Whether racing, training or tackling a challenging sportive, wheelset choice can be the difference between a comfortable and fast ride or an uncomfortable and sluggish one. Mavic are market leaders when it comes to wheels and the Cosmic range has long been the 'go to' model for those looking for an aerodynamic and fast advantage over the competition.
One of the latest wheelsets to roll out of the French company's factory is the Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40 Elite. Designed to be a mid priced, high performance carbon fibre clincher upgrade, the Cosmic's claim to be ultra durable, fast rolling and aerodynamic. I was keen to put these claims to the test.
Mavic provide you with all you need to get riding. The wheelset includes Mavic quick-release skewers, a multifunction adjustment wrench, a user guide and Mavic, Swissstop designed, brake pads. The wheels are part of Mavic's Wheel Tyre System (WTS) range so had Yksion Pro GripLink and PowerLink clincher tyres already fitted and ready to go. All that left me to do was to fit my Shimano cassette and get riding. The choice of freehubs mean these wheels are also compatible with Campagnolo and SRAM 9/10 and 11-speed cassettes.
I had a big week of riding in Majorca planned, with a mixture of flat lanes, smooth roads and mountainous passes- this was the perfect testing ground.
First impressions were good. The all black design with a matte carbon finish looked stunning, as did the black Mavic graphics, subtle SSC and yellow Mavic logos. The matching Mavic tyres complimented the wheels and really improved the bike's image.
For my first ride I headed out on the flat, windy coast road out of Port Pollenca towards the mountains of Lluc and Puig Major. I am not a heavy rider so am always keen to see how deep section rimmed wheels cope in the wind and with a stiff cross wind coming off the sea, this was an ideal test. Spinning along at 30 kilometres an hour the wheels felt stable and assured. Even a few sudden gusts did not cause any issues for the 40 millimetre carbon fibre rim.
Through the town I had to stop at a number of traffic lights. Time then to test the wheelset's acceleration. Lights turning green I powered away from the junction. The wheels felt stiff out of the saddle although they did take a little effort to get back up to cruising speed.
Once moving and especially over 30 kilometres an hour the Cosmics felt fantastic, they seemed to hold their speed well over drags and were silent over rough sections of road.
Although not designed to be a pure climbers wheel I still wanted to see what their climbing capabilities were like. The 2085 gram weight, with tyres and tubes, puts these wheels in the 'do it all' category, not super light yet not too heavy either, ideal for varied terrain.
The road started to rear up as I headed up Coll de Femenia. At 7.6 kilometre long with an average gradient of 6% this was a nice introduction to the mountains. Out of the saddle and straight away the Cosmic's sprung into life. They felt agile and even with the slight weight penalty they helped propel me up the climb in the big ring.
The next challenge for these wheels was the descent of Puig Major. The longest mountain on the island, with fast sweeping bends and huge drops there was going to be no room for error. Quickly my bike picked up speed as I headed towards the first left corner. The Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40C uses a TgMAX constructed carbon fibre braking surface. This is designed to resist heat build up caused by heavy or continuous braking. My previous experience with wheels using a carbon brake surface has not been good but I need not have worried with the Cosmics. Although not quite as powerful as aluminium or Mavic's Exalith brake tracks the carbon surface offered predictability and allowed for confident late braking and most importantly no scary moments.
My only gripe after a week with the wheels was with the Mavic yellow brake pads. I found, especially on the front, the rims were eating them quickly! This could be down to the pad's soft compound. I found as my week went on in Majorca performance duly suffered as the pads diminished. Since returning from Majorca I have replaced my original pads for a new set of Mavic Swisstop pads and have found wear and performance to be significantly better.
Climbing and descending out of the way I set about heading back from Valldemossa along the rolling lanes to Pollenca. Time to really put the hammer down and see these wheel's high performance credentials in action. Sitting between 35-40 kilometres an hour the Cosmics felt brilliant. Soaking up small potholes, it effortlessly sliced through the wind. The benefit of windtunnel optimised rims can really be felt at higher speeds and paired with a set of highly durable Mavic hubs with carbon and aerodynamic flanges and the integrated nipples, this resulted in a serious race ready wheelset. The steel spokes are aerodynamically shaped, easy to replace and maintain and add to the wheelset's stealth image.
Mavic's tyre range is designed to be used with Mavic wheels and I was impressed with the Yksion Pro GripLink and Powerlink tyres performance. I ran them at 100 psi and found they offered excellent traction, even when pushed hard in the corners. Even after racking up over 900 kilometres over the duration of the week they showed no signs of wear or cuts. The tyres performed impeccably although from a comfort point of view I would have opted for 25 rather than 23 millimetre wide versions.
In conclusion after a week of riding these wheels, including taking them on the mammoth Majorca 312 kilometre sportive, I am incredibly impressed with their durability and performance. The brake track still looks like new, the hubs continue to spin smoothly and the wheels are running true. Taking flat roads and mountains in their stride the Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40 Elite Wheelset is a perfect high performance addition to any road, time trial or triathlon bike, just keep an eye on the brake pads.
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