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BUYER'S GUIDE

Mavic wheels: check out the 2021 range for road and gravel bikes

Mavic released a load of new models and tidied the range right up for 2021 — all the details here

Mavic wheels are some of the most popular wheels for road bikes and gravel bikes. The French company, based in Annecy, doesn’t produce anything super-cheap, with road bike wheels starting at around £200 and going right through to almost £3,000.

  • You'll find Mavic wheels on a lot of ready-built bikes as manufacturers like the prestige of the yellow logo

  • Wholehearted embrace of tubeless technology with its own Road UST system means most Mavic wheels can now be used with or without inner tubes

  • Mavic is back after a significant financial wobble in 2020

For 2021 Mavic have significantly revamped their wheel range, introducing 15 new models of road bike wheel and dropping many more from a line-up that was beginning to look a little cluttered.

To try and help us all understand the range a little better, Mavic have introduced a naming convention so that a wheelset's name tells you the basics of its spec. However, being Mavic they haven't quite adhered strictly to the new convention.

Here's what the elements you'll find in a Mavic wheel name mean:

Cosmic: carbon fibre rim (except the Cosmic Elite UST and Cosmic Elite UST Disc which have aluminium rims)

Ksyrium: aluminium rim, compatible with tubeless tyres

Aksium: also aluminium rims, but cheaper; compatible with standard clincher tyres, not tubeless

Allroad: disk-brake wheels for gravel riding, tubeless compatible, with aluminium rims unless they have Carbon in the name

S: Standard quality wheels for all-purpose use

SL: Lighter wheels for racing

SLR: Very light wheels; for example the Cosmic SL 65 Disc is 1,750g/pr, while the Cosmic SLR 65 Disc is 180g/pr lighter.

Ultimate: Mavic's most technologically advanced, and lightest wheels. Currently restricted to just two models, the Cosmic Ultimate T and Cosmic Ultimate T Disc

The number in a product name indicates the rim depth; if there's no number then you're looking at a shallow rim, 22-25mm deep depending on the model.

Almost all Mavic's clincher wheels are now tubeless-compatible, except for the two entry-level Aksium models. Mavic therefore no longer indicates tubeless compatibility in the name.

For wheelbuilders there are also four new rim models, all tubeless compatible: Open Pro UST Disc and Open Pro UST for road and A1022 and A 1025 650B for gravel. You can also buy Mavic hubs.

Most Mavic wheels used to come with tyres, and for the last few years these were the excellent Yksion Pros, which are basically Hutchinson Fusion 5 ElevenStorm with a different label. They're still available, but you no longer get them with your 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
Front Rear Pair
Low-profile rim
Aksium 845 995 1,840 £215 £179.99
Aksium Disc 870 1,035 1,905 £250 £232.00
Ksyrium S 675 895 1,570 £360 £360.00
Ksyrium S Disc 750 820 1,670 £360 £342.00
Ksyrium SL 645 835 1,480 £590 £590.00
Ksyrium SL Disc 723 852 1,575 £590 £590.00
Ksyrium Pro UST 590 820 1,410 £860 £860.00
Cosmic SL 32 Disc 692 807 1,499 £1,050 £999.99
Cosmic SLR 32 Disc 640 770 1,410 £1,650 £1,570.00
Medium-profile rim
Cosmic Elite UST 815 955 1,770 £409 £299.00
Cosmic Elite UST Disc 855 995 1,850 £430 £384.98
Cosmic SL 40 705 895 1,600 £1,050 £1,050.00
Cosmic SL 45 Disc 730 845 1,575 £1,050 £999.99
Cosmic SLR 45 Disc 670 800 1,470 £1,650 £1,569.99
Cosmic SLR 40 640 750 1,390 £1,650 £1,650.00
Cosmic Ultimate Tubular 540 680 1,220 £2,729 £1,899.00
Cosmic Ultimate Tubular Disc 555 675 1,230 £2,729 £2,729.00
Deep-section rim
Cosmic SL 65 Disc 820 930 1,750 £1,050 £1,029.00
Cosmic SLR 65 Disc 720 850 1,570 £1,650 £1,650.00
Comete Road rear aero disc 1,100 1,100 £1,949 £1,681.99
Gravel & cyclocross
Allroad S 830 935 1,765 £409 £408.99
Allroad SL 740 850 1,590 £590 £589.00
Allroad SL Road+ 650B 723 832 1,555 £590 £589.00
Allroad Pro Carbon SL 670 775 1,445 £1,800 £1,689.00
Allroad Pro Carbon SL Road+ (650B) 725 825 1,550 £1,690 £1,579.00

Road UST

Mavic Road UST cross-section

Mavic Road UST cross-section

Most of Mavic's clincher rims are now Road UST, and previous non-tubeless versions have all but disappeared from dealers.

