The new king of the mountains.
Before carbon hoops became mainstream racing fare, start lines across the world were peppered with Mavic's fast-spinning and nearly bombproof Ksyrium aluminum hoops. With metal now more often relegated to training wheel status, generations of Ksyriums still find use grinding out epic base miles and waiting patiently in the wheel pit while the carbon Cosmics get the nod on race day. The Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL T Tubular Wheelset brings the Ksyrium name right back to the pointy end of the racing game with an all-new hub design and a full-carbon rim that's backed by Mavic's trademark reliability and clocks in as the lightest of the entire Ksyrium line.
Mavic launching a full-carbon rim is a big deal in the bike industry. The company is nothing if not a stickler for safety and has long been a lone standout with aluminum-bedded rims in its carbon wheels, citing concerns over safety and braking performance with full-carbon rims. Mavic claims to have finally cracked the braking power and heat buildup puzzle with its iTgMAX rim construction, which uses a proprietary resin to resist heat buildup and reduce chances of tire blowout or rim failure. Paired 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, and we see no reason why they wouldn't do the same with carbon.
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 and endurance riding in mind, so the 25mm-deep sections are dependably stable while riding in crosswinds and tackling twisty, long descents, and they'll provide a touch more radial flex to dissipate bumps. Mavic also paid close attention to the wheels' impact resistance, ensuring the wheels will be able to withstand long days on chip-sealed roads and weather-beaten shoulders while you're dreaming of buttery smooth tarmac.
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 marks itself as the first manufacturer to introduce a mass-produced wheel with a ratchet-ring freehub system. The design, referred to as Instant Drive 360, is centered on a 40t, dual-ratchet construction that boasts nine degrees of engagement. This marks a significant step forward for factory-built wheels because it enjoys responsiveness and longevity normally reserved for third-party hubs on hand-built wheels. The Instant Drive 360 hubs also feature more reliable, no-contact seals as a barrier against damaging road grit, and they save a claimed 40g compared to the FTS-L hubs.
The Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL T Tubular wheelset includes Mavic's signature Yksion Pro Tubular 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 puncture protection. Each wheelset is also packaged with carbon brake pads, BR601 quick release skewers, and a multifunction adjustment wrench.