REVIEW: Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR 2012
by Adam Tranter
I’ve used these wheels for club rides, crit races, team and individual time-trials and they’ve proved themselves to be worthy of all disciplines, they may not be the best for climbing mountains but they’re great for descending them!
Mavic's top-end clincher wheel is a serious bit of kit. It brings all the development and technology of the Cosmic Carbone Ultimate in to a clincher wheel at half the price - that's not to say though that this wheel is cheap because at £1699, it sits pretty at the top of the alloy-rimmed deep section wheelsets.
As more and more manufacturers move towards torodial rim shapes (think Zipp and Enve) it may seem like dated technology for Mavic to continue to use the elliptical rim shape but only wind tunnel testing will give a definitive answer on whether or not the new shapes make a real-world difference. Mavic is one of the top choices in the pro peloton and on the amateur scene, so we're inclined to trust their judgement on the rim shapes.
Using a traditional alloy rim has allowed Mavic to use their new Exalith rim technology, it's a super-hard coating applied to the rim thus allowing Mavic to mill away 10g of rim weight right where it counts at the edge of the rotational weight. The milled and coated rim is then bonded to a carbon fairing providing a complete 52mm deep rim, which puts it somewhere between the new crop of mid-section rims and the super-aero deep-section rims used in TT's. We did have some front brake squeal on the front, but this is meant to die down after 300 miles.
The hubs are tried and tested Mavic goodness, good bearings and design keep them rolling well even with little maintenance in bad conditions. The spokes used are Mavic’s R2R (Rim 2 Rim) flat bladed spokes, the R2R means that instead of spokes gong from rim to hub the spokes now go from rim to rim crossing the hub in the middle, this means the spokes count is halved. They certainly make for a very stiff wheelset; you notice this after 3 hours!
The Exalith rim coating is hard; in fact it's so hard that using a tire lever to get the tire off scores the lever like a file on wood. The black coating gives the wheels a much better look than the older silver alloy rimmed version and 'borrows' the looks of the range topping CCU. You'll notice from our first photo, that the rim logos are reflective, which is a nice safety touch.
The wheels came supplied with Mavic's Yksion Griplink (Front) and Powerlink (Rear) tires that worked flawlessly, grippy, fast and confidence inspiring these tires are a great race day addition. They have a very similar feel to the Vittoria Evo Corsa but with a reduced tread pattern which makes sense as they've been produced for Mavic by Lion Tires (the Company that produces for Vittoria).
Left in the box you get one valve extender, 2 inner tubes, a pair of Exalith brake pads and Mavic QR skewers. The tubes have a traditional 42mm length and are intended to be used with the supplied valve extender and remove once the tire is inflated to the correct PSI, this is a bit of hassle. Using a 60mm valve gives you plenty of room to attach a pump and inflate more easily, some well-placed PTFE tape stops the valves rattling around in the valve hole.
The pads fitted easily in to my SRAM Red callipers and worked well from the first pull to the last although the brake squeal is still there after 300 miles. I’ve used these wheels for club rides, crit races, team and individual time-trials and they’ve proved themselves to be worthy of all disciplines, they may not be the best for climbing mountains but they’re great for descending them!
Verdict - Great wheelset, light, responsive and stiff enough for even the largest riders to race on. There are cheaper alternatives, however, but we like these.
We Liked: The look, stiffness, reliability, the cool nice they make when you ride out of the saddle
We Didn't: The brake squeal!
Also consider: Shimano Dura Ace C50 (£1010.00 pair) or FFWD F6R-c (£1190.00 with DT Swiss 240 hubs)
More info: Mavic.com
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