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The Fastest In The World? Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset Makes Big Claims

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset rim
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Hot off the release of the amazingly light Roval Control Team mountain bike wheelset comes their counterpart for the road. The team at Roval claims the Roval Rapide CLX II Team wheels are the fastest in the world. That is a pretty hefty claim.

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset made in
All Photos: Jordan Villella/Bikerumor

This uber-cool wheelset has a lot going on, so let’s start by explaining why it came to be.

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset front rim

Roval Rapide CLX II Team wheels – What is it? 

Companies are scrambling to get their finest gear to the finish line before the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Undoubtedly, these will be under the Olympic hopefuls for 2024. Most World Tour teams sponsored by Roval have already been experimenting with the wheels. Ensuring they know the riding characteristics inside and out and prepping for the year’s biggest races.  

We’ve seen spy shots from the classics and all seasons of the “Secret wheel Remco is riding.” Now we know…

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset wheels box

How are they different from the Roval Rapide CLX II?  

Well, first off, only 1,500 wheelsets are available for purchase globally, making these a super limited offering. Weight wise, the new Rapide CLX II Team wheels are 130g lighter than the non-team version with the same rim shape.

When the Roval team set out to create an ultra-race wheelset, the goal was to shave off more than 100g from the wheels while maintaining the aerodynamic rim shape and durability (remember these are hooked rims). The hub and carbon rim layups are the prime places to get this weight reduction.

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset front wheel

Call in the B.O.B.s

Specialized raised the bat-signal (or S-signal, I guess?) and put together a team of ‘Specialized Science Club’ (elite engineers) and World Tour riders and dubbed them B.O.B. (Best of the Best).

The team shaved 40 grams per rim while hitting durability targets after only ten layup iterations, but that’s not good enough for the B.O.B.s.

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset rim rear shape

After an additional 47 iterations with varying resin systems and carbon grades and hundreds of rims tested, the team matched the Rapide CLX II in durability while shedding weight. Resulting in a wheel that will help retain the tire under extreme impact so the rider can stop safely if/when a flat at speed occurs — a hot topic lately, especially for those riding hookless on the World Tour.

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset rear hub side

Hub Re-design

Silver hubs are one of the most notable features of the Roval Team Wheels. The XC version boasts the signatures of Specialized Factory Team athletes. The road version chose to stay plain, but they couldn’t cram all those signatures on the hub anyway. 

The hub is an all-new low-flange design built around DT Swiss EXP internals. Roval crafts the hubs in-house. These hubs are 50 grams lighter than the DT Swiss EXP.

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset hub

Why the silver? Eliminating the powder coating and paint needed to make it black saved 2g of weight, and for this wheelset, everything counts. 

So what’s the weight? 

They weigh about 1,360g without tape and valves. This weight is not groundbreaking for the road, but it’s not all about weight. Compared to the Rapide CLX II wheels, they are 130g lighter and maintain the same Roval durability standards; thats progress for sure.

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset rear rim

Aero is everything

Weight isn’t everything, though it’s cool to have the lightest gear IMO. The best wheels always have balanced weight, aerodynamics, and hold speed for all-around use. To make the Rapide CLX II Team a tick faster, the Roval team entered the Wintunnel. 

The Rapide CLX II rim’s differing shapes are already fast, but there was more to gain. The B.O.B. team hit the tunnel and experimented with carbon spokes and different designs. While carbon spokes help save weight, the DT Swiss Aerolite II spokes give the wheel the necessary aerodynamic gain to make it lighter (than the previous) and faster. 

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset spokes
Replacement spokes that comes in the “Welcome Kit” Photo: Jordan Villella

The combination of DT Swiss Aerolite II spokes with the new silver Roval Hub resulted in a 0.5-watt drag savings compared to the previous Rapide CLX II wheels, making them 1 second faster over 40k.

Specialized claims the Rapide CLX II Team wheels are the fastest in the peloton. They might be, but one thing they do offer is the same aerodynamic performance across various tire sizes. Whether racing Paris Roubaix with 30mm tires or riding on the smooth, glassy tarmac with 26mm tires, the aerodynamic advantage remains the same. 

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset head on front wheel

Why not hookless?

It appears that Roval isn’t 100% sold on hookless for road applications just yet. Considering how far the team went to control the tire staying on the rim when a flat occurs, and considering these wheels are under the best in the world in the World Tour, Roval apparently feels hookless rims aren’t ready for prime time.

