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
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Reviews & Community
What about heat production applying brakes in descending? I've seen torn carbon wheels recently (not Mavic) in a 5.00 Km 9% descending.
I once spent a year in a committed relationship with the Zipp 303's
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Mavic is back in the game
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Always been a big fan of Mavic's wheels when it comes to reliability and stiffness, but havent ridden them much in the last few years as it feels like their technology has been off the back. With this wheelset and the Ksyrium Pro Carbon, Mavic finally as a full carbon clincher (none of that aluminum insert shinanigans) that can go toe to toe with any other high end wheelset on the market. At 40mm deep, it sits a little bit shallower than the Zipp 303 but about 175 grams lighter. As a result, it accelerates nicely when out of saddle while still offering a pretty reasonably comfortable ride. The ID360 hub has been solid as well, not quite Chris King like engagement but good enough where i've never really noticed it being an issue. I'd definitely recommend these as an every day wheelset for all conditions. I've spent about 8 months on them so far and have had zero issues.
Wonder which one should I go for? Mavic Cosmic Pro Disc or the Reynolds 46 Disc? I don't ride very hilly route, at most 40-50 metre climbs, probably less than 5 climbs per 20km.
I'm a wheel snob.....
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
....and these are my all-around go to set. Seriously.
I've only owned one other Mavic wheelset (Carbone Ultimates) and thought I'd give them another try after looking at the updated profile and all carbon brake track.
I used them during my teams recent warm weather camp and they are honestly the perfect all around wheelset. I can use them on my "climbing" bike or aero bike and they fit with both with a 40mm depth and modern aero profile. The wet weather braking is the best I've ever tried.
Only downside is the new textured brake track eats pads, but overall the trade off in performance is worth it IMO.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I have been riding Mavic for years and have questioned a few things over the years. Mainly the hubs and rim width. They have taken care of these and more in the Pro Carbon SL. The hub has a Mavic Instant Drive 360, with 9-degree engagement, which has a great buzz sound and will require less maintenance than freehubs in the past. I have had these for about a month and have waited to write this because I knew my Team Camp was going to be in Hurricane, UT this year. Yes, it's windy there. I usually stay away for wider wheels because I typically focus on climbing wheels, but these performed great in the wind and climbed great. 40mm is a great all around depth for those looking for an everyday wheel.
A few more things that I have to highlight are breaking and the price.
The braking is the best I have ever had with a carbon wheel. This is key for the long descents here in SLC, and another reason I've stayed away from carbon clinchers. I would imagine in the rain they would perform to the highest level as well, but it never rains here so I'm yet to test them in the rain. Yes, msrp at $2,199 is a lot money, but when comparing them to Zipp and Enve they are extremely competitive to say the least. Be sure to let me know if you are interested I'm happy to help out and answer any questions you may have.
Comes with Mavic Tires 25mm - Not a bad tire, but I swapped to 25mm Continental 4000's.
Weight w/o tires and skewers: 1450g
Customer Account Manager-Bike
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!
"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.