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Verdict: 
A great budget choice with serviceable hubs and a decent weight
Weight: 
1,840g
Contact: 

The Mavic Aksium is the French brand's entry-level wheelset for standard QR frames. At £209 (often much cheaper online, but be quick as prices are rising thanks to the pound falling in value) and 1,840g for the pair, they represent good value for money if you need decent wheels on a budget.

  • Pros: Price, trickle-down technology, 17mm bed for wider tyres, serviceability
  • Cons: Weight, no rim wear indicators

For many years Mavic's Aksium has been a staple of entry-level road cycling, generally the first stop on the low-cost factory-specced wheelset upgrade path. Way back in 2010 Mat reviewed a previous incarnation – priced at £199 with a weight of 1,964g. So in the intervening nine years they've shed 124g (the weight of an iPhone 6) and risen in sticker price by £10. The UK's official inflation figures for 2010-19 put the relative modern-day value of that £199 price at £252, so the fact that the new Aksiums are both 6.3% lighter and the equivalent of £43 cheaper – a reduction of 17% on the 2010 price in today's terms – is quite something.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Mat's only real concern was that the front went rather out of true after the fourth ride; once corrected on the roadside they then remained true. In this respect I found them to be pretty good – after quite a few gravelly miles on both my cyclo-cross bike shod with knobblies and then Scotland's finest Highland roads on a road bike, the front wheel required a small tweak to line back up: five minutes with a 3.3 spoke key and job done. Noting I only saw the wobble in a truing stand – it wasn't noticeable out riding. The rear remained true.

Mavic Aksium wheelset - spoke nipple.jpg

The build look and quality belies the budget price – Aksiums are handbuilt in Romania, the branding is relatively restrained, and the straight-pull, radially laced spoke pattern looks nice.

Mavic Aksium wheelset - rim.jpg

Rated for 120kg bike+rider, the 20-spoke count front and rear points towards keeping weight down possibly at the expense of long-term thrashability. These aren't the wheels for loaded touring or a larger rider smashing about the place, but for average weights on smoothish roads they should be fine.

Mavic Aksium wheelset - front hub.jpg

For this Everyman's wheelset I fitted the Everyman's tyre choice – Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons in 28mm. I've put in many many thousands of miles on these over the years, and when fitted to the Mavics they didn't disappoint in terms of grip or handling – everything was on track and upright. The 17mm rim bed suited them perfectly, measuring a smidge over 27mm at 75psi – Conti tyres are a bit of a turkey-shoot when it comes to measured-vs-advertised widths, and true to form the GP 4 Seasons measured a bit narrow on the Mavics. Fitting was a hassle-free affair, using thumbs only – as is right and proper for tubed tyres, where you don't want to be risking nipping the tube with a tyre lever.

Mavic Aksium wheelset - rim bed.jpg

After a bunch of miles with the GP 4 Seasons I set them up tubeless, fitting René Hearse Steilacooms with one layer of tape, while Hutchinson Sector 28s needed two layers to seal up nicely – the rule of thumb being, if you can easily slip the tyre on the rim uninflated, add another layer. Once up, they held air fine. They aren't branded as 'tubeless-ready', so if you do go this route, as for any tubeless setup, be sure to perform the 2 x over-max-pressure test to ensure there's no chance of the bead popping off (inflate to twice what you ride, and leave overnight). Best do this without sealant, obvs, otherwise be prepared for a big cleanup job if they let go.

With the Aksiums' indicated internal width of 17mm, measured at an actual 16.5mm, the Hutch 28s came up bang on 28mm. That 17mm means you'll likely run out of brake calliper clearance before you run out of support for a wider tyre – Mavic recommends a maximum of 32mm.

> What width tyres are best for you?

On the road the Aksiums felt fine – no evident flex sprinting out of the saddle, nor brake rub when squeezing the brakes a bit to bring the pads in. Braking using Kool-Stop salmon-coloured pads was predictable and effective, wet or dry.

The Aksiums don't come with any sort of rim wear indicator, so best keep an eye on them and follow best practice as recommended by Dave here.

There's a definite sound to the Aksiums – somewhere between the rumble of a carbon rim and the quiet whoosh of a deep aero – but that's likely unique to my particular carbon fork/alloy frame combo. The freehub is pretty much silent at riding speeds, so this isn't the pedestrian-alerting audio signature you're looking for in a commuting scenario.

