If you like riding your disc ready road bike wherever the wind blows, rather than where the smooth tarmac goes, then the Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc All Road wheels should be on your radar.
Using Mavic's trusted range of alloy technologies, the Ksyrium Pro Disc All Road wheelset blends the best of the French firm's road racing wheel heritage with its undoubted pedigree in making world beating mountain bike wheels. We've ridden these wheels extensively, bashed them up and down the worst of the West Country's back lanes and got properly off-road on local mountain bike singletrack and they're exceeding expectations with every passing mile.
The aim of the Ksyrium Pro Disc All Road wheelset is to take the marginally lighter (by 85g) Ksyrium Road Disc wheelset and make it suitable for use with the fatter rubber required for riding on poor road surfaces and off-road trails.
To achieve this goal, Mavic did what all obsessives do. They looked at just tweaking the Road Disc version, and then shelved it. While the two wheelsets share the Ksyrium name and many of the same core technologies, in terms of the design and components used, the Ksyrium All Road disc wheels are different in every area: hubs, spokes and rim.
The reason for the wholesale fresh design is two-fold. Firstly Mavic needed to make the rims wider, from 15mm to 19mm. It might not sound radical but increasing the internal rim width 4mm, ups the maximum tyre width you can use from 30mm to 42mm. Thanks to the recent explosion in lightweight, wide, grippy tyres – especially tubeless ones – riders can choose and fit fat all-road tyres that grip in the dirt, but that also roll well on tarmac. The second reason for the different design is to increase wheel strength and durability.
Mavic achieved a more off-road durable wheel by borrowing designs from their own off-road CrossMax wheels. The Ksyrium Pro Disc All Roads are, at first glance, pretty much identical to Mavic's top end CrossMax SL Pro mountain bike wheels, save for some carbon in the CrossMax hubs and a dash of added machining on the rims to shave away another 100g. You could, if weight not the added £250 cost is a guide, use the CrossMax SL Pro mountain bike wheels on your disc-ready road/cyclo-cross/gravel/adventure bike, with the suitable Mavic hub axle pop-in adaptors. Equally you can run the Ksyriums on a 29er mountain bike with off-road tyres on up to 2.1 inches in width. We did this on a hardtail mountain bike just to check.
We rode the Kysriums off road on a Turner Cyclosys, a cross bike in a compact road bike's clothes. We switched between the 30mm Mavic Yksion Elite tyres and 35mm Schwalbe G-Ones. The Yksion is a classic semi-treaded road tyre, while the G-One is a contemporary take on the cyclocross file tread concept, only with larger tread 'stipples' to add a broader level of on-dirt control. Together these two pairs of tyres provided us with the perfect window into the ability of the Ksyrium Pro Disc All Road wheels on every surface. All tyres were run tubeless.
Mavic are firm believers in tubeless, as are growing numbers of riders across the various cycling disciplines. The benefits of lower weight, fewer punctures and an enhanced level of feedback help make the ride faster, safer and more visceral. Our tyres set up with no trouble whatsoever, using a dose of Mavic's own tubeless sealant and a standard track pump. The tyres snapped straight to the Ksyrium's rim and held air perfectly with minimal discernible loss (via the low-fi thumb press test) in a week.
This speedy set up and low air loss is attributable in part to the Mavic rim design with a non-drilled rim bed – which requires no added sealing from tape or the like – and a profile of the inner sidewall and bead area that encourages a tight initial tyre fit. This tight fit holds air from the initial strokes of the track pump well enough to build pressure to a point where the tyre beads pop out laterally to meet the rim bead in a fast, efficient way.
The rest of the rim is a text-book display of what is achievable using machining. Mavic use an aluminium alloy called Maxtal, claimed to have a higher strength to weight ratio than 6061 aluminium. As good as Maxtal is, Mavic try not to give you very much of it thanks to a system called ISM-4 – Inter Spoke Machining. The rim is machined on its sides (where the brake tracks would normally be on the rim sidewalls) as well as in the spaces between the spokes. This machining shaves away aluminium from low stress zones, while leaving it in the places where stresses are higher, where the spokes join the rim. The rim doesn't actually look like it's been machined; the shape is smooth, flowing and organic. This is prettier than the mountain bike SLRs, with their traditional, hard-sculptured machined look. The rim is finished with a matte black finish and a rather tasteful bronze anodised logo.
