Mavic 2009: New road wheels, footwear & clothing

French wheel giant gets into riding gear, revamps Carbones & Ksyriums

 For 2009 Mavic has a host of new road wheels including a lighter Cosmic Carbone, and makes a surprise jump into clothing and footwear.

Lighter aero road wheels at the top end…

Mavic’s new 2009 Cosmic Carbone SLR wheel may end up being our overall top pick for a do-everything race wheel that can still be used everyday, even though the Cosmic Carbone Ultimate remains at the top of the range.

At just 1595g per pair (without skewers), the SLR lops 175g from last year’s Cosmic Carbone SL and is now light enough to consider for many climbing-intensive events

The SLR is faster, too, thanks to new flat carbon fiber spokes that span from one side of the rim to the other.  This new layout, called R2R (Rim to Rim), also makes for sleeker and lighter hub shells since the conventional spoke anchoring points are eliminated.  Threaded ends and internal nipples still allow for relatively easy truing, too.

Mavic will only offer the Cosmic Carbone SLR in clincher versions.   While a bit heavier than an equivalent tubular, this setup yields far better day-to-day livability and the newly ISM-enhanced (Inter Spoke Milling) aluminum rim extrusion (20-25g lighter than last year) also offers more consistent braking performance than full-carbon hoops.  Suggested retail is US$1,999.

A new rim extrusion also finds its way on to a revised Cosmic Carbone SL whose weight drops to 1740g per pair.  There are no upgrades otherwise for ’09 but there’s a significant US$300 price drop; suggested retail is now just US$1,199.  The speedy Comete disc rear wheel loses about 90g, too, thanks to lighter carbon skins and a slimmer aluminum axle.

During our brief test ride (on familiar roads for once), we found the SLR to be surprisingly comfortable in spite of its section depth as well as blazingly fast as we careened down Left Hand Canyon.  The weight felt more than reasonable as we crested the last rise over Old Stage heading back into town, too, and the R2R construction delivered a wonderfully snappy feel.  If we could only have one Mavic road wheel in our quiver, this would definitely be it.

…and better value in the middle

Riders looking for mid-range wheels arguably reap the biggest rewards from Mavic’s new range with the revamped Ksyrium Elite, which morphs from a rather portly also-ran to a bona fide contender for your hard-earned money.  The ’09 version loses a whopping 140g per pair while the upgraded skewers subtract another 35g or so. 

The Inter Spoke Milling (ISM) feature previously reserved for the more expensive Ksryium models now finds it way here, too. 

Even better is the fact that suggested retail prices climb only US$25 to US$625 and US$650 for the silver or black-anodized finishes, respectively.

The rest of the Mavic road lineup carries over into the new model year although the R-SYS gains a new R-SYS Premium variant with titanium axle ends and skewers, carbon fiber dust caps and a stealthy new black finish.  Retail costs climb US$100 on this model to US$1,499. 

Best foot forward in new shoes

On first impressions at least, Mavic’s new line of shoes belies its first-year status. That’s no surprise. Mavic is owned by Adidas-Saloman and it’s likely there’s been plenty of cross-fertilisation of ideas between Mavi’s and adidas’s shoes.

Interesting features on several models include the carbon fiber Energy Lock external heel counter which aims to mechanically anchor the heel in place; semi-rigid Energy Frame construction around the rear of the foot for better support; bonded uppers that virtually eliminate all seams; and rigid Energy carbon fiber sole plates, some of which are fitted with titanium cleat inserts.

The unique Ergo Strap forefoot straps will certainly be familiar to current Adidas wearers although the Ergo Fit insoles (which use up to five layers in top models) are new.

The lightest road model, the Huez, is claimed to weigh just 195g each for a UK sz8.5 while other high-end models hover between 250g and 300g apiece. 

New clothing range includes high-tech fabrics & women’s gear

Rounding out the range for 2009 is a full line of clothing, too, captained by the ultra-techy Altium range.  These pieces will serve as showcases for Mavic’s most cutting-edge technologies and fabrics, such as a nearly-seamless pair of bib shorts, ultra-lightweight jerseys and laser-cut ventilation holes.  There will be an Altium line for women, too, in addition to comprehensive lines of mountain bike-specific gear and outerwear.  

Do wet need yet another range of cycling clothing?  Maybe not, but we saw enough interesting detail in our brief encounter to pique our interest so we’ll keep you posted.  The clothing, shoes and wheels should begin arriving in stores around September.

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