Tag Archives: Mavic

2016 Mavic Ksyrium Elite Review

The Mavic Ksyrium Elite are one of the ‘old guards’ of the Mavic lineup, with the first wheels to bear the ‘Ksyrium’ name dating back to 2000. 16 years later the Ksyrium Elite rims have gotten lighter and wider, with the current iteration featuring 17mm internal rims and a wheelset weight of 1583g.

Weight - front

Weight – front

1583g for an alloy clincher is hardly impressive these days, and I suspect that heavy spokes and hubs are to blame. With a recommended retail price of 639 euros these wheels are hardly cheap, especially considering the custom build options available. They can generally be bought a bit cheaper online. However unless you find a super crazy clearance deal, they’ll at best be on par (price wise) with a custom build.

Weight - rear

Weight – rear

The supplied skewers came in at 60g (front) and 63g (rear), considering that you can get a skewer set for around 50g these are quite heavy, but they do clamp the wheels well. The supplied tubes were 82g and 87g, not superlight but lighter than what I was expecting (100g). The tyres were 211g (front) and 217g (rear) which I consider respectable, given that they’re 25mm wide. It’s interesting to note Mavic recommend a tyre width of at least 25mm for these wheels.

Rear Skewer

Skewer – Rear

Skewer - Front

Skewer – Front

In terms of serviceability, the bearings are user adjustable and the tool (Mavic M40123) is provided. This tool also doubles as a tyre lever and a spoke key, so it’s a handy addition to the package. It’s certainly a good tool to have in the back of your pocket as it’ll cover most adjustments you’ll want to make on the road. Speaking of spokes, Mavic’s proprietary spokes can be sourced from your local dealer, or some online stores. However, they are very expensive, costing quite a few times more than either Sapim CX-Ray or DT Swiss Aerolight spokes. This does detract from the overall appeal of these wheels, but if you rarely break spokes it’ll only be a minor annoyance now and then. If you are hard on your equipment I would keep this in mind before buying.

mavic skewers

2x Mavic M40123 are supplied with the wheels – a thoughtful addition

The first thing I noticed about these wheels was how well they roll. I wasn’t expecting anything special from the Mavic hubs, but they rolled incredibly well. The freehub engagement isn’t as quick as some other hubs, but out on the road I didn’t notice this too much. On this test sample, a few of the aero spokes were wound up. Untwisting the spokes with an aero spoke holder didn’t result in the wheels going out of true so it was an easy fix. Still, something like this should be picked up in the quality control.

Mavic Ksyrium Elite WTS 2016

Mavic Ksyrium Elite WTS 2016

I was quite disappointed with the tyres and tubes which make up the WTS. Put bluntly, the tyres were pretty average. They were decently supple, but I had a sensation that the tyres were a little ‘dead’ under acceleration. Perhaps these tyres were designed to be more of a durable, high mileage tyre, rather than a super soft and light race tyre but I do think there are better tyres for either market. In essence, I wouldn’t describe the tyres as something that adds value to the package, rather they’re something to be replaced when the opportunity arises.

Mavic ISM 4D rim

Mavic ISM 4D rim

When I did replace the tyres with something nicer (24mm Vittoria Open Corsa SR) and swapped the butyl tubes out to latex, the wheels felt much better. I no longer had the ‘dead under acceleration’ sensation, and this package responded much better to surges in power. As noted before, these wheels do roll well with the stock rubber, but there was a sensation of ‘rolling forever’ with the above tyre/tube changes. On flatter rides, while these wheels won’t offer an aerodynamic advantage, they don’t feel slow. However, these wheels felt most at home in hillier terrain.

