Review: Mavic CXR 60 + CXR 80 Wheelsets
article & images by Nick Salazar
Jun 24, 2013
Mavic's Communication Manager Zack Vestal dropped by TriRig Headquarters to drop off some very special product – the brand new CXR 60 Clinchers. “This is the only pair of these wheels in the entire country,” he informs me. Um, wow. I'll try not to break them. They aren't due to hit shops until September, so for now there aren't many pairs out there.
The CXR 60 Clinchers I'm reviewing today are Mavic's latest product, and the most recent addition to its very new, very slick CXR lineup. The CXR series began with last year's 80mm tubular and is expanding this year with the new 60mm tubular and clincher versions. The entire line follows the modern trend of wider wheels designed as a reversible airfoil. That is, they're designed to be fast not only as an airfoil whose leading edge is the tire and whose trailing edge is the inner diameter of the rim, but also when you flip that shape and use the inner rim as the leading edge, and the tire as a trailing edge. Zipp and HED were the first to blaze this trail, and now the vast majority of new wheels being released follow the trend.
Mavic focused on NACA airfoils, and designed the wheel such that both the “forward” and “backward” airfoils very closely follow NACA profiles. This is despite industry trends that have 'moved on' from NACA shapes – other brands claim that NACA shapes are designed for low yaw, and that other shapes can better serve high-yaw conditions. Regardless of this claim, Mavic seems to have done an outstanding job with the CXR line, and its wheels perform very well at all yaw angles in independent testing. In at least one third-party test, the CXR 80's beat Zipp's 808 Firecrest, HED's Jet 90, and the Bontrager Aeolus 7.
Speaking of yaw, Mavic claims their wheels have more predictable handling in crosswinds because of the linear relationship between side force and wind angle. This is the philosophy that both Mavic and ENVE are espousing. Personally, I am more persuaded by the alternate philosophy being pushed by Zipp and HED – they design their wheels to keep the side forces as low as possible at every wind speed, regardless of what the “response curve” looks like when you put it on a graph. To me, that particular curve doesn't mean much. That is, I don't care too much that the relationship between 15mph side force winds is proportional to the force at 30mph; I only care that the force remains as low as possible. Nevertheless, the Mavics do handle very very well in the wind. So despite the difference in philosophy, they still feel very good. I'm tempted to say that Zipp may be just slightly better in this department, but not by much. I'd be happy to take the CXR 60's out even on a windy race course. I'd still be a little reluctant to use the 80's in high winds, but many athletes are doing just that, even in the rough trade winds in Kona.