French brand Mavic makes some of the most popular bike wheels out there. It doesn’t produce anything super-cheap, its road bike options starting at £150 and going right through to over £2,000.
Apart from the cheapest Aksiums, Mavic’s road wheels come equipped with tyres because the brand sees them working together as complete systems.
The range is large and could be somewhat confusing, so we’ll try to break it down as logically as possible. To muddy the waters even more, Mavic recently introduced Road UST, which is its take on Road Tubeless. Road UST versions are gradually replacing many of Mavic's most popular wheels but there's still quite a lot of older non-UST stock in retailers. The venerable, much-loved Open Pro rim is available in a UST version.
Mavic has recently announced an addition to the range in the Cosmic Ultimate UST, an all-carbon fibre wheelset aimed squarely at road racers, and expanded the Road UST range, notably with UST versions of the entry-level Aksium Elite wheel, and new, all-carbon UST incarnations of the Cosmic Pro aero wheels.
Fact of the day: Mavic is actually an acronym coming from Manufacture d'Articles Vélocipédiques Idoux et Chanel. Charles Idoux and Lucien Chanel founded the company in 1890 to make mudguards.
Without further ado, here's the essential data on the full range, plus links to the cheapest sources we've been able to find.
|Model||Claimed weights (grams)||RRP||Price|
|Aksium Disc 2019||870||1,035||1,905||£225||£179.99|
|Aksium Elite UST||825||955||1,780||£269||£188.00|
|Aksium Elite Disc UST||825||965||1,790||£319||£223.00|
|All-round & racing|
|Ksyrium UST Disc||775||915||1,690||£450||£360.00|
|Ksyrium Elite UST||665||855||1,520||£539||£399.00|
|Ksyrium Elite UST Disc||770||900||1,670||£585||£449.00|
|Ksyrium Pro UST||590||820||1,410||£855||£688.00|
|Ksyrium Pro UST Disc||770||880||1,650||£899||~£600.00|
|Ksyrium Pro Exalith||630||845||1,475||£1,039||£727.00|
|Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL UST||640||805||1,445||£1,899||£1,519.20|
|Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL Tubular||515||675||1,190||£1,799||~£1,200.00|
|Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL UST Disc||725||795||1,520||£1,700||£999.00|
|Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL Tubular Disc||625||695||1,320||£1,759||~£1,460.00|
|Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL UST Disc||665||810||1,475||£1,899||£1,519.20|
|Gravel & cyclocross|
|Allroad (Disc UST)||870||1,020||1,890||£250||£200.67|
|Allroad Elite UST||685||905||1,590||£615||£492.00|
|Allroad Elite Road+ Disc (UST 650B)||805||935||1,740||£629||£549.99|
|Allroad Elite UST Disc||795||925||1,720||£675||£507.33|
|Allroad Pro UST Disc||730||880||1,610||£899||£687.20|
|Cosmic Elite UST||815||955||1,770||£409||£249.00|
|Cosmic Elite UST Disc||855||995||1,850||£429||£299.00|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon||755||925||1,680||£989||£617.20|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon Exalith||755||925||1,680||£1,139||£749.99|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon UST Disc||760||890||1,650||£1,350||£944.99|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon UST Disc 650B||NA||NA||NA||£1,350||£1,080.00|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon UST||745||905||1,650||£1,350||£1,011.50|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon SL UST||665||825||1,490||£1,579||£1,329.00|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon SL UST Disc||750||820||1,570||£1,669||£1,169.00|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Tubular||620||790||1,410||£1,799||NA|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Tubular Disc||730||810||1,540||£1,799||£1,624.00|
|Cosmic Ultimate Tubular||555||695||1,250||£2,699||£1,799.00|
|Cosmic Ultimate UST||600||710||1,310||£3,149||NA|
|Comete Pro Carbon SL UST||740||895||1,635||£1,579||~£1,480.00|
|Comete Pro Carbon SL Tubular||—||—||1,490||£1,669||£1,579.00|
|Comete Pro Carbon SL UST Disc||845||910||1,755||£1,669||£1,491.00|
|Comete Pro Carbon SL Tubular Disc||765||865||1,630||£1,759||£1,159.00|
|Comete Road rear aero disc||—||1,100||1,100||£1,889||~£1,700.00|
As you can see from the listing, many of Mavic's clincher rims are now Road UST, and conventional versions are gradually disappearing as shops run out.
You can learn more about Road UST in our news story about the launch of the system: Mavic introduces Road UST tubeless system covering huge section of wheel range.
