(The Gear Loop) - Wheels are one of the easiest things to upgrade on a bike, and considering they can make or break a road bike set-up, it pays to have a good set gracing your ride.
Roval, the wheel brand now owned by Specialized, has stepped in to make your choice that bit easier with an update on what it refers to as "the most winningest wheels" in existence.
In just two years, the Roval Alpinist and Rapide have won more on the biggest stages in professional cycling that anything else. Over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Rapide and Alpinist won 155 races on the World Tour, to be exact.
For 2022, the hand-built Rapide CLX II and Alpinist CLX II are now tubeless-ready, which brings with it lower rolling resistance, improved handling and the flat protection of a tubeless system.
"We can say the average rolling resistance reduction is 8 per cent (in tubeless tyre systems). In terms of a performance road racing tyre at 40km/h, it is a 1.7 watt saving per tyre, 3.5 watts per bike," explains Oliver Kiesel, Specialized Tyre Product Manager.
This might not seem like much, but when it comes to the pro peloton, every watt saved translates into seconds shaved off race times, which can be the difference between winners and losers.
To dig a little deeper, the Rapide CLX II combines the aerodynamics of a deep-section TT wheel with the light weight of a shallower climbing wheel, offering great performance on a variety of road profiles, no matter the wind conditions.
Alternatively, the Alpinist CLX II are the lightest, best-handling clincher wheels Roval has ever made, weighing just 1250g or 1265g with rim tape and valves.
More importantly, both sets of wheels are now tougher than ever, with Roval developing a new testing and engineering process to ensure they can withstand impacts far greater than the UCI’s general classification requires. The aim is to keep pro riders safer when clipping kerbs, hitting potholes and generally abusing their equipment.
The wheels don’t come cheap though, with a set of Rapide CLX II costing £2,500/$2,800 and the lightweight Alpinist CLX commanding an equally hefty £2,500/$2,650 price tag.