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Mavic Comete Pro Carbon SL UST wheel review

16 Nov 2018
Verdict:

The Mavic Comete Pro Carbon SL UST wheelset provides everything a rider needs from a deep-rimmed performance wheels at a keen price

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,899
For 
• No hassle tubeless design • Tyres included • Solid build quality • Perceived aerodynamic efficiency
Against 
• The wheels’ internal diameter could be even wider

Thanks to a reputation built over 127 years, the Mavic name is essentially synonymous with high-quality wheelsets. Yet up until fairly recently the arrowhead cross-section and aluminium inserts of its deeper-rimmed wheels lagged behind the full carbon, toroidal shape trends being set by Enve, DT Swiss and Zipp.

The year before last Mavic took a step forward by releasing its Pro Carbon SL range and then subsequently built on that design by making the Pro Carbon SL wheels tubeless ready with a system it dubs UST (Universal System Tubeless).

Buy the Mavic Comete Pro Carbon SL UST wheelset from Wiggle

Mavic’s Comete Pro Carbon SL UST is one of the latest wheelsets from the French brand and incorporate all of its newest technologies. This brings the design right up to speed with its competitors.

With Mavic’s experience and resources, you could expect it to be pioneering new trends, not catching up with them, but the company is quite conservative in its approach to development.

‘The core attributes of Mavic products are performance and reliability,’ says Maxime Brunand, concept and product manager at Mavic. ‘The Comete Pro Carbon SL UST’s were released when we had no doubt that they would fulfil those attributes.’

For more head to mavic.com

After getting my hands on the wheels for the first time, I was immediately struck by their depth. Mavic doesn’t market the Comete wheelset as specialist, saying they are applicable in most riding situations, but 64mm is at the very upper end of what I’d feel comfortable using for general riding.

Anything deeper is thought to continue to improve aerodynamic efficiency, however, the trade-offs in crosswind stability and increased weight make them impractical for everyday riding and limit the designs’ usage to time-trials.

With this in mind, I was pleasantly surprised at my ability to control the wheels out on the road. Even in gusty conditions side force on the front wheel never manifested into anything more than steady pressure, as opposed to snappy pushes, so I never felt like my bike handling was compromised by a misbehaving front wheel.

What’s more, the wheels felt notably fast - with a weight on par with every one of its main competitors, I felt like I could accelerate easily and maintain high speeds marginally more easily than wheels of a shallower depth.

I could do nothing to empirically prove this was the case, but based on my experience and the best quality comparative testing I could manage (riding the same routes alternating between the Cometes and a shallower wheelset) I’d say there is efficacy in their aerodynamic design.

Mavic says the stability and efficiency of the Comete Pro Carbon SL UST wheels are down to their NACA profile, which is rounded and relatively wide. Their 26mm external rim diameter translates into a 19mm internal, which I’d say is where - if there is anywhere - the wheels cede a little ground to some of their competitors.

Internal dimensions currently at the cutting edge of performance road wheels are around 21mm. Wider diameters pair better with wider tyres which have been proven to be no slower yet can be run at lower pressures to provide more grip and comfort. Considering Mavic’s aforementioned cautious approach though I’m sure it is only a matter of time before wider rims reach the market.

Despite wider tyres inherently offering more grip and comfort, there is nothing wrong at all with Mavic’s Yksion Pro UST 25mm tyres that come supplied with the wheels. They feel supple, grippy and bring with them all the benefits of tubeless technology.

The included tyres not only add more value to the price of the Comete Pro Carbon SL UST wheels but are specifically matched to the width of the rim for, Mavic claims, seamless integration.

Mavic reportedly held off releasing its own road tubeless system when it started to become more popular, after finding the tolerances of existing tyres too variable to guarantee the function of the complete system.

Once again, Mavic’s considered development has resulted in a high-quality product - the tubeless system was hassle free. The tyres come preinstalled on the rims but I removed mine and reinstalled them. They were no different to seating regular clinchers and inflated first time with a track pump.

After that, it was just a case of adding Mavic’s included sealant via Mavic’s included applicator and the wheels were up and running. Only the small British brand Hunt is currently offering a service so comprehensive with a wheel purchase.

No other big-name wheel brand is anywhere near offering something like this, so the Comete Pro Carbon SL UST wheels have a unique and useful advantage over their competitors.

The Comete Pro Carbon SL UST wheels are fast and handle well, but this would mean little without the ability to slow down effectively.

The rims use what Mavic calls iTgMax technology - put simply, the resin holding the carbon fibres together has a really high melting temperature, so even prolonged braking should be consistent and safe.

It was an attribute I found held true in the real world - while my test rides in Dorset lack the long descents of Alps some hills are very steep and technical, requiring heavy braking. There was never a ‘pulsing’ feeling you’d expect when a rim develops hot spots.

The braking was consistent but it was powerful too, which Mavic says is because it uses a laser to scour the top layer of resin from the brake track. ‘We have developed the beam to remove the resin but leave the fibres untouched, leaving nearly zero surface variations,’ says Olivier Mouzin, Mavic’s Industrialization expert. ‘This patented process keeps braking predictable because the pads touch such a uniform surface.’

Buy the Mavic Comete Pro Carbon SL UST wheelset from Wiggle

The exposed fibres were pretty aggressive on the supplied pads but I’d say this was a fair trade-off for class-leading deceleration. In other wheelsets, this could be the only highlight but it is a testament to the quality of these wheels that the braking is the cherry on top of the wheels’ overall performance.

If you are unconcerned by a rim width that is narrower than some of its competitors, the Mavic Comete Pro Carbon SL UST wheelset is accomplished across the board and very keenly priced when its competition is considered.

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