Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL Wheelset Review
The Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL has always been a wheel that offers a lot. All the aerodynamic benefits of a deep rim carbon wheel, but in clincher format with an aluminum braking surface, rather than tubular format with a carbon braking surface. And as far as wheels go, the Cosmic Carbone has an impressive pedigree with wins at the World Championships and the Olympics to name but 2. But will Mavic’s impressive formula work in a clincher rim?
Mavic's Cosmic Technology
The rims themselves are a hybrid consisting of carbon and aluminum. The braking surface makes the wheel heavier than its tubular counterpart, but the upside is that it provides a solid, reliable and durable braking surface. Mavic use their own UB Control finish on the rim which means that the braking surface is flat with grooves, assisting in consistent, fast braking. Coupled with Mavic’s Inter Spoke Milling process, the rims are 20 grams lighter than last year’s version.
The carbon fiber shell that gives the wheel its aerodynamic profile is bonded to the rim. The rim depth is 52mm and the profile is elliptical. The combination proved highly effective in cutting through the wind, particularly on the flats. The spokes (16 front, 20 in the rear) are steel-bladed, straight-pull, and anodized black. Not only does this combination look great (beats the old yellow trim of Carbones in the past), but it also means that the Cosmic Carbone SL is very stiff, and so it proved in the sprints. Out of the saddle, and laying down all the power we could muster, there was no detectable flex in these wheels.
The hubs are Mavic's "typical", which have a very low flange aluminum hub body. They contain QRM bearings which felt very smooth on our test runs. One interesting feature of buying wheels from Mavic is that you have the opportunity to buy an MP3 program (not music, but the Mavic Product Protection Plan) which provides you with 2 years worth of no-fault protection from Mavic. What this means is that, even if you accidentally damage your wheels, Mavic will repair or replace them, which is a huge peace of mind to have, particularly if road racing is your thing, or you have a tendency to not watch where you’re going.
All in all, we were very impressed with the Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL. The wheels rode very smoothly, and cut through the wind very effectively on the flats. The slight disadvantage of the carbon/aluminum braking surface combination is the weight. At 1740g for the wheelset, the Carbone SL is by no means heavy, but with a standard rim, such as the Mavic Ksyrium SL, you could shed almost 300g for what is ultimately a more affordable wheel. However, if aerodynamics is your thing, and powerful, consistent braking is important to you, the Carbone SL is hard to beat.
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