • Just read the “reasoning” on Cyclingnews. Wow. If I couldn’t make the wheels competitive in weight while being tubeless compatible, I’d just scrap the idea. The sales uptake is going to be so low.

      • With pros moving to tubeless or sticking to tubulars and Specialized releasing the RapidAir tubeless tire last year, I am hoping they’ll soon release data showing how these are indeed faster overall than a tubeless setup.

    • Agreed. Makes no sense and the rim profile drawings even show that those are / were intended for TL tires.
      BUT their specs say they’re not. So possibly some testing went wrong after the production had already started (rim shapes were made, and those are expensive).
      I guess we’ll learn pretty soon what the story is.

    • Tubeless just isn’t catching on with racers like the industry thought it would. Tubeless is no faster or lighter than using latex tubes. The only advantage is better puncture protection but that is off set by tubes being far more user friendly/less of a giant pain in the ass.

      Tubeless has found it’s niche with MTB and gravel/CX but it looks like road is more or less over it, particularly at the more competitive end of the spectrum (excluding TT where it will likely have a place but that’s another bag of cats).

  2. 1284 grams for clincher wheels is not that light… and for $2400 it is a rip off. I have a pair of wheels I bought for $900 that weigh less… DT 180 hubs, Sapim spokes, al nipples, Kinlin rims… but whatever.

    • So weight is the only factor? If two wheel sets have the same weight, they are otherwise identical in performance, durabilty, aero drag, warranty, and other metrics?

      This obsession in cycling with mass or weight became silly long ago. 1284 grams is plenty light and more than respectable.

  3. Doesn’t matter if the wheel is the lightest or the fastest in aero. One puncture and you could lose the race.
    Perhaps these wheels are meant for Zwift racing.

  4. But the global market may not be where the US market is. And if you want to sell stuff the world over, concessions need to be made.

  5. They obviously messed up at some point. One don’t make wide rims like this without a bit of gravel or XC or allroad of some kind in its mind. You won’t put a 25mm tire on a 35mm wide wide. And for those applications tubeless is the way to go, no doubt about it.

    • Seeing as how Roval has their Terra lineup for gravel/off-road, it would appear that these wheels are really only intended for road applications. That said, a 35mm wide wheel seems kind of absurd, as does the tubes-only designation (especially coming from Spesh).

  6. I’d bet big money that someone messed up somewhere in this process. Spec is pretty committed to road tubeless so to suddenly backtrack AND the wheels barely be lighter than the Terra CLX wheels which are tubeless seems a bit…
    They should ship with Tubolito tubes and some tires to make up for it;-)

  7. i could care less about tubeless, as my primary concern is completing a ride without calling someone to help me get home. I run 30 mm wide Reynolds AR41X, which are tubeless, but I use Tubolito tubes, and carry a set of patches. The patches take up next to no space, and after cleaning the tube with an alcohol wipe I just slap on the patch and pump the tire up and then go again. The patches never come loose and the tires don’t lose air any faster than before the patch, which is to say maybe two pounds of air a week. I am not racing with this setup, but it’s very low weight, lower in cost than a tubeless setup, a lot less hassle to set up, and gives me an independence that I wouldn’t have with conventional tubes. Also, I don’t need to keep throwing out tubes, which seem to not patch as effectively as they used to, so it’s a cheaper setup once you get past the original purchase (try some of the overseas online shops as I paid $20 for the gravel width Tubolitos).

  8. LOL @ not being tubeless. Not to mention, 1250 grams isn’t that light for a wheelset in that price range. For under $1600 you can get the recently released Light Bicycle AR35’s with dt 180 hubs which comes out to 1218g, are 2mm deeper, and tubeless compatible.

  9. just shows how much harder it is make road tubeless for road pressures. They have no problem with lightweight CX wheels.

  10. Those 180 hubs cost more than $900 at retail. So, you paid less than retail or they were used. Ergo, not a fair comparison. Also, Kinlin alloy is not exactly a fair comparison to a brand name carbon rim.

    But, whatever.

  11. talk to Steve Bauer about flatting out of worlds in 1989 with 8K to go, after he had made the final split of 6 guys. I’m sure he hasn’t thought about once since then.

  12. I agree… looks so tubeless, but messed it up somewhere in the process, and not being able to commit to it.
    Also, Specialized going Tubless on some races, and then Roval comming out with new wheels that are not Tubeless, is more than weired to me. I read this and thought, not true. But true. I boughtg me a Venge some four month ago, and was wating for new wheels, and now ordered me a pair of Enve Disk “Tubeless”.
    There is simply no reason to drive Tube anymore:
    – It is safer (as when you get a flat you will in most cases not lose it in less than a second, what does happen with a tube now and then)
    – It is equal in weight (and lighter if you already have a tubeless compatible Rim. Not by much, but if you compare equal resistant or equal TT race build setups)
    – It produces lesser flats 100%
    – It has lesser rolling resistance (even this might not matter much to most)

    Plus, I found already two Pros that do their rides on Tubeless, when not racing. Exact as they feel it is safer, feels better and less hassle and puncture resitant.
    (Phil Gaimon & Lachlan Morton… both while doing Everest Atempt)

    • Road tubeless has more issues than you think.

      -At road pressures, the puncture resistance isn’t a lot better than with tubes.

      -Latex tubes are lighter than tubeless and have identical RR numbers.

  13. 35mm is the external width. The internal width, which is what matters for mounting tires, is only 21mm. The wide outer is to prevent air from detaching and creating turbulence.

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