Mavic dropped into the BikeRadar office today with their latest innovation – a purpose-designed wheel and tyre combo.
Not content with producing some of the best rims and wheelsets out there, they're now going to produce their own rubber too.
The French company have hinted that, in future, they may take the integration even further by developing their own tyre and/or rim standard.
The first product of the new Wheel Tyre System project is the Ksyrium Yksion K10 clincher. Launched to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Ksyrium road wheelset, this limited edition wheel/tyre combo aimed at sportive riders and road racers will hit shop shelves in January.
Claimed weight is 2,100g (including tyres and tubes but not quick-release skewers), and UK RRP is £899. The tyres themselves weigh 225g and replacements will cost you £45 each.
Mavic are planning to produce dedicated tyres for all of their wheelsets, including their mountain bike hoops – although these may not hit the market for several years. Tubular tyres are also in the pipeline.
Mavic's press officer Michel Lethenet told us the company came up with the idea after realising they couldn't push the limits of existing wheel materials much further. He said that, in retrospect, tyres were the obvious next step.
"Instead of being just a provider of a wheel and using tyres that are existing on the market we are going to create tyres to go with the wheel and create a whole system," he said.
Product manager Anthony Diana added: "It has opened many doors for us in terms of improving the weight, performance and aerodynamics of our wheels. What we have here is a tyre that matches the performance of the wheelset."
At the moment, the dual compound tyres are being produced to Mavic's specifications at a factory in Thailand which is used by several other big names in the bike industry.
Because the K10 is aimed at long-distance racers, the emphasis is on rolling efficiency, with grip, weight and comfort further down the list, and puncture protection and durability deemed to be of lesser importance. As Mavic produce more tyre and wheel combinations, the way in which these factors are balanced will differ for each set.
Michel said: "This year is going to be the first step. We don't pretend to replace Michelin – those guys are tyre specialists and we are not, at the moment. We have been working on the idea for three years, with feedback from pro riders. [The K10] is our first one and for sure we will have a lot to improve."
The tyre isn't the only special part of the Ksyrium Yksion wheelset. The Maxtal rims feature milling on the sides as well as between the spokes in order to shave weight, and the rear is asymmetric and slightly deeper than the front (25mm compared to 22mm) because of the increased load it has to bear.
Both wheels get Mavic's bladed Zicral alloy spokes, with the rear cross-laced on the non-drive side and radial on the drive side. You also get a carbon front hub for your money. In keeping with the original Ksyriums, the rims, spokes and hubs are anodised black.
It is unclear at this stage how many Yksions will be available, but you can expect to see several more Mavic wheel/tyre combinations appearing over the next year or so.