Specialized Unveils New Roval Carbon Wheel
Today, at the Tour Down Under, Bora-Hansgrohe and Quick-Step Floors will debut the entirely-new Roval CLX 50, where it should prove to be the riders’ wheels of choice for most stages. At 50mm in depth and ranging in weight from 1,230-1,425 grams per-pair, depending on configuration, CLX 50 is the ultimate all-around road wheelset – striking the perfect balance between lightweight, aerodynamics, and impeccable handling, unlike any wheelset before it.
Deeper, aero-focused wheels are the standard in the peloton these days, yet riders aren’t willing to sacrifice much in the way of weight in order to obtain that aero advantage. Between Roval’s fastest CLX 64 and its lightest CLX 32, there was still an opportunity to provide another advantage. CLX 50 combines best-in-class weight and better crosswind performance than any other leading mid-depth wheels on the market.
“Quick-Step, Sagan, Majka and many other top riders have been on Roval wheels for some time now and overwhelmingly their feedback has been that they love the great performance and low weight. Now, with the new CLX 50, we’ve delivered even more ability to optimize bike setup for each unique stage profile or riding scenario. In a game where every inch counts, our goal is to find that extra edge, without sacrificing any durability.” -Jeremy Thompson, Roval Components
Varying weight and structural studies were performed on rims of different depths, ultimately deciding that 50mm was the ideal depth. Once rim shape was decided on, every trick employed on CLX 32 was also integrated into the CLX 50 design, to arrive at a light, yet incredibly durable rim.
For the disc brake clincher variant, the rim brake track and associated material and construction were deleted and a more impact resistant material and a unique layup were employed to measurably improve impact strength. This also resulted in a rim that is up to 20g lighter than the corresponding rim brake rims, helping to offset some of the additional weight of disc brake systems.
CLX 50 rims are anchored to the newly-developed Roval AF (Aero Flange) hubs. With wide bracing angles and 2:1 lacing pattern to reduce spoke weight while maintaining the same lateral stiffness and durability required of all Roval wheels.
Armed with the industry’s leading aero minds and testing technology, Roval CLX 50 delivers measurably better aerodynamic performance.
Combined with comprehensive structural and weight analysis of different potential rim geometries, CFD simulations were performed on rims of varying depths and shapes. The deepest profiles weren’t always the fastest, and the shallowest profiles weren’t necessarily the lightest. After intensive simulation and iterative adjustments, the rim shape was narrowed down to the top 3 profiles. These shapes were then precision CNC machined into rims, built into wheels, and put into the Specialized Win Tunnel for validation.
Aero design of a rim is incredibly nuanced; width, curvature or brake track angle adjustments that are barely visible to the human eye can perform noticeably different. Additionally, tire selection can have a dramatic effect on a wheel’s performance. CFD simulations and resulting Win Tunnel testing were all done around a Specialized S-Works Turbo 24c tire (measuring 26mm wide when mounted on Roval wheels).
Similar to the development path on previous wheels, the tubular rim shape was iterated and scaled from the clincher version for optimal performance with tubular tires and how their shape uniquely interacts with a rim.
While the rim itself is a substantial factor in the wheel’s aerodynamic performance, this level of performance could not have been achieved without the use of our Roval AF series hubs and DT Swiss aero spokes. These hubs were designed in the Win Tunnel and debuted on the Roval CLX 64. DT Swiss Aerolite spokes have proven to be a measurable gain over round spokes, yet the move to external nipples has not proven detrimental to aerodynamics.
As with all Roval CLX level wheels, CLX 50s come equipped with CeramicSpeed bearings. In lab testing, CeramicSpeed bearings have shown an appreciable power savings over traditional steel bearings. When every watt counts and you’re counting on top tier performance, this is a necessary spec for any premium wheelset.
Wide & Tubeless
Wide tires are more comfortable, provide better traction and lower rolling resistance than narrow ones. Lower pressures can improve these qualities even more. CLX 50 has an inner rim width of 20.7mm which helps support the tire and enhances these features even more. When cornering or leaning the bike, the tire is better supported by the wider rim.
CLX 50 is tubeless compatible out of the box. Super-lightweight tubeless plugs (saving approximately 30-35 grams per-wheel over rim strips) snap easily into place and seal each spoke hole individually. Every wheel ships with a set of tubeless plugs and an alloy tubeless valve stem, so there is no added cost or hassle for those desiring a tubeless setup.
External nipples are featured on every wheel. Minor truing adjustments can be made on tubular or tubeless setups without having to remove the tire. Hub internals are DT Swiss’ reliable and easily-serviceable 240s with the Star Ratchet. The hub system requires no special tools to take apart or service and replacement parts are easy to source.
Roval wheels have easily interchangeable end-caps and freehub bodies for adaptable and futureproof wheels. All rear wheels ship with 11sp Road freehub bodies that are compatible with SRAM and Shimano cassettes. Campagnolo or SRAM XD freehub bodies are available aftermarket. Disc brake wheels ship with end-caps for QR and 12mm thru axles (12x100mm front, 12×142 rear).
Wheels also ship with any compatible skewers, Swiss Stop brake pads, tubeless plugs + valves, and a padded wheel bag.
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