Whenever we test new high-end kit, it’s often a similar story that plays out. Once the initial razzmatazz and shiny-new afterglow has passed, perceptions settle down as senses become dulled to the excitement. Notes are compiled, judgments made and the review filed, before moving onto the next items in for review (tough gig, we know).
Every now and then though, we ride a piece of kit that we’re as genuinely excited to ride at the end of a test period as we were at the start. It retains its rose-tinted lustre, seemingly whispering to us each morning before we settle down to work: “go on, you know you want to.” And then we find ourselves pulling on kit as we head for a cheeky early morning ride instead.
– Buyer’s guide: should you buy lightweight or aero wheels? –
That’s how the Roval CLX 50 carbon clinchers wheels make me feel. Launched as a midway point between the lightweight CLX 32s and deep-aero CLX 64s, the 50s aim to tread that mid-ground between the two, balancing low weight, aero prowess and real-world stability. Does that leave the mid-section wheelset as a compromise? The opposite. These are among the most complete all-round carbon hoops on the market today.
The CLX 50s were launched by Roval in January to take the best of the new 32s and 64s and combine it into one wheelset, so some vital statistics are in order. The most obvious of these is the rim depth – 50mm – which is teamed with an internal rim width of 20.7mm and external width of 29.4mm.
Some might argue that rim width isn’t an ‘obvious’ feature, particularly when you’re often talking about a difference of millimetres, but let me tell you: right out the box, the sheer width of the rims is very clear indeed. As we said in our launch story, going wide is bang on trend at the moment, with wider rims allowing wider tyres to be fitted without the tyre ballooning over the rim, potentially improving aerodynamic efficiency and, more significantly, increasing the volume of a tyre, which in itself improves comfort. Mate a 25mm tyre with a wide rim and it will look more like a 28mm, and so on.