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.

Input from Mavic with Road UST and many others led to a revision of ISO 5775 (the international standard for bike wheels and tyres) in March 2021 so that tubeless tyres and rims should work together better in future. Many tyre and wheel makers had been working to the provisional version of the new standard anyway, which is why it's become generally somewhat easier to fit tubeless tyres in the last couple of years.

Low-profile wheels

Aksium

aksium_logo.jpg

​Aksiums are Mavic’s entry level road wheels, specced as original equipment on many bikes. The latest 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.

2019 Mavic Aksium

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.

Check out our Mavic Aksium review.

Mavic Aksium disc.jpeg

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 12mm thru-axle design.

Buy if: You're looking for reliable training wheels that aren't too expensive.

Ksyrium range

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.

Ksyrium S

2021 Mavic Ksyrium S

The Ksyrium family are made with box section aluminium rims; this latest version is lighter than previous entry-level Ksyriums, and has features previously only found on more expensive members of the family. The Ksyrium S has 22mm deep, 19mm wide rims with Mavic's Fore drilling that leaves the rim wall intact so you don't need a rim tape. Recommended tyre size is 25mm to 32mm.

All Ksyriums 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.

The new Infinity hubs have the Instant Drive 360 freewheel system and you can get replacement freewheel bodies to fit Campagnolo and SRAM XD-r cassettes. The hubs have the same QRM sealed cartridge bearings as you get with the Aksiums.

The claimed wheelset weight is 1,570g (675g 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.

Mavic Ksyrium S Disc

The Ksyrium S Disc is essentially the same wheel but with disc hubs. A pair is 100g heavier than the rim-brake Ksyrium S, presumably because of the extra material needed to accommodate disc rotors and 12mm through-axles.

Where previous disc-brake wheels from Mavic were available in Center Lock and six-bolt versions, the Ksyriums are Center Lock only.

Buy if: You're after something that's reasonably light and very sturdy.

Ksyrium SL

Mavic Ksyrium SL

Replacing the old Ksyrium Elite, the Ksyrium SL sheds weight over the Ksyrium S by milling away material from the rim, between the spokes, a process Mavic dubs ISM 4D for Inter Spoke Milling, and er, we've no idea what 4D is supposed to mean.The Ksyrium SL is otherwise identically-specced to the Ksyrium S: Maxtal rim, Infinity hubs, 24 steel spokes front and rear, and Fore nipple drilling so you don't need a rim tape.

A pair of Ksyrium SLs weighs a claimed 1,480 grams: 645g up front and 835g in the rear.

Mavic Ksyrium SL Disc

The disc-brake version is, you will not be surprised to learn, called the Ksyrium SL Disc.

The Ksyrium SL Disc uses a similar rim to the regular Ksyrium SL with a disc-compatible hub. They weigh a claimed 723g and 852g for front and rear respectively, a substantial reduction over the old Ksyrium Elite Discs.

>>Read more: Everything you need to know about road tubeless

Buy if: You want solid all-rounders that are light enough to race.

Ksyrium Pro UST

2018_mavic_ksyrium_pro_ust.jpg

A holdover from the previous range, 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. This is also one of the few Mavic wheelsets in the current range that still comes with the excellent Yksion Pro UST tyres.

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.

Cosmic SL 32 Disc

2021 Mavic Cosmic SL 32

The first of the new Cosmic line uses 32mm deep, 21mm wide carbon fibre rims to make wheels that both sensibly light and sensibly priced. The Cosmic SL 32 Disc is optimised for 28mm tyres, according to Mavic, though that wide rim will clearly accommodate tyres fatter than Mavic's recommended upper limit of 32mm.

Features include Infinity hubs, QRM bearings and Instant Drive 360 freewheel and while the rims are of course UST tubeless compatible, you'll need a rim tape as Mavic have yet to figure out how to apply Fore nipples to carbon fibre at this price.

