If three decades of unchanged use at the top levels of sport tells you something, its that a product works. And the only reason to mess with success is if you know you can make it better. And that’s what Mavic’s doing with their Comete and iO track wheels.
The full disc Comete was originally built in 1986 and raced in the ’88 Seoul Olympics (pics of those wheels below). Track bikes at the time used very narrow tires, and continued to do so for most of the intervening years. Now, as virtually every cycling discipline is finding gains with wider tires, Mavic’s reworked it to fit modern track racers’ preferences…a whopping 21-22mm width. That means taking the rim’s brake track width from ~19mm out to 21.5mm for the new Rio edition. And that change led to reworking the overall disc slightly, but the strength and stiffness remain unchanged, but the weight dropped a little.
The original Comete from 1986 shown next to the custom graphic’d one for Seoul 1998.
The five-spoke iO was introduced for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and gets the same rim width increase, growing from about 18mm to 22mm plus a new NACA profile on the rim section. The spoke width also changes – the original tapered from 70mm at the rim to 80mm deep at the hub. The Rio edition is thinner, tapering from 50mm to 60mm, and they also get a new truncated NACA profile. The result is an average 20 watts savings.
Most of the USA squad will be on them during this year’s Olympics. And after the global sporting spectacle? Maybe, just maybe, they’ll make their way down to the consumer level.