Mavic CXR60 C Ride Report

If you haven’t seen our first article on the new Mavic CXR60, you must.

Slowtwitch contributor and engineer, Tom Anhalt, attended Mavic’s product launch in France and reported back with many details for us. If you’re interested the details of aerodynamics, rolling resistance, and other geek-tastic things about this product, check out the link above. It has more tech than you can handle. We also have last year’s CXR80 wind tunnel report linked at the bottom of this page.

Today, we’ll cover our impressions after riding a pair of the CXR60 C clincher wheels for several weeks. Do the ‘Blades’ work? Are they better or worse than the tubular CXR80 wheels that we tested last year? How much do these babies cost? Let’s find out.

Specifications, Availability, and Price

Let’s get started with the basics.

-MSRP $2750 for complete WTS (wheel-tire system)
-Available September 2013
-Weight for WTS: 2,515 grams
-Weight for wheels ONLY: 1,825 grams
-Includes quick release skewers, rim tape, valve extenders, wheel bags, spoke tool, brake pads, and hub adjustment tool
-Tire price $80/ea – includes one pair of Blades

Installation Notes

The first thing I noticed with these wheels is that they have the quality that I’ve come to expect with Mavic. They include nice touches that cost real money on their end – wheel bags, a spoke tool, brake pads, a hub tool, and so on. You don’t get all this from every manufacturer out there.

I had a pair of CXR80 tubular wheels last year for a similar test, and was eager to see how the clinchers compared. Most intriguing to me was the Blade system on this new aluminum rim. If you’re not familiar with the Blade technology, this graphic (supplied by Mavic) should give you the basic idea:

The Blades snap in to place to fill in the gap between wheel and tire, in an effort to reduce aerodynamic drag. With everything installed and up to pressure, here’s what it looks like:

At first glance, it’s hard to tell where the tire ends and the Blade begins. Or – where the Blade ends and the wheel begins. It all blends together visually, which is likely exactly what Mavic wants to hear. Additionally, the matte black everything looks absolutely killer-stealth-awesome, in this editor’s opinion. In case you’re wondering, yes, that is a real technical term.

The Blade itself is thin and flexible; you can peel it back easily with your hand:

With the blade removed entirely, it looks like this:

The rim itself is very interesting. It has a double edge - the normal bead hook you’d expect (which your tire mounts to) plus a second lip for the Blade:

Finally, let’s remove everything to expose the rim tape:

Does the double-edge rim inhibit tire installation? In my experience – not at all. You must remove the Blades to remove your tire, but mounting the tire itself is no more difficult than a standard rim. The tires have a very nice fit on to the wheels – not too tight, not too easy. I was able to install both tires without the use of tools. The fit of the Blades feels similar to the tubular CXR80 that we tested last year – snug, but not tight. It probably takes five or ten seconds to install each one.

Because we love details, let’s cover the rim measurements:

-Rim internal width: 13mm (13-622)
-Measured rim external width at braking surface: 25.2mm
-Tire width at 100psi (Blades removed): 22.0mm

When you install the Blades, it adds approximately 1mm to the effective tire width. I say ‘approximately' because the Blades are soft and flexible, and are tough to measure perfectly with a caliper.

Here is a closer look at the inside of the CXR Yksion clincher tire:

I’ve heard some question this wheel’s use of a narrow internal rim width. I’ll echo what Tom said in his tech piece on the CXR60 – I’m not convinced that this is a ‘problem’. Tom has done some testing that compares rolling resistance of the same tire and tube at the same pressure on two different rim widths, with no apparent change in rolling resistance. Some argue that a wider rim straightens out the tire’s sidewall to better match the rim (for better aerodynamics). Maybe so, but Mavic trumped that idea with their Blade system.

