CXR 80: from concept to reality (by adminMavic)
This is a very impressive video about Mavic carbon wheels. There’s a short, funny clip of Jonathan Vaughters celebrating after, I think, the Garmin win in the team time trial in the Giro d’Italia.
But back to the wheels, they look very nice. The most impressive thing to me is that there is serious engineering being done for professional cyclists, and this trickles down to recreational cyclists. I cannot think of any other sport where spending $10,000 gets you a machine that is the product of hundreds-of-thousands of man-hours and serious technology and testing. I wouldn’t call myself a gear-freak, but I think it’s special that our sport has an engineering-driven culture. Next time you complain about $3,000 carbon wheels, consider the development costs. Again, thousands of man-hours doing modeling, finite element analysis, wind tunnel testing (which costs thousands of dollars per hour), road testing, materials and manufacturing. There are significant capital costs in engineering a carbon wheel. On the other hand, a company can simply outsource the “engineering” and production to a Chinese factory, much like Boyd, Soul, Williams, etc. If you can’t afford an expensive wheel set, then I say go for a budget 45mm carbon wheel, and you will gain significant aerodynamic benefits in riding and racing, but I believe you get what you pay for.
The video concludes with the claim that the new CXR 80 is the fastest (front) wheel on the market. That might be true for certain conditions. While I just said that cycling has an engineering-drive culture, there is obviously some marketing involved. And by definition, advertising never tells the whole story. Deciding on a carbon wheel set is difficult. The major factors are aerodynamics, durability, handling, clicher or tubular, repairability, and weight. I still believe that the best overall wheel set is the Zipp 404. It’s incredibly light, aerodynamic, and durable, and it handles well. I also believe that the best discs come from Zipp.