For 2018 Mavic's highly dependable all-rounder, the Ksyrium Elite, has become tubeless, using the French company's UST system like much of the range. The wheels have maintained their lightweight, durable persona from previous models and are still great to ride whether you are racing or tackling the club run, with a little bit of future proofing. A welcome addition is that the Yksion Pro UST tyres are a lot better than the non-tubeless versions I tested a couple of years ago.
- Pros: Decent weight, well built, tyre/wheel combo works well together
- Cons: Erm...
It's not a new thing for Mavic to include tyres in its wheel packages; the company has been doing that with its tubed wheelsets for years but with its tubeless setup, UST, it's taken this to the next level, controlling the marriage between rim and rubber to the nth degree.
Mat gives the full lowdown here on the introduction of UST and what it involves, but just to give you a little snippet, '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.'
The wheels arrived at the office with the tyres fitted, and after reading Mat's write-up I tested the wheels for a bit with another brand of tyre, the Ere Research Genus, to test compatibility as Mavic recommends only using its own tyres with the wheels, and everything was fine. The Eres popped onto the rim without hassle and stayed seated throughout the riding with no issues.
The same can be said for the Mavic tyres. Inflation was smooth and simple, with the Yksions sitting snuggly against the rim of the wheel with just the use of a standard track pump, and there were no leaks of sealant anywhere.
Get a grip
When I tested the non-tubeless Ksyrium Elites back in 2016, my biggest – well, only – gripe was the tyres. They seriously lacked grip, especially in the wet, and puncture proofing was pretty poor.
These UST versions are way, way better, offering loads of grip. Something I found out on pretty much the only rainy day of the test period.
After about four weeks of no precipitation, the Sunday's weather was looking downright biblical and as a rider who thrives in the extremes of weather I had to get out for a play.
Shaftesbury, in Dorset, is one of the highest towns in England, and in the direction I would need to head for home there is a lovely twisty descent for a good half a mile, with fowing bends, some tightening up mid-way through. If you're brave enough to stay off the brakes, 50mph is easily achievable.
I took the first couple of turns cautiously, just to gauge some feel, but I was already touching 40mph and the cars behind had realised I was probably going to be quicker through this section than they were and had backed right off. Time to relax.
With speed and confidence growing with each corner, I was taking more and more risks, and to say I was impressed with the Yksion Pros would be an understatement. Grip and feedback were spot on, and if I did break traction, a little shift in power or body position easily saw them come back under control.
A classic all-rounder
Anyway, back to the wheels – after all, they are the main part of the package.
At 1,532g without tyres (2,101g with tyres and valves) they are light enough to be exciting on the climbs or under acceleration, and their stiffness certainly backs that up; you won't get any flex or brake rub here.
It is a really solid wheelset as well, you can feel that just by the way they roll. Covering rough stretches of tarmac doesn't see them rattling you about and if they do whack a pothole you get an assuring thud rather than the crack sound you get from alloy wheels.
The Ksyrium Elites feel like they have the durability of a training wheel with the performance of a race one.
The techy stuff
For the rims Mavic uses its exclusive Maxtal aluminium alloy, which it says gives a higher strength to weight ratio than the 6061 grade more commonly used in wheel manufacturing.
Weight is removed by machining material away from the spoke bed in between where the nipples are, and while it isn't quite as striking as the exposed aluminium found on earlier models it does give the wheels that cool wavy look.
Mavic has gone for differing depths for the front and rear, 24mm and 26mm respectively.
A lot of wheels coming in for test at road.cc tend to be for disc brakes, so it's a real pleasure to see the simplicity of the radial spoking design on the Ksyrium front wheel, which uses just 18 spokes.
The rear has 20 of the double butted, straight pull, flat spokes in a radial pattern on the non-drive side, with a two-cross setup for the drive side.
Hub-wise, Mavic uses an all-alloy affair for both the body and the axle. The flanges are pretty large to take the loads and they run very smoothly indeed.
Up until the arrival of these, I was still running the 2016 Ksyrium Elites on my wet weather bike and the hub bearings are still running as smoothly as the day they were fitted, so I don't see any issues arising with these. They are adjustable and Mavic even chucks in the tool but I haven't had to touch the earlier version at all, even with about 6,000 miles on the clock.
For the freehub, Mavic has gone for a steel body and it is holding up well to wear and tear. There are no significant grooves on the splines from hard acceleration, from the cassette digging in.
