The Ksyrium Elites have been part of Mavic's range for years, offering a balance of reliability and value, a real all-rounder ideal for that first upgrade from stock wheels. Mavic has made some tweaks to keep its stalwart bang up to date, including a wider rim bringing with it more comfort, lower rolling resistance and a better pairing with a 25mm tyre.
The internal width of the newly revamped Elite is 17mm, up 2mm from last year. This means they follow the trend of wider tyres across the whole road market that we've been seeing for the last few seasons. In fact the Ksyriums will now take tyres from 25mm to 32mm in width, which, according to Mavic, increases comfort and lowers rolling resistance.
Mavic even gives us exact figures for that, which I guess is relevant to the supplied 25mm wide Yksion tyres. It says, “For the same tyre pressure the rolling resistance is reduced 13%” and “While maintaining the same rolling resistance you can lower tyre pressure by 20psi.”
A difficult theory to test without having the old and new to run side by side, but I will say this, the Ksyrium/Yksion combo does roll well and offers a very smooth and solid ride when pumped up to my usual pressure.
As far as the weight goes, our Elites came in at 1554g (claimed 1550g) naked, which is pretty good at this £500 rrp. Mavic has delivered a light wheelset that hasn't sacrificed weight over reliability.
The u-shaped rims are 24mm (front) and 26mm (rear) deep and are manufactured from Maxtal alloy, a grade exclusive to Mavic and which, it says, offers a higher strength to weight ratio than 6106 alloy, a commonly used grade in rim manufacture.
The nipples are screwed directly into the rim as the holes are ‘pushed’ through the inside wall rather than drilled, the pushed up material then being threaded to allow the nipple to be secured.
This means the Elites don't need any rim tape as there are no spoke holes in the upper rim; it basically looks like a tubeless rim, although it's presumably not entirely sealed as Mavic makes no claims for this.
The stronger rim allows for material to be milled out between the spokes to save weight without compromising strength. It’s not a new idea for the Ksyriums as it was something Mavic did about 10 years ago. This new version looks a lot more swoopy and smooth than the originals though.
To make the Elites user serviceable, Mavic has installed steel double sealed bearings that are fully adjustable; Mavic even chucks the tool in with the wheelset. The bearings roll super smoothly and don't seem to be suffering from any water ingress after a very soggy couple of final weeks of testing. Adjustment wasn't necessary but we thought we'd have a play anyway and it was easy to fine-tune the load on the bearings.
So, does all of this technical innovation make for an impressive wheelset? Well, something does. While not an outstandingly flashy set of wheels the Mavics continue that ‘all-rounder’ reputation they’ve always had.
They are very stiff at the rim and through the aero spokes, not moving at all laterally under heavy sprinting or climbing loads. Even with brake pads running very close to the rims you get no rub whatsoever.
The weight means they pick up speed from a standing start with ease, making them perfect for the racer where aerodynamics isn't the main concern, and for the rest of us once up to speed they continue to spin freely – there isn’t a need to keep putting a harder effort on rolling terrain to keep them rolling.
The braking surface is machined smooth after the join has been arc welded, so you always get a consistent stopping power when slowing down. Our testing also showed no bedding in period was needed.
As I mentioned above, you get inner tubes and the Yksion tyres included in the package: Griplink at the front, Powerlink at the rear. The only thing that differs is the compound, the front having ‘supersoft’ shoulders for increased cornering grip, the rear using a harder one for getting the power down. Both use a harder compound running through the centre for longevity.
The tyres are okay. Rolling resistance is good, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the grip levels in the wet or dry. There is no real feedback from them and they just feel a little bit vague, so if they do break traction it's pretty close to the limit for getting them back.
Both come with a siped tread for wet weather use, which is a bit pointless, though plenty of manufacturers still continue to do it. Removing standing water is never really a concern on a skinny road tyre.
Overall, then, the Ksyrium Elites are a truly all-round wheelset for practically any road bike situation, especially now that they can run such wide tyres. The weight is respectable, which creates a stiffness level that’s impressive at any price point. Couple that with the fact that they’ll last you for thousands and thousands of miles and they’ll be a long-term investment.
Drop the tyres for something more grippy, though.
Great mid-range wheels for the all-rounder, as happy to race as they are to cruise, but the tyres are average
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheelset
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Mavic's Ksyrium Elites have been in the range for a long time now and they've always stood for performance and reliability. Priced at £500 for a pair, they are nearing the top end price for an alloy wheelset, but with a 1573g weight they offer good weight versus value.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Maxtal rim, 24mm deep front, 26mm deep rear
*17mm internal width
*Bladed spokes, 18 front, 20 rear
*Included - Yksion Pro tyres, tubes, quick releases, adjustable wrench and user guide
*120kg rider weight limit
Hard to fault really, smooth running hubs and near spot on for trueness before and throughout the testing period.
Solid performers. They don’t really excel at anything, but are dependable and give a nice ride. Tyres are so-so, though.
No complaints after all the rain, potholes, mud and gravel they've been ridden through.
Just over 1550g is none too shabby for an aluminium wheelset, especially when it means they don't have to sacrifice reliability.
A lovely feel to the wheels as you ride them, smooth and comfortable without feeling harsh.
You can get alloy/carbon clinchers or carbon tubular deep section wheels for this price and less, but the Mavics can easily justify their cost on pure reliability and ride quality.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Mavics are solid performers whether you are climbing, descending, sprinting or just cruising. I'd change the tyres for something more supple and grippy when the originals wore out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The reliability after the horrendous conditions they've been put through.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The tyres offer a skittish ride on anything but bone dry roads.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
At this price point a lot of people will be searching for carbon wheels, but as with frames, alloy has so much to offer still, especially with the way Mavic is really pushing the material to increase strength without adding weight. The tyres are a bit stodgy, though, and aren't the grippiest, so I would change those as soon as possible.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.