The rest of the spec is quite conservative, presumably to keep the price under control, with steel spokes and brass nipples holding it all together.

A pair of Cosmic 32 SL Disc wheels weighs a claimed 1,499g, made up of 692g for the front wheel and 807g for the rear. They take only Center Lock rotors.

Buy if: You want a bit of aero advantage at a sensible price and weight.

Cosmic SLR 32 Disc

2021 Mavic Cosmic SLR 32

At 89g/pair lighter than the Cosmic SL 32 Disc, the Cosmic SLR 32 Disc wheels are as light as the Ksyrium Pros despite their much deeper rim. These wheels replace the Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL Discs in Mavic's line-up and boast Fore Carbon nipple tech, leaving the outer rim bed intact. With no need to put holes in it for nipples, the rim can be lighter and Mavic say this saves 40g per wheel, while leaving the rim tape in the workshop saves another 30g.

A pair of Cosmic 32 SLR Disc wheels weighs a claimed 1,410g, made up of 640g for the front wheel and 770g for the rear. They take only Center Lock rotors.

Medium-profile wheels

Cosmic Elite UST

2021 mavic cosmic elite ust

As far as we can tell, the Cosmic Elite UST and the disc-brake equivalent below, are identical to the previous Cosmic Elite USTs, despite being billed on Mavic's site as new models. They have 30mm-deep, 17mm-wide aluminium rims, aluminium hub bodies with steel axles, and bladed steel spokes. In terms of materials, this is essentially an aero version of Mavic’s basic Ksyrium from a couple of years ago.

A pair of Cosmic Elite USTs is claimed to weigh 1,770g (815g front, 955g rear)

Buy if: You want a tubeless-compatible aero wheelset at a budget price.

Cosmic Elite UST Disc

2021 Mavic Cosmic Elite UST Disc

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.

A pair of Cosmic Elite UST Disc wheels is claimed to weigh 1,870g (845g front, 1015g rear)

Buy if: You want your value-for-money tubeless aero wheels disc compatible

Cosmic SL 40

2021 Mavic Cosmic SL 40

The Cosmic SL 40 wheels are proper Cosmics, with 40mm-deep, 19mm-wide carbon fibre rims; they're also the cheapest rim-braked carbon wheels in the new range, replacing the old Cosmic Pro Carbon UST.

A pair of Cosmic SL 40s weighs a claimed 1,600g (705g front, 895g rear) which is 50g less than the old Cosmic Pro Carbon UST. Mavic says that's down to "refined" spokes and the new Infinity hubs. As well as being lighter, they're substantially cheaper even when you take into account that they no longer come with tyres.

Significant features include the iTgMax laser-etched brake track that Mavic claims "shortens stopping distance in both dry and wet conditions", Instant Drive 360 and QRM bearings. Carbon brake pads are included.

Buy if: you want aero wheels at a very reasonable price for your rim-braked bike

Cosmic SL 45 Disc

2021 Mavic Cosmic SL 45 Disc

Unusually, the Cosmic SL 45 Disc is lighter than its rim-brake sibling at 1,575g/pair (730g front, 845g rear), despite having a deeper rim and a total of 10 more spokes. The feature set is otherwise identical.

Buy if: you want aero wheels at a very reasonable price for your disc-braked bike

Cosmic SLR 40

The lightest clincher or UST Cosmics at 1,390g/pair (640g front, 750g rear), the Cosmic SLR 40 wheels use the Fore Carbon tapeless tubeless technology that leaves the upper rim bed intact so you don't need a rim tape. Like the Cosmic SL 40s they have just 20 rear wheel spokes and 18 up front joining their carbon fibre rims to Infinity hubs.

Buy if: you want really light medium-depth aero wheels

Cosmic SLR 45 Disc

2021 Mavic Cosmic SLR 45 Disc

Mavic says the Cosmic SLR 45 Disc is the "fastest, stiffest and lightest all-rounder for road bikes with disc brakes". Certainly the claimed weight of just 1,470g/pair (670g front, 800g rear) is impressive and like other SLR wheels the Fore Carbon tech means you don't need a rim tape.

