Next weekend’s Paris-Roubaix (10 April) will see Thor Hushovd and his Garmin-Cervélo teammates race over the cobbles on prototype wheels from Mavic code named M40. They’re semi-deep section carbon wheels designed especially for the Classics and cobbles.
Mavic have made a short video featuring the wheels and Hushovd’s part in their development. It’s a similar proposition to the short film that Zipp produced towards the end of last year featuring their 303s and Fabian Cancellara.
The M40 composite wheels have 40mm-deep rims including carbon brake tracks, a wide profile, and 24 spokes apiece. Mavic aren’t giving too many details so it’s difficult to gauge how closely these wheels resemble the existing 40mm-deep Cosmic Carbone Ultimates which come with 20 spokes front and rear.
We’re guessing the name comes from the rim depth rather than the London to Birmingham motorway, although Mavic tell us that it’s not a possible final name for the product.
In the video, Norwegian world champion Hushovd rides the pavé and says, “With the M40, all went well. It’s a rigid wheel. When I sprint, it answers. It is also very good on the cobblestones. I don’t feel every shock and this is the most important thing – we do not feel every little cobblestone.”
Michel Lethenet from Mavic said of the M40 project, “It’s an ongoing process in close collaboration with top athletes. It has been already used during other races. Different versions have been already done and updated considering the riders’ input.
“This one prototype is dedicated to the Classics and cobbled roads, with its special lateral rigidity/lightness/low inertia/aero versus vertical compliance/comfort/endurance/reliability ratio.”
“[The purpose is] to collect information to improve our products and moreover to provide our cycling team with the right product they need to reach their aims.”
The Hell of the North is considered a major testing ground by manufacturers on the basis that, like New York, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
Hushovd has made the Paris-Roubaix podium for the past two years, but has yet to win the race.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.