Mavic gives the Ksyrium name a full carbon makeover with the Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL C

When applying the iconic Ksyrium name to a new wheel, Mavic must be sure the wheel can live up to the lofty standards that name implies. When that new wheel also happens to be the first time a carbon rim gets the Ksyrium label, the stakes are even higher.

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Mavic certainly took its sweet time delivering the Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL C, but used that time wisely. Carbon rims are not new to Mavic—the Cosmic line had some of the earliest carbon wheels on the market—but as advanced as those materials were, the rim widths were very traditional and very narrow. When it came to clinchers, Mavic was still using alloy rim beds, which made the wheels much heavier than the competition. The new Ksyrium Pro Carbon SLs are not only wide, they are full carbon.

The width gives 25mm-and-wider tires a 17mm internal bead to span, which allows the tire to spread out, improving comfort and grip. Being full carbon, the rims are very light, resulting in a 1,390-gram set of wheels. Light and wide is great, but to truly be Ksyriums, the wheels need incredible durability and phenomenal braking. Mavic started with FEA, Finite Element Analysis, to put the smallest amount of carbon and resin in just the right places to deliver strength and toughness.

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Braking was a tougher nut to crack, as it has been for every carbon clincher manufacturer. Mavic hit upon a resin that can withstand incredibly high temperatures to ensure structural integrity under harsh braking loads, and then passed a laser over the brake track. The laser burns away a minute layer of resin on the surface to stop the brake pads from sliding on the slick resin and bite on the carbon itself. The result is a wheel that stops as well as any carbon on the road, and suffers less than other carbon when it’s wet.

Mavic has aimed this wheel squarely at the endurance crowd. It’s light and durable for big days, it handles steep descents and prolonged braking with aplomb, and the increased width provides comfort for the long haul over any surface. But like the legendary Ksyrium alloy clinchers, these new Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL clinchers are capable of just about anything you can throw at them—fondo, road race, criterium. Mavic has applied the Ksyrium name to a worthy wheel, and that says it all. 1,390g (wheelset); $2,200; mavic.com