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Thread: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

  1. #1
    velo_guy is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    Looking to find a set of rims to lace up with some ck r45s that I just won in a bike shop raffle. I have a set of silver mavic open pros laced to 105 hubs and really enjoy riding them, so I'm thinking about sticking with a set of op's. However, I've been looking at the Open Pro CD rims and have been trying to read up about them but keep coming across two very different answers. 1) saying that they are ceramic rims and they just burn through brake pads, and 2) they are not ceramic and are fantastic rims.

    What's the truth about the cd version of these rims?

    This forum always seems to be extremely knowledgable so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask.

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    maunahaole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    CD is a hard ano finish. Ceramic has a ceramic treatment on the brake track that gives an improved braking, particularly when wet. Pretty sure that you will need special brake pads for ceramic, as it is more abrasive. The ceramic coating looks like a rough blackish stripe on the brake track. The rim could be CD and ceramic at the same time.

    Downside with ceramic is that it can flake off once it gets chipped and then the coating is on borrowed time.

    You will find differing opinions about the CD finish. I think that it does not work well in the wet until it gets rubbed off a bit to the metal finish underneath. I think that the plain silver rims may be a little more durable as well. Keep in mind that this is my opinion only FWIW. It should not dissuade you from using them, as they are still good rims.

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    SignatureJustin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    Technically the CD would be more durable since you need to wear through the CD coating before getting to the silver finish underneath. I like the look of CD rims both when new and when they are worn in. Always had good luck with the coating.

    I believe Mavic doesn't make the Ceramic rims anymore, although you may find them out there in the world. People either loved or hated ceramic but it had its value.
    Either way works, they are good rims.

    I would say get the CD ones and buy them from the shop you won the R45's from, since the shop can get them currently from Mavic.
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    maunahaole's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    I knew that this was out there...


    Subject: Anodized vs. Non-anodized Rims
    From: Jobst Brandt
    Date: April 20, 1998

    Dark anodized rims were introduced a few years ago as a fashionable alternative to shiny metal finish, possibly as a response to non metallic composites. Some of these rims were touted as HARD anodized implying greater strength. Hard anodizing of aluminum, in contrast to cosmetic anodizing, produces a porous ceramic oxide that forms in the surface of the metal, as much as 1/1000 inch thick, about half below the original surface and half above. It is not thick enough to affect the strength of the rim but because it is so rigid, acts like a thin coat of paint on a rubber band. The paint will crack as the rubber stretches before any load is carried by the rubber. Similarly, anodizing cracks before the aluminum carries any significant load.

    Rims are made from long straight extrusions that are rolled into helical hoops from which they are cut to length. Rims are often drilled and anodized before being rolled into a hoop and therefore, the anodizing is already crazed when the rim is made. Micro-cracks in thick (hard) anodizing can propagate into the metal as a wheel is loaded with every revolution to cause whole sections of the rim to break out at its spoke sockets. In some rims, whole sidewalls have separated through the hollow chamber so that the spokes remained attached to the inner hoop and the tire on the outer one. In contrast, colored anodizing is generally too thin to initiate cracks.

    As an example, Mavic MA-2 rims have rarely cracked except on tandems, while the identical MA-40 rims, with a relativley thin anodizing, have cracked often.

    Anodizing is also a thermal and electrical insulator. Because heat is generated in the brake pads and not the rim, braking energy must flow into the rim to be dissipated to the atmosphere. Anodizing, although relatively thin, impedes this heat transfer and reduces braking efficiency by raising the surface temperature of the brake pads. When braking in wet conditions, road grit wears off anodizing on the sidewall, an effect that improves braking.

    Anodizing is not heat treatment and has no effect on the structural properties of the aluminum.


    source: Anodized vs. Non-anodized Rims by Jobst Brandt

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    pdmtong is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    the ceramics are very abrasive and I would only pursue those if they are still available and the rim will see wet weather use.

    the CD looks GREAT when new. as the rim wears there could be some silver streaking as the coating wears. some people dont mind, others hate it. I have the CD laced to black (sadly not silver) record hubs and silver spokes and dont care if/when they might streak since the overall aesthetic is terrific.

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    SignatureJustin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    Subject: Machined rims
    From: Jobst Brandt
    Date: January 26, 2003

    "anodizing, which is a hard ceramic, whether thick or thin, is more durable than the machined rim."

    Which is it Jobst?
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    bdaghisallo is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    I have Reflex ceramic tub rims on all of my training hoops and I would not ride without them in the winter time. Combined with Swiss Stop green pads, the braking is so superior to any alloy brake track I have ever tried that it ain't funny. And. to boot, the ceramic lasts forever. My ten year old rims look brand new.

    That said, I know some of the final batches of Mavic's ceramic treatment on the Open Pros were not as good as the old batches (funny how they regressed in that!). If you can find some old NOS Open Pro ceramics, from somewhere like EuroAsia, you'll be better off. With the Reflexes, they stopped selling them long before they ran into problems with their ceramic treatment, iirc.


    If you can get the ceramic, do it.

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    sk_tle is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    I second the above comment. I have a wheelset with ceramic tubular rims. Best braking I ever experienced, again with Swisstop green pads. No specific pads needed, they just wear a bit faster. But as a winter/rain wheelset, this is great.

    I presume the new exalith brake track is superior and hope mavic will introduce it on individual rims. But it doesnt look like the way Mavic is taking it. I haven't seen new rims for a while from them.

