Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR
On paper the Cosmic Carbone SLR wheels don't appear make a lot of sense. At 1595 grams, they're far from the lightest wheel on the market and Mavic is not inundating us with white papers or wind tunnel tests proving their aerodynamic prowess. If you can get over the absence of aero data and scale -tipping weight level, read on and you'll find out why these wheels are so highly regarded.
Here's what the Cosmic Carbone SLR wheels are: the single most beloved wheelset amongst racers and enthusiasts that we've encountered. What they may initially seem to lack on paper, they more than make up for in adoration by those who use them. Ask any user of the CC SLR how they like their wheels and you usually get some version of, "They're great! I don't know what it is, but these wheels are amazing!"
The CC SLR is the top-end deep section clincher wheel from Mavic and the latest in a long line of Cosmic Carbone products that have been used at the top levels of professional and amateur bicycle racing throughout the world. It's one of the winningest product lines ever in the history of bicycle wheels and one to which Mavic makes regular adjustments and upgrades. The hallmark of the Cosmic Carbone line is the 52mm rim. Unlike many other carbon wheels, Mavic has eschewed the use of a full structural carbon rim on most of the Carbone wheels, opting instead to mate a carbon fiber fairing to an aluminum rim. It's a construction method that results in a slightly heavier wheel, but also produces the amazingly smooth and stable ride quality for which the Carbones are known. Dynamically, the rim behaves like a standard aluminum rim like Mavic's own Open Pro, which means it more readily reacts to pressures from the road and from the rider. Said another way, the rim has flexibility and compliance that most full-carbon wheels lack.
What sets the SLR level wheels apart from the other wheels in the Cosmic lineup are two things: First, the use of Mavic's innovative Exalith braking surface. Introduced just last year, this is a departure from the machined braking surface we've all come to know. It is a file-like machined texture applied to a special hardened rim surface and results in extremely grippy braking and increased lifespan for the rim. The second notable feature of the SLR wheels are their carbon spokes. These are bladed, solid, full carbon fiber spokes, each one running continuously from rim to rim, through the hub (R2R in Mavic speak). This construction method saves weight and retains the lateral stiffness that's been featured in all Cosmic wheels. These spokes are also replaceable, should the worst happen. The spokes and braking surface are unique elements to the SLR and are joined by Mavic's SSC level hub, with impeccably high quality sealed cartridge bearings and easy serviceability.
So what do the CC SLR wheels ride like and why are they a favorite of just about everyone who has used them? Have you ever had the experience of borrowing or renting a car that's much larger and more powerful than your own? You take this car out on the highway and look at the speedometer to discover you're doing something like 90mph, though you feel like you're going much slower. This is the same feeling we had the first time we rode the SLR wheels. They're so smooth and supple over even rough road surfaces that we had to verify our speed and effort on our cycle computer. They spin up with little drama and maintain speed remarkably well. We've found they perform best at speeds above 20 mph, where the mass of the rim helps maintain speed. Changes in tempo, attacks and sprints are easily and rapidly executed and lateral flex is kept to a minimum even when tossing the bike from side to side as in a sprint. In short, we think these wheels are so universally loved because you can go so fast, so smoothly, with so little perceived effort.
If you're a dedicated climber or find yourself overly concerned with weight then the CC SLR are probably not your thing. If, however, you are the sort who likes to get on the front of a paceline on flat or rolling terrain and ratchet up the speed to hurt everyone behind you, these wheels are the ticket. Plus they have the convenience of clincher tires, the speed to be used as a dedicated race wheel and the durability to be ridden every day.
The 2013 Cosmic Carbone SLR wheelset comes in a stunning black on black colorway - the decals are black until exposed to direct light, where they are reflective. They come in either HG or Campy freehubs that can easily be swapped. Mavic supplies this wheelset as a complete system, which includes their front and rear-specific Yksion clincher tires already mounted on the rims. The SLR also come with Mavic's padded wheel bags, quick release skewers, Mavic hub tools and 2 pair of the required Exalith brake pads.
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