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Verdict: 
Lightweight and fast full-carbon clinchers with excellent braking in both wet and dry conditions
Weight: 
1,433g
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Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset
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Mavic's new Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheels accelerate fast, hold their speed well, and offer excellent braking in both dry and wet conditions.

The Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C, like the new Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL C (£1,500), features all-carbon rims. Previously, Mavic used aluminium rim beds in its carbon clinchers for safety reasons – to dissipate heat – but the French brand believes that it has now developed a manufacturing process that allows it to dispense with the metal.

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Mavic says it can now produce one-piece carbon rims that are consistent enough that they need no extra machining, which would weaken the structure, when they come out of the mould.

It has also developed a proprietary heat treatment protocol that increases the ability of the rim to cope with the high temperatures associated with prolonged braking. All of that means the aluminium insert is no longer necessary.

Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset - rim detail.jpg

Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset - rim detail.jpg

A laser process removes the resin from the surface of the brake track while leaving the carbon fibre intact, the idea being to ensure the best braking performance.

Let's start with the braking, then. It's excellent. With some carbon fibre wheels the braking is adequate, possibly reasonable, but not much more. With the SwissStop Flash Pro Yellow pads included, the braking on offer here is powerful. It's up there with the best carbon fibre braking in dry conditions, and it's a class apart from any other carbon fibre wheels I've ever used in the wet.

Braking on wet carbon fibre rims is notoriously unpredictable, but with the Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheels it's not all that much different from the dry weather performance. That's not an exaggeration; you'll be hugely surprised.

That consistency means that you don't find yourself wondering whether or not the pads will bite in wet and changeable conditions; you know that they will, and that gives you the confidence to leave your braking until you really need it rather than starting early to be on the safe side. Mavic really has set new standards here. That's especially good news if you happen to live on a rainy island like Britain.

> Check out our guide to road bike wheels here

Like most (but not all) of Mavic's existing Cosmic wheels, the Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Cs have 40mm deep rims, but these are a new rounded shape based on a NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) profile.

The rims are wide – 25mm external, 17mm internal – so you might have to let out a bit of brake cable when you fit these. That's not as wide as Zipp's 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher, for example (26.4mm across the brake track, 28.5mm maximum), but it's not far off. The idea is to integrate well with the wider tyres that most people are using now. Mavic recommends tyre widths from 25mm to 32mm.

The wheels are lightweight. We measured them at 601g (front) and 808g (rear) without skewers or tyres. Mavic claims a rim weight of 450g, but we're not going to disassemble them to check that. They accelerate snappily, especially for their depth, spinning up to speed fast when you want to get out of a corner quickly or jump away from other riders.

Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset - front hub.jpg

Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset - front hub.jpg

They hold their speed well too, and I didn't have any trouble at all with handling in crosswinds whatever speed I was riding. Even if you're a lighter rider, I can't imagine these being much of a handful.

The Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Cs don't flex much at all when you fling the bike about out of the saddle or corner hard, 18 straight-pull elliptical spokes at the front and 24 at the rear holding them firm. I certainly didn't feel the need to make any concessions through the bends thanks to the high level of precision.

The wheels incorporate the Instant Drive 360 freewheel system (Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo options are available) that Mavic introduced last year. The design features a 40-tooth dual ratchet system that provides engagement in 9°. In other words, you start to drive the rear wheel almost immediately on resuming pedalling after coasting.

Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset - rear hub.jpg

Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset - rear hub.jpg

You get Mavic's own 25mm Yksion Pro GripLink (front) and PowerLink (rear) tyres as part of the package. I know some people don't rate Mavic options highly, but I've not had any issues here. They're not the stickiest choice out there in wet conditions, but I didn't find them especially slippy either. I'd probably replace them with something else when they wear out, but not as a matter of great urgency.

Overall, you're getting a great package here for a variety of terrains: plenty of speed and stiffness and an exceptional braking performance.

