Mavic Ksyrium Pro SL T review£1,575.00

The Ksyrium goes carbon

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New for 2016, the 14 variants of Mavic’s Ksyrium wheels now include carbon rims too. Billed as the lightest Ksyrium ever, the Pro Carbon SL is available in clincher and tubular versions, and for rim or disc brakes.

Our tubular set came with skewers and SwissStop yellow brake pads, and just exceeded their claimed 1190g weight at 1228g. Add 110g for the skewers and they’re still astonishingly light. They’re supplied with Mavic’s 25mm Griplink and Powerlink 260g tubeless tubulars, made by Tufo in the Czech Republic.

Mavic’s new 320g carbon tubular rim is just 25mm tall for agility, though its 23mm width is 3mm up on the previous generation and can accommodate 25mm to 32mm tyres, Mavic says.

The wheels' reactivity and acceleration are excellent:
The wheels' reactivity and acceleration are excellent:

Our set tipped the scales at 1228g, just beyond the 1190g claimed weight

The Ksyrium’s signature broad-bladed alloy spokes have been swapped for slim double-butted steel, with square alloy nipples. Both hub bodies and axles are also alloy, and the new Instant Drive 360 (ID360) rear hub is Mavic’s lightest ever, with 9-degree engagement. This means almost instant drive when pedalling out of corners, and with great lateral stiffness and superlight rims, that’s a good thing.

Reactivity and acceleration are excellent, and maintaining speed feels very efficient. In terms of aero, Mavic says only that it ‘was a design consideration’, and the bullet-nosed shape always feels planted, stable and very nimble. Something so feathery makes everything seem easier, and we zipped up our local climbs in a higher gear than usual, throwing in a few unusually sharp accelerations... just because.

We set the brake pads further from the rim than usual to avoid minor rub under heavy loads, but there was still good braking force. Mavic has used a resin it says exceeds the most extreme cycling heat parameters, and claims its wheels stop faster than anyone’s. On fast, dry descents, the brakes gave instant confidence and fine feel, with no squealing or grabbing. They’re still good in the wet, but you need to be bold and pull hard to get the best from them.

Mavic’s new tyres, while we're on the subject, are a huge improvement, and play their part when it comes to cornering and deceleration. They roll fast and grip progressively, though the rubber wears quicker than some and they aren’t the most supple tubulars, likely due to the rubberised sidewalls of their tubeless design.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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