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If we were to choose one descriptor to apply universally to Mavic, it might be "stubborn." There are negative and positive implications of the brand's stubbornness, and the new Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Clincher Wheelset reinforces the positives while dispelling the negatives. The positive aspects of Mavic's stubbornness are that the brand is obsessed with safety and durability to the point where it won't compromise either in pursuit of fads. Mavic wheels simply refuse to fail because the brand refuses to gamble on new tech for the sake of newness alone. This leads to the negative aspect: Mavic has been criticized for apparently lagging behind the so-called "innovative" manufacturers because of that stubborn refusal to immediately adopt whatever new tech happens to catch the industry's collective fancy.
Of course, that kind of stubbornness is only negative if you value industry trends over proven, effective, and safe technology. To illustrate the point, consider that at a recent sportive event associated with that big race in France, Mavic reportedly provided neutral service support for 38 instances of carbon clincher failures. This tells us what Mavic knew all along: delamination, deformation, cracking, and the like are all still common occurrences in the carbon wheel world. To deal with this, Mavic has long used aluminum inserts in its carbon wheels to serve as reinforcing spines and heat sinks. The risks of full-carbon rims were unacceptable to the brand, which is built on reliability, safety, and longevity as much as it is low weight and aerodynamics — all of which are reasons why generations of cyclists have been grateful for that stubbornness.
The brand recently poached an engineer from the aerospace indsutry, one Jean-Christophe Minni, and gave him two years to develop carbon fiber technology that would allow it to assuage its own concerns with the safety of composite materials. The new, full-carbon Cosmic Pro Carbon SL is the result. Minni's construction process produces rims that can withstand a claimed 392 degrees Fahrenheit before the resin begins to detach, and braking tests on descents like Mont Ventoux and the Col de la Madone — which blend tight switchbacks and long, sweeping sections — don't cause the rims to approach that temperature threshold. This towering tolerance may seem like overkill while you're sitting on the couch browsing Competitive, but we can confirm that it's very reassuring during 20 minute descents that require a bit of brake drag. And that's why Mavic is such a trusted name in the cycling industry. The brand leaves nothing to chance.
While that heat resistance is mostly about improvements to resin, deformed rims aren't the only wheel failure woe Mavic's iTgMax technology addresses. The all-important layers of material in the tire bed are wholly intact. There's no cutting fibers, no Frankensteining, no creative gap filling, and no machine finishing. By keeping each layer intact and not disturbing the finished product, Mavic reduces the chance of introducing the artificial weak points that plague piecemeal carbon lay-ups, maintaining a solid surface for increased structural integrity. Instead of a puzzle of carbon fiber scraps glued together with resin, the carbon is already a unified piece.
The brake tracks themselves are finished with lasers. Our shared cultural imagination typically treats lasers as precision finishing instruments, tools applied with a surgeon's delicate discretion in order to meet impossibly meticulous manufacturing standards. The opposite is true for brake tracks, though, as Mavic uses the lasers in order to literally rough the rims up. The lasers are the sci-fi equivalent of sand paper, removing the outer, smooth layer of resin to expose a more erratic texture that better grips the soft, SwissStop Yellow King brake pads shipped with the wheels.
And we should stress that the Mavic-yellow pads are soft. Given that softness, a fair amount of sloughed-off material in the form of yellow powder and more frequent pad replacement are the only immediately obvious downsides to the wheelset's exceptional braking. Mavic claims harder, more durable pads will work, but we strongly discourage it as they may damage the rims. We like the idea of the pad shredding much better than the rim shredding. Plus, the harder pads won't be yellow. Aesthetics matter.
When the pads engage the exposed fabric of the rims' brake tracks, the wheels emit a sound like the whir of a jet engine heard at a distance. It's a reassuringly positive indication that the brakes are engaged, and the sound is especially welcome as a warning to those around you while riding in a group or pace line. It's not unlike the sound of Mavic's Exalith brake tracks — the French brand's version of brake lights for bicycles.
Given how responsive the braking is, that signature whirring is almost a necessity. With each new generation of carbon wheels, we're bombarded with claims of carbon braking that's so good it rivals or is better than alloy brake tracks — you know the drill. This time, those claims are actually true, and we suspect it's another part of the reason why Mavic took its sweet time sending the full-carbon rims to market.
Mavic's obligatory quantification of improvement is limited to braking in wet conditions, where the brand claims that stopping distances are reduced by 50%. Braking in dry conditions is equally impressive, and — once the pads and brake track have had a ride or two to get intimately aquainted — stopping on the full-carbon Cosmic Pro feels akin to Mavic's alloy Ksyriums. It may not rival Exalith, but this is one of the most confidently responsive carbon brake tracks we've tried.
In addition to improved braking, the rims also feature a new aerodynamic profile that Mavic claims compares favorably to some of our top-selling wheels in the 40-50mm range. The French brand credits the Cosmic Pro Carbon SL with saving 2.3 watts across yaw angles up to 10 degrees, which means the aerodynamic properties don't disappear as soon as you take the wheels out of the wind tunnel and onto the actual roads. The new profile is less pointy than Mavic's usual models. Instead, it features a dramatically blunted inner face and represents the most radical departure from a pure NACA airfoil shape from the stubborn French firm to date. The shape better manages oblique resistance, combining the aerodynamic benefits of deep rims with additional crosswind stability.