From a weightweenie perspective, these wheels are disappointingly heavy – it isn’t hard to build a 1350~1400g wheelset for this price (and even lower if you’re willing to buy carbon tubulars), but never once did these wheels feel sluggish on the climbs. They certainly feel much lighter than their (almost) 1600g weight might suggest. When climbing, these wheels were stiff under power and accelerated well. Coming down the other side there was no flex when cornering, and the bike never felt skittish with these wheels. The braking surface was well machined, and the braking was always smooth and consistent with the stock Shimano pads – they’re certainly a step above rims made by Kinlin. When I was just riding along I didn’t notice this, but down some steep, technical descents I really appreciated the consistent braking on offer, leading to greater confidence and (marginally) faster descending.

Summing up, these wheels performed solidly in a variety of conditions, particularly in hilly terrain. The tyres might suffice for solo training or commuting, but are less suitable for racing or harder group rides. For the price, the frugal shopper might be a bit underwhelmed with the on paper specs, but they don’t disappoint out on the road. Still, I wouldn’t pay the RRP for these wheels – shop around for a discount.

The author would like to acknowledge that these wheels were supplied by Starbike for the purposes of this review. The RRP (recommended retail price) was correct as of 26/12/15

Mavic Update Ksyrium Elite, New for 2016

Some say, you’re not a true weight weenie unless you hate Mavic wheels. If you’re new to the sport, it’s hard to understand why, especially when Mavic make a wheel like the Ksyrium Elite, a respectable weight, respectable durability for a respectable price. Sure, their hubs aren’t the best in the market, and their cosmic carbone line of aero wheels are a few generations behind on the aero game, but overall if you’re buying a Mavic wheel you know you’re not buying a bad wheel. If anything, they represent the safe option, they’re not particularly good value for money, nor are they particularly cutting edge, and for the weight weenie crowd, not being either of those options (and having proprietary parts) gets you shunted.

Mavic continue the tradition with their new Ksyrium Elite wheelsystem for 2016. With a recommended retail price of 630 EUR (vat included) and a claimed weight of 1550 grams they’re not particularly cutting edge, in fact, if you look at the previous Ksyrium Elite S wheelset, which are cheaper and 1520g you might ask what’s the deal?

Mavic Ksyrium Elite 2016

Mavic Ksyrium Elite 2016

Looking at the finer details we observe that Mavic are using a wider rim. Sure, wider rims are old news but what’s particularly exciting is that Mavic are bringing their ISM 4D technology down to this wheelset, meaning they’re able to make incredibly light weight wide rims. Mavic are claiming a weight of 405g for the rims, which is very competitive to the other wide rims on the market today (generally in the 440-500g range). Mavic are keen to emphasise that the rim is a complete redesign.

New ISM4D Rims

As you can see Mavic are still quite keen on their proprietary spokes, and selling the wheel as a wheel system. This may be a deal breaker for some (particularly those who are confident working on their own machines), but for the majority of cyclists (especially those who are not confident with wheel maintenance) it shouldn’t be too much of a concern. We also notice that Mavic (not surprisingly) continue to insist on their Isopulse spoke lacing. According to Mavic it’s supposed to make a more “balanced” wheel (evens out the spoke tension). However, in practice radially laced spokes aren’t as effective as transferring torque, requiring a stiffer (heavier) hub body.

Notice the radially laced spokes on the drive side of the wheel - characteristic of Isopulse

Notice the radially laced spokes on the drive side of the wheel – characteristic of Isopulse

It’s interesting to note that Mavic recommend a minimum width of 25mm for these wheels, and supply their own 25mm tyres with the rim system. The rims are still 24mm (front) and 26mm (rear) deep but now feature a toroidal shape for (slightly) improved aerodynamics.

I understand for many of you this is quite a boring topic, especially since wide (and reasonably light) rims have been around for a while, but for Mavic this is a huge step, and in my humble opinion a step in the right direction. I hope that we see a wider Cosmic Carbone wheel, using this Ksyrium rim as a platform in the near future.

And of course, Dan Martin likes them

And of course, Dan Martin likes them

Expected them to be available with Starbike within the next few months, and as always, active weightweenie members will receive a 5% discount on items purchased from Starbike. I’m currently looking at getting a set in for review so stay posted for my review on these wheels.