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review

Mavic Allroad SL wheelset

8
£590.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Quality wheelset that's versatile and balances strength really well with performance
Easy tubeless setup
Hardwearing freehub body
Decent weight for the money
Not all tyre brands support hookless rims
Weight: 
1,590g
Contact: 

The Allroad SL is part of Mavic's do-a-bit-of-everything range, and as such ticks a lot of boxes for a well-specced wheelset for your gravel or adventure bike. They are well built, lightweight for their specified terrain, and don't cost a fortune either.

While we have seen rim widths grow a lot over the last few years to accommodate wider road and gravel tyres, Mavic has retained a reasonable 22mm distance between the inner sides of the rim.

This means not only does the Allroad work well with a 40mm gravel tyre, it doesn't look or feel out of place with a 28mm road slick fitted.

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset tyre fitted 1.JPG

Mavic recommends a range of 28mm through to 64mm, but I'd say at that upper end the tyre is going to be shaped like lightbulb.

The widest tyre I had to hand was a 43mm Panaracer GravelKing SK, and I'd say that width gives a good shape between tyre and rim.

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset - spoke detail.jpg

As you can see from the photos, the Mavics work well with a 40mm gravel tyre too – a common size on adventure bikes at the moment. In this case it's a Zipp Tangente Course G40, which measures up at 40.3mm when fitted.

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset tyre fitted 3.JPG

The Allroads use hookless rims. This means that, like your car wheels, they have no lip for the tyre's bead to tuck underneath. Instead, they rely on the pressure of the tyre against the rim wall to stop the tyre blowing off.

Many wheel brands (Enve for instance) only recommend the use of tubeless or tubeless ready tyres for use with their hookless rims due to their stiffer bead, but Mavic say that using clincher tyres with an innertube isn’t an issue.

Michel from Mavic told us, “When following the ISO4210-4775/ETRTO norms and rim geometry, you have no problem on that topic. These norms indicate that you must respect a 5 bars (73psi) max tyre pressure when using hookless rims, that’s it."

"By experience, with a tube inside, you can go slightly above with no risks as the beads are “pushed” even harder against the rim walls. In tubeless mount, respect what the tyre manufacturer suggests.”

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset - spokes.jpg

Some tyre manufacturers, like Continental don’t recommend fitting any of their tyres, tubeless or not to hookless rims though.

Sealed rims

Mavic only drills the lower part of the rim for the spoke nipples, rather than going right the way through and exiting inside the wheel well. This means that, once you fit a tyre, there are no holes for air or sealant to escape through. This in turn means you don't require rim tape.

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset - rim bed.jpg

Whichever size tyre I fitted, I had no issues getting them to engage and got a satisfying 'pop' as they settled into place. Once the sealant filled any gaps in the two surfaces, the tyres remained pumped up for long periods of time.

Ride feel

The Allroad SLs ride very nicely indeed. While some say that ride quality differences are minute between wheels, they are in fact quite noticeable when swapping between brands using the same bike, tyres and pressures.

The Mavics offer a smooth ride and, even when pumping the tyres hard for road use, there is no feeling of harshness. That's a big bonus whatever the terrain. Stiffness levels are impressive too.

With my gravel bike loaded up to 16kg with bikepacking kit, and me perched on top of it, I never felt any flex when honking up steep gravel climbs. Cornering hard with that much weight onboard created no issues with flex at the front wheel either.

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset - front hub 2.jpg

At 1,590g on the road.cc scales, the Allroad SLs perform well when you want a bit of acceleration or you're out for a hilly jaunt.

The freehub is quick to engage, and an out-of-the-saddle effort doesn't make you feel you're getting sandbagged by having to get the rear wheel to get up to speed.

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset - rear hub 1.jpg

Speaking of the freehub, if you like things quiet when you're coasting, you'll be a fan of the rear Mavic's gentle tick-tick-tick. It's not silent, but neither is it attention grabbing.

The freehub body is hardwearing. Some can mark heavily as the cassette bites into the splines under load from acceleration, but after six weeks use the SL's is relatively unscathed.

