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If we were to choose one descriptor to apply universally to Mavic, it might be "stubborn." There are negative and positive implications of the brand's stubbornness, and the new Cosmic Pro Carbon SL UST Wheel reinforces the positives while dispelling the negatives. The positive aspects of Mavic's stubbornness are that the brand is obsessed with safety and durability to the point where it won't compromise either in pursuit of fads. Mavic wheels simply refuse to fail because the brand refuses to gamble on new tech for the sake of newness alone. This leads to the negative aspect: Mavic has been criticized for apparently lagging behind the so-called "innovative" manufacturers because of that stubborn refusal to immediately adopt whatever new tech happens to catch the industry's collective fancy. Of course, that kind of stubbornness is only a negative if you value industry trends over proven, effective, and safe technology. To illustrate the point, consider that at a recent sportive event associated with that big race in France, Mavic reportedly provided neutral service support for 38 instances of carbon clincher failures. This tells us what Mavic knew all along: delamination, deformation, cracking, and the like are all still common occurrences in the carbon wheel world. To deal with this, Mavic has long used aluminum inserts in its carbon wheels to serve as reinforcing spines and heat sinks. The risks of full-carbon rims were unacceptable to the brand, which is built on reliability, safety, and longevity as much as it is low weight and aerodynamics -- all of which are reasons why generations of cyclists have been grateful for that stubbornness. The brand poached an engineer from the aerospace industry, one Jean-Christophe Minni, and gave him two years to develop carbon fiber technology that would allow it to assuage its own concerns with the safety of composite materials. The full-carbon Cosmic Pro Carbon SL UST Wheel is the result. Minni's construction process produ...

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