All About Zwift’s Roval Alpinist CLX Wheels

All About Zwift’s Roval Alpinist CLX Wheels

UPDATE September 3, 2021: we retested these wheels with our updated protocol after Zwift released a major update and a few minor updates. Current test data shows these wheels a bit slowed from their initial results, so we’ve updated the post below.

Alpinist CLX rear wheel

Zwift’s newest update includes a fresh wheelset from Roval: the Alpinist CLX. This is Roval’s third wheelset in game, coming hot on the heels of their Rapide CLX release in May.

The IRL Alpinist CLX wheelset came out in 2020 and received some very positive reviews. Specialized says they are “the lightest road clincher wheelset we have ever made.” And they sure are light, weighing in at 1248 grams. Compare that to Zipp’s (recently launched in game) 353 NSW’s which are Zipp’s lightest tubeless wheels ever at 1255 grams!

The Alpinist wheels are available for 135,300 Drops on Zwift, for level 32+ Zwifters. They are rated 3 stars for aero, 4 stars for weight. Here’s how they’re described in the Drop Shop:

“A pure climber’s dream, the new Alpinist CLX is the lightest road clincher wheelset Roval has ever made. When climbing, mass is the enemy of performance, so Roval pared the Alpinist CLX down to the absolute minimum to capitalize on every precious watt of energy without sacrificing any of the strength, ride quality and durability that are crucial to long term performance and satisfaction.”

Sounds like these wheels should be great climbers. But experienced Zwifters know that real-world performance doesn’t necessarily translate to Zwift performance, so at Zwift Insider we run frames and wheelsets through a battery of tests to learn just how well they perform in Zwift’s virtual world.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Roval Alpinist CLX wheels in Zwift…

Aero Performance

The Roval Alpinist CLX wheels turn in a flat test time that places them in approximately the 25th percentile for aero performance. This isn’t surprising, given that this is a pure climbing wheelset.

The Alpinist CLX wheels turned in a time of 51:12 on our test course (two laps of Tempus Fugit). By comparison, the fastest wheels in game (DT Swiss disc) turned in a time of 50:25.5, and the Lightweight Meilenstein wheels turn in a time of 51:11.5. (All of these test times were done with the Zwift Aero frame.)

Climb Performance

The Alpinist CLX wheels are rated at 4 stars for weight, and we figured they would out-climb most of the wheels in the game, given their super-low IRL weight.

The Roval Alpinist CLX wheels turned in an Alpe du Zwift time of 49:12. That’s precisely the same time as the Lightweight Meilensteins which have been the best pure climbing wheels ever since they were introduced to the game in March 2018!

By comparison, the new Zipp 353 wheels turn in a time of 49:20. These wheelsets may be separated by only 7 grams IRL, but on Zwift, the Alpinists outclimb the 353’s handily. (It’s worth noting that the 353’s outperform the Alpinists by 14 seconds in our flat tests.)

Conclusions

The “King of the Hill” spot is now shared between the new Roval Alpinist CLX wheelset and the Lightweight Meilensteins, since both wheelsets turn in nearly identical times in our flat and climb tests.

While neither is the best choice for flat or rolling Zwift races due to poor aero performance, if you’re purely focused on climbing, these are the wheels you want in your garage.

Given the standout performance of the Alpinist CLX wheels, we’ll be updating the following posts soon:

Questions or Comments?

Share below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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rdcyclist (Mark Crane)
rdcyclist (Mark Crane) (@rdcyclist)
3 months ago

[sarcasm]Wonderful.[\sarcasm] After I had to climb The Frickin’ Alpe 12 times to get those Meilensteins they come out with something we can just buy, dammit. Yeah, Level 35 but it took me to, I think L37 before I got them…

Mitja Kovačič
Mitja Kovačič (@ngaruhuoe)
3 months ago

Good for you. I had to do 27 reps😀

Evan
Evan
3 months ago

i got them on my first try lol

Edward
Edward
2 months ago
Reply to  Evan

Third try.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

I bought the Rovals, and after about 20 unsuccessful attempts to win the Meilensteins, the first time I used the Rovals I eventually won them. Zwift’s idea of a joke I suppose.

Johannes
Johannes
3 months ago

I always found it kinda nice that it just wasn’t possible to buy the lightest wheels…

Jimmy
Jimmy
3 months ago
Reply to  Johannes

Agree. I’m still yet to get them but repeatedly climb AdZ to try and get them. Kind of feel they’ve taken that achievement away now.

