Have Mavic Nailed Tubeless For Road? New Wheels And Tyres


– Road tubeless wheels
and tires promise so much. They’re light, they’re fast rolling, and most importantly of all, they’re almost puncture proof. But, they just haven’t
really caught on yet. Some people have concerns about safety, but mainly it’s because they’re a massive pain in the backside. To fit, to pump it up, and then, to flip and take it back off again. However, just take a look at this. No inner tube. No tire levers. Standard pump. Seriously, that was like the third time I’ve done it and I’m still
utterly flabbergasted. I think we need to take a closer look. (funky electronic music) Right, this is the brand new road tubeless system from Mavic. As a brand, they have a long, long history of innovation in the sport. And in fact, a lot of it is on display all around us here at the legendary service course of their
HQ in Annecy, France. And one of those innovations is this. Which is UST mounted bike tubeless wheels. So back in the late
90’s Mavic partnered up with French tire manufacturer Hutchinson to help make their
legendary cross max wheel work without inner tubes. A complete first, tubeless. It seems weird then that with tubeless going from strength to strength on mountian bikes that Mavic have seemingly been standing by as road tubeless develops without them. They haven’t though, they have clearly been very busy because they have just launched a complete range of 12
compatible wheel sets and two new tires. Okay so Max as the concept and product manager on
the road side things, you’re probably very well placed to answer my questions. Given that Mavic invented
tubeless for bikes, how come it’s taking you guys seemingly so long to enter the road tubeless side of the market? – So mountain bike and
road are very different because road uses much higher pressure, with skinnier tires and skinnier rims, so it’s a world of different constraints. There have been road tubeless wheels on the market, but none of them is really
up to our requirements. Especially in terms of
ease of use or safety. – But, effectively,
what have you done then when releasing these new ones to satisfy your requirements? – Okay. So it’s all about the system. We’re making wheel tire
system for a long time now. Road tubeless, road UST is now possible because we’ve designed the rim and the tire together. Setting up the right diameter for the rim and the right diameter and best stiffness for the tire. – What sort of tolerances are we talking because we’ve all experienced, I’m sure, a tire that’s easy to fit on a rim and a tire that’s super
hard to fit on a rim. And then if you’ve ever used tubeless, you’ll be familiar with, tires that are almost
impossible to inflate. But what’s the discrepancies between the wheels and the tires then? – Discrepancies are that
tolerences are within a millimeter. – A millimeter? – A millimeter, yeah. We’ve been doing a lot of testing on competitors products already existing on the market and we’ve seen that within a millimeter of differences, it makes the tire impossible to mount or very easy to come off the rim at high pressure. – Okay, which is why it’s easy to get on and inflate, so actually, the problem with very tubeless was never that it was difficult to inflate, it was just that the
tolerances were too big. – Exactly, tolerances were too big and especially there were tire makers, there were rim makers, that didn’t reach out with each other. They all wanted to be on the safe side so wheel makers then to have
wheels that were too big and tire makers would make tires slightly too small so none of them would take any chances on the safety off their cyclists and riders. – Yeah. – But the result is that
is was super hard to mount. – Yeah. Okay, well looking at safety, I think we should go and see exactly what’s in your lab. And what a lab it is. Mavic are particularly geared up, as you might imagine, for putting wheels and
tires through their paces. Given what we’ve just heard
about tolerances then, for the UST tubeless project, some of the most important tests are just really accurate measurements of both tires and rims. Sounds simple, but it actually required some bespoke creations. This one measures the
circumference of the wheel, so you divide that then by pi, and you get your diameter. Then another tool measures
the height of the side wall of the rim to give you that all important bead seat diameter. This jig then measures
the diameter of the tire and then is importantly the stretch in the tire bead. Clearly, if a bead stretches
when a tire is inflated, that’s going to be bad news as well. Knowing these measurements means we can predict whether a rim and tire combo will work. But there is one more bit
of kit here we need to see. But ultimately this machine behind us now is going to tell whether it is safe or not because we’re about to see a tire explode. Is that right? – Yes, exactly. – Cool, and so what
exactly are we going to do, well, just inflate it basically, I guess? – Yes, this very, very simple. We need to use this kind of wheel. – Okay. – This is what we call master wheel. It’s a machine wheel. So it’s very heavy. If you want to? – Probably not, I better not touch it. – But the dimension are well known. The dimension of this
wheel are well known. And the dimension are not
moving with the pressure. – And as well as testing
to your own standards then, you’ve got diameters of wheels there that represent the smallest
diameter road wheel you would expect to find on the market and the largest diameter tire. You’ve got data then
across the whole spectrum of what’s available? – Yes, we are testing both combinations, but the most critical, the worst case, is the smallest rim and the
biggest diameter of the tire. – What’s the difference
in pressure then between the ideal standard blowing off the rim, versus the worst case scenario. What’s the difference in bar between? – It depends on the width on the rim, but it can reach one bar or one bar off. – [Simon] Really? – So yes. – It’s quite a lot less. – [Brieuc] Yes. – [Simon] Should we press the button, make it explode? – [Brieuc] Ten off. – Ten off bar. – [Brieuc] 11. – 11 bar, wow. There’s quite a lot of