The executive summary for Road UST is that the combination of rim and tyre bead design makes it easier to get tyres on and off, and to seat them, according to Mavic. A Road UST tyre on a Road UST rim will seat with a standard floor pump with as little as 47psi.
However, only Mavic currently makes compatible wheels and tyres, which are designed together so there’s tight control over production variances. The Road UST standard is being approved by both ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ETRTO (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation) working groups, so other manufacturers will be able to make Road UST wheels and tyres when that process is complete.
Aksiums — no, they're not Aksia, Latin pedants — are Mavic’s entry level road wheels, specced as original equipment on countless bikes. The 2019 models have been lightened compared to their predecessors. Aksiums have 21mm high pinned aluminium rims that were widened for the 2016 model to 17mm internal width to better accommodate increasingly popular wide tyres. Mavic reckons Aksiums are best suited to tyres from 25mm to 32mm.
Like the rest of the range, Aksiums are built with straight pull spokes which the brand says are stronger than J-bend options, and they run on the brand’s QRM sealed cartridge bearings. That keeps maintenance down to a minimum. The hub bodies are aluminium while the axles and the freewheel are steel.
Aksiums are reasonably light for the money (a claimed 845g front, 995g rear) and we’ve found them to be quick and generally reliable. These are good, solid all-rounders.
The Aksium Disc uses the same rims and bearings but with either a Center Lock or six bolt disc hub, and more spokes: 24 front and rear as opposed to 20 front and rear. The front hub is convertible from a standard quick release to a 15mm thru-axle design.
The new Aksium Elite UST is the cheapest Road UST wheelset Mavic offers. It's a bit lighter than the standard Aksium pairing at a claimed 1,780g (825g front, 955g rear) because Mavic welds the ends of the rim together, then machines the sidewalls flat rather than pinning the joint. The rims are 19mm wide, in keeping with the trend of rims getting wider to better support wider tyres.
Unlike the other Aksiums, the Elite USTs come with Mavic’s excellent Yksion Pro tyres, which are basically Hutchinson Fusion 5 ElevenStorm with a different label. That makes the Aksium Elite USTs very competitive if you're thinking of going tubeless: wheels and top-quality tyres for under £250.
Mavic has recently introduced a disc brake version of the Aksium Elite UST too, with just a small weight penalty over the rim-braked version, and also shod with Yksion Pro tyres.
Buy if: You're looking for reliable training wheels that aren't too expensive.
Mavic’s Ksyrium wheels have gradually evolved since 1999, building up a reputation for combining light weight with loads of strength. You might see the cheaper models as workhorse wheels but the higher up the range you go the higher the performance you get for your money.
The lower priced models in the Ksyrium family are made with box section aluminium rims, and Mavic appears to have quietly replaced the basic Ksyrium with the tubeless-compatible Ksyrium UST; they’re 25mm high with recommended tyre sizes of 25mm to 32mm thanks to the 19mm wide rim. Mavic use the same QRM sealed cartridge bearings as you get with the Aksiums, and Yksion Pro UST tyres come as part of the package.
All the metal-rimmed Ksyriums now have rims made from Maxtal alloy instead of the 6000 series aluminium used for the Aksiums, which probably explains the reduction in weight between the old and new Ksyriums. Mavic also mills away material from the rim, between the spokes, to save weight, a process it dubs ISM 4D for Inter Spoke Milling, and er, we've no idea what 4D is supposed to mean.
The claimed wheelset weight is 1,650g (755g front, 895g rear), which is pretty light for this price, although it’s combining that with a bombproof performance that makes this a popular choice.
The Ksyrium Disc UST is essentially the same wheel but with disc hubs and four extra spokes per wheel. Disc-compatible wheels are often substantially heavier than their rim-brake equivalents, but the extra 40g here appears to be entirely down to the extra eight spokes.
Buy if: You're after something that's reasonably light and very sturdy.
The Ksyrium Elite UST is differently constructed from the wheels lower in the Ksyrium hierarchy. Instead of passing through holes in both inner and outer rim, the spoke nipples are screwed directly into the rim. The spoke holes are pushed through the inside wall rather than drilled, and the pushed up material is then threaded to allow the nipple to be secured.
To make the Elites user serviceable, Mavic has installed steel double sealed bearings that are fully adjustable, even chucking in the tool you need to do it.
When we reviewed the original Ksyrium Elites we said, “Great mid-range wheels for the all-rounder, as happy to race as they are to cruise, but the tyres are average.” Well, that last bit's changed. Like all Mavic's Road UST wheels destined for use on asphalt, the Ksyrium Elite USTs come with Yksion Pro UST tyres and they're very good.
