Specialized Roval Rapide SL 45 Wheelset

Specialized Roval Rapide 45 Wheelset 300x180 Specialized Roval Rapide SL 45 Wheelset

Specialized Roval Rapide 45 Wheelset

Specialized are best known for their complete bikes, although for a long time they’ve made many of their own components. Just like with their bikes, which are top quality at every level and good value, so are their components. Now, Specialized makes their own wheels too, but you’d never know it – they don’t carry Specialized branding. Enter the Roval line of wheelsets.  Just as with their complete bikes and bike frames, there’s a Roval wheelset for every budget, and the Roval Rapide SL45 is getting near the top.

Race quality wheelset

The Roval Rapide SL45 is designed to get you into racing. It isn’t a pro-level wheel with all the features you’d expect of a spaceship and so light they’d blow away, but then the Rapide SL45 doesn’t cost as much as a spaceship either. This wheelset is marketed at riders who are getting into racing for the first time, looking for an all-around wheelset that’s strong enough for training but light enough to behave respectable on an entry-level racecourse.  Best of all, they are priced accordingly.

For around $1500, the Roval Rapide SL45 offers you a handsome carbon rim, but unlike many flashy carbon race wheelsets the Roval Rapide SL45 comes as a clincher, meaning you can use them for training too. The 45mm rim depth is nicely aero, and if this is your first set of ‘section’ wheels, you’ll really notice the difference. If you plan to do mainly triathlon, 45mm is a perfect starting rim depth – enough to give you an aero edge but not so much you’ll get blown over in a cross wind.

So many great features

Specialized must have subsidized the Roval Rapide SL45’s development somewhere along the line, because these wheels are the perfect all-around package and are dripping with clever design features.  ‘Double Drive’ rear spoke lacing gives you excellent power transfer, there’s a carbon center to the front hub to take a little weight off where the hub isn’t carrying power, aero spokes…it’s the same technology you’d find on Specialized’s race specific wheelsets. Sweet titanium skewers complete the package – just like the pros have!

Why aren’t they real racers?

The simple answer is that the Specialized Roval Rapide SL45 wheelset is heavy. At 1595g they aren’t made of lead, but to get the convenience and strength of the clincher rim, there’s a little too much aluminum on these wheels. That means, when it comes to the climb, you’ll feel the difference between theses wheels and a wheelset designed with only weight loss in mind.

If you already have a brilliant race bike and several years of racing behind you, then you might consider the Roval Rapide SL45 as a truly sweet training wheelset, but you won’t want to race on them (although they deserve a place in the wheel car). However, if you are getting serious about your riding, want a wheel that will make your training a lot more fun, and which can carry you to the finish line in your first foray into racing, then frankly, it would be hard to find a better wheelset for your $1500.

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