According to my phone call with Mavic yesterday, the new Open Pro Exalith (and its disc and machined brake track siblings) will be available in early July. That's great news, and not very surprising given Mavic's size and resources. There's no reason why they should muff a launch, and they haven't. I'd also guess that the product will hit the ground running at full steam, and we're very excited to start building with them. Pricing is stable with what's been announced prior, and though they're expensive rims the process which Mavic calls Exalith (which is at root PEO) is more expensive than the base rim itself. That might seem a big concession to vanity, but when you consider that it's an aesthetic upgrade that also comes with a performance upgrade (even better braking) compared to other much much much more expensive aesthetic upgrades that come with performance downgrades (worse braking and other liabilities) it seems a good trade.
We're also just about to get another round of 'ceramic' (again, PEO) AForce Al33s so they'll be available in both RFSW3 builds and custom builds. 24/28 is already in stock, but 20/24 is about 10 days away. Given our personal experience with them, plus what others have had to say about them (from an email we got yesterday - "I absolutely love the wheels! Sorry about the late feedback. I have a set of 404 firecrest, some older edge tubbies, a pair of Rolf vigors which I love, but these are becoming my favorite. Thank you so much!!"), we're extremely impressed with the product that this young company has put together and are proud to have helped them get the word out, and to be so closely associated with them. We're also proud to have helped them in their process, with our brake pad research and feedback leading to their pad product being improved. SwissStop BXPs - the perfect match for these.
Though we fully expect that the fervor for all black alloys will expand and continue to rage, the machined variants of the all black rims shouldn't get lost in the shuffle. They work exceptionally well, build as nicely as any rims we've used, and look fantastic. It's always telling to see what a wheelbuilder uses on his/her own bike, so have a look at mine.
Beyond that, of course, there is a raft of other great options, each with a place. This week has been all about Easton R90SL builds in both rim and disc brake versions. We're always happy when a set of those is next on the list. Super rims that you know will bring an awesome customer experience.
Final thought for the day is a slight rethink on the value of bladed spokes. Given what we know about the small overall range of aerodynamics among modern well-shaped rims, the 1w difference between bladed and round spokes that we measured a few years ago seems like a relatively better trade now, right? Nothing's changed in the absolute, but when the difference between bladed spokes and round is bigger than the difference between hand built alloy builds that come in well under a grand with the world's best hubs and carbon wheels that cost over two with... hubs, that $60 watt seems pretty cheap. Not that round spokes don't have their place, and I do honestly slightly prefer the look myself, it's just a thing I've been thinking about.