Mavic were the first to market with oversized alloy spokes. The Ksyrium Pro Disc All Roads use the same ball-ended, screw-fit, straight Zircal alloy spokes as on Mavic's top end mountain bike wheels, 24 front and rear. The rear wheel is laced using Mavic's Isopulse pattern of radial on the drive side and two-cross on the non-drive side. On the front wheel they're two-cross both sides. From experience we know these spokes are strong and resistant to the same levels of abuse as a steel spoke. We know they build into a tight, strong and laterally stiff wheel, yet they also manage not to be bone-shakingly harsh on bumpy surfaces. We think this is much to do with the way the spokes join the hub.
The alloy spokes join the chunky alloy hubs with a ball socket style connection. The meaty arms that make up the flanges are slotted for getting the spokes in and out. Once under tension they're going nowhere. However under load the spoke and rim are vertically dynamic – just on a level that's not visible. The way the spokes join the hub seems to translate this into a level of discernible feel that is best described as 'comfortable'. Not soft or squishy or anything weird, just a wheel that when you give it the beans over the rough, makes you want to say 'yes' and 'more please'.
The rest of the hub tech is borrowed from the off road line with the newest version of the Mavic freehub, now a sprung ratchet system over the previous pawl design. Frankly why it took so long to ditch the pawls is a mystery. Anyone who thinks using watchmakers springs made from angel hair's width coils of steel wire is a good way to transfer human power has drunk too much pastis. The new system with a single, man-size spring and 40 steel ratcheting teeth mean a fast engagement and low nine-degree movement before pick up. Servicing and cleaning is a breeze. So when you've been 'over axle' in the gloop, you know it's minutes to get it ship-shape and Bristol fashion again.
The 40 point ratchet also means one other thing, and it's a divisive thing. These wheels are silent under power, but ease off for a second and it sounds like you're being chased by a swarm of crazed killer bees. It's a high pitched, precise sounding buzz. I rather like it, others around me were split on it roughly 50/50 with Marmite like levels of love/hate.
The bronze colour hubs, front and rear, are fitted with smooth-rolling sealed cartridge bearings. Quality is high with low friction and service intervals long enough, under normal riding conditions, to last a good few years.
The wheels we got for test feature the Shimano Centrelock splined disc rotor interface. A version with a six-bolt mount is also available. Fitting rotors took seconds. The Centrelock design is a cleaner, neater solution, though both get the job done equally well.
As you'd imagine a set of lightweight, smooth running road wheels, shod with tyres of at least 30mm is a pretty comfortable experience. On good quality tarmac we felt cosseted and miles away from the chattering and vibration of traditional road wheels and 23mm tyres. Once you feel comfortable wheels, going back to anything else is very hard. The same is true for disc brakes. As a lifelong mountain biker I relish the control they give in all weather and on crap roads and in the dirt. They're not really about power – though there's loads of it – for me it's the ability to brake hard with nuance that's the real advantage over rim brakes. You can feel the braking effect in relation to traction with a clarity that allows more control over where and when you get on, and off, the levers.
The Ksyriums pick up power quickly thanks to the ratchet freehub and they transfer that engagement speed into forward motion, smoothly and directly, with no wind-up or other odd sensations. The wheels hold speed well, thanks to good balance and smooth bearings. The 30mm Yksion tyres elicited envious questions from riders on 23mm and 25mm rubber. Wider tyres at lower pressures are not slower and tyre manufacturers have got better at using the minimum of material, in better compounds, to make tyres in 28mm and bigger sizes that are competitive in weight and speed.
