For Review - Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40c - Initial Thoughts

By: Brandon Aug 24

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Some time ago I was lured into a conversation about carbon clincher wheelsets. Having spent time on the ENVE SES 3.4, which we refer to as the Moka Parlour Ascent wheelset, I was coming around to the idea. I'm primarily over my fear of heat-induced failure, partly because I don't descend much and partly because I feel the research has been done to get it right, at least with the top brands.

So when Mavic came out with the "first reliable carbon clincher" I was curious. I've long been a custom wheel kind of guy, eschewing the "wheel systems" and more recently "wheel-tire systems" for something I piece together on my own. But, what if I could really get something from a single box that had the performance to match my custom wheels with a much shorter turnaround and the durability Mavic is known for?

A few emails go out, a week goes by, and a set of Mavic's new Cosmic Cabrone 40c wheels are at my doorstep. Out of the box I gathered the usual bits: brake pads, skewers, and Mavic's proprietary tools. I tossed my wheels onto the scale: 672g front and 877g rear. That's within 4 grams of claimed weight, so we're right on.

Mavic's 40c include myriad different technologies, they're a full-on alphabet soup. TGMax, FTS-L, FORE, QRM+, and MAXTAL. What does all this mean? Who cares. I'm much more worried about how the wheels perform than bragging about their technology. If you're curious, check here.

My first qualm came with the tires. The GripLink front and PowerLink rear tires are labeled as 23mm, mine measured a scant 22.4mm. I was assured by those inside Mavic the issue is being addressed. I did a handful of rides on the stock tires, and the narrow width was noticeable but not enough to warrant getting too upset. Regardless, I swapped to my Veloflex Corsa tires so I could have a better apples-to-apples with my ENVE wheels.

Now that I have the "right" tires mounted, what have I noticed? First, the 40c wheelset rides better than any carbon clincher wheelset has any business deserves. Only slightly stiffer vertically than a typical box-section wheels, it's hard to believe really. Laterally, there is plenty of stiffness to go around. I never noticed any brake pad rub during any level of sprint.

Braking is where oh-so-many carbon wheels really suffer, and while these wheels are better than most, you'll never confuse them with aluminum rims. I did have a bit of a squeal when first mounted, but a quick adjustment of the pads and that was eliminated. The provided yellow pads also left some residue when new, but quickly wore off and the yellowing was gone, 2-3 rides max.

I have yet to attempt to dodge anything in my path with these wheels mounted. Mavic is known for building wheel that will withstand anything, and I plan to put that to the test. Currently the wheels are just as true as when pulled from the box, but I'll be keeping an eye on that.

More miles to come from these, but initial thoughts are very positive. Wet weather, cold, gravel? Let's see what these things can handle.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott


Embrocation Cycling Journal bar tape

By: Gavin Gould Aug 19

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Bar tape is highly personal - much like saddle choice, shoes, kit, helmets, and many other items, what works for me might not work for you. Generally I ride without gloves unless it's cold, so I need some cushion and some grip. I've got big hands and ride Thomson's stout carbon KFC handlebar, so thick tape is fine but I don't want to totally deaden the feel and feedback at the front end.

It's kind of hard to describe the feel of Embrocation Bar Tape straight away - it falls somewhere in between cork and synthetics in terms of both texture and cush-factor. The main difference you'll notice is that this tape is wider than most others, there's a good amount of overlap available when wrapping the tape so you can show off the print.

Ride comfort has been good, and the solid-but-not-sticky grip doesn't seem to fade in rain as much as some tapes do. My hands don't sweat a ton, so I haven't noted a loss of grip there either.

In terms of wear, the print is beginning to wear at the spot where the heel of my hand rests about 70% of the time, right where the tops curve toward the hoods. No rips yet, but my crashing has been limited to a couple low-speed spills on dirt.

photos and words by Gavin Gould


A Visit to the Paint Shop

By: Brandon Mar 28

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A slightly different view than what we typically see of the custom bike world, from the paint booth comes some of the most memorable details of handmade bikes. But, how many of us get to see what happens behind the scenes to create these beautiful works of art?

Today is just a sample, a few shots snagged while I was picking up a Cabron that had just finished it's trip through the booth. Beautiful work is done here, check out the tools of this trade. We have a lot more coverage coming up of how your handmade bike makes it's way from tubes to the finished artisanal frames we all covet.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott


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