Famed French wheel maker Mavic has finally joined the composite party, this week announcing the release of its first full carbon clincher road wheelsets. The aero-enhancing 40mm Cosmic Pro Carbon SL and lightweight 25mm Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL both boast new construction techniques and claimed best-in-class braking. Each retails for $2199 and will be available in April and June respectively.
In what’s best characterized as an offensive defense, Mavic pointed to what it called the “unsafe” and “unreliable” braking performance of some of its competitor’s offerings when explaining both its deliberate development approach, and why its new wheels are worth a consumer’s consideration.
Three years ago, Mavic’s first carbon clincher solution included an alloy insert inside the rim bed, which it believed was the best solution to “the limitations of carbon as a rim material at that time.” But now the company claims to have evolved its technology and found “a way to manage heat instead of fighting it.”
This is achieved by what Mavic calls a one-piece carbon rim contour, which it claims differs from the competition, which “compromises rim bed shapes and/or uses mechanical machining of the fibers after the molding process.” This machining (or cutting of fibers) at the most exposed section of the rim compromises rim integrity and its resistance to the constraints of braking, impact, and tire pressure.
Thus Mavic claims the final shape of the rim bed needs to be flawless straight out of the mold with no need for machining. And that, it says, is the secret sauce that make these new wheels so good. “Our rim is finished with multiple layers of seamless carbon fiber to achieve a unique one-piece rim contour straight out of the mold,” reads the accompanying PR material.
Climb inside for a ride with Mavic neutral support at the Tour de France.
Forward-thinking development didn’t stop there, says Mavic. Once the rim comes out of the oven, it needs to be cured so the resin solidifies. That’s critical, as it’s the resin, or more specifically the failure of the resin under extreme heat, that’s been the Achilles heel of many carbon fiber road wheels. But Mavic claims to have sorted this out in such a way that its rims can withstand temperatures up to 200°C, a level rarely if ever reached in real world conditions.
Brake track consistency was also critical to new wheel development, and here again Mavic claims to have hit the proverbial bulls eye, utilizing a molding process that achieves “nearly zero surface variations.” This critical for maximizing stopping power in wet and dry conditions.
Of course nothing’s perfect, and some will dissapointed that the new line-up doesn’t include tubeless options. Tubulars, however, are an option. Head over to page 2 for a complete feature-by-feature breakdown of each new wheelset.