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset front hub

Limited Edition WorldWide

If these sound like your dream wheels, start saving now, because Roval only made 1,500 to supply worldwide. Naturally, that means they’re quite expensive.

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset rear hub

Roval Rapide CLX II Wheelset Pricing

Pricing: $3,800, € 3,700, £3,000, $ 6,000 AUS

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset welcome

First Impressions Roval Rapide CLX II

When the Roval Rapide CLX II Wheelset box arrived, I thought it was a bike frame. It’s a larger-than-normal wheelbox. Why not use a larger square design? Well, thats because Roval wants you to have the “WOW” moment when you open the box. 

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset box

You get wheels and basically everything you need to get rolling, plus some. Unveiling the Roval Rapide CLX II Wheelset, you find a piece of paper welcoming you to the team. With this welcome, you get all the gear needed to maintain the wheels’ performance and some extras to keep rolling happily. 

Whats In the Box?

  • Roval Alloy Centerlock Ring (2)
  • Additional SRAM XDR Freehub Body (Wheels come with H.G. installed)
  • SINC Bearings
  • Roval Branded Dynaplug Racer Pro + extra set of plug
  • Spoke / Nipple Kit
  • Premium Double Wheel Bag (Embroidered)
  • S-Works Turbo RapidAir 2Bliss Ready T2/T5 x2 (26mm)
  • Custom Roval Water Bottles (2)
Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset tire

I’ve had many wheels come through testing, and this is the best presentation I’ve experienced. The price is high for these wheels, but this extra bit of maintenance kit, high-quality wheel bag, and other goodies take a bit of the edge off. 

After sorting through the extras in the box, I mounted the tires and seated them with my floor pump. The only thing the kit doesn’t supply is a sealant. I’m sure there is a good reason, but it would have been helpful. 

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset front full

The S-Works Turbo RapidAir 2Bliss seated just as well as they were on my non-team version of the Rapide CLX II, and it didn’t leak any air overnight. 

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset turbo tire

Weights

Weight-wise, the wheels are not only lighter in hand (and on the scale) but also a pleasure to look at. The decals are soft with a slight metallic edge. The silver hubs accent that bit of metallic and play nicely with the matte carbon rims. 

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset lockring
  • Wheelset Weight : 1393g
  • Wheels Individual: 648g (front) , 745g (rear)
  • Tires: 261g (each)
  • Lockrings: 8g (each)
Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset hear full

Ride Impressions

My first rides were on the roads near my house, on a mix of climbs, super smooth pavement, and some Pittsburgh Pave’. I pumped the S-Works Turbo RapidAir 2Bliss to 75 PSI front and 76 PSI rear. The rims are hooked for the Roval Rapide CLX II and can go tp higher pressures if thats your way. 

The Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheels replaced a set of similar depth CADEX wheels, and the ride sensation from the beginning wasn’t too different. In the wind, however, I remember why I liked the Roval Rapide CLX II. There is no slight jerk to the wheels or hesitation in the wind; they track very clearly and smoothly. 

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset bike side

An All-Around Fast Wheel

Rolling and climbing, the wheels propel you, especially on the “sprinter hill” style rolling bits. Extra lightweight wheels are excellent on the pitchy stuff, but it’s nice to have a mix of aero and weight on rolling hills. The Roval Rapide CLX II Team wheels feel like deeper rim wheels without the weight penalty and climb way better than those similar. 

I’ve had limited time on the Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset, but my intuition suggests it is a super fast all-around wheel. 

Roval Rapide CLX II Team Wheelset header

Are they “the fastest wheel in the world”? That depends on where you’re riding. Suppose you’re climbing straight up a mountain. If your course is a mix of rolling hills, flats, and descents… well, only time will tell. 

We’ll follow up with a full review in the next few weeks. Make sure and check back. If you’d like to know more, check out: Roval.com

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33 Comments
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Tom Wenzel
17 days ago

Specialized makes grandiose claim…off to the comments section:

E x
E x
15 days ago
Reply to  Tom Wenzel

Given the weight, They are basically the CLX I, re-issued, with less aerodynamic hubs.

JigGoh
JigGoh
17 days ago

Is product or marketing the fastest?

Tom
Tom
16 days ago

smart of Spec to include lots of kit – tires are no longer just an incidental expense at $80+/tires. So yeah, the wheels are expensive as hell, but they do soften the blow – smart marketing.

E x
E x
15 days ago
Reply to  Tom

It’s just specialized offloading, dead stock, junk tires and stuff they don’t want.

