2013 Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40C carbon fiber clincher road bike wheels

The primary challenge with carbon clinchers has always been heat management. Under hard or prolonged braking, temperatures can soar well above 400ºF, enough to potentially soften the resin in the sidewalls. With 100+ psi pushing against the sidewalls, that could mean anything from rim deformation (ruined rim) to a complete blowout (ruined you). It’s one of the reasons so much attention is paid to resin formulation, pad compounds and the like.

All the major players have addressed this in their own way in order to provide riders with a full carbon clincher. The notable exceptions were Mavic and American Classic, which have kept their all-carbon rims limited to tubular options. Until now.

The new Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40 Clincher uses a new construction process to provide a quasi-full carbon clincher. But, with wheelset weights almost identical to the slightly deeper (and Exalith-tracked) Cosmic Carbone SLR and still above full carbon clinchers from, say, ENVE, what makes them special?

2013 Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40C carbon fiber clincher road bike wheels

From a lineup standpoint, it fills the small gap between their 30mm deep Cosmic Elite and the 52mm Cosmic Carbone wheels. It also becomes their second wheelset to use a rounded NACA airfoil shape, following the recently introduced Cosmic CXR 80 and shaped in the Geneva wind tunnel to excel in a broad range of wind angles. But, none of that answers the question: What makes them special?

“It’s just different,” says Mavic’s PR rep Zack Vestal. “The rim itself is quite light, much lighter than the CC SLR, and because it doesn’t require a rim strip, it’s ultimately lighter than competing wheels that do have a drilled rim bed. So, you get better aerodynamics thanks to the rounded profile and super low inertia with no compromise in stiffness. We feel all of this makes the ride characteristics better than anything else out there.”

Key features of the new wheelset include:

  • Aluminum spoke bed insertions are threaded with Mavic’s proprietary FORE process, eliminating the need to reinforce the outer carbon section while evenly distributing the spoke tension load. This also means easier service.
  • Lightweight one-piece aluminum tire bed and bead hook insert offers enhanced structural resistance to tire air pressure and brake heat buildup while also creating a precise, ERTRO-compliant bead hook.
  • New TgMAX dual resin technology uses 2 types of resin, each with its own glass transition temperature [Tg], plus a specific heat treatment/molding process to increase the Tg of the entire system.
2013 Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40C carbon fiber clincher road bike wheels

There’s also a special surface treatment on the brake track to improve braking efficiency in both wet and dry conditions.

“We developed a complex surface treatment process which enables us to achieve braking distances which are half the braking distances of current carbon wheels,” said Michel Davoine, Mavic Development Engineering Manager. “All these processes that we developed to obtain this high performance rim took a lot of time. Development lasted more than three years with a full team of engineers,” added Davoine.

Vestal says it’s a process they’re keeping close to the chest, but that “it feels coarse, almost raw, but also super hard. It’s a little bit abrasive. I think you’ll see a little faster brake pad wear than with other wheels, but the brake bite is pretty shocking. They stop really well. It’s also extremely tough and wear resistant, it should last longer than alloy rims. Plus, these won’t get the glaze or debris coating that alloy rims can.”

The nice thing is they’re recommending commonly available SwissStop Yellow pads, which are included with the wheels.

Another unique feature is the foam core. Vestal says this is to ensure precision placement of the alloy parts and the carbon layup during assembly. “When you assemble the aluminum tire and spoke bed inserts, the foam ensures good tolerances from the top to the spoke bed, which lets them do thinner sidewalls. That means less material, which means less weight. It’s pretty firm, but super light.”

Put it all together and you have a lightweight package that has “added radial impact resistance thanks to the isotropic nature of aluminum” with an aero profile designed to work as well in crosswinds and straight on.

2013 Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40C carbon fiber clincher road bike wheels


  • 1545g (670g front/875g rear)
  • 2085g for complete Wheel-Tire System.
  • 40mm deep profile carbon rim
  • Carbon hub shells with aerodynamic aluminum flanges; QRM+ adjustable preload bearings; aluminum axles
  • Bladed/butted stainless steel spokes with external, integrated alloy nipples
  • 16 radially laced in front; 20 laced radially non-drive/ 1-cross drive
  • Includes GripLink clincher front  / PowerLink clincher rear tires
  • USA Price: $2,750
  • USA Availability: June 1
  • Includes brake pads, skewers, hub tool, wheel bags, tires and tubes

2013 Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40C carbon fiber clincher road bike wheels

External rim width at the brake track is 19mm, which is admittedly narrower than what’s trending. But, Vestal says they were going for lightweight and that added width didn’t add anything to the performance that they didn’t feel they were already getting.

The included Yksion GripLink front and PowerLink rear tires weigh 190g each. They are 120tpi 700x23c, but Mavic admits they run a bit narrow even though the inside air volume runs pretty close to a true 23. They’re a dual compound with softer rubber on the shoulders, and a generally harder mix on the rear tire. We’ve ridden them and they’re pretty darn nice.

And, yes, we asked about running them Road Tubeless: “It’s an airtight tire bed, but we don’t have a valve that would fit. Officially, no, and we wouldn’t recommend it but people have found ways to do it. At the moment, Mavic is not working on road tubeless.”

And now for our feature presentation…


  1. Those are some beautiful wheels, but like what Pancakes said, I don’t see why I would choose these over other wheels, especially at $2,750…

  2. A wheel that is not really lighter than their own 52mm deep wheelset but heavier than equivalent ENVE, DT Swiss, Reynolds or ZIPP and not really cheaper than any of them. Make a wheel that is considerably lighter or cheaper than what is already on the market but please don’t just make something also-ran. Boring!!!

