By Ride Captain James Booth
One of the beauties of riding an event like The London-Paris 2011 means that I have an excuse to start pimping my ride for the 3-day event. So what better place to start than with the wheels, clearly visible for people to notice and comment on! Also a great area to save weight and really notice a difference when riding as reducing rotating weight will aid your ability to maintain speed and reduce the efforts needed to get you rolling. What did I choose? Well I have gone for a set of Mavic R-Sys wheels as at only 1390grams they seemed really appealing for riding over the Surrey Hills and like I said ever gram counts!
The wheels came tucked up in some cool Mavic branded wheels bags, complete with quick releases and a computer magnet. Being a bit of a tech freak I was amazing at the amount of technology that these wheels have in them. They are constructed using striking red alloy cartridge bearing hubs and inter spoke milled alloy rims which have been laced together with 16 Tracomp carbon spokes on the front wheel. The back wheel is even cleverer as it using 12 Tracomp carbon spokes on the non drive side and 12 Zicral spokes on the drive side. These spokes are what really make the ride of these wheels and help maintain such a low rotating weight. nWhat Mavic have done here is reduce the rotating weight of the rim and build a wheel based around an ultra-stiff tubular carbon spoke that minimises any wheel distortion under power but help to propel you forward with effort you put through them.
Enough talking about how they are made, what you really want to know is does all this technology really make any difference other than making my bike look pretty? Rolling out of the house and toward the hills for their first outing they felt comfortable, as the spokes seemed to absorb the road surface. In the past any comfortable wheels I've had have always flexed a bit and caught the brake pads when accelerating out of the saddle or climbing. So as everyone started to accelerate up the first climb I was ready for the sound of my breath deepening and the rim touching the brakes. These wheels are rock solid no lateral flex, meaning nothing moving side to side which meant they accelerated up to speed with ease and felt really lively. However I was right on one part, my breathing definitely got deeper! Out of the box they spun smoothly and were perfectly straight and after nearly 300 miles they are still as good. The build quality and durability in conjunction with the combination of lateral stiffness and vertical compliance means these wheels make for a perfect sportive wheel.