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Mavic Cosmic Ultimate II Review
Cons: Difficult to put on, upper may be too rigid, venting is cold in winter
Bottom line: This high performance model can be spotted in the pro peloton offering riders superior stiffness, on-the-fly adjustability, and a host of other premium qualities.
The Mavic Cosmic Ultimate II is one of the most unique shoes on the market right now. They use a stiff carbon sole with excellent ventilation and drainage, and crazily, a carbon frame upper that gives an incredibly stiff ride. They bring in a lot of advanced materials and design aspects to create a shoe that performs well enough to be spotted throughout the pro peloton. These are fantastic shoes that lock you in and let you crank it out with some of the best power transfer out there. Take a look below as we compare them against the rest of the field and figure out if they're the right kicks for you.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Road Bike Shoes of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
It was immediately clear when we put these on that they were serious about stiffness. The carbon frame keeps the upper dialed in and immovable, helping you push power into the pedals. Their stiffness also helps them stand up to wear and tear. These might not top our charts, but they're premium shoes that make it into the pro peloton. Take a gander to see how they do compare to the rest of our field to find out if they're pro enough for you.
Looking at the chart below, you can see that the Cosmic Ultimate II is a great shoe with strong attributes that put it up near the head of the pack.
The Mavics use a unique burrito design in their upper to fold the shoe over the foot instead of closing separate sides over the sensitive top of the foot. It does a good job of reducing hot spots and creates a snug, uniform close. They also use well-placed padding and a smooth liner down to the toes to reduce unpleasant rub.
Their toe box is a little cramped, made a little less pleasant by the crazy rigidity of carbon frame. Consider taking a look at the Fi'zi:k R5B Uomo Boa, our Best Bang for the Buck for a supremely comfortable, affordable shoe. Or if you want to pony up just a little more, go for the Shimano S-Phyre, which won our Top Pick Award and also delivers crazy comfort.
Their carbon-intense build, stripped down sole, and thin upper came together to create one of the lightest kicks in our group. They come in at 20.9 ounces in men's 44.
Weight weenies will be interested in the Giro Empire ACC and Shimano S-Phyre, with the understanding that the latter are a premium racing shoe.
Mavic uses Energy Full Carbon SLR for its outsole, which it notes has energy transfer of 100, we assume out of 100. Certainly, the sole seems to transfer everything you put into it. The carbon Energy Frame along the Ergo bonded upper also does a heck of a job maintaining rigidity and not wasting energy. The one weak spot here is the wide opening and broad heel that allows slippage. One reason for that might be that the rigid carbon is already difficult to open up and get into, so a tighter opening might prevent entry altogether.
The shoes that did notably better here had narrower openings for the foot that hugged and stabilized the heel, mitigating slippage. The Sidi Wire Vent Carbon, which won our Editors' Choice Award, did a great job of matching rigid materials to a tight design to prevent slippage. The S-Phyre not only use a tighter fit but also use a unique cat-tongue material inside the heel lining to cling to the foot.
Mavic uses its dials called Mavic Ergo Dials, which function much like bi-directional Boa dials, except they don't have a quick release. The stiff carbon frame makes the shoe difficult to open and close, which means that fasteners are almost decorations - certainly for the lower dial and its toe anchors. That said, the dials are super easy to micro-adjust and adjust on the fly.
The Shimano and Fi'zi:k models both offer superior adjustability just by being more flexible, malleable shoes. But the Sidis top the measure by providing not only micro-adjustment with multiple fasteners in the usual spots along the top of the foot, but also with a Heel Retention System that helps reduce that lame heel slippage that characterized so many other models.
This one is tricky for the Mavics. They use tough carbon throughout the shoe, but in their upper, they use their ErgoFit 3D mesh that could be vulnerable to tearing sooner than tougher materials like the Sidis' Techpro Microfiber upper. They also don't have a replaceable toe pad, which leaves the outsole and upper open to serious wear after a few years of hard riding. Finally, their large vents in the sole could allow rocks and stones to pierce through (we all end up in rocky driveways or gravel-strewn corners from time to time).
We suggest looking at the Lake CX237 for a tough midlevel shoe that uses more uniform materials. But the top durable shoe is the Sidi Wire Vent Carbon, which uses replaceable parts, reinforced upper segments, and better-guarded vents.
One of the best features of these is their open ventilation and drainage, making them ideal for hot and wet weather. They are ideal for climbing and staying in the saddle out on the road for hours. They aren't too friendly to walking.
The Mavics go for $379.95, which is about what you would expect to pay for a stiff carbon sole and a stiff carbon-framed upper. We think this is a fair price for those looking for an ultra stiff shoe, though we think it's worth it to just pony up and get the Shimano S-Phyres at this point.
All in all, these shoes have earned their place in the pro peloton for good reason. Their exceptional stiffness and light, tough build deliver everything a gearhead or stats rider could want and they do it at a more sensible asking price than many of the premium pro shoes. We think these are the best choice for mid-level racing shoes.
— Ryan Baham
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