pressure in there now. – [Brieuc] 11.5. – Ohhh. (tire explodes) Oh. – [Brieuc] 12. – Wow, 12 bar. Well to be fair that
would serve someone right for putting that pressure in their tire. Wow. It’s great to know that
there is that focus on safety then and as we’ve already seen, setting the tubeless system up is pretty much as easy as a standard inner tube and tire. But, if you are new to the whole concept of road tubeless, then the puncture resistant side of things way well
seem a little bit overblown. No pun intended there. So, let us try and
demonstrate quickly, shall we. We need a sacrificial tire, and then we can play a little game. Will it seal? Or seal, or no seal? 14 millimeter upholstery nails for fixing fabric and webbing and given a decorative finish. Right then, seal, or no seal? You ready? There. You know what, I think that’s sealed. Bloody hell. So five 14 millimeter upholstery nails. Seal. Number two, 20 millimeter floor tacks. For floor coverings and upholstery. Carpet tack, seal or no seal? Oh no problem. Sealed already. Okay, number three, 30
millimeter galvanized felt nails for roofing felt and slates. They look brutal, absolutely brutal. Roof nail, seal or no seal? I think we might have found the limits. Come on. Quite interesting to
know how much pressure is in this tire now. It’s a seal. Yes. This feels all kinds of wrong. And I have my doubts. Well the knife has
presented quite a challenge. I will admit, I have
inflated this tire once since I slashed it, but here we go, that is undoubtedly, a seal. There is no inner tube in this bad boy. Can you remember how many tacks were actually put down? Okay so, the tubeless part
definitely seems to work. But let’s face it, most the time, you’re probably not
going to be riding around and thinking how many punctures that you’re hopefully not having. Instead, what you really want, is just a light, fast,
and strong pair of wheels and light, fast, and grippy tires. So with that in mind then, we probably better have a
look at what’s on offer. There is the Comet Pro Carbon SL. The Cosmic Pro Carbon SL. The Cosmic Elite. The Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL. The Ksyrium Pro. The Ksyrium Elite. And they all come in rim
brake and disc brake versions. Plus there are three new additions to the all road range. So you got the All Road Pro Disc, the All Road Elite Disc, and the All Road Elite Rim Brake. There is, frankly, an awful
lot of new stuff going on in the range, not just the
tubeless compatibility. So rim widths are generally up, they’re 19 millimeters
on all the road wheels except for the Cosmic Elites and the Ksyrium Pro and
Elite rim brake versions which stay at 17 millimeters. Then the all road ones
are a quite frankly, very roomy, 22 millimeters wide. Interestingly though, despite the increase in rim widths, weights
have either been maintained or in the case of the Ksyrium, actually dropped by
between 30 and 55 grams. The entry to Mavic UST
tubeless on the road, is this one here which
is the Cosmic Elites. That retails at 449 euros, but remember, that comes
as a complete wheel system. So it also includes the tires. The tires. There is an awful lot of
development gone on here as well. There’s 3D models, it
is the Yksion Pro UST which comes in a 25 and a 28 mil width. And they are 260 and
290 grams, respectively. And then there’s the All Road XL, which is 40 mil wide. And that weighs 440 grams. So you can see it takes the
light weight boxes there, and actually, you’ll find apparently, that if you run tubeless, you should save about 40 grams per wheel in a direct comparison
with a standard Mavic tire and inner tube. Now, Mavic say that the rolling resistance on the new tires is really competitive. But they didn’t actually
pursue the accolade of having the fastest
rolling tires out there because they witnessed in testing a significant trade off
between some super fast compounds and grip. Meaning that you could be
really quick in a straight line, but then you lose it in a corner. And I mean literally lose it in a corner. I think it’s time to talk to an engineer to get some clarification. Okay, I found one, this is
Jeremy who is the tire engineer. So, talk me through it then. How have you found this balance between grip and rolling resistance and we stood next to a machine testing for rolling resistance. So, what are the parts of the tire that you’ve needed to look at then? – So, to find the good balance between rolling resistance and grip, it’s always difficult and we need to make a lot prototypes and a lot of measurements
on just the prototypes. And after, it’s a combination between many parameters, like the compound, the tire thickness. Another component to
use to build the tire, like the casing. And also the air you put inside. – Okay, so, in terms of the grip then, is that compound, this largely dictates
home much grip you’ve got? – Yeah, in terms of grip, pure grip on the wet, it’s really the compound
that makes the difference. – [Simon] Okay, is a tubeless
tire faster rolling tire than a tubed tire, an inner tube? – Yeah, sure, in fact a tubeless tire is always faster. It’s about 15%. – 15%?
– 15%, yeah. – Wow, okay. And for the nerds out there, which is the fastest
version that you’ve got? Is it the 25, the 28? Which rolls the fastest? – Actually which was the fastest
is the 28 millimeter tire. – 28, okay. You know what, I genuinely am still amazed at how easy these tires are to seat on these rims. And this is the ninth pair that I’ve done already today. – Excuse me, Simon, could you please stop chatting now and put those tires, and those 45 other set of wheels you have to prepare for us, please? – Yeah, okay, alright. Sorry about that, Max. Right, just very quickly then, before leaving this video, do make sure you subscribe to GCN. It’s completely free,
just click on the globe. And then if you’re
after some more content, if you click up there, you get through to a video about reducing the risk of punctures, which includes, but isn’t limited to, actually going tubeless. And the for some more information right from here, at the Mavic facility, we’ve got a great inside look at the development of their new Comet Ultimate shoes. That’s just down there.