Carbon fibre wheels are getting ever cheaper and for £600 you can pick up a decent set of deep-section clinchers like the CES Sport RC50s.
So why go for aluminium? Well, it's a great material and just like frames it has come a long way in the last few years in terms of weight and strength.
The Ksyrium Elites are light, aren't affected by crosswinds and the braking is absolutely spot on regardless of the weather conditions.
You can get a lot of wheels at a similar weight cheaper than the £539 price tag here, but let's break it down a bit. The UST tyres would set you back £40-£50 each, plus you get enough sealant chucked in to do both tyres and plenty left over for topping them up.
Compare that to the Ritchey Classic Zetas, for instance, at £569, which are bloody good wheels by the way, or the £539.99 Deda Elementi Zero2 wheels that aren't even tubeless and don't come with tyres.
If you want a set of wheels to tackle a bit of everything, then the Ksyrium Elites are hard to fault, and while you can get cheaper this is a solid package that'll give you real peace of mind.
They've always been good, but with better tyres and being tubeless, it's a very impressive package indeed
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST wheelset
Size tested: 25mm tyres
Tell us what the wheel is for
Mavic says, "The Ksyrium Elite road wheel has been a benchmark for reliability, light weight and versatility for more than a decade. This updated version makes it easier than ever to experience the benefits of riding tubeless. Integrated with our Yksion Pro UST Tubeless tires, the system makes installation, removal and maintenance simple and hassle-free. Eliminating the tube reduces friction in the system, which means less rolling resistance and higher speeds. You can also lower your tire pressure, which gives you a smoother, more comfortable ride plus added control on rough roads. And you'll enjoy a reduced risk of punctures, so you can ride with confidence and push yourself farther.
The rims are engineered with our patented Fore Drilling to form a stronger connection between the spokes and the rim. Isopulse lacing improves stability and boosts lateral stiffness while sprinting or climbing. Our exclusive patented ISM 4D process strategically removes excess material from the rim while maintaining it around the spokes, where tension is applied.
The wheel is available in three color options: full black; gray on black; black with red highlights."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Rear axle: Quick Release only
Front axle: Quick Release only
Freewheel: Shimano/Sram, convertible to Campagnolo with optional driver body
Compatible Adapters and freewheel bodies
FTS-L Campagnolo freewheel body (30871201)
FTS-L Shimano / Sram freewheel body (30871101 - Delivered on the wheel)
Tyre 700x25: 260 grams
Pair without tyre: 1520 grams
Front without tyre: 665 grams
Rear without tyre: 855 grams
Front and rear bodies: aluminum
Axle material: aluminum
Adjustable sealed cartridge bearings (QRM+)
Freewheel: FTS-L steel
For a longer longevity of the wheel, Mavic recommends that the total weight supported by the wheels don't exceed 120kg, bike included
ASTM CATEGORY 2 : road and offroad with jumps less than 15cm
Max. Pressure tubeless: 25mm 7 bars - 100 PSI, 28mm 6 bars - 87 PSI. Max pressure tubetype: 25/28mm 7,7 bars - 110 PSI
Recommended tyre sizes: 25 to 32 mm
ETRTO size: 622x17TC ROAD
Height: front 24mm, rear 26 asymmetrical
Weight reduction: ISM 4D
Internal width: 17 mm
Valve hole diameter: 6.5 mm
Brake track: UB Control
Shape: straight pull, flat, double butted
Nipples: Fore integrated aluminum
Lacing: front radial, rear Isopulse
Count: front 18, rear 20
Front and Rear Tread: 11 Storm single compound
Yksion Pro UST
UST Tubeless Ready
Dimension: 25-622 (700x25c)
Breaker: Polyamide, from bead to bead
Casing: 127 TPI
Color: Black only
Tyre sealant syringe
Mavic tyre sealant (rear wheel)
Multifonction adjustment wrench
BR301 quick releases
UST valve and accessories
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Yes, spoke tension was great throughout and they haven't moved a millimetre.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Really easy. Drop the sealant in and pump up with a standard track pump for an instant seal.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
You are getting quite a package for the money with tubeless tyres, sealant and valves all included in the price. It all worked absolutely fine.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's part of Mavic's endurance range and it covers pretty much every base.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
A really solid feel to them, like you could trust them to take a whack or two.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
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
If you want a tough, light set of wheels then the Ksyrium Elites are hard to fault; add a decent set of tubeless tyres, sealant and valves into the equation and they really can't be knocked.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike 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: 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.