Billyshoo
Billyshoo
10 days ago
Reply to  E x

I’m a Specialized fanboy and couldn’t agree more. I’m a fan of their innovation; these aren’t even an iterative development of existing product.

Alastair
Alastair
16 days ago

Spoke nipples hanging out in the wind GUARANTEE that this won’t be the fastest wheel.

Ashok Captain
Ashok Captain
16 days ago

Does anyone know – has the 73 psi max for tubeless tyres changed? Thanks in advance.

Robin
Robin
15 days ago
Reply to  Ashok Captain

The ETRTO max pressure for hookless tires on hookless rims varies with tire width and hasn’t changed. For tires labeled 25-29mm wide, max pressure is 72.5 psi. For tires labeled 30-34mm wide, the max pressure is 65.25 psi.

Screenshot-2024-02-24-at-11.13.42.png
Robin
Robin
15 days ago
Reply to  Robin

Rounding down to the nearest integer as they specify would result in 72 psi and 62 psi, respectively.

Ashok Captain
Ashok Captain
16 days ago

“Roval apparently feels hooked rims aren’t ready for prime time”.

Or

“Roval apparently feels hookless rims aren’t ready for prime time”.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
15 days ago

Outside of their disc wheel, I’ve never seen a Roval wheel test well in the tunnel. Remco typically not using a Roval front wheel in TTs despite being paid to use them is telling too. They’re typically fairly average and being competitive with the best would be an enormous step forward for them.

Exodux
15 days ago

Do we need to read the data for us to believe this being labeled “the fastest in the world” when it has “Specialized” as the manufacturer?

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
15 days ago

Outside of their disc wheel, I’ve never seen a Roval wheel test better than OK in a wind tunnel. It’s not great that Remco doesn’t run their front wheel on his TT bike. The needs to be significantly better than their old wheels to be competitive.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
13 days ago

I’m still on rim brakes for my TT bike but the HED Vanquish wheels are still top notch(there’s a new version but none of my tunnel going friends have gotten ahold of them yet), along with Aerocoach and ENVE. Zipp Firecrests are a hair behind but they’re faster than their NSW wheels. Princeton is right there with the top wheels too.

Dude
Dude
12 days ago

the new Bora Ultra if I had the money.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
12 days ago
Reply to  Dude

Every Bora wheel I’ve seen data on has been worse than average. Sometimes very bad

Dude
Dude
11 days ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

Which data? Share it please, quite interested in seeing the results and the real magnitude of the differences between comparable wheels.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
8 days ago
Reply to  Dude

It’s not my data to share. But I’ve done plenty of bike fits in the wind tunnel along with gear testing. They’ve been worse than average.
*Without being able to go to a tunnel yourself, look what the people that do are riding. Not pros, but money is no object rich guys that can buy whatever they want.

Dude
Dude
6 days ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

Do you really think the pros are riding their choice of wheels? Only the fact that Vision has 4 teams at TdF this year should make you think twice…

tertius_decimus
tertius_decimus
14 days ago

Typical Specialized marketing gibberish. $3800 for 1 sec improvement over 40 kms of distance… How many zeroes after the comma you have to count to measure the marginal benefit?

$3800 for two CF donuts…

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
12 days ago

While I’m sure this isn’t a great wheel going off their past wheels, I’d certainly spend $3800 for wheels that were actually 1 second per kilometer faster than what I have now.

Dude
Dude
14 days ago

Nice specs overall and the box with accessories it’s something nice to see when you unbox. Just hope for that price I won’t need to replace spokes… BTW the rim external carbon plies pattern looks identical to DT Swiss ARC 1100 wheels, wonder if it’s a DT with wheel with Specialized logos (and marketing fees) or they just share same far east rim factory…

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
13 days ago
Reply to  Dude

DT makes most of their carbon wheels in Poland so I have doubts Specialized would wanna deal with fairly high wholesale costs to rebrand them. I’m sure these rims are designed in house since they do have their own wind tunnel for low/no cost testing.

Dude
Dude
13 days ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

DT makes wheels both in Taiwan and Poland. Don’t know about the parts that go into the wheel, I would guess at least the hubs and spokes they do it in house, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they outsourced the carbon rims

blahblahblah
blahblahblah
13 days ago

6k aud your outa ya flippn mind

Billy Chowder Pony
Billy Chowder Pony
13 days ago

I wouldn’t promote anything sent to you by ECHOS. Whole team is a bunch of ass clowns and they can only pay interns to work there these days.

Greg
Greg
6 days ago

Specialized… “a fool and his money are soon parted”

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