Buyer’s Guide: Roval Road Wheels

What wheels are right for you?

Roval Road Wheel

Specialized’s wheel brand, Roval, is known for producing high-performing carbon wheels that are ready for race day. There are a few options to choose from – so we’ve created this guide to help you find a wheel that suits your needs.

Aerodynamics vs. Weight Savings

Image of Roval Rapide CLX and Alpinist CLX wheells

Roval road wheels are split into two primary categories: the aerodynamically focused Rapide series and the lightweight Alpinist series. Rapide wheels tend to be stiff, fast at high speed, and feature a deeper rim depth. Alpinist wheels, on the other hand, focus on shaving grams wherever possible – usually with an ultralight hub and minimal rim depth. This doesn’t mean you can’t climb with Rapide wheels or sprint with Alpinist wheels, but depending on your riding style, one wheelset may be preferable.



Rapide vs. Alpinist

Roval Rapide CLX II Wheels

Rapide CLX II

Roval’s top-of-the-line aero wheels. They feature front and rear-specific rim shapes with a wide 35mm external width in the front for improved stiffness and airflow. Roval’s premium aero hubs round out the package.

MSRP: $2800
Rim Depth: 51mm (Front), 60mm (Rear)
Claimed Weight: 1520g (Set)

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Roval Alpinist CLX II Wheels

Alpinist CLX II

Designed to be the lightest in the lineup, the Alpinist CLX II shaves weight wherever it can. The LightAF hubs are 50 grams lighter than the previous Alpinist CLX hubs and feature DT Swiss EXP internals and SINC ceramic bearings.

MSRP: $2650
Rim Depth: 33mm (Front & Rear)
Claimed Weight: 1265g (Set)

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Roval Rapide CL II Wheels

Rapide CL II

The Rapide CL II takes the super aero design of the CLX and cuts costs with a slightly less aero and slightly heavier DT Swiss 350 hub and spokes. The rim profile remains the same and the wheelset only weighs around 70g more than its big sibling.

MSRP: $1750
Rim Depth: 51mm (Front), 60mm (Rear)
Claimed Weight: 1590g (Set)

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Roval Alpinist CL II Wheels

Alpinist CL II

While it’s slightly heavier than the CLX, the CL is still super light. Most of that weight comes from the swap to DT Swiss 350 hubs and heavier spokes (which could actually help with durability). If you’re okay without having the absolute lightest wheels on the market, the CL II might just be the wheel for you.

MSRP: $1700
Rim Depth: 33mm (Front & Rear)
Claimed Weight: 1395g (Set)

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Roval Rapide C38 Wheels

Rapide C 38

The C 38 offers the performance benefits of a carbon fiber wheelset at a more palatable price. With a 38mm rim depth, this wheelset is not as purely focused on aerodynamics, making it an excellent all-around option that performs well on the flats and the climbs. If you’re looking for a carbon wheelset to share between bikes, the C 38 is also suitable for gravel.

MSRP: $1100
Rim Depth: 38mm (Front & Rear)
Claimed Weight: 1627g (Set)

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Roval Alpinist SLX Wheels

Alpinist SLX Disc

The only alloy wheel on this list, the Alpinist SLX Disc takes the weight savings technologies of the Alpinist series and pairs them with 6061 alloy rims. At 1485g this wheelset is lighter than many carbon wheels out there and the price is hard to beat.

MSRP: $800
Rim Depth: 33mm (Front & Rear)
Claimed Weight: 1485g (Set)

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Tubeless Technology

Tubeless roval wheel

All these Roval wheels are tubeless-ready – meaning the rim tape is pre-installed and all you have to do is put a tubeless tire on and add sealant. Our testing at Performance Bicycle has found that Roval rims are among the easiest to set up for tubeless. We have mounted Specialized, Continental, and Vittoria road tires and found that they can be easily seated with a high-volume floor pump (no compressor needed).

Centerlock Disc Brakes

image of roval wheel with centerlock disc brakes

Roval road wheels are compatible with centerlock brake rotors. This has become the standard for road wheels and there are rotor options available from all major brands.

Hub Spacing

Image of roval wheel hub

All Roval road wheels are spec’d to match the industry standard thru-axle hub spacing of 12 x 100mm (front) and 12 x 142mm (rear). Depending on the hubs, thru axle adapters may be available to convert the wheels for quick-release use; however, it’s important to note that these wheels must be used with disc brakes as they don’t have a track for rim brakes.

Freehub Bodies

Image of specialized bike drivetrain with roval CLX wheels

All Roval road wheels ship with a standard Shimano 11/12 speed HG-style freehub. This works for all Shimano road cassettes; though, 10-speed and lower require a spacer). It also works with SRAM road cassettes up to 11-speed and many other aftermarket options.

To run 12-speed SRAM cassettes, you will need to swap out the freehub for a SRAM XDR Body. Depending on the hub your wheelset has, there are also freehubs bodies for Campagnolo cassettes.

No-Fault Crash Replacement & Lifetime Warranty

pro riders racing using Roval wheels

Roval carbon wheels are backed by their No Fault Crash Replacement Policy which provides two years of coverage for wheel damage that occurs while riding. On top of that, the Lifetime Warranty provides the original owner with coverage for defects in materials and workmanship.

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