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset - rear hub 2.jpg

Hub options include Shimano/SRAM or XDR, and both types come with a collection of adapters for various thru-axle sizes or quick release skewers. A Campagnolo freehub is available as an extra.

> The best gravel wheelsets you can buy - 700c and 650b gravel bike wheels tried and tested

For the build Mavic uses 24 steel, straight-pull aero spokes on both the front and rear wheels. As I said, stiffness is impressive, and they can take plenty of abuse out on the trails or by-ways. I rode for miles on rocky gravel tracks – and took a few high-speed runs through the woods clouting tree roots and the like – without issue.

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset - rim detail.jpg

Trueness was great out of the box and nothing has changed there. Mavic uses its own-brand Maxtal aluminium alloy for the 22mm deep rims, which it says has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than 6061 alloy.

The overall build quality is high, and I've seen nothing to suggest any issues with durability.

2021 Mavic Allroad SL wheelset - rim detail 4.jpg

Value

At £590, I reckon the Allroad SLs sit at a decent price point. They are up against a lot of competition from the direct-to-consumer sellers like Hunt, whose alloy 4 Season Gravel Disc X-Wide wheelset is just £359 (up £30 from last year's review). They are a fair bit heavier though at 1,765g.

If you want to go lighter, Hunt's own 1,459g Gravel Race wheelset is £489 and probably a fairer comparison.

The Mavics also compare well to the FSA Afterburner AGX wheelset, which is 1,789g and (at the time of testing) £619.95.

Fulcrum makes various Rapid Red DB gravel wheelsets, and the most comparable model to the Allroad SL is the Rapid Red 3. It's similar in materials and weight, though the Fulcrum comes in a touch cheaper at £559.99.

Overall

I found riding the Mavic Allroad SLs a pleasurable experience. The ride quality is very good, and they stand up to a lot of abuse without issue. The build quality is impressive – the Mavics are a great all-rounder at a strong price.

Verdict

Quality wheelset that's versatile and balances strength really well with performance

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Mavic Allroad SL wheelset

Size tested: 700C

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?

Mavic says, "Gravel, dirt, teeth-chattering pavé. Ride it all with confidence in control on this lightweight, responsive, all-conditions aluminum wheel featuring Mavic UST Road Tubeless technology."

The Allroad SL is a competent all-rounder that copes with road rides as well as those off the beaten track.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

Hubs

Infinity Hubs

QRM Auto bearing preload technology

Front: Quick release, 12x100 and 15x100 through axle compatible

Rear: Quick Release, 12x142 and 12x135 compatible

Instant Drive 360 freewheel technology

Front and rear bodies: aluminium

Axle material: aluminium

Spokes

Lacing: front and rear crossed 2, contactless

Shape: straight pull, elliptical aero, double butted (patented)

Material: steel

Nipples: Fore integrated aluminium

Count: 24 front and rear

Rims

Height: 22 mm

ETRTO size: 622x22TSS ROAD

Hookless profile

Internal width: 22 mm

Weight reduction: ISM 4D

UST tubeless technology

Fore tapeless tubeless technology

SUP welding technology

Disc brake specific profile

Tyre: UST Tubeless and tubetype

Material: Maxtal

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
7/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
6/10

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

Trueness and spoke tension was not an issue throughout testing.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

The tested range of tubeless tyres between 28mm and 43mm fitted quickly and easily. I had no issue removing them either.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

The wheels come with tubeless valves, which work fine.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's a strong enough wheelset to cope with gravel tracks, while light enough to feel responsive on the road.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Great ride quality.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Very little to be honest. Some tyre brands don't support hookless compatibility which might be a pain if you would like a specific tyre rim combination.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

There is tough competition form the likes of Hunt and Scribe, who do cheaper wheels – but not by a huge amount. The Mavics are also competitive against wheels from FSA and Fulcrum.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

I was very impressed with the Allroad SLs over the test period. The rim width is a good compromise for road and off-road use, and you get good build quality at a decent price. It's a solid performance throughout.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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