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Hi all
Although I believe I know what most will say on this topic, thought I would throw this out for confirmation.

Q: Given the choice, would you opt for a pair of 2013 Mavic Ksyrium SLS or custom Chris King R45s, DT Swiss spokes and Mavic CXP 33 rims?

I ride pretty aggressively (as much as I can!) with many hills around where I live. Thanks for your opinions.
 

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As I don't have any factory wheels and just ordered another set of R45 hubs. My answer would be custom, I don't own a factory bike either.
 

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You need to add a few more things to your description: which drivetrain, why the cxp33, your weight, your riding style (masher standing up or grinder sitting down)

I happen to have the Ksyrium SL and the CK R45 on HED C2 rims. I'm sure you've read all about the proprietary, hard to get, Mavic parts so I will not bore you repeating it.

My take on the comparison as it pertains to MY use is:

Hubs: the Kings are superior, period. They spin forever and engage faster compared to the Mavic. They will also last a lifetime with simple maintenance. The Mavic freehub will be the first to go as soon as the rubber seal is compromised.

Rims: the HED are better for my use as I prefer wider tires. They also seem more durable as the Mavic developed cracks right at the drillings; Mavic replaced the rim under their MP3 program. The HED is tensioned at 125 to 130kgf (which is more than typical) but because of the rim pointy reinforced shape (rather than the flat, box shape of the Mavic) they are able to withstand it without adverse effects.

Overall: The Mavic is not a bad wheel although I would prefer the Fulcrum Racing 1 if I had to buy factory. The hand build approach will give you a better wheel (w/ much better hub) for the same money assuming you find the right builder.
 

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I went through this same decision Sunday. For similar reasons and riding styles.

I went custom.

King Hubs
Dt Swiss Aerotech Lite Spokes
Pacenti rims

Hoping I made the right call but hoping to pick it up tomorrow and make that call over the weekend.
 

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A wheelist
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As long as I live I will never understand why anyone would want wheels that are -

  • Made with proprietary spokes, nipples, rims and need a special wrench.
  • Rim weight, spoke gauge and spoke numbers not customizable for rider weight, riding style, terrain.
  • In some cases can only be repaired at the factory.
 

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NJBike72,

Was your build local and have you used them before? Looking for a local wheel builder in NJ with an opinion.
Using Chris at Hilltop Bicycles in Summit (also have a new shop in Crandford). I have not seen the wheels yet, let alone ridden them but everything the guys there have done for me in the past was excellent and even though Hilltop has only been open for a couple of years, they almost all came from another LBS before opening this one. My bikes were all from there. The broken spoke might have still been able to be fixed under warranty but I would rather trust these guys, if that gives you any idea how strong of a recommendation I would make on their overall level of service.

Also, I did some research before and after speaking with them and everything checked out, so I would strongly recommend them.

But I can't wait to ride the new wheels!!
 

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As long as I live I will never understand why anyone would want wheels that are -

  • Made with proprietary spokes, nipples, rims and need a special wrench.
  • Rim weight, spoke gauge and spoke numbers not customizable for rider weight, riding style, terrain.
  • In some cases can only be repaired at the factory.
I can't agree more with this. I just don't understand people sometimes..
 

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wut?
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As long as I live I will never understand why anyone would want wheels that are -

  • Made with proprietary spokes, nipples, rims and need a special wrench.
  • Rim weight, spoke gauge and spoke numbers not customizable for rider weight, riding style, terrain.
  • In some cases can only be repaired at the factory.
You do have to at least give them credit for executing highly effective marketing!:D They sell a boat load of wheels to a lot of people who think they are some kinda sweet and sexy design.

That's the only credit I will give them mind you...
 

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A wheelist
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You do have to at least give them credit for executing highly effective marketing!:D They sell a boat load of wheels to a lot of people who think they are some kinda sweet and sexy design.
That's the only credit I will give them mind you...
Oh yes. Ten outta ten for both marketing and brainwashing. It's genius and someone could base a thesis on it. Mavic must have been the 2nd coming of the messiah for the OEM's though - they didn't have to employ wheelbuilders anymore, warranty their work or order & stock all the separate wheel parts. Just place one fax, unpack the boxcar when it arrives, fit tires and cassette and bolt 'em onto the bike.