Verdict

Lightweight and fast full-carbon clinchers with excellent braking in both wet and dry conditions

road.cc test report

Make and model: Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the wheel is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Mavic describes this as an 'Ultralight full-carbon clincher' wheelset with a 'superior aerodynamic performance' and 'best in class braking and reliability'.

It's designed as a high-performance wheelset, essentially for racing.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

Mavic lists these features:

* The lowest inertia in the category

* Rim weighs just 450g, giving you instant acceleration

* 18 spokes on the front wheel and 24 on the rear, so you get increased lateral stiffness and optimal power transfer

* 40mm wind tunnel tested NACA profile rim

* 25mm external width (17mm internal) for perfect tyre integration and superior handling in all conditions

* iTgMax carbon technology for superior heat resistance and reliability

* The laser-treated brake track gives predictable braking in all weather conditions

* The unique single carbon layer rim bed wrapping is created without machining or fibre cuts

RIMS

* Material: 3K carbon fibers

* Height: 40 mm

* Drilling: traditional

* Brake track: carbon with iTgMAX technology

* Valve hole diameter: 6.5 mm

* Tyre: clincher

* Internal width: 17 mm

* ETRTO size: 622x17C

SPOKES

* Material: steel

* Shape: straight pull, bladed, double butted

* Nipples: aluminum, ABS

* Count: front 18, rear 24

* Lacing: front radial, rear Isopulse

HUBS

* Front and rear bodies: aluminium

* Axle material: aluminum

* Sealed cartridge bearings

* Freewheel: Instant Drive 360

TYRES

* Yksion Pro GripLink (front) & PowerLink (rear)

* Front and Rear Tread: Single Compound

* Casing: 127 TPI

* Breaker: Front Kevlar, Rear polyamide

* Dimension: 25-622 (700x25c)

COMPATIBILITY

* Freewheel: Shimano/Sram or Campagnolo, convertible to XD-R with optional driver body

* Front axle: Quick Release only

* Rear axle: Quick Release only

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10

I've given some info in the main body on Mavic's new construction technique for its all-carbon rim.

The wheels are as true now after several weeks of riding as they were out of the box. The only real sign of use is a slight yellow residue on the brake track from the pads.

The sealed cartridge bearings are running very smoothly.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10

They're lightweight and accelerate fast without any notable compromise to stiffness.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
9/10

Zipp's 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher (45mm deep rims) have a claimed weight of 1,625g.

The Bontrager Aeolus 3 D3 carbon clinchers that we reviewed were 1,479g, but the rims are a little shallower at 35mm.

Mavic claims weights of 645g (f) and 805g (r). Our scales said the wheels (without tyres, inner tubes or skewers) are 601g (quite a bit lower than Mavic's claim) and 808g (just a touch higher).

In that context, the weight of Mavic's Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset is very impressive.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
8/10

Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Clincher: £1,680 RRP

Bontrager Aeolus 3 (35mm): £1,949.98 RRP

Bontrager Aeolus 5 (50mm): £1,949.98 RRP

Compared with its closest rivals (and that's the only fair comparison) the Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C looks very good value, especially considering that you get tyres and inner tubes as part of the package.

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

They've remained completely true throughout testing.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

I got the tyres off and on again without levers. It would have been easier with levers, of course, but you'll not struggle.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

No complaints there. The SwissStop pads are very good too.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

This wheelset accelerates fast, holds its speed well, and the braking is first rate.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

The all-round performance is very high but one of the real highlights is the braking.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Although the tyres aren't bad, they're not as good as everything else here.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Clearly, £1,500 is a lot to spend on a pair of wheels – 'You could buy a whole bike for that,' etc – but these put in an exceptional performance and the RRP isn't as high as that of close rivals, especially when you consider that you get tyres, inner tubes and brake pads included.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

20 comments

Avatar
Ananke [6 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm guessing these still acquire an annoying yellow stain with the Swisstop Yellow pads, which is almost impossible to clean off?

