is of course, one of the most, if not the most well-known name in
bicycle wheel production. Although they have a history of making cycling
specific products dating back to 1889, the Mavic name was first
registered in 1923. Probably the one date that rings loudest in the
annals of Mavic history was in 1934 when Antonin Magne used their
Duralumin rims (painted with a wood finish) to win the Tour de France.
In the years since, Mavic has provided wheels for every type of cycling
and of course are also well known for their bright yellow neutral support vehicles
seen at races the world over.
In conjunction with this year's Criterium Dauphine race that had a stage that
began in the parking lot of their wheel factory in St.
Trevier-sur-Moignans, France, Mavic decided to throw a little open house
shin-dig and roll-out the final production of their new CXR 80
wheelset that's based on the Cosmic Carbone 80
The Geneva wind tunnel is located in undoubtedly one of the stranger locations you'd ever expect to find such a facility.Years ago the city had a plan to build a massive bridge spanning a river running through town and inside the bridge they would run a train tunnel. The Pont Butin bridge was built in 1925 and the tunnel started, but never finished. What better use for an unused train tunnel than a high tech wind tunnel?! The wind tunnel is now run under the auspices of the Competence Group in Fluid Mechanics and Energetics
The Mavic soiree took place where the train tracks would have been if the tunnel had been finished. As it was, the bridge site provided a memorable destination for a product launch. Besides Mavic, the Geneva wind tunnel works closely with the local university as well as variety of different athletes; from skiers and downhill mountain bikers to snowmobile and motorcycle racers.
The wind tunnel was moved underneath the Pont-Butin in 1987 and works closely with the Geneva School of Engineering. Besides the large size subsonic wind tunnel that is used by Mavic, the facility is also home to both a vertical and supersonic wind tunnel.
Here's what we were gathered for....Mavic's launch of the new Cosmic CXR 80 wheelset. While the wheels have been in production for two years, this is the first time the 80mm deep aero hoops have been released with the new CX01 aero link. Mavic claims a weight of 2170 grams for the set (995g front/1175g rear). (The reflective logos are brightened due to the camera flash) No retail prices were released.
Maxime Brunard is Mavic's Product Manager and he started off the presentation explaining the history of the CXR 80 and what it is that Mavic hoped to accomplish with it. Maxime has been at Mavic for 14 years and like many of the engineers and product guys, is an accomplished racer. Maxime explained the the R&D for the CXR 80 started three years ago and that to date it is still not UCI approved for racing.
A highpoint in the presentation was having Garmin-Barracuda's Director of Sports Science Robby Ketchall
give us the low-down on what actually goes into planning for the team's TT efforts. Robby said he has studied and modeled the weather conditions for all the cities that host major TT races on the calendar long before the race is even close. By studying the air velocity & density and wind speed & direction, he and Team Director Jonathan Vaughters are able to dictate what equipment will be used. One key take away, "You don't feel speed as much as you feel pain!"
This is some of the information that the Garmin team digests before each time trial. Once they drill down all the variables between weather and equipment, Robby creates a plot for the race at hand and he related how once rider Christian Van deVelde questioned his equipment choice, but Robby replied, "Trust the math!"
Mavic has been working exclusively with the Geneva wind tunnel for a few years.
One of the university students who works at the wind tunnel is developing a Moto2 GP bike as a class project.
The front wheel uses 16 double butted stainless, bladed steel spokes
while the rear wheel is built with 20 spokes. Maxime said that the team
mechanics requested external nipples for ease of tuning - Mavic
listened. The wheel and the Mavic Yksion CXR tire are designed to work as a system with the tire's tread pattern and profile also working as part of the aero package.
Here's what the CX01 strip looks like when peeled up out of its channel. The strip is hard, but pliable and can easily snap back into place.
To maximize all the aero qualities of the CXR 80 wheels, the carbon hubs (with aluminum flanges) are as smooth and small diameter as possible. Product manager Maxime accepted that a narrower hub design could even be more aero, but what a narrower hub gained in aero it gave up in performance, so they did their best to find the optimum balance.
Lunch was served on the bridge and the chocolate pistachio mousse proved especially exciting for some attendees.
Yeah, this must be the hotel. Stay tuned for the ride review and Mavic factory tour. The Best Western Aquakub
in Aix-Les-Bains acted as our home base and the riding in around the lake and in the surrounding mountains (especially towards the city of Annecy) are fabulous. Look for more from the Mavic factory visit soon.
Unlike the wind tunnel in San Diego, the Geneva tunnel runs in some pretty tight confines. Mavic relies on a proprietary "balance" to mount the bike to in order to get more finely tuned data. This is precisely the sort of expensive and time consuming R&D that separates a venerable wheel name like Mavic from so many other brands on the market. This is also another reason you should read the July issue of RBA that has an all-important story on the safety of carbon clinchers.
While the CXR 80 is a pretty specific use wheelset aimed at serious TT and triathlon riders, Mavic assured us that they have plenty of new wheel news coming for 2013.
AS FOR THE GARMIN TEAM AFFILIATION...