In 2017 Mavic added a disc-compatible version of the Ksyrium Elite; that's now the Ksyrium Elite UST Disc.
The Ksyrium Elite UST Disc uses a similar rim to the regular Ksyrium Elite UST with a disc-compatible hub. There are versions to take six-bolt rotors or those with Shimano's Center Lock mount. They weigh a claimed 770g and 900g for front and rear respectively and come with Mavic's Yksion Pro UST tyres.
Buy if: You want solid all-rounders that are light enough to race.
The Ksyrium Pro UST is built with spokes made from Zicral, an aluminium alloy, which Mavic says are stiffer, stronger and lighter than traditional stainless steel spokes.
We’re getting down to some very light weights now; the Ksyrium Pro USTs come in at a claimed 1,410g (590g front, 820g rear).
Buy if: You want a lightweight wheelset that doesn't compromise on durability.
The Ksyrium Pro UST Discs are, you won't be surprised to learn, the disc-compatible version of the Ksyrium Pro USTs. The hubs on the Ksyrium Pro Discs are compatible with the increasing number of axle standards that are available for road disc. Standard quick release is covered, as is QR15 at the front and 142x12 at the back.
Buy if: You're after light disc brake wheels for endurance riding.
Exalith is a technology that Mavic has been using on some of its aluminium rims for a few years now. The combination of a chemical treatment and a file-like texture that’s machined into the rim is claimed to reduce braking distances by 18%. You have to use specific pads that are supplied with the wheels.
The other advantage of Exalith is that it reduces rim wear. If you ride in grotty conditions and find road crud rapidly chews through your rims, these wheels are a solid choice. Mavic still hasn't yet produced a Road UST version though.
For 2017 the Ksyrium Pro Exalith got a new, wider ISM 4D rim — 17mm across instead of the previous 15mm. Claimed weight is 1,475g/pr which splits out as 630g for the front wheel and 845 g rear.
Buy if: Powerful braking is your first priority.
These carbon-rimmed wheels are designed for climbing although a lot of effort has been put into making the braking performance as good as possible. What goes up must come down, after all.
When this wheel was first introduced Mavic gave it an alloy insert that formed the bed and the hooks for the tyre bead. This was designed to ensure an even fit for the tyre and to dissipate braking heat through the structure of the wheel. However, this insert disappeared when Mavic developed better carbon curing technology, called TgMax, which could support high temperatures on the braking surface. This surface is also laser finished.
There are four versions, with either clincher or tubular rims and with or without mounts for disc brake rotors. The rim-braked Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL USTs weigh a claimed 1,445g (front 640g, rear 805g) while the £1,899 disc-compatible version is 130g heavier.
The Pro Carbon SL Tubular is the lightest Ksyrium wheelset at a claimed 1,190g (515g front, 675g rear). The tubular disc version comes in at 1,320g (625g front, 695g rear)
Buy if: You want a superlight wheelset with a good braking performance.
For 2018 Mavic split out these beefed-up wheels from the main Ksyrium range, although they still have a lot in common with Ksyriums, and for 2019 Mavic introduced two new models, the entry-level Allroad and the 650B Allroad Elite Road+ Disc. They all have Road UST rims with 22mm internal width for the 700C wheels and 25mm for the 650B. Mavic says they work with 28mm-62mm tyres.
Irritatingly, Mavic has already abandoned the naming convention introduced with Road UST. The new Allroad is both Road UST-compatible and disc-brake-only, while the Allroad Elite Road+ Disc has a Road UST rim. That's not surprising, but while there are still older models in retailers, a little consistency of naming would help customers know what's what.
The new Allroad — or Allroad Disc UST as it should be called — is the entry-level dirt road wheel with a sleeve-joint rim in S6000 aluminium, 24 steel spokes front and rear and a wide range of compatibility with different dropout and quick-release standards. The dirt-road equivalent of the Aksium, the Allroad doesn't come with tyres. It's clearly intended as a wheelset for bike manufacturers to spec as original equipment, replacing the previous non-UST Aksium Allroad.
Buy if: You want an inexpensive set of disc- and UST-compatible wheels for commuting and dirt roads.
The Allroad Elite Road+ Disc is Mavic's first road-orientated wheel in the 650B size that's popular with riders who want extra grip and cushioning compared to 700C. A 650B wheel is slightly smaller, but with a fat tyre the whole shebang ends up about the same size, so 650B wheels will fit some 700C bikes without affecting the handling. The Allroad Elite Road+ Disc has a 25mm-wide UST rim in Maxtal alloy, with a welded SUP joint and conventional spoke drilling.
