The Rapide CL II rims, as well as the quietly shed Alpinist CL II wheels, are notable to feature the exact same rims as the Rapide CLX II wheelset, delivering the same stable aerodynamic performance we experienced in our top-of-the-line wheelset review.
However, to hit the cheaper price for a complete wheelset of $ 1,750 / £ 1,500 / € 1,800 / AU $ 2,600, the Rapide CL II uses DT Swiss 350 hubs with stainless steel bearings, along with a simple Competition Race spoke lacing.
The highlights of the Roval Rapide CL II
- Aero wheel set optimized for 26 mm tires
- Specific profiles of the front and rear rims
- Front rim: Depth 51 mm, width 35 mm (external)
- Rear rim: 60mm deep, 30mm wide (external)
- Inner width 21mm
- Tubeless compatible
- DT Swiss Competition Race straight spokes, 18 front / 24 rear
- DT Swiss 350 hubs with steel bearings
- Weight limit 275lb / 125kg
- Declared weight: 1590g (including tape and tubeless valves)
- Price: $ 1,750 / £ 1,500 / EUR 1,800 / $ 2,600
Just as fast… for less?
While the new Rapide CL II is priced significantly lower than its Rapide CLX II siblings, Roval says the cheaper wheelset will deliver “the same Rapide CLX II speed, same performance, the same amazing handling and stability in all conditions to more riders. ”
It’s a bold statement, but since the Rapide CL II uses exactly the same rim designs – even with a CLX-class carbon stack – it’s basically plausible.
Each rim has its own design optimized for its position on the bike, and Roval maintains its claim of a 25% improvement in stability over the previous generation CLX 50.
The front rim has a depth of 51mm and an outer width of 35mm (inner width 21mm), while the rear rim has a deeper section of 60mm with a narrower outer width of 30mm (also 21mm internally).
The designs are said to provide optimal performance and, importantly, stability under real conditions. The American brand says that while the final aerodynamic optimization is important, smoothing out the losses caused by a more shaky wheelset will also bring about a measurable performance improvement.
Roval designers have used response time studies and what it says is the first rider response time modeling algorithm to optimize the wheels for gusts of 0.5 to 2 seconds of wind.
In human hands, the Rapide CL II (and CLX II wheels) are said to reduce the risk of overreacting to gusty crosswinds, which in turn reduces the need and severity of a second meter correction – both of which Roval says ultimately cost speed.
Meanwhile, the hooked (as opposed to hookless) tubeless rim design remains, allowing riders to choose tubeless or clinch tires depending on their preference. Roval also says the design makes mounting easier, safer, and can withstand tubeless pressures up to 110 psi (if you want).
As with the Rapide CLX II, the Rapide CL II rims are aerodynamically 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 tubes).
Roval says 38mm tires are the maximum compatible width, but for any tire between 36mm and 38mm you will be limited to 60psi, regardless of the mounting method.
What do I sacrifice compared to the Rapide CLX II?
To achieve the lower price, the Rapide CL II wheelset has of course made some concessions compared to the CLX II.
First, the hubs are DT Swiss 350, unlike the Roval AeroFlange Disc hubs on the CLX II.
They use the tried and tested 36-tooth ratchet design with 10-point lugs, but do not include the newest EXP DT Swiss chip that can be seen on the more premium 180 and 240 hubs.
In comparison, the Rapide CLX IIs feature this EXP design inside a custom, aerodynamically optimized body and also rotate around SINC ceramic bearings. The Rapide CL II gets standard DT Swiss alloy bodies and stainless steel bearings.
The 350 hubs accept straight spokes, with the Rapide CL II using the spokes of the Swiss brand Competition Race (which have no aerodynamic profile), not the Aerolite spokes found on the Rapide CLX II.
That said, they are arranged in the same radial arrangements 18 front / two 24 crosses rear as the top-of-the-range wheelset.
These component switches are likely to lead to some form of performance loss compared to the Rapide CLX II, though Roval doesn’t define what that might be.
Overall, the Roval Rapide CL II wheelset weighs 1,590g (725g front and 865g rear, including rim strip and valves), which is only 70g more than the measured weight for the Rapide CLX II 1,520g.
As you might have guessed, all this extra weight comes from the hubs and spokes, minimizing any gains around the spinning edge of the wheel.
Prices and availability of Roval CL II wheelsets
The Roval Rapide CL II wheelset is now available in all territories at the following prices:
- USA: $ 1,750 (wheelset), $ 1,025 (rear), $ 725 (front)
- Great Britain: £ 1,500 (wheelset), £ 850 (rear), £ 650 (front)
- Europe: 1,800 euros (wheelset), 950 euros (rear), 850 euros (front)
- Australia: $ 2,600 (wheelset), $ 1,500 (rear), $ 1,100 (front)