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Close Up: 2011 Mavic Wheels Highlights – Exalith Brake Track, Tires, More

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2011 mavic ksyrium slr cosmic carbone road bike wheels with exalith brake tracksBack in July a reader forwarded us some spy shots of Mavic’s 2011 wheels (here and here). What they lacked in detail, they made up for in early-ness.

Now, we’ve got both studio and close-up photos of the highlights of their road wheels for 2011, with a mountain bike wheelset or two thrown in there for good measure.

The big news for Mavic this year is the addition of their new Exalith brake track treatment and expansion of the wheel/tire system introduced on the Ksyrium K10 last year. The tires are made designed and tested in France, then made in Thailand at the same factory as Vittoria tires. However, the casing design and tread compounds, as well as fitment (bead size and fit), are all made to Mavic’s specifications. They were tested with the Garmin U23 and Garmin Transitions teams in 2010.

These technologies are carried across the Cosmic, R-Sys and Ksyrium wheel lines, and there are a few new models at the upper end of the spectrum.

Click on through for all the photos, specs and details…


The Exalith brake track treatment comes on Mavic’s SSC (Special Service Course, which is their top-level trim) clincher wheels: Cosmic Carbone SLR, R-Sys SLR and Ksyrium SLR. It’s an ultra-hard coating on the aluminum clincher rims. It’s not ceramic and it’s not hard anodizing, but it does look like hard anodizing and the process is similar. However the treatment lasts much longer and the color will not wear off the brake track. It adds longevity to the brake track (roughly double the lifespan) and also helps limit fatigue cracking over time at the spoke eyelets. Plus, it looks totally bad ass.

From there, an abrasive surface texture is machined into the surface, which adds brake bite and improves stopping power in adverse conditions…which should make it good for ‘cross even though Mavic doesn’t specifically warranty say their wheels are for cyclocross use. (UPDATE: Unofficially, Mavic occasionally sends support trucks to major cyclocross races and tends to, um, look the other way with regards to ‘cross-related claims, so that should tell you where they really stand on the matter, and we know plenty of people that race cyclocross on Mavic wheels without issue. You can probably guess what we do with that Mavic wheelset and ‘cross frame we have.) Because the Exalith treatment is so hard, it requires the use of Mavic brake pads. They say regular pads would wear out in a few rides!


Mavic’s no newcomer to tires. In 1975, Mavic worked with Michelin to produce the first hooked clincher rim and tire, which ushered in the era of the modern clinchers. In the ’90s, they worked with Michelin (and others) again to co-develop the UST tubeless standard.

According to Mavic’s new press liason, Zach, “a big part of pursuing tires as well as wheels is because obviously you need a tire to ride, and use of inferior tires can be a weak link in the use of our wheels. The solution to making sure everyone has the ultimate experience on our wheels, we felt we needed to develop tires that matched our stringent quality standards.”

Their tire, called the Yksion, is available in 23c widths in both tubular and clincher in front (GripLink) and rear (PowerLink) specific tread compounds and designs. While the SSC wheelsets come with the tires, you can run any standard clincher or tubular tire on them. Mavic does not have a certified RoadTubeless wheelset yet.

Their 2011 range is the first step, and there’s potential for it to expand.  While there are no offical plans for carrying it over to mountain bike or ‘cross, we can’t see that being too far behind.


The weights shown here are what Mavic claims. When you see ED11, that means it’s a Campy 9/10/11 speed freehub body, and M10 means it’s a Shimano/SRAM 9/10 speed freehub body. The Campy ones tend to be about 10g to 15g lighter, so if you don’t see a weight for an M10, assume that a) it’s definitely available and b) it’s a few grams heavier. Another interesting thing Zach mentioned is that published weights can vary from production due to the wearing of the tooling machines during a run. The more the tooling gets worn down over time, the less material it removes from the rim extrusion. It’s worth noting that this applies to any and all rim manufacturers, not just Mavic. The point is, use these as a reference and assume everyone’s putting their best face forward…kinda like Internet dating sites.


Among the all-new wheels for 2011 is the Cosmic Carbone 80, an 80mm deep aero wheel developed with close collaboration from the Garmin Transitions team. The rim mold is our own. Ride quality is optimized for stiffness and low inertia. CC80 is a wheel tire system, which means they’re sold with tires, and these tires are matched in width and shape to maximize the performance and aerodynamics of this wheel. Full carbon tubular only.

