Review: Mavic CXR 60 + CXR 80 Wheelsets

 Jun 24, 2013 article & images by Nick Salazar

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.

Tags » mavic,  wheels
  • The Mavic CXR wheels (left) do a superb job of creating a smooth transition between rim and tire. Compared to a traditional construction of the FLO 60 (right), the cleanliness of this design becomes obvious.
  • Mavic's CXR lineup is expanding to include clinchers and tubulars. An easy way to tell one from the other is by the outer layer of carbon. The denser 3k weave on the left indicates a tubular wheel, where the stair-step twill weave on the right is on the clinchers.
  • The Mavic CXR 60 clincher has a similar construction to the FLO wheels we've reviewed before - it's a sturdy alloy rim with an integrated carbon fairing.
  • This is the 80mm deep CXR tubular, introduced last year. These wheels are Mavic's answer to the Zipp Firecrest 808, and they are a formidable answer indeed.
  • Despite the blasphemy I've certainly done in mixing a tubular rear with a clincher front, I came to really prefer this combo: the CXR 60 front and CXR 80 rear. Of course, the CXR 60 is also available in tubular, so they could be made to match. I just hope Mavic eventually releases the CXR 80 in clincher form, as the 60's are just a fantastic wheelset.
  • This set is in many ways like the Firecrest 404 + 808 combo that became my favorite Zipp wheelset. But I'm very impressed with Mavic's tire/rim integration, which not only looks awesome but puts up some very impressive wind tunnel numbers.
  • Mavic's hubs are simple, well-built, and appear pretty easy to service. The CXR 60 is now being built with 11-speed hubs that include the 1.85mm spacer (shown) to make them backwards-compatible with 10-speed cassettes.
  • The front hubs are similarly simple, and reduce frontal area where possible to keep drag low.
  • Another thoughtful element of Mavic's design is in their tires. The shaping on the sidewall isn't for traction, but rather to improve the aerodynamic performance of the complete wheel.
  • The Mavic CXR series doesn't come cheap with a street price starting at about $2600 per pair, but there's no denying that they are some gorgeous hoops that check all the right boxes. Mavic is really thinking about every aspect of the product from the hubs all the way out to the ruber.
  • The CX01 Blade is the rubber strip responsible for mating the tire so seamlessly into the shape of the rim. It's held in place by virtue of its shape - no adhesive required. This is a really great bit of thinking from Mavic, and something that sets the CXR series apart from the competition. Personally, I think it's an awesome idea.
  • I have to say that the CXR 60 + 80 comb0 looks very much at home on my stealthy Shiv. The wheels handle beautifully and have an aero pedigree worthy of this rig.
  • Not bad, Mavic. Not bad at all.
  • Another shot of the CXR 60 clincher.
  • It's tough to see in the image, but the rim surface of the CXR 60 clincher has a very slight texture which improves braking performance considerably. I really like the feel of these wheels when stopping.
  • Wheels of this calibre just beg for special treatment, so we paired them up with the View-Speed S4 titanium skewers. Check out our Skewer Shootout for more on these little gems.
  • Another shot of the front hub with the beautiful View-Speed S4 skewer.
  • The new CXR 60 wheels are both 10-speed and 11-speed compatible.
  • The Mavic rims are on the extra-wide end of the spectrum, approaching 26mm and 27mm towards the bottom of the brake track. Most modern brakes are now able to accommodate these kinds of widths, but make sure you check your brake's specs before you pull the trigger on these pricey hoops. Obviously our own Omega brake has no problem opening up with room to spare.
  • From where I'm sitting, these wheels are an absolute winner. Watch out, Zipp. Mavic did their homework, and they're making a very smart product. I hope to see this line expand just as the Firecrest line did.

Related Articles
The first product of its kind, SRAM's TyreWiz gives you real-time reporting of your tire pressure at the valve. Check out the full review.
Although possibly less recognizable than Zipp or HED, Reynolds is a stalwart wheel brand trying to make a splash in the budget-aero scene currently dominated by some other players.
There are LOTS of wheels on the market. So when any genuinely new tech comes around, it gets us excited.
These are probably the narrowest hub flanges we've ever seen on a spoked aero wheel. They significantly reduce the frontal area of the spokes. How do they perform? Check out the full article for more.
As Silca expands their offerings to cater to the average consumer, we explore the depth and breadth of their new products.