Roval, fresh off the release of their affordable Control Carbon mountain bike wheel, change gears back to the pavement with more carbon.
Nothing sets off the performance of a bike like the wheels. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen carbon wheel prices drop with hopes of maintaining performance. Some have flourished, and some faded, unable to live up to the real-world abuse of riders. The Roval Rapide C38 is amongst those who stood the test of time. The updated Roval C38 gains some new hubs and drops $300 off the price tag in its latest iteration.
What is it?
The Roval Rapide C38 is a wheelset that professionals and amateurs alike look for as a dependable rock-solid option that can take a beating. The rim profile closely mimics the top tier of the Roval wheel family, including a tubeless-ready 21mm internal and 26.6 external widths. The generous rim width performs well with both road and gravel tires. The Rapide C38 is the only wheel in the Roval family with a 38mm depth and is a reliable all-rounder rim shape for a slight aerodynamic advantage with keeping the weight competitive.
Roval Rapide C38 – What’s new?
The most significant update to the Roval Rapide C38 is the new DT Swiss 370 hub and the updated price. The previous version used a Roval branded hub with DT Swiss 350 internals, J-bend DT – Swiss Comp spokes, and DT Pro-Lock brass nipples. This version employs the same building techniques and materials, only with a hub swap.
Upgraded DT-Swiss 370 hub
Pulling apart the hub, we can see the new DT- 370 runs on the traditional star ratchet system that DT is well known for. Seeing as how the 370 typically has a pawl setup, it seems that Specialized may be making use of the new Ratchet LN upgrade kits.
The upgraded hub design features an 18T star ratchet system with non-machined insides. This will make them a tiny bit heavier but if you’re looking to upgrade these wheels easily, a 36T kit from DT-Swiss would do the trick.
Roval also chose to include replacement spokes, nipples, and a pack of valve/rim interface protection stickers.
Roval Rapide C38 carbon rim
The Roval Rapide C38s use the same rim as the previous model. A classic shape that can race a crit, roll in the mountains, and take some gravel rock hits.
The carbon layup looks visually very similar to the Roval CLX 32 – with what looks to be a 3K carbon weave in the high-stress areas. The rim profile is slightly round with a tapper to what would be the brake track. Subdued graphics and monotone branding make this wheel an easy fit on many different style bikes.
The wheels have a classic, clean look to them, and they arrive with everything needed to get you on the road; valves and tubeless taped.
The rim tape is the same Roval uses on their mountain bike wheels. I’ve never had trouble using it on the mountain bike side of things, and I hope my road experience will be the same.
Roval Rapide C38 actual weights
The Roval C38s weighed in very close to the claimed 1600g, the front coming in at 733g, and the rear at 870g. A respectable weight considering the price and the workhorse build.
Roval Rapide C38 specs
- Carbon 38mm deep tubeless compatible rim
- 21mm internal 26.6 external rim width
- Tubeless Compatible
- New DT Swiss 370 Hub
- Center lock Rotor – 17t Star Ratchet System
- Thru Axle 100x12mm & 142x12mm
- Weight: 1603g with tubeless rim tape
- MSRP: $1000 – Wheelset
- Lifetime Warranty – No-Fault Crash Replacement
The Roval Rapide C38 wheels are available now from your local Specialized dealer or online. Look for a full review coming up.