The Elite is the closest descendent of 1999’s original Ksyrium, which for many years was the benchmark wheelset. Mavic has been constantly refining them since then and for 2016 has given the Elites a new-look rim. It uses an updated version of Mavic’s interspoke-milling process (ISM 4D) that shaves away even more metal without sacrificing strength at the spoke junctions, resulting in rims that are said to weigh 405g each.
The rims have also increased in width. For a company that’s so often been at the cutting-edge of development, Mavic has been cautious in its adoption of the ‘wider is better’ maxim. The French company has followed the ETRTO (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation) recommendations for rim and tyre widths, which say that a 17mm internal width is sufficient for rubber up to 28mm wide. As such, the new Ksyrium Elites are 17mm internally and 22mm externally. The 2mm internal increase helps spread a 25mm tyre profile further, resulting in an 18% increase in air volume.
The rims are made from Mavic’s own Maxtal alloy and are 25mm tall (26.5mm at the spokes). Claimed weight for the wheelset is 1,550g, but ours came in at 1594g, plus another 126g for the quick-release skewers. Mavic’s Fore Drilling process means the spoke nipples are screwed into the rim’s inner face, leaving the rim bed completely intact. This means the rims are much stronger but also eliminates the need for rim tape, which helps to save a few more grams.
But how do they perform? Well, the Ksyrium has always been an all-rounder wheelset, and the new Elites continue in that vein, with an excellent balance of strength and speed. They’re not the lightest wheels in that class any more, but maintain their competitive edge, feeling taut and lively. A few prods on the pedals incites a rapid reaction from and an instant increase in speed, though the braking tracks did have a slightly sharp edge.
The Elites also come with Mavic’s 25mm Griplink front and Powerlink rear clincher tyres. Previous versions were slated for lacking grip, but these are a real improvement and their greater volume has been shown to reduce rolling resistance by 13% compared to narrower tyres inflated to the same pressure.
In short Mavic has taken all that was good about the original Ksyriums and updated them to and produce a great value, versatile pair of wheels.