Mavic have revamped their road shoe range for 2012, incorporating many of the same upgrades found on the latest Fury mountain bike model we previewed earlier this summer. While overall fit hasn't changed, a few key tweaks to top models promise to make the new shoes more supportive in many cases, better ventilated, and easier to live with. Unfortunately, though, prices have gone up, too.
Zxellium Ultimate – US$475
Last year's Zxellium Ultimate gets new laminated carbon fiber upper panels, a carbon-reinforced sockliner, and more aggressive internal heel cup padding for a more supportive fit than the previous version, according to Mavic communications manager Zack Vestal.
Also new is a reshaped buckle lever that's easier to operate, deeper valleys on the ratchet strap and a stronger ratchet spring for extra security, and a lower-profile adjustable ErgoStrap SL forefoot strap system.
Weight has dropped substantially, too, courtesy of a new unidirectional carbon fiber Energy Full Carbon SLR outsole. Actual weight for a pair of size 9 shoes is now 504g – a drop of 67g from last year's model.
Huez – $425
Mavic's feathery Huez shoe again puts a premium on trimming the fat with a weight of 380g per pair thanks to a spartan mesh-infused upper, a simpler carbon laminate ErgoStrap SL hook-and-loop retention system, and the same SLR carbon outsole as on the Zxellium Ultimate.
While less supportive than the Zxellium Ultimate, one key advantage to the Huez's airy construction aside from the lack of mass is ventilation. The carbon sole cutouts are covered with mesh as opposed to the Zxellium Ultimate's airtight material and the mesh panels on the upper are practically see-through – so much so that the Huez will likely be nearly unusable in cool conditions without covers and riders will want to pay attention to the color of their socks.
The Mavic Huez is the company's lightest shoe but it also looks superbly ventilated
Zxellium – $324.95
The standard Zxellium gets a big dose of support with the addition of a stiffer TPU-infused 'Energy Frame' plus stouter (and shinier) material elsewhere on the upper.
Other improvements include the same easier-to-use buckle and lower-profile ErgoStrap design as on the Ultimate plus a new unidirectional finish on the carbon fiber outsole. Mavic don't bother with weight saving cutouts on this version but the more generous heel and toe pads will be welcome for café stops (the Zxellium Ultimate and Huez shoes get by with tiny heel pads only).
The Mavic Zxellium shoe gets TPU-reinforced upper panels for 2012, along with a full-carbon sole
Frost and Drift – $200
Mavic will also enter the winter shoe market with two new models: the Frost for the road and Drift for mountain bikers. Both feature nearly identical uppers with Gore-Tex liners, wraparound Neoprene cuffs, basic three-strap hook-and-loop closures, reinforced toe caps, and fiber-reinforced nylon soles. The Drift gets a notably more aggressive tread than Mavic's other mountain bike shoes for clomping around in snow and slush.
Vestal says insulation is on the lighter side of the spectrum for winter cycling footwear, however, so colder temperatures might still find riders reaching for covers or filling the roomier uppers with thicker socks.
Mavic will add two new winter cycling shoes to the range for 2012: the mountain bike-oriented Drift (pictured) and the Frost for roadies