  • Weight: 1750 grams
  • front wheel: 800 grams
  • rear wheel ED11: 950 grams
  • pair of wheel with tyre (WTS): 2330 grams
  • front wheel with tyre (WTS): 1090 grams
  • rear wheel ED11 with tyre (WTS): 1240 grams
  • $2700

The Ksyrium SR is the new flagship of the Ksyrium family. It brings R-Sys technology to the Ksyrium line, with tubular carbon Tracomp spokes in the rear wheel. The rear wheel is now 40g lighter than a standard Ksyrium thanks mainly to swapping their Zircal spokes for the carbon Tracomp on the non-drive side. What this basically means is these are the same wheels as the Ksyrium SLR save for the Exalith treatment (see below). It also means this is basically the same rear wheel as the R-Sys SLR, again, just without the Exalith brake track. The Tracomp spokes make it stiffer because they’re incompressible, fixed at both the hub and rim and because they’re placed more widely on the hub for a better bracing angle.

  • Weight: 1445 grams
  • front wheel: 645 grams
  • rear wheel (Shimano/SRAM): 815 grams
  • rear wheel (Campy): 800 grams
  • $1250

2011 mavic ksyrium slr cosmic carbone road bike wheels with exalith brake tracks

For 2011, there are no structural changes to the Ksyrium SLR (above) and R-Sys SLR. The updates are the Exalith treatment and the addition of matched tires to create a system. As such, they’ll only be sold as a system with tires…something to keep in mind when you see the prices on these.

The Ksyrium SLR is essentially a front wheel only. If you want the “Ksyrium SLR wheelset”, you’re getting this front wheel with the R-Sys SLR rear wheel, which is why it’s shown alone here.

  • Weight: 635 grams
  • front wheel with tyre (WTS): 947 grams
  • Ksyrium SLR (set) is $1800 in clincher and $1880 in tubular (both are Maxtal alloy w/ Exalith)

Like the Ksyrium SLR, the R-Sys SLR now comes only as a wheel/tire system and gets Exalith.

  • Weight: 1370 grams
  • front wheel: 605 grams
  • rear wheel ED11: 765 grams
  • pair of wheel with tyre (WTS): 1994 grams
  • front wheel with tyre (WTS): 917 grams
  • rear wheel ED11 with tyre (WTS): 1077 grams
  • R-Sys SLR is $2000 in clincher and $2080 in tubular (both are Maxtal alloy w/ Exalith)

The Ksyrium Elite comes in at just 1,550g for the set with a retail of only $675. Aaaahhh, trickle down…it shares most of the high-end features of the other wheels.

The Cosmic Elite gets about 30g lighter per rim for 2011, coming in at 1,770g for just $500.

The Cosmic Carbon SLR gets the Exalith treatment on the aluminum rim with carbon aero flange. It’s available in clincher only, and only as a wheel/tire system.

  • Weight: 1595 grams
  • front wheel: 725 grams
  • rear wheel ED11: 870 grams
  • pair of wheel with tyre (WTS): 2239 grams
  • front wheel with tyre (WTS): 1047 grams
  • rear wheel ED11 with tyre (WTS): 1192 grams
  • $2,450

The Cosmic Carbone Ultimate is their top of the line model and has a full carbon monobloc tubular rim in an elliptical aero shape with bladed spokes. New for 2011 is that it comes only as a wheel/tire system. Check out these weights! While it’s not necessarily sold for it, word is this is their carbon tubular that’s most often used for cyclocross.

  • Weight: 1185 grams
  • front wheel: 520 grams
  • rear wheel ED11: 665 grams
  • pair of wheel with tyre (WTS): 1765 grams
  • front wheel with tyre (WTS): 810 grams
  • rear wheel ED11 with tyre (WTS): 955 grams

On the mountain bike side, the only thing new is the CrossTrail Disc wheelset. For 2011, they drop over 150g from the prior model thanks to a new rim extrusion, a new front hub and ISM machining on the rim between each spoke.

  • Weight: 1685 grams
  • rear wheel Center Lock: 925 grams
  • front wheel Center Lock: 760 grams


Well, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t spread a rumor here and there, so here you go: We might have heard from an anonymous source that Mavic is working on a full-on cyclocross specific wheelset.

And as for carbon clinchers, here’s what Zach had to say:

“For carbon clinchers, we’re not there yet.  Mavic is big on standards (ETRTO, etc.), and we want to achieve precision with regards to those standards, and getting it perfect with carbon in a clincher design is quite difficult.”

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13 years ago

“..as well as fitment (bead size and fit), are all made to Mavic’s specifications”

Say what? 699c tires?

13 years ago

Every once in a while i am reminded how much of an interesting life a professional cyclist has.

Apart from riding in the sun, rain, sleet and whatever weather mother nature throws at them the pro’s are at the mercy of their team equipment manufacturers who sometimes make them do “beta” testing so the rest of us mere mortals can enjoy safe and tested new equipment.

13 years ago

If they make a cx specific hope they will make it light below 1400g and strong nothing fancy, full ceramic bearings, tubeless
and a light efficient XC 29er set.
last designed and made in France


13 years ago

Mavic one of the best now and this for long
a product that can be trusted and it is the most important part of the job – peace of mind. reliability.

thank you

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