Mavic Aksium wheelset - rear hub.jpg

The factory-installed Shimano/SRAM-compatible 11-speed freehub body is steel, meaning no concerns about cassettes eating into the splines. A Campagnolo freewheel is available from Mavic for about £40.

The unbranded skewers are effective and didn't bind up after muddy miles of use. The steel axle holds threaded bearing inserts, easily removed with a 13mm cone wrench and 17mm spanner to facilitate swapping out the readily available standard bearings (2 x 6001 for front, or 6001 + 608 for the rear). Being Mavic, there is excellent DIY documentation on its website, searchable by the serial number laser-etched into the rim.

One bonus of Mavic's design is, if you do snap a rear spoke, they are replaceable without removing the cassette. For anyone planning to ride long distances or travel with the bike this might be a good thing to factor in: not needing a chain whip/cassette remover tool.

Mavic Aksium wheelset - rear hub 2.jpg

Really, the only downside is that there are no rim wear dots or lines – you'll need to track wear yourself. Mavic recommends a maximum of 0.4mm wear (easy to measure using a pair of £5 Iwanson callipers).

All in all, for £209 list or often closer to £140 if you're fast, the Aksiums are a solid choice for decent, repairable QR wheels that will take a reasonably wide tyre and feel good doing so. They're not quite the excellent value they were – they're now a little more than the Alex ALX265 wheelset at £199.99 – but they're still pretty good.

Verdict

A great budget choice with serviceable hubs and a decent weight

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Mavic Aksium 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?

They're for everyday road riding, for people looking for a wallet-friendly upgrade or replacement wheelset.

Mavic says:

Smooth, efficient ride quality for everyday road riding.

17mm rim accommodates larger tire section for improved comfort.

Straight-pull spokes are stronger than J-bend options.

Engineered durability so you can ride more miles without service.

High quality cartridge bearings.

Pinned joint and reinforced drilling rim design.

Consistent and stable spoke lacing.

Designed with features and technologies that are typically reserved for premium race wheels, Aksium delivers quality performance for everyday road riding.

Features include straight-pull spokes for added strength and stiffness, and lightweight rims for a lively ride quality. The rims are now wider, which allows for increased air volume and a better fit for larger diameter tires (up to 32mm).

The hubs are incredibly tough, delivering high mileage and long-lasting dependability. And the QRM bearings are the smoothest in the category. It all adds up to a wheelset that delivers the high-quality ride that Mavic is known for.

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

From Mavic:

SPECIFICATIONS

Compatibility

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)

Weight

Pair without tyre: 1840 grams

Front without tyre: 845 grams

Rear without tyre: 995 grams

Hubs

Front and rear bodies: aluminum

Axle material: steel

Sealed cartridge bearings (QRM)

Freewheel: FTS-L steel

Intended Use

Max. Pressure: 23mm 8.7 bars - 125 psi, 25/28mm 7.7 bars - 110 psi

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 1 : road only

Recommended tyre sizes: 25 to 32 mm

Rims

ETRTO size: 622x17C

Drilling: traditional

Internal width: 17 mm

Height: 21 mm

Valve hole diameter: 6.5 mm

Joint: pinned

Material: S6000 Aluminum

Tyre: clincher

Brake track: UB Control

Spokes

Shape: straght pull, round (front and rear non drive side) and straight pull, flat (rear drive side)

Nipples: steel, ABS

Shape: straight pull, round

Material: steel

Lacing: radial front and rear non-drive side, crossed 2 rear drive side

Count: 20 front and rear

DELIVERED WITH

Rim tape

User guide

BR101 quick releases

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The overall feel is of quality product, assembled right.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
7/10

Slight need for truing the front wheel after a while, nothing major.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10

Need for truing aside, they still look and feel like new.

Rate the wheel for weight
 
6/10

They aren't the lightest, that's for sure.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
7/10

The rrp has risen by £30 since they came in for testing – at their previous £179 rrp they were great value, and many places still sell them for less than this.

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

After quite a few miles on and off-road, the front needed a slight tweak – nothing noticeable under braking.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

No issues.

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

Yep fine – again, no issues.

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

Impressively for the price.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Nothing in particular, except overall value for money. Maybe repairability.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Nothing. OK, if pushed, no rim wear indicator.

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

They're now a little more than the Alex ALX265 wheelset at £199.99, and you can get cheaper disc brake wheels – Shimano's RS170 Clincher Discs are £174.98 (for now), although Fulcrum's Racing 7 Disc Brake wheelset is £224.99.

