There’s a debate raging in the bike world between consumers, wheel manufacturers and retailers. Consumers want carbon clincher wheels for the lightweight, the looks, the blingness, and the ease of clinchers over tubs. Alloy rims are increasingly seen as old hat. But doubt has always surrounded their performance in braking and critically, their safety on descents for those lucky enough to be riding in the mountains (the South Downs’ downhills don’t pose a problem, unfortunately).
Some sportive organisers on the Continent and in the US have taken to banning or advising against the use of carbon clincher wheels, either as a precaution or as a result of experience of tyre blowouts and/or delamination on descents.
Whilst much research and testing has gone into developing carbon blends, layups and pad compounds specifically to dissipate heat and improve braking – Zipp being one of the leaders in this area with their Firecrest Carbon Clinchers – some brands are still uneasy and choose to hybridise their wheels with carbon/alloy combinations. Whilst no established brand would release a wheel that fails testing or is shown to be dangerous (certain brands with ‘lookalike’ open-mold Chinese carbon wheelsets excepted) some are still not in the carbon clincher club. As one of if not the biggest wheel manufacturer in the world, Mavic’s absence above all has been notable.
Mavic’s research has lead them to create the new CC40 – a ‘carbon clincher’ rim that overcomes the associated problems and promises uncompromised safety. Whilst the whole rim is full carbon giving the looks and the lightweight, it’s backed-up by internal aluminium structures around the braking surface and spoke bed to give the strength and reliability synonymous with the brand. Watch the video for full details and a very interesting look at the testing, development and manufacture that goes into a bike wheel (what I’d give to be a tester riding down Alpine descents all day!), as well as the issues associated with full carbon clinchers.
Mavic’s Cosmic Carbone SL (alloy rim) has been our firm favourite for years so we’re excited to get these in soon, though demand is already outstripping supply. They weight in at a svelte 1545g and will retail at £1800 with Mavic WTS tyres.