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The king has returned.
In the days of classic tubing and graceful shift cable arcs, Mavic's aluminum Ksyrium wheelset held court as the legendarily bombproof race wheel of choice. In the best of times, the Ksyrium wound up fast for a snappy, responsive ride, and in the worst, we've seen the mid-2000's era hoops emerge unscathed from a high speed fray with a competitor's rear derailleur that would have left almost any other wheel wobbling home minus a few spokes. The influx of carbon wheels has relegated even the most royal of alloy rims to training miles, though, and the new Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL C Clincher Wheelset is stepping onto the scene with a full carbon rim and Mavic's trademark reliability to regain its place at the pointy end of the peloton.
Mavic launching a full-carbon rim is a stop-the-presses moment for the bike industry. The company is nothing if not a stickler for safety and has long been a stubborn outlier with its aluminum-bedded braking surface in its carbon wheels, citing concerns over safety and braking performance with full-carbon rims. Mavic claims to have finally cracked the heat buildup and braking power puzzle with its iTgMAX rim construction, which uses a proprietary resin to resist heat buildup and reduce chances of rim failure or tire blowout. Along with Mavic's laser etched braking surface, this technology results in exceptional braking reliability across wet and dry conditions for a claimed 48% reduction in stopping distances compared to other carbon rims. We haven't been able to test this out, but Mavic revolutionized aluminum braking surfaces with its Exalith design; we see no reason why they wouldn't do the same with carbon.
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 carbon 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 and machined bead hooks, maintaining a solid surface for increased structural integrity.
Mavic uses 3K carbon fibers to shape the rims in a bullet-nose profile. While this wheelset isn't specifically called out as "aero", Mavic constructed it specifically with climbing in mind, so the 25mm-deep sections are dependably stable while riding in crosswinds and tackling twisty, long descents. Mavic also paid close attention to the wheels' impact resistance, ensuring the wheels will be able to withstand long days on weather-beaten shoulders and chip-sealed roads on days when silky smooth tarmac is a distant dream.
Though Mavic tends to privilege tradition, this wheel proves it isn't afraid of well-executed change. In addition to the full-carbon rim, Mavic distinguishes itself as the first manufacturer to introduce a mass-produced wheel with a ratchet ring engagement system. The design, referred to as Instant Drive 360, is centered on a 40-tooth, dual ratchet construction that boasts nine degrees of engagement. This marks a significant step forward for factory-built wheels because it features the kind of responsiveness and longevity normally reserved for third party hubs on hand-built customs. The Instant Drive 360 hubs also feature more reliable, no-contact seals as a barrier against damaging road grit, and they shed a claimed 40g compared to the FTS-L hubs.
The Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL C Clincher wheelset includes Mavic's signature Yksion Pro tires, with GripLink up front for increased cornering confidence and PowerLink in back for a smooth, fast-rolling ride. Regardless of position, though, both tires receive a nylon breaker for flat protection. Each wheelset is also packaged with carbon brake pads, rim tape, quick-release skewers, and a multifunction adjustment wrench.
- An all-purpose race wheel that stands up to daily abuse
- The legendary Ksyrium gets updated with a full-carbon rim
- Blunt-faced rim profile improves wind stability
- New hubs rival those found in hand-built, custom wheels
- Get out on the road fast with included Yksion Pro tires
- Mavic delivers bombproof reliability in a race-ready package
- Item #MAV00A6
- Q & A
Mavic is back!
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Admittedly, Mavic has been lagging behind the times in wheel design for a few years. They've relied on tried and true alloy wheels but the carbon offerings were stuck in the past.
Well, Mavic's new line up changes all that. It begins with the new Ksyrium Carbon. Worthy of their durable and venerable namesake the Carbon's are fast, smooth and stiff. Braking is the best of any carbon wheel I've ridden.
I've sampled a few new Mavic offerings and these have been my favorites so far.
Hit me up directly with more questions or if you would like to place an order.
Stiff, Zippy wheels.
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I've had the chance to take these on a few rides, and so far have come away impressed. While being stiff when I drop the Gavel, they also spin up when it's time to go.
At 1390g for the pair they're pretty dang light- without any hesitation or flex. The engagement of the instant drive 360 hubs is instantaneous which adds to the quick responsive feel of these. These sure are an upgrade from my Mavic Ksryium Elites circa 2010.
The ITGmax braking track provides exceptional braking with confidence, and with a 265lb Mavic recommended weight limit assures that these are tough wheels that can be used for both training and racing.
If you have any questions- or just want to chat bikes- hit me up!
Scott Gartman: Expert Gearhead-Bike