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

For the money, if that's your budget, the Aksiums are a great choice.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is: Velocite Selene

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling.

10 comments

Avatar
DrG82 [252 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

I've been running these on my commuter bike for about a year now and despite looking after them fairly well, washing and lubing the bike regularly etc., and storing the bike inside the house, the spokes are rusting because they are only painted steel not stainless and the spoke nipples have corroded quite badly. It was a real effort to true the wheel after a small bump because of the corrosion on the nipples and the spokes spinning in the hub.
Maybe I should have bought something a bit less fancy and more robust.

Avatar
ridiculouscyclist [24 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
DrG82 wrote:

I've been running these on my commuter bike for about a year now and despite looking after them fairly well, washing and lubing the bike regularly etc., and storing the bike inside the house, the spokes are rusting because they are only painted steel not stainless and the spoke nipples have corroded quite badly. It was a real effort to true the wheel after a small bump because of the corrosion on the nipples and the spokes spinning in the hub. Maybe I should have bought something a bit less fancy and more robust.

Maybe you live near the sea? I've had a pair of Aksium's on my bike for about 2 years in sun, wind and rain. Must say they still look smashing, certainly no hint of rusty spokes, and they've done a lot of miles.

Avatar
DrG82 [252 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
ridiculouscyclist wrote:
DrG82 wrote:

I've been running these on my commuter bike for about a year now and despite looking after them fairly well, washing and lubing the bike regularly etc., and storing the bike inside the house, the spokes are rusting because they are only painted steel not stainless and the spoke nipples have corroded quite badly. It was a real effort to true the wheel after a small bump because of the corrosion on the nipples and the spokes spinning in the hub. Maybe I should have bought something a bit less fancy and more robust.

Maybe you live near the sea? I've had a pair of Aksium's on my bike for about 2 years in sun, wind and rain. Must say they still look smashing, certainly no hint of rusty spokes, and they've done a lot of miles.

I do cycle a bit near the sea but this hasn't been an issue with other bikes or wheels.

The better bike has funcrum 5LGs and the only commuter had cheapo shimano R500s which took an absolute pasting and were never looked after but never showed as much corrosion as the aksiums.

To be fair to them the hubs are still running smooth, which is better that the fulcrums which despite having sealed bearings took in water and required a bearing swap.

Avatar
Simon E [3783 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

The mechanics at my LBS don't have a lot of time for Aksiums.

I prefer Shimano wheels, which have been great for me. I must have covered about 15,000 miles on the RS10s in all seaons with barely a spoke tweak before I 'retired' the rear to the turbo trainer while I've not had to touch the s/h RS20s on the fair weather bike.

Avatar
roadmanshaq [60 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

I run the cheapest version of the Allroad, which is basically a beefed up Aksium that comes as tubeless ready stock and fits tyres 28-62mm.  For £225 and basically the same weight they're great wheels - disc only though.

Avatar
Joe Totale [167 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:

The mechanics at my LBS don't have a lot of time for Aksiums.

I prefer Shimano wheels, which have been great for me. I must have covered about 15,000 miles on the RS10s in all seaons with barely a spoke tweak before I 'retired' the rear to the turbo trainer while I've not had to touch the s/h RS20s on the fair weather bike.

Likewise my LBS also aren't keen on Mavic wheels in general due to all the proprietary nonsense Mavic use with their wheels. 

Shimano wheels are definitely the best off the shelf option if you want easily serviceable wheels although independent handbuilts should also be looked at. 

Avatar
KoenM [134 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

I've had like 3 pairs in my life, all came with bikes from Canyon or Rose, they are bombproof and for the money they are kind of light BUT I've given all my pairs away for free because they are so common that no ones wants to pay for it and I have better wheels myself.

Avatar
Fluffed [139 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes

I can't believe I had to scroll right to the bottom before I read the word 'bombproof', a shocking state of affairs in a cheap wheel review, smh, smh.

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Sniffer [664 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes

I managed to put a crack in the rim of the only set of Aksiums I have owned.

No bombs involved.

Avatar
cdamian [260 posts] 5 days ago
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My Canondale Synapse came with a set including Mavid tires.

The tires were pretty rubbish and were swapped after the first week.

The good thing about the wheels is that any other wheels you upgrade too will probably be lighter, so it is an easy way to save 300 to 500g.

I now use them on my commuter bike and they lasted quite a bit, but now the bearings are giving up. For this price it isn't really worth fixing them. I am upgrading to a similar priced set of Fulcrums which are also 300g lighter.