  3. I do not understand why they wouldn’t follow the wider-rim trend…I’m pretty convinced of it’s merits in terms of ride quality and aerodynamics, and it would only add a negligible amount of weight. If they were designing a brand new rim in the first place, why would they not incorporate the newest features?

  4. Mavic just doesn’t get it. They have the skinniest rims across the board in for mountain bikes, and they’re still featuring super skinny rims in 2013 in a new road wheel. At least the Mavic official admitted that the purpose of this was to show an “advertised” low weight. Seems like carbon covering aluminum rim is the worst of both worlds. Fail IMHO.

  5. I have Reynolds and love them. Super stiff and absolutely bullet proof. I also like the Zipps and would like to try the new Rovals. Mavics – meh.

  6. On running them tubeless: “It’s an airtight tire bed, but we don’t have a valve that would fit. Officially, no, and we wouldn’t recommend it but people have found ways to do it.”

    So what he’s essentially saying here is “We can’t legally recommend it, but just take a stans valve and pop a threaded extender on there, and it’ll work just fine. We don’t need to make tubeless specific rims when our rims work perfectly well with a tubeless tire anyway”

  7. I applaud Mavic for not following the trend to wider rims, and for executing an innovative design rather than copying the rest of what’s out there. Like the result or not, I like they they have never really been a me-too company. I also like that they have consistently brought braking performance to the aero clincher table. Americans tend to weigh more on average than our friends across the pond, and anyone who weighs 200+ and has had to grab a handful of brakes on a carbon clincher set can probably appreciate maximum performance in this area. It’s easy to quantify rim depth, width, wheel weight, drag at a given yaw angle, etc — but the less often quantified bits like stopping distance, modulation, lateral stiffness, and ride characteristic do at least as much to define a wheelset. Looking forward to a review on these…

  8. All the wheel experts can’t wait to comment can they. All should agree Mavic have much more wheel design & manufacturing experience then all of you put together. The experts just love the look of their own words.

  9. If you’re going to have aluminum RIGHT underneath the brake track anyway, why wouldn’t you have the exalith braking surface? Just to say it’s a carbon clincher? For years, Mavic was intentionally staying off the carbon clincher train stating that they felt aluminum braking surfaces and spoke beds were more reliable. Of course they’ve been researching ways to do it. I’m sure they’re losing more and more market share every day to the likes of Zipp, Reynolds, ENVE, etc.. but with a company as large as Mavic, it’s a shame to see such a half-assed attempt. Either stick with your statement that aluminum is better, or blow everyone out of the water with something lighter or cheaper. I could be totally wrong here and the wheels are the greatest thing to hit the cycling scene since indexed shifting but I bet I’m not….

  10. @hold up a sec – its not really a trend, rather manufacturers are going back to a standard from before the new players showed up and said “to hell with the standards, we’re going to try this”. There are so many very very smart and creative people in the industry, but for some reason standards seem to be consistently shed for better or worse (although its always better in the eyes of the marketing dept).

  11. Who are these intended for? They’re priced like Enve or Zipp, but with inferior hubs. Bravo for trying to improve braking on the carbon clincher, but as @notmikeb points out, why not just use the exalith braking surface and be more agressive with their pricing?

    It’s a good thing Mavic is selling boatloads of Ksyrium Equipes as OEM to bike manufactures. Doubt they’re going to sell enough of these things to recoup their R & D investment.

  12. Tons of thought into this wheelset, and you get pads, QR’s, and tires which is great. But that price really is huge when compared to the competition even without all the goodies. I don’t want to completely call BS but braking distances that are half of the competition? That’s a pretty tall statement.

  13. umm it’s still got an alloy rim inside. The main innovation here would seem to be you can’t see it. The rest just sounds like marketing hype

  14. Got to love armchair critics. You guys have obviously not attempted to ride (better yet race) a carbon rim in the wet. The existing offerings leave a lot to be desired. Mavic have been around making wheels a lot longer than others and you would be foolish to think they don’t know about real world performance of wheels. I don’t know about you but I value being able to stop in the wet. Mavic’s exalith brake tracks are way ahead of everyone else, and their CXR80 shows they are now leaders in aero. As for weight it is not total weight that matters it’s inertia. If Mavic have been able to save weight at the rim then these will accelerate perhaps better than other ‘lighter’ wheels. If you think that a good wheel just has to be lighter than others and wide then you’re the ones who have swallowed the marketing B.S. How about we wait and see some real world tests before passing judgement hey?

  15. These appear to be a fantastic set of wheels, aside from the dubious quality of the hubs. Mavic’s commentary screams to me that they do not want to obsolete their current product (aluminum rim with carbon fairing) while it is still on store shelves, but i would expect all of their cosmic product to shift this direction over time. The new rim is brilliant, The full carbon construction will greatly improve ride quality over the current cosmics and they have greater control over shaping (aerodynamics) with the new design. they may even begin to approach tubular level aerodynamics. Oh and lets not forget the safety, I’m still not sure they’ve licked the heating problems, but it’s the most promising thing i’ve seen. My other guess is that we’ll see the price drop a bit once they’ve cleared their obsolete inventory.

  16. The Mavic need make “The Mavic Ultimate clincher style” because The Ultimate is unique model have style mult-function: faster in climb and nice aerodinamic in plane…The Cosmic SLR no nice in climb and Kzirium horrible in plane so come on Mavic I know is possible made it better with low price….

  17. I find it fascinating that so many people think they are wheel experts. This company has so much experience, knowledge and technology and they put it in place to produce a product that provides a high degree of safety and performance that if not the best, is very close to it. “RoadRunner” sums it up very well: “If you think that a good wheel just has to be lighter than others and wide then you’re the ones who have swallowed the marketing B.S”

What do you think?