My opinion is that tire width and internal rim width should roughly correlate, but we don’t need to lose sleep over small differences. A 22mm tire like this model from Mavic is fine on a 13mm (13c) rim. It would also work on a 15c rim, too. For aerodynamic purposes, I’m more concerned with the external rim width – especially for wheels that don’t have fancy Blades. The ambient air and crosswind are going to ‘see’ the outside of the rim. Mavic was also likely considering weight when choosing the narrower width; at 1,800+ grams for the wheels alone, they probably didn’t want to add any more.

The only ‘bummer’ about the Mavic system is the fact that you only get one tire choice. Similar to the tubular version, they recommend using ONLY their tire, as they cannot vouch for the performance of other tires. In addition, the tires rub on the Blades as they turn and deform on the road, and Mavic says that they’ve specifically designed and tested their tires to deal with this abrasion safely.

I would like to see is at least one wider tire option – say, 24mm actual measured width. A larger tire option – while likely less aerodynamic – could add comfort and safety for road conditions and riders that stray from the very middle of the bell curve.

Other Details

Mavic uses the same hubs on all versions of the CXR wheels. My test wheels were sent with a Shimano/SRAM 9-10-11 speed freehub (a Campagnolo version is available, too):

Overall, the quality of the wheels appears to be excellent. Their spoke tension is very even, the color and finish are consistent, and the wheels look professionally built. While no brand is perfect, I put Mavic towards the top of the heap in this regard.

Similar to their Cosmic Carbone clinchers, Mavic uses a separate rim and fairing for the CXR60 C:

In the past, I was among those that poo-pooed this type of rim, but I also had almost no experience on them. Since then, I’ve ridden several wheels of this design and changed my tune. I’ve seen no documented proof that shows an aerodynamic penalty, and can perceive no reduction in stiffness or ride quality with this design {Insert shoulder shrug}.

Test Rides

After riding the CXR60 C wheels in training, I decided to give them the race test at Rev3 Williamsburg. Travel is always a good test of durability, and the course looked to have a mix of flats, rolling hills, smooth pavement, and good ol’ American chipseal.

The arrived safe and sound after the plane flight; even the Blades were in-tact on the wheels (I had deflated the tires completely). Unlucky for us – but good for this test – we awoke to heavy rain showers on race morning. I didn’t get any wet weather testing in training, and was about to find out how that fancy Exalith braking surface and proprietary brake pads performed while soaking wet.

The braking proved to be excellent – wet or dry. I came in to the test without any specific expectations, and the braking surprised me as being my favorite part of the wheels. Despite advances in carbon braking technology, I still prefer aluminum rims. I haven’t found a carbon rim and pad combination yet that provides the same stopping power and modulation in as many conditions – wet, dry, hot, bitter cold, humid, rainy, sleeting, and bone-dry.

Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I think races happen in all of those conditions. I only rode the wheels with the supplied Exalith pads, so I cannot vouch for performance with anything else. To me, a piece of equipment should work well in the worst conditions, and when the worst circumstances happen in those conditions. In fact, this happened at the race in Williamsburg. While riding to transition on race morning with Minnesota-based pro, David Thompson, a van driving in front of us stopped suddenly as athletes crossed the road in front of it. With a heavy transition bag full of wetsuits, nutrition, and camera equipment, I was able to safely haul down to a stop in the pouring rain. I can confidently say that some other wheel and brake pad combinations I’ve ridden could have ended with less favorable results.


Overall, I really like the CXR60 C wheels. As Tom’s article mentioned, it looks like Mavic is doing serious homework in aerodynamics. The new Yksion CXR clincher has lower rolling resistance than the tubular tire, gaining us a few watts of speed. The braking is outstanding, the looks (while subjective) are good, and price is competitive with most major players.

Clearly, Mavic is making a big push into the world of triathlon and aerodynamic performance. The only criticisms I really have don’t even have anything to do with this wheel, but rather the wheels that don’t exist. More specifically, I’d like to see an 80mm version of this clincher wheel (with a few grams of weight taken out), and a smaller-diameter 650c size. My long-shot desire is that they’ll bring back the clincher version of their Comete disc. I imagine we’ll see more options come from Mavic in the future, and they’ll continue to make headway into the triathlon market.