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    caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    Quote Originally Posted by pdmtong View Post
    the CD looks GREAT when new. as the rim wears there could be some silver streaking as the coating wears. some people dont mind, others hate it.
    Yes. The CD will look like this when worn, and the braking surface gets more silver with time:



    The Ceramics look like this after they're worn - these have 10-15,000 miles on them:



    The Ceramics make a little more of a gritty sound during braking, but they don't eat pads too badly. If you get the ceramics, I'd just use your normal pads until they're worn out then pick up some ceramic-specific pads that'll last a really long time.

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    Gattonero's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    Quote Originally Posted by velo_guy View Post
    Looking to find a set of rims to lace up with some ck r45s that I just won in a bike shop raffle. I have a set of silver mavic open pros laced to 105 hubs and really enjoy riding them, so I'm thinking about sticking with a set of op's. However, I've been looking at the Open Pro CD rims and have been trying to read up about them but keep coming across two very different answers. 1) saying that they are ceramic rims and they just burn through brake pads, and 2) they are not ceramic and are fantastic rims.

    What's the truth about the cd version of these rims?

    This forum always seems to be extremely knowledgable so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask.
    To what has already been said, I would only add that the CD version is an excellent choice, in the vast majority of the installations, there has never been an issue braking in the wet.

    And it is true that Mavic has stopped the production of Ceramic Op. Pro's, the last batches would not be at Mavic's standards. IMHO, what they should do is Exalith Open Pro's, FTW!
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    Matthew Strongin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gattonero View Post
    IMHO, what they should do is Exalith Open Pro's, FTW!
    Awesome idea!

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    Bssc is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    riding in the rain a lot ceramics rule for rim brakes
    dry riding Cd if you do not use your brakes much they will last a long time and look real good the whole time

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    water threader is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    Quote Originally Posted by bdaghisallo View Post
    If you can find some old NOS Open Pro ceramics, from somewhere like EuroAsia, you'll be better off. With the Reflexes, they stopped selling them long before they ran into problems with their ceramic treatment, iirc.
    I have seen stuff on EuroAsia, almost too god to believe, is that site legit?

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    caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    EuroAsia is a legit distributor. Do they have OP Ceramics? If so, I'm going to lay in a stock. They're awesome rims.

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    Gattonero's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    I found a bit amusing the -respectable- J. Brandt piece.
    Has to be pointed out that Mavic rims are anodized after being rolled and welded; also worth mentioning that anodization is an effective way to stop corrosion, as some alluminium alloys do suffer from galvanic corrosion
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


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    11.4 is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    Those Brandt quotes are very dated and I never found his commentary to be consistently accurate anyway. He blew a lot of BS into the cycling world and some of it is still circulating. There are better sources of info since then, including several of the really good and analytical wheel builders working today.

    The thing about Mavic OP's is ... there are better rims. The ceramics went through good and bad phases throughout their lifespan -- a bad batch and they flaked off or, in some cases, they were applied such that the base containing the ceramic made them almost glazed from day one. The CDs had at least two and I believe three different processes applied over the life of the OP -- only one appears to have been a hard anodization. One certainly was just a cosmetic treatment and didn't last at all. Mavic has never been one for quality control. And remember that if you go for earlier rims, you can also pick up ferrule clicks as well as the mediocre extrusions that led to premature cracking at the ferrules (not as common as on Reflexes but the OPs far outlived the useful life of their extrusion dies on at least a couple occasions).

    The other point is that you could be going with wider rims on such nice hubs. Why not look at H+Son Archetypes or Hed C3s or Pacenti's? You'll get a better ride, much better metallurgy, and some great finishes. All three rims have demonstrated great durability and longevity, better than the OP ever had, and you'll get the ride and stability of a wider profile rim as well.
    blasdelf likes this.

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    Gattonero's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    The problem with Open Pro's/Reflex is that they are OLD! It is a very old project, since the "open sup" have gone how long? 25+ years I bet. A lot has changed in that meantime, and they are not really suitable to modern wheelbuild with 120+KGF on the spokes. They were never designed to do so in the very first place, I bet.
    And they are light, FFS, I've seen people building them for touring, c'mon get a grip you don't build heavy-duty wheels with a 405gr rim. Leave it for training/racing.

    I still think that Reflex and CXP33 are very much underrated, despite not being a fresh product either.
    The last months I've build more and more with Archetypes, they seem to be fashionable here, and honestly they can be laced and built pretty well
    blasdelf and ryker like this.
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    water threader is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    So Mavic GL 330 Ceramic. Didn't know they were made, please tell me about them. Ridiculously priced NOS/vintage that will crack quickly, or the base for perfect understated climbing wheels of a ~73kg rider.

    (Been using carbon tubs and Mavic OP ceramic clinchers, now want to get some alu tubs with retro appeal)

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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    I have a set of OP's with Sapim Lasers and Record hubs that are under 1550g or something. I wouldn't ride them if I weighed over 175lbs as they can be flexy, but they are comfortable lightweight wheels. And they've been true since the day they were built. But I don't think they do tires wider than 23mm well and actually work better with tires narrower than 23mm. They make a wider tire kind of bulbous in the wrong sort of way. Sluggish even with a light tire. So whatever - I run narrow tires on them. In the old days it was the Michelin Hi-Lite Pro in 20mm. Now it is Conti 4000s in 23mm. I also have a pair of CD wheels and even worn they look cool.

    If Mavic made an OP in 23mm width, I think it would be a nice rim. But I think they want people to buy their wheels, not their rims.

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    Default Re: Mavic OP CD's vs Ceramic?

    Drifting this thread a bit further. Gattonero or others--I definitely agree with the cxp33 recco but the wider rim ride has won me over. Is the archetype close enough to a wide cxp33?

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