Yellow, Neutral Service, Tour de France, Traditional Manufacturers, Wheels, Cosmic Carbon, Ultimates - These are just a few words that come to mind when you hear Mavic. In recent years, the traditional French company has repeatedly had to contend with internal turbulence. With a new, independent organization, “the yellow ones” now want to reflect on the values that made Mavic great. In spring 2023, the first step was taken with the new Cosmic Ultimate wheelset, because the high-end model, which for a long time stood for the ultimate in wheels, is largely made by hand directly at the company headquarters. Wanting to take a closer look, we visited the new headquarters in Annecy and tried to find out what "rotates" at Mavic.
Mavic's new headquarters in Annecy can be seen from afar. Yellow elements can not only be found on the building, but also the yellow Skodas for the neutral service at professional races proudly stand in the first row. As soon as you arrive, you are reminded of the many stages and races in which the yellow service car also played a decisive role or was simply seen in the background as a reliable companion, always ready for action. Charged with these emotions, you enter the showroom in the foyer of the headquarters, where, in addition to the latest products for road bikes, mountain bikes and the urban category, you can also find many treasures from the old days that are reminiscent of Mavic's origins and past.
However, if you take a closer look around the showroom, you will quickly see that a designation can be found quite frequently and that the associated product is placed quite prominently in its latest version. Of course we are talking about the high-end wheelset Cosmic Ultimate.
No wonder - for many years, the high-end wheels from the French manufacturer shaped professional cycling and were the object of desire for many amateur, hobby and recreational athletes. If you talk to the employees on site, they are particularly proud of the fact that they also manufacture the recently presented model right next door in their own rooms.
Luckily, we got access to the hallowed halls of Mavic and were able to take a closer look at what handmade really means at the French manufacturer.
"The aim was to build the best wheelset of all time and that's not that easy! Nevertheless, we have never allowed ourselves to be dissuaded from this goal and can stand behind our product 100%,” says one of the developers.
In order to achieve this, the latest research in the field of composite materials was combined with technical know-how. More than 3 years of development went into the conception of the Mavic Cosmic Ultimate 45 Disc. At the end there was a process that is carried out here by hand every day by specially trained employees. At the beginning there are 71 carbon parts, which have to be positioned and assembled accordingly in order to get a perfect result in the end. This process takes more than 8 hours and a total of 10 people are involved in the individual work steps.
It was particularly impressive for us to see how much manual work the production actually involves. Starting with the shaping of the spokes by hand, the pressing of the hubs, the assembly of the individual parts and the finishing process, in which the excess glue is removed by hand at the individual points. This precision and passion with attention to detail can hardly be found nowadays, especially in the production of carbon parts. With these impressions you just have to become a Mavic fan.
However, before it was possible to establish this production process, a lot of tests and prototypes were necessary. 409 impact tests and 470 traction tests were carried out on the attachment of the spoke. There were a total of 66 prototypes and 8 different designs. This has been compared in 35 lab tests to get the best result. On the one hand, they were allowed to age in the climate chamber and tested again and again. High-energy impact tests for safety and reliability were also carried out, frontal endurance tests at 7000 km at 70 km/h with a load, lateral durability test at 300 km at 44 km/h with a load, static braking test at 100.000 hub rotations, dynamic braking test at 750 braking operations from 40 to 0 km/h with more than 100 kg load. Again, we got a glimpse of Mavic's own test lab, which is just 30 meters away from where the production workers work.
All in all, an incredibly impressive process in which far more manual work, passion and attention to detail come into play than we would have ever thought before our visit. At the end there is a monoblock construction, which is supposed to combine the advantages of tubeless technology in its lightest form with the power of disc brakes with an incredible driving experience. At just 1255 grams, the new Mavic Cosmic Ultimate 45 Disc are not only perfect for climbers, but also extremely versatile in combination with the rim profile and stiffness. The new Cosmic Ultimate impeller is rounded off with a visually appealing and lightweight laser engraving on the outer UD² carbon layer.
Of course, a trip with the new Cosmic Ultimate was also part of the program for us during the visit. We were able to gather first impressions here and look forward to presenting you with a comprehensive test of the wheels on Velomotion.
Mavic Allroad SL in the test: The traditional French manufacturer is up-to-date with the Allroad SL Disc. The light wheel set convinces with high-quality technology and rims optimized for tubeless tires. The Mavic Allroad has been around for five years, with the current aluminum top model, the Allroad SL, being presented at the end of 2021. The SL has Allroad Pro and Allroad Elite versions […]