Few upgrades make a bike go from zing to zingidy-zing like a good pair of aero wheels. Not too deep though, because you still want to be able to push them around on the daily driver. 50mm is about as deep as I’d recommend for daily use and the Roval CL 50 Disc wheelset is a great combination of speed and affordability if you’re in the market.
Roval Rapide CL 50 Disc Wheelset Features:
- 50mm deep 2Bliss-ready carbon clincher
- 20.7mm internal, 29.4mm external
- Hand built with DT Swiss Competition Race T-head spokes with LockBrass nipples
- Centerlock rotor compatible
- 12mm thru-axles standard
- DT Swiss 350 rear hub internals
- Lifetime warranty (original owner), 2 years for subsequent owners
- Total Wheelset Weight: 1,515g
- MSRP: $1750
Accessible speed, lightweight
A 50mm deep rim isn’t supposed to weigh a mere 1515 grams. And, they certainly aren’t supposed to be priced at a reasonable $1750 — no sir. But, Roval continues to deliver a huge bang-for-the-buck with their wind-cheating and fast-rolling CL 50 Disc Wheelset.
As standard-equipment aboard the 2020 Specialized Venge Pro and are the perfect combination of lightweight, aerodynamics and responsiveness. Loaded up with a SRAM XDR Driver, I’ve tested their mettle with the SRAM Force eTap AXS groupset as the perfect combination of performance and function.
Wheels at this depth are on the fringes of all-rounder depths, but boy are they fast. The snub-nosed shape of the CL 50’s really feels smooth and aero as you’re flying along at speed. Keep in mind that these were mounted on the Venge Pro off-the-shelf, which is super-slippery, but also ridden on an Open UPPER for comparison. The S-Works Turbo 26 tires are fast-rolling and have proven to be durable and grippy. The CL 50’s feature a modern 21mm internal width, which makes for a fuller tire and aids in going tubeless if you so choose (I recommend it). Just install the included valve stems, slap on some tubeless tires and you’re golden. The process will be identical to the Roval CLX 32 650b’s we tested recently.
The CL 50’s feaure Roval Aero Flange hubs with DT Swiss internals. These wheels are hand built and every detail is on par with wheels costing hundreds more. I’ll add that it’s no secret that Roval wheels are ridden by the best teams and riders in the pro peloton, so you know they have been put through their paces. In fact, the upgraded CLX 50’s are the most decorated wheels on the World Tour level with countless wins this year. Fun fact: both the CL 50 and CLX 50 use the exact same rims, but the CL’s have round spokes and standard bearings.
As I’ve ridden the CL 50’s all around the Wasatch, I’ve continued to be impressed. And, the combination of these wheels aboard the Venge Pro is a knockout punch of fast and fun. At 50mm tall, these are among the deepest-section wheels that I’ve dare ride on the longest of climbs and hairpin, crosswind-filled descents. With them, I’ve had nothing but confidence, even at the highest speeds.
Under the most extreme cases of crosswinds, you will get thrown around a little, but it’s completely manageable. I don’t have any hesitation recommending these wheels aboard any all-rounder or aero bike if you’re looking for a set of responsive, light and fast wheels that can be ridden anywhere. And, they will look smart on any bike.
On long climbs, the CL 50’s are light enough that they won’t be the thing that holds you back. They spin up quickly and, in my roll-to-stop tests, they roll with the best wheels I’ve tested. The overall shape is excellent for aero efficiency and strength. As opposed to bladed spokes, the CL 50’s feature standard, round units. Honestly, the aerodynamic difference between round and bladed spokes is up for debate because it is negligible at best in the real world. You win with round spokes because replacements are even more accessible, should the need arise.
- Great rim shape for do-it-all performance
- Easy tubeless
- Roll among the best wheels I’ve tested
- Some of the most affordable aero wheels available
- Don’t get tossed around too much in crosswinds
- Centerlock rotors
- Roval brand may still lack panache
- Some will scoff at round spokes
The Bottom Line: Roval Rapide CL 50 Disc Wheelset
As far as affordable, aerodynamic wheels go, it’s hard not to recommend the Roval CL 50’s. They roll mega fast and tackle any terrain (including long climbs) with style. At 50mm, they can get pushed around a little by strong crosswinds, but remain stable as can be. I would have no reservations rolling these on any bike — from a lightweight climber to an aero bike.
Buy Now: Shop Roval Wheels at JensonUSA
Roval knows a thing or two about wheelsets and all that's on display with the CL 50's. You get a mid-depth 50mm rim that's good for riding anywhere. With the CL 50's, you also get solid aerodynamics and good stability at speed.