I quickly found a sale price of $900 for those wheels. OMG, imagine what handbuilts you could have for that -

Hubs by King, WI, DT, DuraAce, Alchemy. Take your pick. There ain't nothing better out there.
Rims (aluminum) of your choice. Pick a rim for your weight.
Spokes - CX-Ray, numbers custom for your weight, terrain etc.
 

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Hucken The Fard Up !
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Mavic singlehanded revolutionised the wheel market with the Helium.

Even though my preferred set of wheels is a hand built record/op 32x3, you have to give them merit.

The Helium is a beautiful set if wheels, a true classic, and the cosmics after them were another hit.

The Ksyrium revolutionised the wheel landscape again with alloy spokes and scalloped rims, a design many others followed.

I can agree with you that you can certainly do better for the money with hand builts.

But Mavic's products are not bad ( even though overpriced ) and have stood the test of times.

Keep in mind also they have extended the market reach with their boxed wheels, not many LBSs have skilled builders, so their packaged wheels ( and the many other factory builders that followed the path ) have enabled them to sell much more than was possible before.
 

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I bought my Enve race wheels direct from Enve - dropping that much for a set of wheels, I wanted to avoid an intermediary party if there was a warranty issue. I also suspect that their build quality will be at least as good as a local builder (and probably better). Same with a set from Hed. I don't see what the added value of getting these wheels from a custom builder is (especially since Enve and Hed both offer build options).

I have a set of Shimano wheels for training because I think their c24 is an exceptional rim as are their hubs. Shimano's build quality is also outstanding - I suspect better than many custom builders - and there is a strong dealer network for support. It's not that tough to plan ahead and get a few replacement spokes before you need them just in case.





Oh yes. Ten outta ten for both marketing and brainwashing. It's genius and someone could base a thesis on it. Mavic must have been the 2nd coming of the messiah for the OEM's though - they didn't have to employ wheelbuilders anymore, warranty their work or order & stock all the separate wheel parts. Just place one fax, unpack the boxcar when it arrives, fit tires and cassette and bolt 'em onto the bike.

I quickly found a sale price of $900 for those wheels. OMG, imagine what handbuilts you could have for that -

Hubs by King, WI, DT, DuraAce, Alchemy. Take your pick. There ain't nothing better out there.
Rims (aluminum) of your choice. Pick a rim for your weight.
Spokes - CX-Ray, numbers custom for your weight, terrain etc.
 

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A wheelist
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I bought my Enve race wheels direct from Enve - dropping that much for a set of wheels, I wanted to avoid an intermediary party if there was a warranty issue. I also suspect that their build quality will be at least as good as a local builder (and probably better). Same with a set from Hed. I don't see what the added value of getting these wheels from a custom builder is (especially since Enve and Hed both offer build options).

I have a set of Shimano wheels for training because I think their c24 is an exceptional rim as are their hubs. Shimano's build quality is also outstanding - I suspect better than many custom builders - and there is a strong dealer network for support. It's not that tough to plan ahead and get a few replacement spokes before you need them just in case.
I'm certain that there are far more happy stories about factory wheels than unhappy ones. But, for me anyway, that wouldn't be the point. I've just heard too many stories of ridiculous spare parts prices, availability and serviceability.
 

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As long as I live I will never understand why anyone would want wheels that are -

  • Made with proprietary spokes, nipples, rims and need a special wrench.
  • Rim weight, spoke gauge and spoke numbers not customizable for rider weight, riding style, terrain.
  • In some cases can only be repaired at the factory.
I can see we're going to have to hold you down, put a clothespin on your nose, and force you to drink some of that marketing coolaid. Come over here boys and give me a hand with this guy.
 

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Mavic singlehanded revolutionised the wheel market with the Helium.

Even though my preferred set of wheels is a hand built record/op 32x3, you have to give them merit.

The Helium is a beautiful set if wheels, a true classic, and the cosmics after them were another hit.
Actually the Helium offered nothing by way of performance over the standard hand-built wheels of the time but they did cost more. And MAVIC hubs have never been anything to write home about. So it is all the more unfortunate that indeed "Mavic singlehanded revolutionised the wheel market with the Helium."



The Ksyrium revolutionised the wheel landscape again with alloy spokes and scalloped rims, a design many others followed.

I can agree with you that you can certainly do better for the money with hand builts.

