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.
> Buy now: Mavic Aksium wheelset from Merlin Cycles for £169.99
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A great budget choice with serviceable hubs and a decent weight
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Make and model: Mavic Aksium wheelset
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.
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?
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)
Pair without tyre: 1840 grams
Front without tyre: 845 grams
Rear without tyre: 995 grams
Front and rear bodies: aluminum
Axle material: steel
Sealed cartridge bearings (QRM)
Freewheel: FTS-L steel
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
ETRTO size: 622x17C
Internal width: 17 mm
Height: 21 mm
Valve hole diameter: 6.5 mm
Material: S6000 Aluminum
Brake track: UB Control
Shape: straght pull, round (front and rear non drive side) and straight pull, flat (rear drive side)
Nipples: steel, ABS
Shape: straight pull, round
Lacing: radial front and rear non-drive side, crossed 2 rear drive side
Count: 20 front and rear
BR101 quick releases
Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
The overall feel is of quality product, assembled right.
Rate the wheel for performance:
Slight need for truing the front wheel after a while, nothing major.
Rate the wheel for durability:
Need for truing aside, they still look and feel like new.
Rate the wheel for weight
They aren't the lightest, that's for sure.
Rate the wheel for value:
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?
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.
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.
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