Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate £1056

Not just incredibly light, but stiff and super-aero too

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

Mavic's new top end wheels aren't just incredibly light, they are stiff and super-aero too. Our front one, complete with titanium quick release skewer and a Hutchinson Carbon Comp tubular fitted, weighed in at a stunning 827g, the rear (without cassette) at 978g – so the pair, with tyres, is 1805g, putting it firmly in the top tier of lightweight race wheels.

How do they do it? The rims are unidirectional 12K carbon, the aero spokes are carbon too, as are the 70mm hub flanges, even the front hub body is carbon – the rear one is aluminium. Those spokes – 20 front and rear – are moulded and bonded in place so there are no s poke heads, nipples or hub slots to add grams, nor any means of adjustment, the only exception being on the rear non-driveside where the extended brass nipples can be used for fine-tuning.

Mavic reckons these are the stiffest carbon wheels out there; they're certainly the most taut we've ever ridden. They spin up to speed almost comically fast and when you want to accelerate to close a gap ahead of you or open one behind, the response is instant. Think about stepping up the speed and you're there. The skinny hubs and the elliptical rim-walls and spoke-walls slice through the air to keep your cruising speed high while the lack of inertia when you hit the hills is just nuts.

Downsides? The braking on the carbon rims is okay but it's not as good as with alloy and if you do manage to break anything, there's a good chance they'll have to go back to Mavic's UK service centre. Plus, you feel like you're being mugged when you go back to your everyday wheels. That aside, they're hard to fault in terms of performance.

And then there's the cost… The humungous price tag means these are for serious racers who just happen to have had a big win on the bingo.

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