Mavic is introducing a Road UST (Universal System Tubeless) wheel/tyre system that, it says, is easier to use and safer than existing tubeless systems. The Road UST range will initially cover 15 wheels.
“With 18 years of UST experience on the mountain bike side, it’s now time to move forward and benefit from the tubeless advantages on the road side too: lower rolling resistance, lower risk of flats, better grip,” says Mavic. “Fixing the remaining issues of the existing market offer, Mavic introduce an easy and safe solution leading to more performance.”
The French brand created mountain bike UST with Hutchinson and Michelin back in 1999. Mavic, Hutchinson, Michelin and Shimano worked together on a road tubeless system from 2000 to 2005, but Mavic and Michelin decided the goal wasn’t achievable with the technology that was available at the time, while Hutchinson and Shimano chose to launch products. Mavic eventually began to offer higher pressure tubeless systems in the all-road/gravel sector in 2015.
Mavic says that it can now offer “a lifetime of hassle-free installation and maintenance when using UST approved products” because control of the manufacturing provides the optimum rim diameter and a precise tyre bead diameter.
Mavic claims that its road UST tubeless system is different from other tubeless systems in that the wheel and tyre are designed together and there’s tight control over production variances. If you want the figures, the rim bead seat diameter is 621.95mm (with a tolerance of +/-0.35mm) and the tyre bead diameter is 619.6mm (with a tolerance of +/-0.2mm). They're tight tolerances.
Mavic says that a variation in tyre bead stiffness affects safety as well as ease of installation and removal. Its tyre bead is Kevlar – more pliable than carbon – and has a stiffness of 113 daN/mm (dekanewtons per millimetre)(+/-3). Keeping the tolerances small is crucial to the success of the system.
Mavic says that its new proposal of a tubeless Road UST system is being approved by both ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ETRTO (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation) working groups.
The key feature is the rim contour design that’s intended for safety and to make tyre installation and removal easy. It has tall sidewalls (5.2mm), a central groove (4.5mm radius), and 0.25mm ‘humps’ between that central groove and the rest of the rim that allow you to roll on a flat tyre without it coming off.
Mavic says that you can mount one of its Yksion UST tyres on a Road UST wheel without the need for tools, and easily inflate it with a standard floor pump. The tyre will lock in place fully with as little as 3.2 bar (46.4psi) pressure in there.
Removing the Mavic tyres from its wheels is said to be easy with tools (we’ve not tried this, we’re just reporting the claim) and possible without tools if you have a little skill.
Mavic says that you can use a non-Mavic tubeless tyre on a Mavic UST wheel but it can be harder to fit and potentially unsafe. It says that the same is true of using a Mavic UST tyre on a non-Mavic tubeless wheel. Not surprisingly, it says that the best combination is a Mavic UST tyre on a Mavic UST wheel... but you could have guessed that!
To be fair, the hope is that other brands will adopt the same standards so there will be more compatible wheels and tyres over time.
Mavic’s Yksion UST tyres (available in 25mm and 28mm widths and produced with Hutchinson, feature an “all-new and exclusive rubber compound [called 11 Storm that] achieves the best balance of grip and low rolling resistance”. Mind you, pretty much every tyre brand claims that.
What are the benefits of switching to tubeless?
It means no friction between inner tube and tyre and Mavic says that this results in a faster rolling system. Removing the inner tube and running your tyres at the same pressure as before lowers rolling resistance by 15%, according to Mavic. It also says that a tubeless tyre will roll faster than an equivalent tyre/inner tube system if you reduce the pressure 1 bar/ 15psi, and that lower pressure will result in increased comfort.
There’s also a slight weight benefit. A Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL UST tubeless system (wheelset, tyre, valve and sealant) is 1,980g compared with 2,020g for an equivalent tyre/inner tube setup. That’s a saving of 40g – not massive, but it all counts.
Plus, running tubeless gives you extra flat protection and the opportunity to continue riding even if you do get a flat.
This is the full range of Mavic Road UST wheels. Some will be available from June, others from August.
|Comete Pro Carbon SL Disc||£1,848.00|
|Comete Pro Carbon SL||£1,760.00|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Disc||£1,848.00|
|Cosmic Pro Carbon SL||£1,760.00|
|Cosmic Elite Disc||£419.00|
|Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL Disc||£1,848.00|
|Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL||£1,760.00|
|Ksyrium Pro Disc||£859.00|
|Ksyrium Elite Disc||£569.00|
|Allroad Elite RB||TBC|
Open Pro rims for rim brakes and disc brakes (£60) will be UST compliant too.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, 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 past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.