Tour de France Tech: Mavic readies new wheels for its national tour

  • By Zack Vestal
  • Published Jul. 3, 2010
  • Updated Jan. 28, 2011 at 8:17 PM EDT

Tour de France Tech: Mavic's CC80 aero wheels

After multiple cameos this spring, Mavic’s newest wheel, a deep-section carbon tubular called the CC80, is again ready to roll, this time at the Tour de France. Mavic-sponsored teams Garmin-Transitions, Omega Pharma-Lotto, and Liquigas all have the option to run this wheel along with their inventory of wheels from the French company’s standard road stock. Look for the CC80 to show up on time trial bikes, paired with Comete disc wheels, in Saturday’s prologue.

Mavic’s Thomas Davy, responsible for team sponsorships, said that the CC80 has been approved by the UCI. He also said that its aerodynamics had been validated at three different wind tunnels.

The CC80s follow a tried-and-true formula for deep, 80- to 90mm carbon tubulars. The front wheel on the Cannondale bike of Liquigas’ Sylvester Syzmo is laced with 16 radial, bladed spokes, and the rear with 20, laced 2-cross on the drive side and radial on the non-drive. The spokes look like standard stainless steel and are anchored at the rim with external nipples. Likewise, the Mavic hubs look similar to those found on the Cosmic Carbone SL – nothing too far beyond the pale of what’s known to work reliably.

New at the Tour is a reflective graphics package. The little yellow SSC decal says Cosmic 80, and the big “Cosmic” decal bounces camera flash right back into the photo. Friendly Mavic Special Service Course team members were installing new graphics kits on Liquigas’ wheel inventory.

Tour de France Tech: Mavic's CC80 aero wheels

Liquigas riders also have access to a few special Mavic wheels for this Tour. Guillaume Martin designs specific products for use only by professional racers, and he built all-carbon Comete discs for Mavic-sponsored teams. Comete discs normally have aluminum rims, but the race-only version has a carbon rim. Obviously the all-carbon Comete is quite a bit lighter than its commercially available cousin.

Martin has to build the discs by hand. He said there are only eight on the Tour, reserved for the leaders of teams sponsored by Mavic. For now, due to the cost, an all-carbon Comete isn’t likely to land in shop windows. “It’s very complicated to make,” said Martin. It’s built on the same mold and thus has the same shape as a standard Comete, but it requires careful hand placement of the pieces as they are brought together.

In addition, Mavic brought a few pairs of carbon R-Sys Ultimate wheels to the Tour for climbing stages. The wheels are whisper light at just around 900 grams per pair, according to Martin. The Tour de France doesn’t mark the wheel’s debut, as it was available for use last year and at this year’s Giro. But it’s a head-turner nonetheless, with nearly all-carbon construction, no spoke nipples, and just a few metal pieces for the bearings, axle and freehub.

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech / Tour de France TAGS: / /

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