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Roval gave its top tier all-around race wheels a big makeover earlier this year, making the leap to tubeless, among many other rim updates, in the Rapide CLX II.
Now those updates are coming to a more affordable price point in the just announced Rapide CL II.
Roval did a lot more than trickle down its premier tech to its second-tier wheelset; it opened the floodgates.
The CL II gets the same exact rim shapes as the CLX II, helping it yield the same speed and crosswind stability characteristics, just in a different type of carbon material to reach a more affordable price point.
Roval continues to roll with tubeless
Roval has been relatively late to fully adopting road tubeless, having scrapped it on the original Rapide CLX wheels after Peter Sagan broke a wheel late in the testing phase of that wheel, leading to the tire to dismount from the rim.
Out of an abundance of caution, Roval launched that generation of wheels as tube-type only out of an abundance of caution.
Now with updated durability and testing standards, Roval is giving the green light to tubeless on the Rapide CL II, just as the brand first did earlier in the year with the CLX II. Roval is sticking with hooked rims, allowing this wheelset to be used with both tubeless and tube-type tires.
But whatever tires you like to ride, Roval says tubeless is the fastest option, with each tire saving about 1.7 watts (3.4 watts total) from reduced rolling resistance at 40 kph.
Different rim shapes front and rear
When it comes to aerodynamics, front and rear wheels face different challenges. The Rapide CL II reflects this by utilizing two very different rim shapes. The front is 51mm deep with a 35mm external rim width.
The rear wheel features a 60mm depth and a 30mm external rim width, helping reduce drag at the trailing edge of the bike. Both rims have a 21mm internal width.
The front is also shallower for added stability, since crosswinds have a greater impact on the ability of the rider to control the front wheel, and therefore steering.
A focus on stability
Roval studied data on human reaction times to determine that wind gusts lasting 0.5 to 2 seconds cause the most havoc on ride stability.
Shorter wind gusts humans aren’t able to react to quickly enough, while sustained gusts over 2 seconds provide time to adjust, says Roval. Between 0.5 and 2 seconds, humans can’t react quickly enough, leading to overcorrection on steering and a less stable feel.
So by creating computer modeled rim shapes with this data in mind, Roval says it was best able to balance reducing aerodynamic drag with stability.
The X factor
With all these similarities, what’s the missing “X factor” between the CL and CLX? Well, weight mainly.
The CL II comes in at 1,590 grams compared to the CLX II’s 1,520. And then there’s the rest of the wheel. Roval stocks the second-level DT Swiss 350 hubs on the CL II, compared with the top-end 240 hubs on the Rapide CLX II.
The set costs $1,750, with the rear costing $1,025 and the front $725. For comparison, the CLX II costs $2,800 for the set.