Avatar
fennesz [151 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Took mine out for their first spin this morning.  Something worth mentioning is the sound they make.  The freewheel sounds great - a lovely deep purr.  And the braking sounds ace as well.  Someone described it as the Death Star warming up!  I wouldn't go as far as that - perhaps a Star Destroyer  1  

Avatar
Judge dreadful [264 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I've got the metal versions of these, I'm very impressed with them, I think I feel a spending spree coming on.

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alexandreleger [2 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

How do you say they compare to previous 2015 C40 clincher model ? I think there is like 150 g difference. 

Avatar
tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

10 years from now all bikes will come with 'crap' wheels as good as these. Next generation don't know how lucky they are!

Makes me sad.

Avatar
thereandbackagain [173 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

First thing to do if you buy a pair is throw the tyres away and fit something properly good. Like GP4000's, Vittoria Corsa G+ or Michelin Pro 4. Mavic's tyres are given away with the wheels for a reason! 

Avatar
Gasman Jim [205 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I'd like to know how the braking compares to that of their Exalith wheels.

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Chasseur Patate [151 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
thereandbackagain wrote:

First thing to do if you buy a pair is throw the tyres away and fit something properly good. Like GP4000's, Vittoria Corsa G+ or Michelin Pro 4. Mavic's tyres are given away with the wheels for a reason! 

 

There's nothing wrong with them other than they have Mavic written on them. Aren't they made by Lion tyres?   Who also make Vittoria?

Yksion Elites are no worse than any other budget / mid-range tyre.  Griplink / Powerlink are great.

Avatar
fukawitribe [1935 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Chasseur Patate wrote:
thereandbackagain wrote:

First thing to do if you buy a pair is throw the tyres away and fit something properly good. Like GP4000's, Vittoria Corsa G+ or Michelin Pro 4. Mavic's tyres are given away with the wheels for a reason! 

 

There's nothing wrong with them other than they have Mavic written on them. Aren't they made by Lion tyres?   Who also make Vittoria?

Yksion Elites are no worse than any other budget / mid-range tyre.  Griplink / Powerlink are great.

Most of the old Griplink/Powerlink reviews i've seen have been decidedly meh about them, particularly in the wet. Not bad, not great, just reasonable - just eyeballing them, the closest to them I can see from Lion look to be the Rubino Pros which would fit with the gist of the reviews of the Mavic branded units.

Avatar
fennesz [151 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I'll be running mine until they wear out or I have my 2nd puncture with them.  & then it's back to GP 4000 S IIs.

Avatar
u4mjac [2 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Saw a thing on the book of face yesterday to trial Mavic wheels - so have booked a trial of these very ones with an LBS (700 in windsor)  ...!!! smiley

Never Ridden deep-sections before !!! so will be pretty decent i hope ! 

 

Avatar
Chasseur Patate [151 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
fukawitribe wrote:
Chasseur Patate wrote:
thereandbackagain wrote:

First thing to do if you buy a pair is throw the tyres away and fit something properly good. Like GP4000's, Vittoria Corsa G+ or Michelin Pro 4. Mavic's tyres are given away with the wheels for a reason! 

 

There's nothing wrong with them other than they have Mavic written on them. Aren't they made by Lion tyres?   Who also make Vittoria?

Yksion Elites are no worse than any other budget / mid-range tyre.  Griplink / Powerlink are great.

Most of the old Griplink/Powerlink reviews i've seen have been decidedly meh about them, particularly in the wet. Not bad, not great, just reasonable - just eyeballing them, the closest to them I can see from Lion look to be the Rubino Pros which would fit with the gist of the reviews of the Mavic branded units.

 

Whilst I do prefer other brands, I rode the Griplink / Powerlink combo to death over autumn, winter and into spring and thought they were fine, I had no problems in the wet that I wouldn't expect from any other race tyre. I believe they've significantly changed their compound across the range since the first iterations so perhaps it's something that stuck after poor early experiences. I only replaced them because I get super cheap deals on my preferred tyre.  Plus, I no longer own any Mavic wheels.

In my experience I don't understand the bad rep Mavic tyres seemingly have.  There are better tyres in my opinion of course , however people put far worse IME on their £1000+ wheels.