Buy if: You want the ability to run very fat tyres
The Allroad Elite UST is the only rim-braked wheelset in the Allroad family. It's only available with standard 9mm quick releases, so it's suitable for making older bikes a bit off-road capable if they have the tyre clearance, and they'll make great super-tough commuting wheels.
Claimed weight for the pair is 1,590g, which splits 685g/905g front and rear. That's only a little more than the Ksyrium Elite USTs with which they share features like steel double-butted spokes. They come with 30mm Yksion Elite Allroad tyres.
Buy if: You want light but beefy do-everything wheels
The Allroad Elite UST Disc wheels sound like they're the disc-braked equivalent of the Allroad Elite UST, but there are lots of differences aside from the disc compatibility. For a start they have 24 spokes in both wheels where the Allroad Elite UST has just 18 in the front wheel.
Like the Ksyrium Pro UST Disc wheels, the Allroad Elite UST Discs are compatible with a wide range of axle and quick release designs, including 12mm through-axles and 15mm front axles. These are wheels designed for versatility.
A pair of Allroad Elite UST Discs weighs 1,720g (F:795g, R:925g). They come with 30mm Yksion Elite Allroad or 40mm Yksion Elite Allroad XL tyres.
Buy if: You want off-road-capable disc-braked wheels
The top model in the Allroad range, the Allroad Pro UST Disc saves weight with details like a 20-spoke front wheel, carbon fibre front hub body and Zicral spokes and the Fore drilling that leaves the tyre side of the rim intact. That pushes the price up, but at 1,610g per pair (F:730g, R:880g) they're a respectable weight for wide-rim disc wheels.
Like the Allroad Elite UST Disc wheels, this pair comes with your choice of 30mm Yksion Elite Allroad or 40mm Yksion Elite Allroad XL tyres.
Buy if: You want light wheels for gravel racing and endurance riding
The R-Sys SLR uses hollow carbon-fibre spokes that allow Mavic to build a wheel that’s extremely stiff laterally. Mavic calls this Tracomp technology because the spokes work in both traction and compression to maintain the wheel’s shape whatever forces you throw at it.
The R-Sys SLR also features Mavic’s Exalith technology (see Ksyrium Pro Exalith, above) to improve braking and reduce rim wear.
Available in a clincher version only, the R-Sys SLR wheelset weighs just 1,295g (555g front, 740g rear). They're Mavic's lightest clinchers.
Buy if: You want a light weight combined with an excellent level of stiffness.
Cosmic is the name that Mavic gives to its mid-depth wheels that are designed with aerodynamics in mind. The Cosmic Elite UST is the most accessible model, with 30mm-deep aluminium rims, aluminium hub bodies, and bladed steel spokes. In terms of materials, this is essentially an aero version of Mavic’s basic Ksyrium UST.
Buy if: You want a tubeless-compatible aero wheelset at a budget price.
Mavic added several disc-compatible models to its range in 2018, including these accessible aero wheels. They're largely the same as the rim-braked version, but with 24 spokes per wheel.
Buy if: You want your value-for-money tubeless aero wheels disc compatible
Tweaked for 2017, the Cosmic Pro Carbon is an entirely different design with 45mm-deep rims that feature elliptical sidewalls. Those rims are Maxtal aluminium with carbon-fibre flanges bonded on to improve the aerodynamic performance.
The extra material does add to the weight. A pair of Cosmic Pro Carbons comes in at a claimed 1,650g (735g front, 915g rear).
For 2017, Mavic introduced a disc-compatible version of the Cosmic Pro Carbon. The disc mounts unavoidably add weight, bringing the total to 1,770g (835g front, 935g rear). They've nominally been discontinued, but some retailers still have stock.
The Cosmic Pro Carbon Exalith is the same rim-braked wheel except that the rim has been given Mavic’s Exalith 2 treatment (see above) to improve durability and braking performance.
The combination of an aluminium brake track and a carbon fibre fairing isn't the lightest way to build an aero wheel, but it does keep the price under control while delivering almost all of the speed benefits of deep rims.
Buy if: You want aero performance while retaining good braking on an aluminium brake track.
The Cosmic Pro Carbon UST is a new model for 2018/2019 with all-carbon UST tubeless-ready rims — the aluminium brake track of previous Pro Carbons is no more — and steel spokes. There's also a special edition with Tour de France graphics, imaginatively named the Cosmic Pro Carbon UST Tour de France.
These should be popular. At 1,650 grams (F 745g/R 905g), the weight for a pair is decent for 40mm aero wheels, they have a 19mm internal width to give a sensible profile to 25mm and 28mm tyres and they're reasonably priced at an RRP of £1,350 (an extra hundred quid gets you the Tour version's funky graphics).
