Let’s be frank. In the U.S. at least, Mavic is battling a perception problem. The longtime wheel and apparel maker (125 years and counting) has lately been seen as tardy to the tech trend party. Whether it was carbon clinchers, aero road wheels, wide anything, or various other hot products of the moment, the French company has often been slow to embrace the ever-changing whims and fancies of the cycling market.
Maybe they were still deep in development, and were simply being patient, ensuring that what they brought to market was a best in class product. Or maybe there was some amount of internal tunnel vision that spawned resistance to change. The truth is probably somewhere in between. But based on the company’s latest press launch event, a three-day gathering of road cycling journalists in Jackson, Wyoming, it would appear Mavic is both aware of — and looking to change — that perception.
Indeed, during the presentation powwow for a slew of new products, including the trendy Ksyrium Pro Disc Allroad wheels, the Mavic PR team used the phrase “complete rebirth” on numerous occasions. And like any good media event these days, the whole shindig had its own hashtag — #ksyriumreinvented. Check it out on Instagram to see a host of beautiful riding shots. Also know that the Ksyrium name is now an umbrella for an entire upper-tier product line with an “endurance” bent to it.
This reinvention makeover extended all the way to the company logo. Gone is “Mavic” surrounded by an ellipse, a nod to the company’s wheel making heritage. In its place is an updated font inside a rectangular box, which Mavic global brand manager Chad Moore explained was, “a more complete representation of the brand and all the products it makes, including wheels, pedals, helmets, shoes, and apparel.”
Certainly perception wont change overnight. The company will always be known for supporting pro racing, and that’s a good thing. But give Mavic credit for trying to alter its brand image some. Instead of falling back on its traditional (and iconic) yellow colorway, it rolled out new kit, gloves, shoes and a helmet brushed with bright hues of orange and burgundy. They also took a unique approach to chamois design, which we’ll touch on more in a moment.
Numerous New Wheels
Ellipse or no ellipse, the highlight unveils of this gathering were wheels — wider wheels. The headlining alloy Ksyrium Pro Disc Allroad is Mavic’s answer to both the hot trend of the moment (riding road bikes off road), and other new tubeless-ready “gravel” oriented offerings that have recently hit the market, such as Zipp’s 30 Course, American Classic’s Argent Tubeless Disc, and the composite Reynolds ATR Disc.
The Argents measure 19.4mm internal width, while the other two are 21mm. Mavic opted for 19mm, contending in part that the measure was the correct width for the intended tires (they operate in wheel-tire systems, remember). That means 28mm Yksion Elite Guards or 30mm tubeless-ready Yksion Elite Allroads. The later are new tubeless-ready tires that have a smooth center line for fast rolling on pavement, but side groves to improve traction and grip on dirt.
“We feel like we have right rim width for right tire width,” explained Maxime Brunard, Mavic’s road product manager, who backed up the company’s stance of not going super wide with a chart detailing what tires can safely mount what rims based on their internal testing. “We have many competitors who say, choose any tire you like. But we feel like that can be dangerous. If you inflate a large tire on a smaller rim you risk the tire coming off. We are looking out for the safety of user.”