Buy if: your disc-braked road bike is gagging for light aero wheels

 

Cosmic Ultimate Tubular

2020 Mavic Cosmic Ultimate Tubular

The Cosmic Ultimate Tubular also has a full-carbon 40mm deep rim. The spokes are carbon too, as are the hub bodies; the rear hub body goes all-carbon for the 2020 model the front hub body. This all drops the weight down to a claimed 1,220g for the wheelset (540g front, 680g 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… and you have very deep pockets

Cosmic Ultimate Tubular Disc

2021 Mavic Cosmic Ultimate Tubular Disc

As above, but with mounts for disc brakes. At just 1,230g/pair (555g front, 675g rear) these are some of the lightest disc-brake wheels around, which demonstrates what can be done when you throw technology at wheel design, and you don't have to worry about persuading a clincher tyre to mount on the rim.

Back in 2018 Mavic announced the Cosmic Ultimate UST, using the same all-carbon construction but for a tubeless clincher rim, but as far as we can tell they never actually shipped.

Cosmic SL 65 Disc

2021 Mavic Cosmic SL 65 Disc

The cheaper of two new models with 65mm-deep rims, the Cosmic SL 65 Disc wheels weigh 1,750g/pair (820g front, 930g rear) and have 19mm-wide rims (26mm external width). They have the same feature set as the Cosmic SL 45 Disc wheels with Infinity hubs, QRM bearings and Instant Drive 360 freewheel. As with the Cosmic SL 45 Discs, you'll need rim tape; the outer rim bed is drilled for spoke nipples.

Like almost all Mavic's recent disc wheels, they take only Center Lock rotors.

Buy if: You want deep-rim speed on a budget

Cosmic SLR 65 Disc

2021 Mavic Cosmic SLR 65 Disc

Almost certainly the fastest of Mavic's wheels, these deep-rim lightweights boast a weight of just 1,570g (720g front, 850g rear) thanks to rims with the Fore Carbon tapeless tubeless technology that leaves the outer rim bed intact so you don't need a rim tape.

The feature set is otherwise identical to the Cosmic SLR 45 Disc wheels, with Infinity hubs, 24 steel spokes front and rear and the Instant Drive 360 freewheel.

Comète Road

Comete 2017.jpg

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.

Gravel & cyclocross wheels

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 since then Mavic has been steadily adding new models, including the entry-level Allroad S and the 650B Allroad SL Road+ 650B. They all have Road UST rims with internal widths between 22mm and 26mm; the 650B wheels are bigger. Mavic says they work with 28mm-62mm tyres.

As you'd expect, they're all disc-brake-only — there was a rim-brake Allroad a few years ago, but it's long gone.

Allroad S

2021 Mavic Allroad S

The entry-level Allroad S is basically a burlier version of the Ksyrium S Disc, with Infinity hubs, QRM bearings and Fore tapeless tubeless technology. The rim is 22m wide and made from Maxtal aluminium; the previous budget Allroad with 6000 series rim is gone.

There are 24 steel spokes front and rear and a wide range of compatibility with different dropout and quick-release standards.

A pair of Allroad S wheels weighs 1,765g (830g front, 935g rear)

Buy if: You want good value disc- and UST-compatible wheels for commuting and dirt roads.

Allroad SL

2021 Mavic Allroad SL

The Allroad SL wheels are Mavic essay at a high-performance alloy gravel wheelset. ISM 4D milling removes rim material between the spokes to literally shave off weight and Fore rim technology leaves the outer rim bed intact so you don't need a rim tape.

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.

The Allroad SLs 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 SLs weighs 1,590g (740g front, 850g rear).

Buy if: You want off-road-capable disc-braked wheels

Allroad SL Road+

2021 Mavic Allroad SL Road+

The Allroad SL Road+ is Mavic's cheapest 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, Fore spoke drilling and ISM 4D machining between the spokes to shave weight from the rim.

A pair of Allroad SL Road+ wheels weighs 1,555g (723g front, 832g rear).

Buy if: You want the ability to run very fat tyres

Allroad Pro Carbon SL

2021 Mavic Allroad Pro Carbon SL Road+

There are two wheelsets in Mavic's carbon-rimmed luxury gravel bike wheel line-up. The 700C Allroad Pro Carbon SL weighs just 1,445g/pr with 23mm-wide UST rims and double-butted steel spokes. The 650B Allroad Pro Carbon SL Road+ is heavier at 1,550g/pr but has 26mm-wide rims for the fattest possible tyres.

Buy if: You want really light wheels for gravel racing

For more info go to www.mavic.co.uk.

Explore the complete archive of wheel reviews on road.cc

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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.

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