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-sponsored Katusha and Cannondale 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.
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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.
Zipp 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.
Other wheel manufacturers have increasingly followed suit, with new producers such as Swisside adopting bulbous, U-shaped sections.
Mavic and Campagnolo 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.