With all the excitement about the new rims, it's easy to overlook the Cosmic Carbon SL's Instant Drive 360 hubs. The hubs represent yet another drastic departure from tradition, as the engagement mechanism replaces the usual pawl system with the dual-ratcheting rings formally found only in designer hubs on custom hand-builts. The design involves two rings that press together laterally. One face of the rings' teeth are sloped, so they ramp off of each other while freewheeling. The other face isn't, so the rings engage with pedal input. The design cuts the engagement angle down to nine degrees, a number we might expect to see on a mountain bike hub but are pleasantly surprised to find on the road.
Internal rim width is one area where Mavic remains stubbornly dug in. The Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Clincher is 17mm, internally, which is at odds with the trend of 20mm+ internal widths cropping up like weeds. Mavic's reasoning is simple: The International Organization for Standard (ISO) actually only recommends those expanded widths for use with tires much larger than what we typically ride and race on. For 25mm tires — the new standard — ISO recommends a maximum internal rim width of just 17mm for rims with bead hooks, so those exaggerated internal widths actually aren't in compliance unless you run tires upwards of 30mm in diameter. There are structural benefits to greater external width, though, and Mavic takes full advantage of that fact by blowing the Cosmic Pro Carbon SL's outer measurement up to 26mm. Stubbornly safe, as always.
As metioned above, the wheels ship with Mavic-branded SwissStop Yellow King brake pads. We recommend only using this model of pad. The axles are hollow, which allows for conversion to different axle standards by using various end caps. The wheels also ship with Mavic's 25mm Yksion Pro GripLink and PowerLink tires in the front and rear, respectively.
- A next generation road cycling wheelset
- Mavic's first all-carbon rim construction
- Improved brake track redefines carbon braking
- Instant Drive 360 ratcheting freehub
- Internal width accords with ISO standards for 25mm tires
- Mavic proves why it's the first and last name in wheels
- Item #MAV00ED
- Q & A
Better than expected
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I got these to replace a set of HED Ardennes SL and see if I can get some aero benefits. I was skeptical at first (since I probably do more climbs than flats) and was worried that they'd come much heavier than advertised (seems common with Mavic). They've exceeded my expectations. Pretty much set PRs on a handful of segments on all my rides since which includes both hills and flats.
- seems to brakes as good my alloy in the dry and wet roads post rain (haven't ridden in pouring rain and not planning to)
- rear hub sounds cool (think Chris King's)
- lighter than my HED ardennes
- tires feel supple but don't seem durable (got a flat on my 2nd ride and noticed a bunch of cuts already)
- breaking surface wears pads quickly
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I recently had the chance to demo Mavic's new line up riding these and other wheels back to back. All I can say is that Mavic's latest has blown me away. Mavic was stuck in the past with narrow wheels and shoddy braking with their carbon offerings. No longer! These wheels are super fast and the braking is awesome. from what I can tell, being under the same corporate umbrella as Enve has paid huge dividends. From what I can tell, Mavic's customer service has alsobeen bolstered with the Enve connection. I highly recommend these wheels for those looking for a mid depth wheelset.
Give me a shout directly if you would like to know more or place an order. firstname.lastname@example.org 801-389-7247
I am really impressed with the performance of these wheels. Everything about them proves that an unreal amount of time and effort was attributed to making these things fly. The power output is extremely fluid and snappy and the true feel makes them an amazing addition. I had high expectations and they were definitely met.
Happy Happy, Joy Joy
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I once spent a year in a committed relationship with the Zipp 303's. I wasn't sure I'd ever find a wheel that shared the aerodynamic performance of the 303 while being even more reliable, comfortable and a bit more reasonably priced. Thumbs up!
Any questions at all on these don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally – happy to help out. New freehub body, improved stiffness, and some of the best breaking out there are some of the highlights of these.
Customer Account Manager-Bike
Office: 801-736-6396 ext. 4737
"that big race in France, Mavic reportedly provided neutral service support for 38 instances of carbon clincher failures". I'll kiss your hind quarters if this is true. Did you mean tubular failures?
"Sportive event associated with that big race in France"
You don't need to kiss my hind quarters, cheers!
Hi Eric, I don't think its a corporate leak of information to share some of the exact report from the Mavic Special Service Course (SSC) neutral support of L'Etape du Tour 2015:
In addition to uniquely rendering real-time rider assistance, the Special Service Course has served as an invaluable data collection tool for product innovation with the ability to catalogue and study mechanical issues when and where they occur. For example, at the 2015 L'Etape du Tour, Mavic serviced 102 wheels, 54 of which were carbon clinchers. Of those, 38 were complete wheel failures. From this intelligence, Mavic continued their new carbon wheel set design improvements with durability, reasonable to low-weight, aerodynamic performance and superior braking in mind.
Of course, I work for Mavic. But I'm sure this is the full text to which you were referring.
What is the alternative for brake pads? The stock yellow Mavic SwissStops pads are shredding like crazy!! I have yellow brake dust everywhere.
They recommend not to use anything but the SwissStop. Off the record I had to use Zipp pads and they worked fine the few weeks I had them on.
Its normal for the first week of use (to have some of the powder). It should quickly settle and move into stable and lovely performance without noise or residue. I've tested heaps of the new Cosmics and Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL's and this is almost always the case. If any further concern, just reach to Mavic!
These wheels are spec'd for an 11-speed cassette. Would they work with a 10-speed SRAM cassette? If not, what comparable wheels would? Thanks.
You are fine to run 10 speed with these, just use the spacer that comes with them.