The 30mm Yksion tyres allowed me to ride faster and on more direct lines than I could on 23, 25 or even 28mm pure road tyres. They're a soft compound and ever so slightly tacky; on some tarmac I'm sure could hear them adhere. They certainly grip well enough to be thrown into fast twisty road descents with the sort of abandon that makes others wince. The wheels love this sort of high speed larking about, they give off a sure footed, planted feel, inviting you to explore the shoulders of the tyres further still.
Feeling grippy doesn't slow them down on the climbs either. The tyres hooked up and drove on with minimal drag for their size. The wheels themselves pretty much disappeared on climbs, which is always a good sign when you're mentally trying to persuade your body to cash forged fitness cheques.
Off road the story is broadly similar, the real advantages coming in low speed downhill off camber stuff which is the nemesis of 700c wheels. The combination of the Ksyriums' high lateral stiffness and through axle compatibility combine to keep the front end pinned into that sliver of a smooth line that you're got to aim at.
We opted for the popular Schwalbe G-One 35mm tyre for our off road miles. Despite not appearing to be very mud friendly, the tyre has achieved all that we asked of it through wet and dry mud. It's very much a recommendation. Oh, and it's no slouch on the road either, so a pair would be an ideal spare set for owners of Ksyrium Pro Disc All Road wheels.
Okay, so these aren't a raving lightweight set of wheels that'll make the weight weenies weak at the knees. They're also not carbon for the 21st century tech purists, but they are a great piece of functional design, more than delivering the rough road goods in the way great wheels are supposed to.
We really enjoyed riding the Ksyrium Pro Disc All Road. If you own a rough road style disc-ready road bike with room for fat rubber, we're happy to point you towards this wheelset. It might look bronze, but the ride is definitely gold.
Excellent wheels for disc-equipped bikes that get used on and off road
road.cc test report
Make and model: Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc All Road wheelset
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the wheel 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?
The Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc All Road wheelset is for use on all disc equipped road bikes. It's built to tackle the rougher roads, gravel riding, right up to Cyclocross riding and racing.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
The usual Mavic technologies are on show, with straight pull alloy spokes, heaviliy machined alloy rims which are a little wider than standard road racing Ksyriums - to help support the wider tyres required and favoured by riders looking to ride rough roads and off road. Highly adaptable hubs allow the wheels to fit every current road wheel standard with fast change hub axle grommets.
The wheels are beautifully constructed. The look, feel and finish are as you'd expect for a £750 wheelset.
I've ridden countless Mavic wheelsets, both road and MTB in the past, in a long line of hundreds from all brands. So it takes something special to make me REALLY notice another set. These genuinely did make me do a double take. They're really smooth feeling, just adding a little extra something to the ride - outside of of just doing their job.
Absolutely no issues thus far and I've properly rallied these wheels over stuff that's really mountain bike level terrain.
The wheels are light. Light enough to grace a weight weenie's bike. Light enough to race. There are probably lighter out there, but the feel is so good from these wheels, that chasing out the final grams seems stupid.
£750 isn't cheap, but it's not rude either. Given the performance, build quality and extra zing they bring, it seems about right.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Arrow straight. Tight.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
The Mavic tubeless tyres they come with set up in seconds. We even managed it with a compact hand pump. Schwalbe tubeless went up first time as well.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
All the bits and pieces were easy to use, fit and perform perfectly.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The wheels handled everything I pointed them at, even when I was unsure if I should be jumping them, heading through rock garden singletrack. When used for their REAL purpose, gravel roads, they simply eat it as fast as you can feed them.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Smooth, speed, strength, precision, looks, the killer bee freehub sound, adaptability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Erm...I'll keep looking.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? I have, to everyone on I've met while riding.
Use this box to explain your score
The score is an 8. These wheels really are very, very good. Probably a borderline nine. They have really impressed, and as I've said I've got a lot of top end wheels, many of which are very similar to these Ksyrium Pro Disc All Road, yet they still managed to make themselves a strong case for being the best of their breed.
About the tester
I usually ride: My seven titanium, Turner Cyclosys cross bike, Ibis Ripley MTB My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, mtb, A bit of everything