Avatar
fukawitribe [1935 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Chasseur Patate wrote:

Whilst I do prefer other brands, I rode the Griplink / Powerlink combo to death over autumn, winter and into spring and thought they were fine, I had no problems in the wet that I wouldn't expect from any other race tyre. I believe they've significantly changed their compound across the range since the first iterations so perhaps it's something that stuck after poor early experiences.

 

Yeah, they've apparently made quite a few changes of late in compound and structure so may well be historical.

Avatar
olic [72 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

It's worth noting that there's a very good reason why you would partner a particular tyre/wheel combination - tyre choice can make a huge difference to the aerodynamic performance of a wheel:
http://flocycling.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/flo-cycling-a2-wind-tunnel-tire...

In the above example, the difference between best/worst performing tyres for that particular wheel is quite dramatic. Of course this doesn't take into account rolling resistance, and it's a matter of finding the right ballance between the two

Avatar
alexandreleger [2 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

How do you say they compare to previous 2015 C40 clincher model ? I think there is like 150 g difference. 

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [562 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

u4mjac wrote:

Saw a thing on the book of face yesterday to trial Mavic wheels - so have booked a trial of these very ones with an LBS (700 in windsor)  ...!!! smiley

Never Ridden deep-sections before !!! so will be pretty decent i hope ! 

 

Great shop!

Avatar
gonedownhill [165 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Not sure about these particular tyres but to weigh in on the Mavic tyre debate I have the Aksion tyres that came with my Aksium wheels on my summer bike - fine the the dry but go to shit when it rains. 

Avatar
BBB [455 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
olic wrote:

It's worth noting that there's a very good reason why you would partner a particular tyre/wheel combination - tyre choice can make a huge difference to the aerodynamic performance of a wheel:
http://flocycling.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/flo-cycling-a2-wind-tunnel-tire...

In the above example, the difference between best/worst performing tyres for that particular wheel is quite dramatic. Of course this doesn't take into account rolling resistance, and it's a matter of finding the right ballance between the two

The tests you are reffering to have been done at 30mph... (typically...) by a wheel manufacturer. Of course they are going to show "dramatic" differences, especially when you compare wheels/tyres in isolation from the whole system. 

When you take into acount the whole bike and rider, you are not going to feel or being able to measure any differences resulting from a tyre choice, at more realistic speeds.

Avatar
Press250 [1 post] 1 year ago
0 likes

QUESTION for the experts. I've been riding allow rims with SwissStop BXP pads, well, forever. Now I'm planning to purchase the Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset. I know that the softer pads (Mavic or SwissStop Yellow King) for the carbon rims wear more quiclkly, but I don't have ANY intuition on how much more quickly.

I fully appreciate there are 100 variables involved, so I am askingfor the roughest of estimates. With the carbon rims and yellow pads, will I need to change brake pads twice as often (compared to alloy rims with BXP pads)? Three times as often? Four times as often? I ask simply to "calibrate" my expectations, so I am not TOO surprised.

FWIW, last year I rode 8,000 miles with 500,000 feet of climbing.

Thanks for the help!

Avatar
philhubbard [46 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Press250 wrote:

QUESTION for the experts. I've been riding allow rims with SwissStop BXP pads, well, forever. Now I'm planning to purchase the Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C wheelset. I know that the softer pads (Mavic or SwissStop Yellow King) for the carbon rims wear more quiclkly, but I don't have ANY intuition on how much more quickly.

I fully appreciate there are 100 variables involved, so I am askingfor the roughest of estimates. With the carbon rims and yellow pads, will I need to change brake pads twice as often (compared to alloy rims with BXP pads)? Three times as often? Four times as often? I ask simply to "calibrate" my expectations, so I am not TOO surprised.

FWIW, last year I rode 8,000 miles with 500,000 feet of climbing.

Thanks for the help!

 

Given the variables it is incredibly different to tell but I have just got about 2000miles out of my last set of swissstops, however, that being said my carbon wheels are normally reserved for dry fast days!