Mavic wheels go U-shaped

Mavic's latest incarnation of its Cosmic Carbone Ultimate wheel used by Teams Katusha and Cannondale has adopted a U-shaped rim section

Tour of Flanders 2015
Alexander Kristoff in the 2015 Tour of Flanders
(Image credit: Watson)

Alexander Kristoff’s and Luca Paolini’s recent Belgian winning streak has been on a new U-profiled front rim supplied by Mavic.

The new front wheel has been spotted being used by the Mavic (opens in new tab)-sponsored Katusha (opens in new tab) and Cannondale (opens in new tab) pro teams in a number of recent races. Unlike previous V-shaped Cosmic Carbone Ultimate wheels this new wheel has a U-shaped section, suggesting that Mavic has warmed to the aero benefits of this profile.

Mavic Cosmic Carbone U-shaped profile

New Mavic wheel section on a Cannondale team bike. Photo: Gruber Images

Deeper section carbon rims are de rigueur for racing and increasingly being specced by bike manufacturers on their higher-end bikes. Stability in gusty conditions and side winds were an issue with their earlier incarnations, which used a V-shaped section, with the rim narrowing to a point at the spoke holes.

>>> For a complete guide to road bike wheels, click here

Zipp (opens in new tab) has for years been the flagbearer for innovation in deep section carbon wheel design, with their patented wheel section becoming increasingly bulbous and blunt-nosed with successive incarnations, as the company also increased the width of the tyre bed to increase tyre stability and create a more aerodynamic tyre-rim interface.

Zipp claims that U-sections improve aerodynamics and stability, particularly when the wind is not coming from straight ahead of the rider.

>>> Zipp 404 Firestrike wheel review

Other wheel manufacturers have increasingly followed suit, with new producers such as Swisside (opens in new tab) adopting bulbous, U-shaped sections.

Mavic wheel at Ghent-Wevelgem

The new Mavic front wheel section can be seen on Ted King's bike at Gent-Wevelgem. Photo: Watson
(Image credit: Watson)

Mavic and Campagnolo (opens in new tab) have remained notable hold-outs against U-shaped rims, retaining their older V-profiles along with narrower wheel beds. Now Mavic seems to be following suit and rounding the sections of its newer wheels.

Details about the new front wheel and Mavic’s take on U-sections remain scarce, but expect this change in rim profile to proliferate through Mavic’s deep section line-up – starting with the Pros’ rear wheels.

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.