There's also a disc-brake version, the Cosmic Pro Carbon UST Disc, at the same weight though split F 760g/R 890g and when they become widely available next month you'll be able to choose a 650B version too.
Buy if: You want light, fast all-round road wheels
The Cosmic Pro Carbon SL family have 40mm deep full carbon rims and again there are versions for rim and disc brakes and for clincher and tubular tyres. For 2018 the clincher versions have Road UST rims.
We were very impressed by the Cosmic Pro Carbon SL when we reviewed them. They weigh what they supposed to (and for more than most people spend on a complete bike, they'd better), they're fast and Mavic's new brake track treatment means stopping in the wet is almost as good as in the dry, an area that traditionally been a weakness of carbon rims.
As you'd expect, they're light. The rim-braked Cosmic Pro Carbon SL UST weighs 1,490 g/pr (645g front, 805g rear), while the Pro Carbon SL Tubular comes in at just 1,410g (620g front, 790g rear).
The disc-brake versions are a little heavier as you'd expect. The Pro Carbon SL Disc UST pairing weighs 1,570g (750g front, 820g rear) while the Pro Carbon SL Disc tubulars are 1,540g (730g front, 810g rear).
The 2019 versions of the Cosmic Pro Carbon SL seem to be different only in cosmetics and price — they've gone up quite a lot. Mavic says "This UST Road Tubeless wheel is so fast we had to re-engineer it for better braking," so, to give them the benefit of the doubt, we assume you're getting a new brake track technology that they're otherwise keeping quiet about. Doesn't explain the price hike of the disc models though.
The Cosmic Ultimate Tubular also has a full-carbon 40mm deep rim. The spokes are carbon too, as is the front hub body. This all drops the weight down to a claimed 1,250g for the wheelset (555g front, 695g rear).
The Cosmic Ultimate is the wheel that you’ll see used most frequently by Mavic sponsored pro teams because of its light weight and a depth that’s suitable for a variety of terrains and conditions.
Buy if: You want a professional level wheelset that's light and versatile.
The latest addition to the Road UST line-up, these ultra-spendy wheels are squarely aimed at getting Mavic's sponsored racers on tubeless tyres. Mavic claims a weight of 1,300g for a pair, which is very impressive for aero clinchers, and says the aerodynamic performance is on a par with comparable wheels like Zipp's 303 Firecrests. Mavic also claims individual weights of 595g for the front wheel and 795g. They're slated to be available in early 2019.
There's no disc brake version as yet, and while we expect Mavic will eventually come up with some sort of superlight disc-brake aero clincher, it's going to be a challenge to mount a rotor on a Cosmic Ultimate style carbon hub.
Buy if: You want a low-weight combination of the latest aero and tubeless technologies
Mavic refers to wheels with rims deeper than the Cosmic's 30mm and 40mm as Hyperaero, and has replaced the old CXR wheels with four new models under the Comète name, formerly reserved for a time trial rear disc.
These are very much Mavic's most modern aero wheels, with 64mm deep, 26mm wide NACA profile rims. They're reasonably light too: the Comète Pro Carbon SL UST comes in at 1,635g per pair, a few grams less than rivals like DT Swiss PRC 1400 Spline wheels.
Since there still aren't many people using disc brakes in time trials and triathlons, we suspect the most popular wheels from this group are going to be the tubular and UST versions.
At 1,490g a pair the Comète Pro Carbon SL Tubular is the lightest model in the range, which is as you'd expect: with no mounts for a disc rotor or hooks for a tyre bead, a rim-braked tubular is still the lightest way to make a wheel.
Nevertheless, as we mentioned, the Comète Pro Carbon SL UST's 1,635g is pretty impressive for a clincher wheel with a rim this deep. That splits out as 740g for the front wheel and 895g rear.
If you're looking for an extra turn of speed for a modern endurance bike, then the Comète Pro Carbon SL UST Disc could be for you. A pair weighs 1,755g (F:845g, R:910g).
Finally traditional and modern collide in the Comète Pro Carbon SL Tubular Disc. A pair weighs 1,630 (F:765g, R:865g). Both these wheels and the UST version are compatible with quick-release and through-axle systems.
Buy if: You want Mavic's fastest aero wheels
The Comète time trial/triathlon disc wheel, available only as a tubular, is carbon fibre with an aluminium rim body and a Mavic Exalith brake track for improved braking and durability. The walls are asymmetrical: convex on the driveside and lenticular on the non-driveside.
Buy if: You're after a disc wheel that offers a top-level braking performance.
For more info go to www.mavic.co.uk.
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Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.