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Roval launches tubeless versions of its Rapide CLX and Alpinist CLX wheels

Unchanged rim dimensions but a revised construction creates a feature ostensibly lacking in both wheelsets’ first generation

Emma Cole
10 May 2022

Roval has updated its Rapide CLX and Alpinist CLX wheelsets. The new Rapide CLX II and Alpinist CLX II share many of the same features as the previous wheelsets but are now stronger and tubeless-ready too.

The Rapide CLX II wheelset gains around 100g in weight, but the Alpinist CLX II wheelset remains similar to its predecessor thanks to a reduction in its hubset weight.

The brand, which is owned by Specialized, says it has spent two years redeveloping the wheels to make them tubeless-ready. Roval claims this new tubeless setup allows for lower rolling resistance, better handling, and flat protection.

Notably, the Rapide CLX II and Alpinist CLX II use a hooked rim, as opposed to hookless, which is considered by some to be the more forward-thinking design choice, even though it limits tyre compatibility.

Roval says this gives the riders plenty of options to choose from for their setup, such as tyre selection and tyre pressure.

 

Rapide CLX II key specs:

  • Rim dimensions: front 51mm deep/35mm wide; rear 60mm deep/30mm wide, 21mm internal
  • Weight: 1,505g (claimed)
  • Price: $2800 / £2,500 (front £1,050; rear £1,450)

Alpinist CLX II key specs:

  • Rim dimensions: 33mm deep/26mm wide, 21mm internal
  • Weight: 1,250g (claimed)
  • Price: $2650 / £2,500 (front £1,050; rear £1,450)

Change in narrative

The launch marks a change in narrative at Roval. The brand says rather than specifying one system as fastest, it isn’t promoting any one technology out of tubular/tube-type/tubeless, instead providing wheelsets that cater for every system.

Notably though, the reason the first generation Rapide CLX and Alpinist CLX wheels weren’t tubeless-ready was due to safety concerns after Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies), who was at the time riding for Bora-Hansgrohe, broke an Alpinist prototype wheel.



This led to Roval pushing the 2020 versions through as tube-type despite the rim design being ostensibly suitable for tubeless, and the brand has since been working on them to make them tubeless-ready.

According to Roval, this redevelopment process took two years and involved making and testing more than 1,000 wheels with 150 different layup iterations across the Alpinist and Rapide models.

Significantly, as well as now being tubeless, both wheelsets come with a lifetime warranty and a no-fault crash replacement policy.

Rapide CLX II performance

In the switch to tubeless, the wheelset design has gained around 100g in weight, but largely retains the same distinctive rim design as the previous generation.

Due to dramatically different rim shapes, Roval says the Rapide CLX II is almost two wheels in one, boasting the aerodynamics of a deep-section TT wheel combined with the light weight of a climbing wheel at a claimed 1,505g.

The wheelset has a 51mm-deep front rim with a 35mm external width and a 60mm-deep rear rim with a 30mm external width. The brand says says this setup amplifies aerodynamic efficiency as well as stability.

According to Roval, the result of this combination makes the tubeless wheelset faster than most 65mm wheels but 25% more stable in windy conditions than the brand’s CLX50 design. Roval says it has shifted the dimensions of the rim channel to create an extra 1.4mm of bead slack in the tyre, in an attempt to make tyres easier to mount.

Full specs:

  • Rim dimensions: front 51mm deep/35mm wide; rear 60mm deep/30mm wide, 21mm internal
  • Weight: 1,505g, 1,520g with tape and valves
  • Aero Flange hubs with DT Swiss EXP Internals and Sinc ceramic bearings
  • 110PSI max with 26mm tubeless tyres
  • 125kg weight limit
  • Price: $2800 / £2,500 (front £1,050; rear £1,450)

Alpinist CLX II performance

The Alpinist CLX II is a climber’s wheelset weighing a claimed 1,250g. The wheelset’s rims measure 33mm deep and use the same 21mm internal width as the Rapide CLX wheels.

Roval says the tubeless-ready wheelset features the most precise carbon layup it has ever created, having played with over 50 different iterations and gone through a significant amount of both impact and on-the-road testing.

As a result, the brand claims that the Alpinist CLX II can handle almost double the impact force the wheelset is required by the UCI to withstand for safe use.

The Alpinist CLX II features Roval’s new LFD hubs which weigh a claimed 50g less than the previous version thanks to new low-profile hub bodies and machined rotor mounts. The hubs have DT Swiss EXP internals and Sinc ceramic bearings.

Like the Rapide CLX II, the outer diameter dimensions of the new Alpinist’s rim have been shifted to create an extra 1.4mm of bead slack for easier mounting.

Full specs:

  • Rim dimensions: 33mm deep/26mm wide, 21mm internal
  • Weight: 1,250g, 1,265g with tape and valves
  • LFD hubs with EXP Internals and Sinc ceramic bearings
  • 110PSI max tubeless with 26mm tyres
  • 125kg weight limit
  • Price: $2650 / £2,500 (front £1,050; rear £1,450)

The Rapide CLX II and the Alpinist CLX II are available from Roval now.

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