Stage 1, Stage 4, Stage 6, Stage 10, Stage 12, Stage 13, and Stage 16 of the recently concluded Tour De France all had one common element: The rider crossing the line flush with victory was, in each case, riding Roval Rapide wheels.
Two teams – out of the 23 total in this year’s Tour – were running Roval wheels and handlebars. And riders from those two teams racked up an impressive third of the total stage wins in the race. Seven out of 21 stages were won on Rapide wheels.
We call our wind tunnel “The Win Tunnel.” It’s a fun play on words. But it’s not a joke. Building and running a wind tunnel is a huge and daunting commitment in of itself; a time-consuming and costly endeavor so imposing that most sane people opt to rent time in someone else’s wind tunnel in order to study the secrets of aerodynamic speed. Our aerodynamic obsession runs deep, however. And renting someone else’s wind was never going to work in the long run. So we bit down hard and built our own tunnel, and after some early successes, we named it The Win Tunnel. And that may seem like misplaced braggadocio or some kind of overtly self-congratulatory self-back slapping.
Except we built the Win Tunnel so that we could develop the fastest wheels and components in the world. We built it so that the fastest riders in the world could slice precious seconds off their time trials, so they could have that tiniest edge of advantage in a bunch sprint, and so that everything we learned in that room full of our meteorological nemesis could inform every product we make so that racers could win. Hence the name. But we also built it so that everyday mortals like you and I can ride farther, faster, and more confidently everywhere.
We built the Win Tunnel so that we could understand how to improve our ride, your ride; how to make your bike a little more slippery and better handling. At times, this seemed like a huge pain in the ass investment for what is basically just a fraction of a second here, an extra kilometer of speed there. But damn, there is no better validation of all those thousands of hours spent following tendrils of smoke and staring into the bottomless pit of data interpretation than seeing something we made cross the line victorious in the largest arena on earth. Validation. Seven times over.
Rapide wheels. Proven fast.
And don’t forget the sleek ergonomic perfection at the front of the bike: Rapide bars crossed the line first in five of those stage wins, and helped one bullet fast Manxman equal the massive, Merckx-ian record of 34 total career Tour de France stage wins.
If Rapide performs this well for these superhuman heroes, at this level, think what Rapide might do for you. Think of those obsessive moments where you are chasing seconds and battling headwinds. What would you give for a few precious spare watts?
While you think on that, we are going to take one furtive sip of champagne, maybe allow a cheat meal slice of cake as a celebration, then we will go back into the Win Tunnel, fire that gigantic fan up, and start the countdown to next July.