New after the 2022 update to its range-topping CLX wheel set, Roval has announced a new version of its less expensive Rapide CL wheel set.
Like the quietly launched Alpinist CL II wheels, the Rapide CL II rims stand out because they incorporate exactly the same rims as the Rapide CLX II set of wheels, claiming the same stable aerodynamic performance we tested ourselves in our review of the upper class wheels.
However, to come up with a cheaper price tag of $1,750 / £1,500 / €1,800 / AU$2,600 for a full wheel set, the Rapide CL II uses DT Swiss ‘350 hubs with stainless steel bearings, along with direct competition racing for the brand. speaker.
Highlights of the Roval Rapid CL II
- Pneumatic wheels upgraded for 26mm tires
- Special front and rear edge features
- front edge: 51 mm deep, 35 mm wide (external)
- back edge: 60mm deep, 30mm wide (external)
- Inner width 21 mm
- needless compatible
- DT Swiss Competition Race Straight Drag Race, 18 front / 24 rear
- DT Swiss 350 hubs with steel bearings
- Maximum weight 275 lbs / 125 kg
- Claimed weight: 1,590 g (including tape and tubeless valves)
- price: 1750 USD / 1500 GBP / 1800 EUR / 2600 USD
Just as fast…for less?
Although the price of the new Rapide CL II is significantly lower than its Rapide CLX II siblings, Roval claims that the cheaper set of wheels will provide “the same speed as the Rapide CLX II, the same efficiency, the same amazing handling and stability in any conditions for more riders.”
That’s a bold claim, but because the Rapide CL II uses precisely the same frame designs – even down to the CLX-class carbon coating – it’s basically believable.
Each rim receives its own design, optimized for its position on the bike, with the Ruval standing by claiming a 25 percent improvement in stability over previous-generation CLX 50s.
The front bezel has a depth of 51 mm and an outer width of 35 mm (21 mm internal width), while the rear bezel has a 60 mm deeper section and a narrower 30 mm external width (also 21 mm internal).
The designs are said to provide optimum performance and, most importantly, stability in real-world conditions. The American brand claims that while the ultimate aerodynamic improvement is important, mitigating losses from a more torsional wheel set will also see measurable improvements in efficiency.
Roval’s designers used reaction time studies and what it says is the first algorithm to model a rider’s reaction time to optimize the wheels for wind gusts of between 0.5 and 2 seconds.
In human hands, the Rapide CL II (and CLX II wheels, for that matter) are said to reduce the chances of excessive reaction to gusty crosswinds, which in turn reduces the need and severity of second meter correction—both of which, Ruffal claims, ultimately cost speed.
Meanwhile, the tubeless tire design remains suspended (as opposed to a hook), allowing riders to choose spacer or tubeless tires, depending on their preference. Roval also claims that the design makes installation easier and safer and the ability to support tubeless pressures of up to 110 psi (if desired).
As with the Rapide CLX II, the Rapide CL II rims are dynamically optimized for use with 26mm-wide tires, although they can accommodate tires up to 35mm wide at pressures up to 110 psi (tubeless) or 130 psi (with pipe).
Roval says 38mm tires are the maximum compatible width, but for any 36 to 38mm wide tires, you’ll be limited to 60 psi regardless of your mounting method.
What do I make of the Rapide CLX II?
In order to get to the lower price point, the Rapide CL II wheel set will naturally be subject to some compromises against the CLX IIs.
First, the hubs are DT Swiss 350s, as opposed to the Roval AeroFlange Disc hubs that appear on CLX IIs.
This ratchet uses a tried and tested 36-tooth design with 10-degree engagements, but does not feature DT Swiss’s latest EXP design seen on the more premium 180 and 240 hubs.
For comparison, the Rapide CLX IIs feature this EXP design inside the custom, aerodynamic-optimized chassis, while also spinning around SINC ceramic bearings. The Rapide CL II comes with a standard DT Swiss alloy body, and stainless steel bearings.
The 350 hubs accepts straight woofers, as the Rapide CL IIs use the Swiss-brand’s competition woofers (which don’t have an antenna profile), rather than the Aerolite woofers you’ll find on the Rapide CLX IIs.
However, it’s arranged in the same front/rear 24 dual radial arrangements as the top-tier set of wheels.
These component switches will likely result in some form of performance loss versus the Rapide CLX IIs, although Roval doesn’t specify what that could be.
All in all, the Roval Rapide CL II wheel set is claimed to weigh 1,590 grams (725 grams in the front and 865 grams in the rear, including rim bar and valves), which is just 70 grams more than our 1,520-gram weight for the Rapide CLX IIs.
It may have worked, all that extra weight comes from the hubs and spokes, eliminating any excess around the wheel’s swivel edge.
Roval CL II Wheels Pricing and Availability
The Roval Rapide CL II wheel set is now available in all regions, with prices as follows:
- United States of America: $1750 (wheels), $1,025 (rear), $725 (front)
- United kingdom: £1500 (wheels), £850 (rear), £650 (front)
- Europe: 1800€ (wheels), 950€ (rear), 850€ (front)
- Australia: $2,600 (wheels), $1,500 (rear), $1,100 (front)
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