Thanks for this great review Jason. I’m 5’8” and 145lb. Not sure what you weigh, but does lighter body weight make a difference in terms of crosswind stability – especially for the front wheel?
Thanks for reading the review. These wheels really blew me away. And, like I said, they do get blown around a little in stiff crosswinds. But, it’s pretty minimal, all things considered (50mm depth isn’t going to hide from winds).
I’m 5’11” and 170 lbs, for reference. I’m really not sure what dropping 25 lbs would do to how these behave. You will be on a smaller frame than me, which will affect things as well. To be completely honest, I’m not really sure if weight will make a difference.
Regardless, these are impressive for the performance and price.
Ed… here’s an interesting conversation on Zippcast about rider weight and rim depth: https://soundcloud.com/user-855398039/zippcast-rim-depth
Jason- last week I got a set of these wheels based in large part on the strength of this review. They are everything you mentioned here and then some- I’m more than impressed. I was coming from the stock Axis Elite alloy rims that came with my 2017 Roubaix, which I knew were not great but was determined to wear out before upgrading. I broke those hubs pretty good after 3 years and 7000-ish miles and finally made the leap to the Rovals. I expected improvements in speed and handling, but what I did not expect was the massively improved shock absorption. My training run/commute route that I have taken many hundreds of times is filled with ruts, humps and cracks that I instinctively know to avoid so as to spare my wrists and knees the big hits. But with these wheels I can rumble right through most Cleveland road pitfalls without breaking cadence. Amazing. I knew a wheel upgrade would make it feel like a brand new bike, but I didn’t know it would also make it feel like a whole new road too! Thanks for the review.
Awesome to hear and glad the upgrade has been substantial for you. These are great wheels, that’s for sure!
Thanks very much for this detailed review, Jason. You said that you would recommend not going any deeper than 50mm for “day-to-day” wheels. Is this primarily due to deeper wheels’ sensitivity to crosswinds?
On that note, what do you think of the recent trend to move toward move “U” shaped (rather than traditionally “V” shaped) rim cross-sections, which are claimed to be less susceptible to crosswind buffeting.
Also, any thoughts on mixed depths (i.e. 40mm front/60mm back), which we see many pros opt for?
I do have a set of Vision SC55’s and they are great wheels, but do get a little squirrelly in crosswinds. Both the SC55 and Roval CL50 are U-shaped. In fact, almost all carbon wheels these days are U-shaped. But, the latest Roval wheels just introduced are a mixture of shapes and depths.
So, onto your last question, mixing things up with 40/60, like ENVE does, makes a ton of sense. You get the added stability plus aerodynamics — all at the same time. But, if I’m going to select a single depth for all-around stability and speed, it’s going to be in the 38-45mm depth. Hope that helps!
Great article. Appreciate you taking the time to write it. How would you compare these to the Hunt 48 limitless wheels and did you upgrade them ratchets to the 54t ratchets?
Thanks RL… I haven’t ridden the Hunt 48 Limitless wheelset, but they look pretty sweet. A little wider and with Ceramicspeed bearings too! The 48’s are a little heavier, but the faster bearings will negate much of that. Again, hard to say, but they do look great on paper (so long as you can really get a set).
Thanks for the great review Jason. Would you consider the 50mm rims a decent all-rounder for a 2020 Roubaix? I live close to the rocky mountains in Canada, so I do a fair bit of climbing. Any steep grade over 10% doesn’t last too long. I may do some pretty long 6% ish grades that last 10km or so. I am 6’0″ and weigh 185 lbs. Most of my rides in the 100km range would have about 1000m of overall elevation. Would you recommend these wheels for a one-wheelset application? I enjoy going fast and i also enjoy climbing 🙂
The CL50 is a great all-around wheelset for everything you’re looking for. I thoroughly enjoyed them on the Specialized Venge Pro and took them into the same type of terrain here in Utah as you have up north. You’d be great with these.
Is there some kind of replacement for these DT Swiss Competition Race T-head spokes?
I have broken on of these in my wheel and i have a huge problem with getting these spokes in Europe.
Dang… as you know, replacement parts are hard to come by. Your local Specialized dealer hasn’t been helpful?
Great review Jason,
I am replacing my current Zipp 353’s and can not decide if I want to buy the CL 50 or wait for the CLX ii. I am 6’4″ 220 lbs and ride an SL7 with Shimano Di2 and tubeless setup. Have you had a chance to test those?
I have not had a chance to ride the Rapide CLX II’s. Hopefully in the next few months, but availability remains dedicated to shops. You are a big guy, who puts a lot of wear on wheelsets, so getting a solid set is important. I have had great luck with Roval’s latest offerings. I’m curious though, why are you going away from the Zipp 353 NSW’s?