By Jim Weaver
Service Manager, Waitsfield, VT
With the recent proliferation of road, endurance/gravel bikes and cyclocross bikes with disc brakes, wheel manufacturers have been introducing new disc brake wheelsets at a swift pace. Mavic, arguably the oldest bicycle wheel manufacturer, released two new clincher disc brake compatible wheels for 2015, designed specifically for use on the road or for cyclocross.
The first pair of wheels in Mavic’s disc brake line is the Aksium One Disc. The Mavic Aksium One is the disc brake version of Mavic’s entry-level Aksium road wheel. The Mavic Aksium has provided reliable and sturdy (if not particularly light) service for many years now. Adapting the Mavic Aksium wheelset to disc brakes is a natural progression, and makes high quality disc brake wheels available to the “entry level”. The rims on the Mavic Aksium One Disc are specifically designed for use with disc brakes, meaning that the usual braking surface on the sidewall of the rim has been eliminated. The rim of the Mavic Aksium One Disc is constructed of S6000 aluminum and is 22mm tall with an internal width at the tire bead (as measured by our calipers) of 17.2 mm. The rim is of a more conventional design than Mavic’s higher end wheels, meaning that the spokes do not thread into the rim but rather are attached to the rim with conventional spoke nipples, accessed through holes in the tire bed of the double wall rim. Spokes on the Mavic Aksium One Disc are traditional round steel construction and laced in a 2-cross pattern front and rear and the aluminum hub has serviceable and well-sealed cartridge bearings. The wheel can be ordered to accept either a 6 bolt brake rotor or Shimano’s centerlock design and the wheels use a traditional quick release, not a thru axle. The rims can accept tires of up to a whopping 52 mm wide and a pair of Mavic Aksium One Disc wheels weighs 1,965 grams – 140 grams heavier than the rim brake Mavic Aksium One. This may seem heavy, but for wheels in this price category this is respectable, especially considering that the hub is for disc wheels, of necessity, a heavier design. If you are looking for an entry level durable disc road or cyclocross wheelset, the Mavic Aksium One will not let you down and at right around $300 a pair won’t break the bank.
The second pair of wheels for disc brake use that Mavic has introduced for 2015 is the higher end Mavic’s Ksyrium Pro Disc. The standard Mavic Ksyrium has been one of our best selling wheels year-in and year out, and for good reason. The basic Mavic Ksyrium design has been around for quite a long time, and has gone through many tweaks and improvements through the years. However, one thing that has not changed is that the Mavic Ksyrium line has remained tough, reliable, competitively light and easy to service at each respective price point. Upon examination, there is much about the disc brake version of this venerable, but still top-notch, wheel that is familiar, as the rim, spokes, and hubs all bear the hallmarks of its rim brake brethren.
The rim of the Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc is made of Maxtal, Mavic’s proprietary aluminum alloy, with an arc welded joint to maximize strength while being as round as possible. The Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc is milled between the spokes to reduce weight, just like the standard Ksyrium, but the rim is shaped and constructed specifically for use with disc brakes – meaning that there is no braking surface machined into the sidewall. Just like the Mavic Ksyrium SLS, the rim is double-layered, meaning that there are no spoke holes in the rim bead where the tire rests, and the spokes thread directly into the rim. This feature makes any of the Mavic Ksyrium wheels pretty easy to convert for use with tubeless tires if desired. The Zicral aluminum alloy spokes of the Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc are bladed and the front wheel is radially laced while the rear, as is normal with Ksyrium, is radially laced on the non-drive side, and laced in a 2-cross pattern on the drive side. The rims are 26 mm deep, and have an inner width of 14.4 mm at the tire bead – on the narrower side of the rim options currently available.
The hubs on the Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc are similar to the Mavic Ksyrium SLS as well, but designed for the disc brake mount, of course. The front hub sports a carbon fiber body with aluminum flanges while the less visible rear hub body is made exclusively of aluminum. The hubs front and rear have cartridge bearings with Mavic’s simple adjustable preload mechanism. The cassette body is easy to service, a real plus on Mavic wheels as they ideally should be cleaned and lubed annually. The hubs accept either 6 bolt brake rotors, or Shimano’s centerlock rotors. The rear axle will only accept a quick release, while the front wheel will accept either a quick release or a 15mm thru axle. The Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc wheels, without tires, weigh 1,535 grams while the rim brake Ksyrium SLS wheelset weighs 1,395 grams. As both the Aksium One Disc and the Ksyrium Pro Disc each weigh 140 grams more than their rim brake siblings, that gives you a good idea of how much additional weight is added to a wheel to make it usable with disc brakes, and one of the reasons why disc brake equipped bikes are going to weigh more than rim brake equipped bikes.
The Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc wheels come with Mavic’s own Yksion tires, in a 25 mm width, but will accept most any 700c tire up to 32mm in width. Since tires and wheels must work in tandem, Mavic views the tire and the wheel as a system, not separate components, and has therefore designed tires to work specifically with their rims. The Mavic tires are even front and rear specific with the Powerlink on the rear, and the Griplink on the front. The price, for the Mavic Ksyrium Pro Disc wheels and tires, is $1,250.
Mavic has now brought their considerable expertise and experience to the realm of road disc brakes. If you are considering moving to a bike with disc brakes, an upgrade from the stock wheelset to the either of the Mavics would be a worthwhile move and if you just need a new pair of wheels for your existing cross or road disc bike, the Mavic Aksium One Disc and Ksyrium Pro Disc are worth a look. To learn more about either, stop into a Fit Werx bike shop location outside of Boston, MA, in Ridgefield Park, NJ (near NYC) or near Stowe and Burlington, VT in Waitsfield.