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Roval says new Alpinist SLX wheels are “the pinnacle of what can be achieved with alloy”

“Lightweight wheels feel better to ride,” says Roval as it unveils new model featuring DT Swiss 350 hubs. They look a reasonable price too

Specialized-owned brand Roval has unveiled a lightweight and relatively inexpensive Alpinist SLX alloy road wheelset that features new DT Swiss 350 hubs and Sapim spokes. The Alpinist SLX alloy road wheelset weighs a claimed 1,485g.   

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2023 Roval Alpinist SLX alloy wheels - 4

Roval launched its high-end Roval Alpinist CLX II wheels last year and they’ve been hugely well received, the only real downside – and it’s quite a big one – being that you’re looking at a price of £2,500 for the pair.

> Sagan's safety standards: Roval revives tubeless for Rapide II and Alpinist II 

Fear not, though, because Roval has thought of that.

“We want every rider to experience the magical ride quality of Alpinist,” says Roval, never one to play down its successes. “This is why we created the new Alpinist SLX alloy road wheel — the first-ever alloy product to earn the Alpinist name. This road wheel brings the hallmarks of the Alpinist family to more riders.”

2023 Roval Alpinist SLX alloy wheels - 5

Roval already offers Alpinist handlebars, cockpits (combined handlebars/stems), and seat posts, as well as wheels.

“While it’s the same 6069 alloy rim (24mm deep) as the previous SLX rim, its newly engineered shot peen treatment increases fatigue life. Plus, with new DT Swiss 350 hubs and Sapim spokes, the overall weight has been reduced by 30g. The new Alpinist SLX is the pinnacle of what can be achieved with alloy.”

> Read our review of the Roval Alpinist CLX II wheels 

Roval puts the 1,485g wheelset weight down to the use of “premium alloy and a thoughtful build” and says that “the wheels are stiff enough for high-powered efforts yet supple enough for sublime handling at an affordable price”. 

Okay, the weight doesn’t rival that of the Roval Alpinist CLX II, but you wouldn’t expect it to. Those wheels hit the road.cc Scales of Truth at 1,260g. It’s a decent weight for wheels of this type and price, though.

2023 Roval Alpinist SLX alloy wheels - 1

The rims are tubeless compatible so “you get sublime ride quality with the added efficiency, comfort, and flat protection of tubeless tyres”, according to Roval.

The Roval Alpinist SLX features the updated DT Swiss 350 hubs that we told you about in January.  The 350 rear hub uses a star ratchet system rather than traditional pawls. Two rings with angled teeth glide over one another when you’re coasting, and engage – pushed together by springs – when you pedal. 

2023 Roval Alpinist SLX alloy wheels - 2

Whereas the previous DT Swiss 350 hub used 18 teeth, the new one features 36. This means that the freehub engages twice as quickly when you start to pedal – in 10°.

The front Roval Alpinist SLX alloy wheel is priced at £310 while the rear is £450, giving a total price of £760 for the pair.   

Find out more here.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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10 comments

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Creakingcrank | 1 year ago
1 like

Roval achieves "peak normal" with new wheels.

Specialized-owned brand Roval says its new wheels are pushing the limits of "perfectly good", claiming that "even Jobst Brandt couldn't find much to complain about here." The company puts the achievement down to the efforts of its design engineers, who spent several hours in the Win-tunnel flipping through the catalogues of suppliers to find mid-range components that sell well and don't get many bad reviews on TrustPilot. The result is a set of wheels that "weigh the same, look the same and work the same as the ones you already have, while costing just a little bit more."
"These are not your daughter's wheels," concluded a Roval spokesperson, "but they do use most of the same parts."

Avatar
Off the back | 1 year ago
0 likes

I don't quite understand the thinking by Specialized/Roval with these wheels. The price of them alongside their own products is baffling.

I recently bought a set of Roval Alpinist CL II wheels. They have exactly the same rim as the CLX II but with different spokes and hubs - Which are the same as the ones found on these alloy wheels. They weighed 1380g when I put mine on the scales out of the box. Slightly more than advertised but only by a few gramms. They cost £1500, nearly double what Specialized are giving as a RRP on the alloy which weigh just 100g more. Yes thats £750 to save 100g!! So what is the point of the CL II?

Unless they drop the price of the Alpinist CL II sharply, they are a white elephant. But Since they are exactly the same rim as the CLX version but with 'lower' quality hubs (if DTSwiss can ever be called that) and spokes over the premium line then will they have to drop the price of the CLX II in line with them? If not you could no doubt just buy a set of CL II and lace them to a higher quality set of hubs and they still come in cheaper than the CLX. 

Avatar
OnYerBike replied to Off the back | 1 year ago
0 likes

Surely it's just a matter of perspective/value? You could have said the same thing about the CLX II when the CL II was launched - the CLX II has an RRP of £2,500 and weighs 1,250g (claimed). So compared to the CL II they cost £1,000 more to save ~130g (and that weight saving is mainly in the hub - the CL II's weight saving over the SLX is all in the rim).

 

Avatar
Off the back replied to OnYerBike | 1 year ago
0 likes

I can see the benefits of better hubs, That is where the money goes. It will always be the driving factor of a wheels overall cost. So I expect a wheelset with better hubs and spokes to be premium in value. But I dont see £750 worth of improvement from the alloy to carbon rims. They wont be that much stiffer, they are not aero at 33mm and they have exactly the same hubs and spokes. So all you are paying for is carbon over metal that offers a tiny weight saving, Performance will not be at all different. Whereas the hubs on the CLX will be. 

Avatar
Sevenfold | 1 year ago
5 likes

How can these be the 'pinnacle of what can be achieved with alloy' if they use DT 350 hubs not the 180 version?

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Sevenfold | 1 year ago
0 likes

Double post.

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RoubaixCube | 1 year ago
0 likes

Marketing buzzwords galore aside. £760 in my book makes it a tough sell as that will get you a decent entry to mid level carbon wheelset if not very very close to one.

They are pretty light though

Avatar
Off the back replied to RoubaixCube | 1 year ago
0 likes

The price point is similar to entry level carbon yes, but they are generally much heavier or made of cheese. 

As the saying goes: "Strong, Light, Cheap - Pick 2" 

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Secret_squirrel replied to Off the back | 1 year ago
0 likes

Really?  £100 more gets you Hunt Aerodynamicist 44's which are ~20g lighter much faster and have a chunk of high quality reviews.

Seems like you are paying for the Roval stickers on them.

Avatar
Off the back replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
0 likes

Further up, Im talking about wheels in a specific range. 

I actually own a set of Hunt Limitless 48mm rims so I know they are good wheels. I would have got another set but I bought the other set on my employers C2W scheme which didnt allow me to, so it was the Rovals. 

 

And with most wheels the money is in the hubs, Hunt basic hubs are not that fantastic. Certainly not as good as DT Swiss hubs. Anyone can make a decent set of fast carbon rims its what you lace them to that counts

And it that were not the case it wouldnt cost an extra £350 for the privilege of better hubs on this very wheelset you mention 

 

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