But Mavic's products are not bad ( even though overpriced ) and have stood the test of times.

Keep in mind also they have extended the market reach with their boxed wheels, not many LBSs have skilled builders, so their packaged wheels ( and the many other factory builders that followed the path ) have enabled them to sell much more than was possible before.
And as a result we have a collection of so-so wheels from a number of manufacturers containing pointlessly proprietary parts, offering no performance advantages, and costing sometimes substantially more than a hand-built wheel set. Not only that this caused the market for hubs, spokes, and wheels to shrink significantly and drift in the same undesirable boutique direction.

Other than that, MAVIC's market influence has been all good.
 

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Mavic is the Olive Garden of bike wheels in my opinion. I can get a set of their wheels anywhere and get a standard build without having to give my life story to a mechanic and know what quality I should expect. The Olive Garden serves decent food, that is the same at any restaurant you got to in the chain. You can go to a LBS and get an amazing hand built set of wheels made, much like going to a mom and pop's Italian restaurant having the best dish you have ever eaten. On the same note, a place could look straight out of Florence but serve frozen veal cutlets that taste terrible, while your LBS has a pimpled teenager in the back who watched a youtube video on wheel building once. Bottom line is not all hand built wheels are the same quality. If done wrong a handbuilt wheel can be a total headache of uneven tension. The product you get will be as good as the local shop you have do it. Both products have a market. A casual biker doesn't have or want the knowledge of what a great hand built wheel could be. For him the Mavic marketing scheme is a bullseye.
 

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Quite a few posters on this thread are raving about the merits of the custom wheels and say they don't understand why anybody would not want to follow the custom route while selecting the optimum components for their situation.

I totally agree with the reasons why the customs, when properly optimized for the rider and the use and properly build, are superior to any factory made wheel. I have been building my own wheels and will continue to do so as my wheels are made by me to suit me perfectly. HOWEVER, I also understand why some people opt for the factory route, as they are out on a leap of faith plunking a good bit of money for an expected set, sight unseen, vs. the factory made set hanging from the rafters that also comes with a warranty.
What percentage of riders, do you think, know enough about wheel building to detect if the so called "wheel builder" at their local LBS is truly qualified to be a wheel builder? 2%, 3%, 5%? The rest go the shop and spend most of their time color-coordinating the wheel components; so many times I have witness heavier riders talked into carbon rims with low spoke count and boutique hubs for reasons of saving a few grams and aero high speed expectations. No discussion about bracing angles, tension ratios, lacing benefits, rim choice or any other of the considerations that need to be examined in order to optimize the build. Then the wheel is laced, the spokes are glued and the customer is told its ok for the wheel to come out of true a few times before everything settles into place. This forum has several examples of these sh***y builds; the latest, an ongoing thread where the wheel fell apart at the first ride and the customer was offered $80 to have it retensioned by another shop. Judging from the components, that set must of been upwards of $800.
How many people have found themselves in this predicament? I know I was one of them and after 5 rides and 5 times going back to the shop to have the wheel trued, I decided enough was enough and decided to fix them myself which I did and that's how I started in wheelbuilding and never looked back.

So I agree that customs could be superior to factory but only if the builder knows what they are doing and/or the customer either knows enough to detect the builder's competence/incompetence or has strong recommendations for the builder from trustworthy sources. Lastly, I understand why somebody without the basic knowledge of what to expect about wheel building, maybe new to the sport and maybe without references from friends, chooses to go the factory route as the safest bet for his predicament.
 

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Oh yes. Ten outta ten for both marketing and brainwashing. It's genius and someone could base a thesis on it.

I don't think there's any mass brainwashing conspiracy here. I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of people who have Mavic wheels couldn't tell you the first thing about Mavic's marketing because they've never seen it.
Not a lot of cyclists, percentage wise, invest much time in debating the finer points of Mavic vs HandBuilt. They often have better ways to spend their time.
People need new wheels, they go to a bike shop, bike shops have Mavic, they buy them. Pretty simple and void of brainwashing conspiracy.

My guess is if you asked people with Mavic why they had them you'd here:
-They came with my bike.
-I liked the Mavics that came with my bike so I got another pair.
-A guy I ride with likes them.
-It's what the shop had.
.....and so on before you'd get to "their marketing" way down the list.
 
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