Competitive Cyclist
Orbea USA
Zero Gravity
Hed Cycling
Ridley from Sinclair Imports
Upland Sports Group

Interbike show

Las Vegas, USA, September 26-30, 2005

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Part 19: Mavic, Fulcrum, Shimano and Topolino

Things that go round and round…


Tasty and fast
Photo ©: James Huang
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Lots of hype has surrounded Mavic's new Ksyrium ES, and probably for good reason. Mavic appears to have taken everything that was good about last year's Ksyrium SL and capitalized on its strengths while improving just about everything else. One new wheelset that shouldn't go ignored, however, is the new Cosmic Carbone Pro. The old aluminum rim-plus-carbon fairing construction of the old Cosmic Carbone has been replaced by a true one-piece molded carbon fibre rim. The front hub now incorporates a carbon fibre centre section and a titanium and aluminum axle, while the rear is now reported to use a titanium FTS-L freehub body. The complete wheelset now weighs about 1500g for a weight saving of about 200g, compared to the previous Cosmic Carbone, which is now rebadged as Cosmic Carbone SL - these remain virtually unchanged.


Racing Speed = high
Photo ©: James Huang
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Fulcrum ups the ante for '06 with a pair of new carbon wheel offerings. The Racing Speed uses a deep 50mm section carbon tubular rim for good aerodynamics, yet weighs only 1325g for the pair. The Racing Light uses a low profile carbon clincher rim and, although it is billed as a climbing-specific wheel, at 1370g for the pair they're actually heavier than the Racing Speed. Both use Fulcrum's unique 2:1 spoke lacing pattern which uses twice as many spokes on the driveside than on the non-driveside to equalise spoke tension. Both wheelsets are also available in either Shimano or Campagnolo-compatible versions. Whichever way you go, make sure your bank account is well-padded. A pair of Racing Speeds will run you about $2750 while the Racing Lights will set you back a whopping $3500. Ouch!


Deep Shimanos on Thor's Look
Photo ©: James Huang
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Shimano officially unveiled a pair of new Dura-Ace wheelsets at Interbike…plus one more unofficially.

The new WH-7801-SL clincher wheelset uses a unique new Scandium rim with a solid outer wall that eliminates the need for rim tape and makes the wheelset tubeless-compatible. The rear rim is offset for more equalised spoke tension, and total wheelset weight is about 1520g.

Photo ©: James Huang
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The WH-7801-Carbon tubular wheelset has a lot going for it, including a miniscule 310g rim weight, an offset rear spoke bed, and a small counterweight that is cleverly integrated into the rim opposite the valve hole. Total wheelset weight is about 1310g for the pair.

Ok, enough with the official stuff…Shimano apparently wasn't ready to release these yet, but they clearly have a deep-section carbon fibre Dura-Ace wheelset laying in wait as seen on Thor Hushovd's Look 585 (pictured right) and many other Shimano-equipped bikes during this year's Tour de France. There's no better testing ground than racing itself, and the number of bikes seen with these wheels on them should speak for itself.


Topolino’s new carbon-rimmed wheelset
Photo ©: James Huang
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Topolino is making an effort to produce a more aero wheelset for '06 but is steering away from its trademark carbon and Kevlar spoke construction in order to do so. The new, as-yet-unnamed wheelset uses bladed stainless steel spokes which are said to dramatically improve aerodynamics compared to the fatter composite versions. One trademark feature that hasn't been abandoned is the spoke lacing pattern where a single spoke goes from one side of the rim to the other. This allegedly allows Topolino to make their carbon fibre hubs much lighter since they are no longer stressed in tension as would be the case if the spoke ends were anchored there.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

  • The new Cosmic Carbone Pro front hub now incorporates a carbon fiber center section bonded to aluminum flanges.
  • The new Mavic Cosmic Carbone freehub body is apparently now made of titanium. This significantly reduces weight relative to Mavic’s traditional steel construction but should prove much more durable than aluminum.
  • The new all-carbon rim cuts a bunch of weight as compared to last year’s aluminum-plus-carbon fairing construction. Rim depth is a wind-cheating 52mm.
  • I bet those yellow-on-black graphics probably look pretty cool when they’re spinning really, really fast…
  • All of Fulcrum’s rear wheels use their 2:1 Two-to-One spoke arrangement which uses twice as many spokes on the drivetrain than on the non-driveside to equalize spoke tension.
  • Fulcrum’s new Racing Light uses an ultralight clincher-compatible carbon fiber rim.
  • With a label this big, Fulcrum certainly doesn’t want anyone to think that their new deep-section Racing Speed wheels were made by Campy or anything…
  • Just in case your friends don’t believe you, they say ‘Carbon’ right on the rim.
  • The folks at Look had Thor Hushovd’s Look 585 on display, complete with some interesting wheels…
  • Yes, they say Dura-Ace on them, they’re carbon tubulars, and they’re an awful lot deeper than their “officially” released WH-7801-Carbon wheels. No, Shimano won’t say anything about them yet, and no, you can’t have them yet.
  • The new 7801-SL wheels use a new Scandium rim with an offset rear spoke bed.
  • Shimano very cleverly integrates a counterweight into its new carbon rim to balance out the valve.
  • The solid outer wall of the new 7801-SL rim not only makes it stronger and stiffer, but also eliminates the need for rim tape and facilitates tubeless compatibility… that is, whenever that tubeless stuff becomes commercially available.
  • Like Mavic’s Ksyriums, the spoke nipples thread directly into the rim. Unlike the Ksyriums, though, Shimano chooses to weld a little widget on to the inside of the rim rather than thread the rim itself.
  • Topolino’s new carbon-rimmed wheelset does away with their trademark carbon and Kevlar composite spoke construction. Bladed stainless steel spokes are used in the new model to make the wheels more aerodynamic.
  • A single spoke runs uninterrupted from one side of the rim to the other. The hub is still mounted in the centre of the wheel, of course, but the hub doesn’t encounter nearly as much stress as in traditional wheel construction. This apparently allows Topolino to make their carbon hubs much lighter since the spoke end isn’t actually anchored there.
  • Carbon Ti’s chainrings mate a 6/4 titanium outer section with a carbon fibre centre. The rings honestly aren’t much lighter than a standard aluminum ring, but they are reported to be much more rigid and offer 20,000 mile longevity. In a pleasant departure from other exotic chainrings, the Carbon Ti rings are also pinned and ramped for good shifting.
  • What? Fox makes a 29er-specific version of their 36 fork? Well… not quite.
  • The unique appearance of Lightweight’s rear disc wheel isn’t just for show. The disc is actually constructed much like the rest of their line, and the black lines are tensioned carbon spokes. The white stuff is actually just filler material and serves only an aerodynamic function, not a structural one.
  • Lightweight uses freehub internals from their German neighbors at Tune (who are themselves no slouches in the weight department, either).
  • The folks at Lenzsport have devised a clever offset front hub that allows you to run a 29er wheel in a standard 26” fork. No, it doesn’t look light, but it does open up the fork possibilities a tonne for the 29er crowd.
  • Surly showed off some very extreme-looking off-road unicycles using their superwide Large Marge rim and three-piece chromoly cranks.

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