Specialized releases new Turbo tubeless tyres and more economical Roval Rapide CL II wheels.
Budget aero race wheels include premium CLX rims, and three new Turbo tyres are added.
Recently, our team at Cyclingnews spent some time in the wind tunnel with 10 sets of wheels and discovered that the difference between the best and worst was less than two watts at 30 kph. In light of this, our final piece of advice was to “get in the ballpark” with a set of inexpensive aero wheels and spend the extra money elsewhere. For those who take that advise, Roval has just revealed a new, less expensive version of their go-fast performance road race wheel.
The new wheelset, known as the Rapide CL II, will employ the same rims as its more expensive sibling, the Rapide CLX II, but will be paired with a less expensive hub and spokes for a more reasonably priced overall package.
They are accompanied by three new tyre options from Specialized, the parent company of Roval.
Roval Rapide CL II: cheap and aerodynamic
The Rapide CL II wheels tout the same claims of tubeless compatibility as their stablemate because they employ the same rims as the Rapide CLX II. They can be securely inflated to 110 psi and are compatible with all tubeless-ready tyres thanks to their hooked bead, though maximum pressures vary by tyre size. Commonly applied pressures will almost certainly be far lower than this value.
Due to a lengthy period of research and development that followed a fault discovered in late 2019, Specialized claims the rims “nearly double” the existing industry impact criteria. This occurred during testing of the original Rapide CLX wheels when Peter Sagan jumped onto a curb. He struck the kerb, fractured the rim, and the tyre immediately came off. Specialized released such wheels as “inner tubes required” before deciding that, although passing impact resistance tests, they weren’t safe enough and that they needed to be redesigned.
The wheels’ dimensions are identical to those of their more expensive siblings, with the front wheel being broader and shallower and the rear wheel being deeper and narrower. The front wheel is 51mm deep and has an exterior width that is 35mm wide. The back is 30mm narrower than the front, which is 60mm deep. The internal width of each has a 21mm despite the variances. They can take anything from 24mm to 38mm but are best used with 26mm tyres. According to Specialized, tyres up to 35mm can be operated at a maximum of 110psi, however those operating 36mm or higher should not operate at more than 60psi.
In the real world, according to Roval, the Rapide CL II is 25% more stable than its now two generations old CLX50 wheelset and is faster than most 65mm wheels by emphasising stability rather than straight-line speed.
Roval has discovered cost savings in the rest of the wheel, leaving the rims alone. There is a slight weight penalty associated with this.
Both use hubs from the competing wheel company DT Swiss, however the Rapide CL II chooses the less expensive DT 350 hubs while the top-tier wheels use the lighter-weight Ratchet EXP hubs. The Competition Race Straightpull spokes from DT Swiss, a downgrade from the DT Swiss Aerolite, are used to lace the rims to those hubs. They have 18 spokes up front and 24 spokes in back.
The Rapide CL II wheels’ advertised weight from Specialized is 1,590g. This is only 70g heavier than the CLX II, despite the variations in their specifications.
The Rapide CL II is marginally more affordable at £1,500.00 ($1,750.00/€1,800.00/AU$2,600.00) than its nicer stablemates. Although they will face fierce competition from products like Zipp’s 303S, Enve Foundation 65, and Hunt 60 Limitless Aero Disc, they may become a popular choice in the area of aero wheelsets that are affordable.
Time to Turbo
A set of three tyres from Specialized, the parent company of Roval, will be paired with the Rapide CL II wheels. Each will bear the designation Turbo, with the lowest priced option costing £45 per tyre and the most expensive Turbo SW RapidAir 2BR costing £65 per tyre.
A play on words that sounds close to “tubeless ready,” 2BR is a nickname that stands for “2Bliss Ready.” Two of the three brand-new tyres have it on them, while the third and least expensive tyre is a tube-type clincher only.
The creation of two new rubber compounds (Gripton T2 and T5), according to Specialized, is what makes their three tyres different from one another in terms of durability, rolling resistance, grip, and puncture protection.
The claimed savings in rolling resistance are negligible in the grand scheme of things. Compared to its predecessor, Specialized claims that the Turbo SW RapidAir 2BR uses just one watt less power. However, that one watt is a considerable cost savings when you consider that the old RapidAir was well-liked for its speed. The cost-effectiveness is also noteworthy when contrasted to the comparably modest savings discovered in our wind tunnel studies on wheel modifications that cost thousands.
The S-Works Turbo RapidAir 2BR, which costs £65.00 and is only now offered in 26c, is supposed to weigh 230g.
The S-Works Turbo 2BR, which retails for £55.00, comes in three different sizes and three different weights: 26c, 28c, and 30c.
The S-Works Turbo is a tube-style clincher and is the least expensive of the three at £45.00. It costs 24 cents, 26 cents, 28 cents, and 30 cents and weighs 200g, 220g, 240g, and 260g, respectively.