MATHEW M ROSE
MATHEW M ROSE (@matrose617)
3 months ago

Well, I would still take a set of Meilenstein Obermeyers IRL, but for in-game riding, it looks like I’m about to buy the new Aethos with Rocal CLX for future Alpe ascents (because I’m sure those 12 seconds will make a huge difference (LOL))

Evan
Evan
3 months ago

It is the end of an era.
R I P Lightweight Meilensteins 😢You will be missed.💔
…Now, off to The Garage. Follow in the footsteps of the Tarmac Pro, Bridgestone, and all the other greats before you.

Alex
Alex
3 months ago

I have a very hard time understanding why they didn’t just make them 1 second slower than the Meilenstein wheels. Wouldn’t have hurt anyone since they’d still be the fastest climbing wheels available for purchase.

I go up the Alpe a couple times a week during workouts and have seen countless people message their excitement about finally getting the Meilenstein wheels.

Next thing we know, they add a Tron replacement to the drop shop.

Evan
Evan
3 months ago
Reply to  Alex

please no tron replacement please no😭
…although i dont expect they will. 50k climbing for nothing will make a lot of people mad

Stefan Versick
Stefan Versick
3 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Maybe they already did? Wait for the Dogma F Tests.

Rosco P. Coltrane
Rosco P. Coltrane (@arkeele)
3 months ago

I carry the same sentiment as the others. Achievements like the Tron take dedication to climbing, and encourage more riders to do so. Having the Lightweight Meilensteins as a carrot to encourage Alpe rides also was a great engagement tool.

At least making the best the hardest to aquire by making it available at the highest levels would encourage more effort and patience to get there, however this just encourages more advertising for Specialized than it enhances engagement in Zwift.

temps 09
temps 09 (@quatre24)
3 months ago

So these new wheels are for climbing only while zipp353 for lots of climbing time but still with some descending with flat/rolling time as in four hoursemen route, quatch quest?

M. D. S. Günther
M. D. S. Günther
3 months ago

Well, I predicted the Rovals to be the 2nd fastest in the announcement thread and someone pointed out that I am probably a bit too excited about their performance.
Turns out we were both wrong lol.

Colin
Colin
3 months ago

I wonder if the performance will be dialled back once the promotion has ended. We have had that before with equipment as it’s strange that the earnt wheels are no longer the best.

Jeffrey Goelz
Jeffrey Goelz (@jeffrey-goelz)
3 months ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

The Zwift Safety bike was certainly nerfed after release.

Eric
Eric
3 months ago

I think people will still be stoked to win the Millies…not everyone is L32+

Austyn
Austyn
3 months ago

Just past 15,000,000 drops so I’ll give them a shot.

Erik
Erik
3 months ago

Do the companies (e.g. Roval) pay Zwift to include wheels/frames in Zwift? Do they pay more for better performance? Is it an annual fee? Will Lightweight now have to pay less as their wheels are noe longer the fastest?

david
david
3 months ago

Am i right in saying that the best bikes in each of the following categories are

Aero: Specialized
Climbing: Specialized
Climbing Wheels: Specialized

And also,

Bike manufacturers which have invested capital in Zwift: Specialized

Ric
Ric
3 months ago
Reply to  david

Suggested that earlier. Was made out for liar….

Rosco P. Coltrane
Rosco P. Coltrane (@arkeele)
3 months ago
Reply to  david

Best TT frame right now is a Canyon….but for how long until Spech makes it a “clean” sweep lol gawd forbid they make a disc wheel….

Stephen
Stephen
3 months ago

Best thing is I can run these disc wheels on my rim brake madone 🤔

Daniel Connelly
1 month ago

The scatter plot article now says the Alpinist and the lightweights have the same performance. This article says the Alpinist are 2 seconds faster, essentially independent of gradient.

So are the results presented here corrected?

Yousif
Yousif
1 month ago

Was wondering the same thing

Roule Thoune
Roule Thoune
1 month ago

One day I will *finally* learn not to waste drops on new releases for at least a couple of months, until the inevitable corrections have been made. The Canyon, the 2020 Cervelo S5 and now these wheels. Seriously, I don’t understand why the people who create this virtual world and who get to determine the virtual properties of the objects in it can’t get things straight the first time around. It really makes me think that the Zwift workflow is chaotic, sloppy and unreliable. 🙁 Convince me otherwise.
Yes, I should go outside and ride IRL more.

Yousif
Yousif
1 month ago
Reply to  Roule Thoune

Its pretty hard to believe they would make the same mistake 6 times in the past year, on something so trivial as inputting values for virtual frames or wheels.

abcd
abcd
1 month ago

Alp wheel doesn’t worth to spend Drops to me, it can’t get benifit in 99% racing. The accuracy of zwifters’ powertrainers are not the same. Reallife climbing records are more meaningful.

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