Mavic bills their new wheel, a 40mm deep carbon clincher, as the first reliable carbon clincher. A bold statement we imagine makes the folks at ENVE, Zipp, Bontrager and Campagnolo a bit miffed. While the carbon clincher certainly got off to an inauspicious start with some suspect materials out of Asia, the brands mentioned above have recently been producing incredibly reliable full carbon clinchers when viewed from just about any angle – heat build up, braking power, impact resistance, longevity.
The term carbon clincher could also be quibbled with when applied to the new Mavic CC 40C, they certainly arent a full carbon clincher. With tire mounted the wheels look the part, but Mavic actually uses an aluminum hoop that is then covered with carbon. There is also aluminum used at the rims interior diameter to accept spokes. The use of this aluminum allows Mavic to incorporate some of their key technology in the wheels.
The tire bed is uniform, without drilling for spoke holes. Instead the spokes are threaded into the rims aluminum inserts in the interior diameter, using their proprietary Fore process. The aluminum hoop helps the rim handle impacts as well as withstand air pressure from the tube.
Some new technologies are debuted with this wheel as well. The carbon is structural, unlike a carbon faring. It is laid up over a foam insert and taken right up the brake track to totally obscure the aluminum tire bed and rim hooks. In fact, your tire and tube never contact carbon. The carbon brake track uses TgMAX technology. Mavic uses multiple resins within the carbon layers and a proprietary manufacturing process to fight heat build up and the dreaded glass transition point. Glass transition is the moment the resin within the carbon turns from a solid to a flowing plastic. With a tubular this creates a hop in the rim and signals the end of that rims useful life. With a carbon clincher it can cause the rim hook to give up, blowing your tire off. As heat builds up in braking, and riders are typically braking in high-speed situations, a front tire blowing off could signal the end of your usable life. Mavic also claims their carbon brake track can cut stopping distance in half compared to their competitors performance.
Mavics desire to wait until they had created a reliable solution to braking on carbon is commendable. Too many brands rushed carbon clinchers to the market, and the French brand’s readiness to put rider safety over market share is one of the reasons they have, and will continue to have, a die-hard following. They are certainly not the only brand to have waited. Zipp stuck with hybrid aluminum and carbon/rims for many years before launching their Firecrest line. Firecrest is more than a shape, it was the result of an exhaustive search for a heat resistant resin that didnt hamper the rims stiffness and impact resistance. They ended up with a carbon rim that could withstand more heat than a tire and tube, negating the possibility of a glass transition related rim hook failure. Bontrager and ENVE quickly followed suit.
Mavic may have an ace in the hole when it comes to fighting this glass transition. Heat resistant resins are certainly more readily available than when Zipp began their search seasons ago, but the aluminum insert in the CC40 C must play a big roll. A reason aluminum clinchers brake so well is conductivity. Aluminum is conductive meaning as it heats up heat is conducted away from the brake track and dissipated across the entire aluminum structure. Carbon is an insulator, it stores heat locally and as a result heats up much faster. Presumably the Mavic CC40 C gets a big head start in keeping heat down at the brake thanks to the aluminum insert drawing heat off the carbon.
Regardless of how they got there, Mavics claim of CC40 C reliability is certainly one we are inclined to take as very legitimate. The ten year old Ksyrium wheels in our stable are as true and reactive as they day we unboxed them and are evidence of the French brands legendary reliability. The spokes are bladed stainless steel while the hubs use a carbon shell with aluminum flanges, like many other Mavic wheels.
While no aerodynamic claims have been released, the 40mm depth puts them directly in between the Zipp 303 at 45mm and the Bontrager Aeolus D3 3 at 35mm. The wheel does blaze its own path in regards to width. While the rest of the industry, and even the Mavic CXR 80, have gone wide, the CC40 C is only 19mm wide with a parallel brake track, almost a centimeter narrower than a 303 at its widest point. On the issue of weight Mavic does seem to have suffered some, thanks to the aluminum hoop and Fore drilled inserts. The CC40 C tips the scales at 1545grams, 70grams heavier than the 303 and a full 105grams heavier than an Aeolus D3 3.
Mavic sells the CC40 C as a tire/wheel combo, with a Yksion GripLink up front and Yksion PowerLink in back included in the price. That price is $2750, although not yet finalized, it is cheaper than a Cosmic Carbon Ultimate and right in line with Zipp and Bontrager pricing. Availability is to be determined.
Mavic CC 40 C Price: $2750 (includes tires) More: Mavic.com