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Specialized releases Roval wheels with mass appeal and new range of Turbo tyres

Roval Rapide CL wheels sit under the top-tier CLXs, while the tyres are all-new

Joseph Delves
20 Sep 2022

Specialized’s new Roval Rapide CL II wheels promise to bring WorldTour speed to the masses. Using the same carbon rims found on the Californian brand’s top flight Rapide CLX wheelset, these now come paired with DT Swiss 350 hubs. With a reputation for being indestructible, the result should appeal to riders concerned with day-to-day durability. The price of £1,500 / $1,750 / €1,800 for the pair is also likely to be more palatable to everyday racers than the flagship option.

While some manufacturers like Cadex and Zipp have released hookless designs, Specialized has decided to stick with traditional crochet-type (hooked) rims on its latest wheels. The brand says this offers riders the broadest possible selection of tyres.

Of course, the new wheels are still tubeless compatible. Specialized claims to have spent two years developing a testing program and says its internal testing standards are almost twice as rigorous as the existing certification requirements.

Matching a 51mm deep front rim with a 60mm deep rear, the wheels come in a single specification and weigh a claimed 1,590g for the set. They aim to strike the best balance between aerodynamics, stability, and climbing performance. To achieve this, Specialized has used its in-house wind tunnel and conducted extensive computer modelling.

As on the existing model, there's a pronounced difference in the front and rear rim profiles – while both have an internal rim width of 21mm, the front measures a huge 35mm across externally, while the rear is 30mm wide. 

This reflects the greater important of aerodynamics for the front wheel, which meets the air first. For aero purposes, it's desirable for the rim to be wider than the tyre.

At the rear, the rim meets 'dirty' air and stability is less of a concern, so a narrower, deeper section produces a better trade-off of performance characteristics. 

New Specialized Turbo tyres

At the same time, Specialized has also overhauled its range of tyres. The brand claims to have been the first to convince its sponsored teams to switch from glue-on tubular to tubeless tyres and two of the three new S-Works models are tubeless – the race-focused S-Works Turbo RapidAir 2BR and the more durable S-Works Turbo 2BR. The S-Works Turbo tyre meanwhile is a conventional tube-type clincher. 

All three of the new tyres make use of two separate rubber compounds. In the centre  where the focus is on efficiency and durability the firm uses its new silica-based Gripton T2 compound while the shoulders are T5 compound which is said to provide extra grip for cornering.

Specialized says it conducted extensive research to prove its new compounds lose an absolute minimum of energy while deforming on the ground. Anyone excited by hysteresis and damping loss per deflection cycles will find plenty of graphs to ogle on the brand’s website. The S-Works Turbo RapidAir 2BR comes in a single 26mm width, while the other models are available in 24, 26, 28, and 30mm widths.

Specialized S-works Turbo tyre specs

S-Works Turbo RapidAir 2BR: For race day performance for a tubeless tyre

  • Casing: 120 TPI
  • Bead: 2Bliss Ready, Zylon Foldable
  • Compound: Gripton T2/T5
  • Flat Protection: BlackBelt
  • Size/claimed weight: 700×26 (230g)

S-Works Turbo 2BR: For a balance of performance and durability

  • Casing: 120 TPI
  • Bead: 2Bliss Ready, Zylon Foldable
  • Compound: Gripton T2/T5
  • Flat Protection: BlackBelt
  • Size/claimed weight: 700×26 (260g), 700×28 (280g), 700×30 (300g)

S-Works Turbo: Racing performance in a tube-type tyre

  • Casing: 300 TPI
  • Bead: Aramid Foldable
  • Compound: Gripton T2/T5
  • Flat Protection: BlackBelt
  • Size/claimed weight: 700×24 (200g), 700×26 (220g), 700×28 (240g), 700×30 (280g)

Specialized S-Works Turbo tyres pricing and availability

All tyres are available to buy immediately with pricing as follows:

  • S-works Turbo 2BR: £55
  • S-Works Turbo Rapidair 2BR: £65
  • S-Works Turbo: £45
  • Turbo Pro: £35

Thinking of going tubeless but intimidated by installation? Don't miss our guide to fitting tubeless road, gravel and MTB tyres

Main image: Matthew Loveridge, all others via Specialized

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