Featured User Review: Mavic Ksyrium Elite Clincher Wheelset ('09)
by froze

Price Paid: $400
Overall Rating:
4 of 5
Value Rating:
5 of 5

Summary:
Recently I had the idea of buying some new wheels for my Look 555.

Originally, I bought Ksyrium Equipes when putting the bike together. Those wheels provided over 3000 miles of mostly trouble-free riding. Recently, I saw some NOS 2009 Ksyrium Elites on sale for $400. This seemed like a pretty good deal to me, so I went for the purchase.

The 2009 version that was on sale was in silver which is OK because all of my components are Ultegra 6600 in silver. The polished aluminum on the wheels is super shiny. The rims feature inter spoke milling to relieve weight in areas where strength isn't necessary. There are also no spoke holes on the interior of the tire bed, so no rim strips are necessary. The spoke nipples attach to threaded ares set into the inner part of the rim. The spoke nipples are proprietary Mavic in design. Front rim depth is 23mm and rear rim depth is 25mm. The brake track is milled for extra stopping power.

Out of the box I was impressed with the Ksyrium Elites light weight. The build quality was fantastic, and both wheels were round & true.

I have only done two 40-mile rides so far on the Elites. A loop I have combines some medium climbing & descending on a state highway, some rapid twisty descending on a city road, fast flat stretches in an industrial area, followed by a hill climb of about 1200 feet.

The ride of the Ksyrium Elites is very good. Large hits are handled nicely by the wheels. On stretches of broken pavement though, the stiffness of the wheels can make the ride somewhat jarring. Rolling over smooth pavement is bliss; it feels like you are floating over the road.

The Elites light weight is also felt in the bike handling. Sudden inputs of speed result in rapid acceleration. I found myself standing and pedaling hard over areas of rolling terrain while keeping up enough speed to breeze over the top. The light weight front wheel handles quickly. Again, when standing and pedaling hard, the front was somewhat flighty and twitchy. I know that it is just the new feeling to me of the new front wheel.

The bladed steel spokes cut through the wind well too. One thing I noticed on the Equipes that I have is a tendency for the spokes to whistle at about 30 mph. I haven't noticed that on the Elites yet.

I don't know if my form is improving or not, but my average on the 40-mile loop was about 1 mph faster on the Elites vs. the Equipes.

I can't really comment on whether the Elites light weight transferred into better climbing as I am somewhat of a heavy rider (190 lbs.). The Equipes would sometimes rub on the brake pads when really pumping hard on the pedals though. I haven't noticed this with the Elites yet.

Also included with the wheelset are some tools. There is a bladed spoke holder to hold the spoke in place when truing. There is a Mavic-specific spoke wrench. There is a rear bearing preload adjusting tool. All of these tools are made of plastic, so I'm not sure about their resilience. There were also some neat-o Mavic stickers you can put on your repair stand, etc.

There are some pretty cheesy stickers included on the wheels. I usually don't mind stickers on wheelsets, but these are super shiny silver Mylar maybe? In the right light though, the stickers can actually appear black. Did Mavic intend this?

The different rim depths were a bit of a problem. I had two tubes both with shorter valve stems that I used. Because the rear rim is a 25mm depth, it is difficult to sometimes attach the pump to the valve stem. I guess running a longer valve stem on the rear wheel would solve this problem.

I had the question if lighter weight wheels would really improve the ride of a bicycle? After upgrading my bike with Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels I can provide the answer that, yes, putting lighter wheels on your bike will make it a different & better ride altogether.

Strengths:
light weight
stiff
high quality construction
takes big hits well

Weaknesses:
stiffness can be jarring on extended broken pavement
cheesy stickers (2009 version)
25mm rear rim depth requires longer valve stem on inner tubes

Similar Products Used:
Mavic Ksyrium Equipe
hand-built Ultegra 6500 hubs w/CXP-33 rims
Easton EA 50 wheelset

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