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Roval claims new Rapide C38 wheels outperform some deep aero rims

The new wheels are aimed at both road and gravel bikes and cost £1,150

Roval has released a more budget-friendly and shallower version of its Rapide wheelset that is aimed at all-round bikes like the Specialized Roubaix. The Rapide C38 uses the carbon rim from the C38 wheelset which has a 21mm internal rim width to support wider road and also gravel tyres, while it's claimed that a new DT Swiss hub brings dependable performance. They’re tubeless-ready too.

> road.cc's Best Cycling Wheels of the Year 2020/21

While deep-section race wheels like the Roval Rapide CLX are very fun to ride thanks to their speed, pro racers and normal riders will often turn to a shallower rim for everyday riding. This is partly to save those speedy wheels for race day, and partly because shallower wheels are less of a handful to ride in the wind.

Roval Rapide C38-5

Roval says that the Rapide C38 wheels are the ideal training choice for racers, while also being a performance upgrade that is within reach financially for a lot of riders.

The Rapide C38 combines a mid-depth 38mm deep rim, that is 21mm wide internally to better fit wider tyres, with DT Swiss’ new 370 hubs to create what Roval says is the ideal wheelset for everything from long dirt roads to summiting high alpine ranges.

Rim

Roval Rapide C38-3

Owners of the original C38 wheelset will be familiar with the rim that Roval is using for the Rapide C38. The carbon clincher rim is 21mm internally, tubeless-ready and Roval says that it is capable of supporting both road and gravel tyres.

While Roval describes the C38 rim as “sensibly aerodynamic,” it also says that the Rapide C38 will “aerodynamically outperform many deeper, aero-specific rims.”

Hubs

Roval Rapide C38-1

Interestingly, the wheels are spinning on a new set of hubs from DT Swiss. The 370 looks like it's been designed specifically for disc brakes, featuring a centrelock mounting for the disc rotor. Internally, an 18-tooth ratchet ring provides an engagement rate of 20º for “lightning-fast engagement.”

> Review: Specialized Aethos Pro Ultegra Di2

Like DT Swiss’ other more budget-friendly hubs such as the 350, the 370 uses J-bend spokes which, for the Rapide C38, come in the form of DT Swiss Competition Race spokes. In a move that will please many wheel builders, the spokes also have brass Pro Lock nipples.

While slightly heavier than aluminium nipples, brass nipples are much better for longevity as they are far less susceptible to corrosion, therefore coping better with wet weather and repeated washing.

Roval Rapide C38-4

The hubs are compatible with 100x12mm & 142x12mm thru-axles and feature sealed cartridge bearings. Roval claims a weight of 1560g for the set, or 1600g with tubeless tape installed.

The Rapide C38 wheels cost £1,150 and are available now. A set is on its way to road.cc towers as we speak, so watch out for a review on the site soon...

specialized.com

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

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