Mavic Ksyrium: Reinvented
If you’ve spent any time searching online for a used bike, chances are you’ve seen the contours of the Ksyrium SL. There was a time when it seemed half the wheels in the peloton were Mavic Ksyriums. Renowned for a lively, reactive, bulletproof ride the wheels were required equipment on thousands upon thousands of high-end road bikes. Their legendary reliability means you will find them on many of the used bikes on Bicycle Blue Book and they usually increase a used bike’s value significantly.
As carbon clinchers and in house brands have proliferated the Ksyrium has lost its place as the peloton’s go-to, do-it-all road wheel. While Mavic may not see those glory days again, they are fighting back, with the first truly all-new line of Ksyriums in almost ten years. While the new Ksyrium SLR features Exalith braking and R-Sys technology, it is the new Ksyrium SLS that is the true standard bearer, harking back to the Ksyrium’s hey-day.
The 2006 Ksyrium ES was a special edition, ultra-light Ksyrium SL. It weighed 1490grams. The new Ksyrium SLS does almost 100grams better at 1395grams for the set. New Mavic technology shaves weight yet manages to retain everything that made the original Ksyrium revolutionary. The 100grams the SLS shaves feels like even more thanks to where Mavic removed it. Inter-spoke milling took unnecessary material out of the original Ksyrium’s rim bed, now 3D inter-spoke milling removes unnecessary material from the rim wall to, making the hoop spin-up even faster. The SLS is also 15grams lighter than the new Ksyrium SLR, and $650 dollars cheaper.
Wide and flat Zicral spokes were a big part of the original Ksyrium’s reliability and reactivity and they play the same roll with the SLS, but again, Mavic has upped the ante, using new double butted alloy for a stiffer, lighter spoke with the same level of durability. Adjustable hubs with double sealed cartridge bearings, indestructible FORE spoke holes, Maxtal alloy and arc welded rim joints are all in attendance to ensure seasons of abuse will be shrugged off with dead straight performance.
Mavic Ksyriums have always been about lateral stiffness under big efforts and instantaneous reaction to the slightest increase in power and the new SLS is true to that heritage. It is also true to another Ksyrium staple, a rough ride thanks to a lot of the vertical stiffness, which is easily mitigated with some wider, high volume rubber. This does however lead to one sour note. The Ksyrium SLS is sold as a wheel/tire system with Mavic tires. The tires are well-constructed, light, roll endlessly and feature sticky shoulders, but they are very narrow- listed at 23mm they are actually 22mm at 100psi. This is just too narrow to get the most out of the SLS. If you are looking to upgrade a used bike purchase with a set of Ksyrium SLS wheels, buy a wider tire. If you find a late model used bike on Bicycle Blue Book check and see if the original owner has already swapped those tires. If not, you’ll need to.
Mavic Ksyrium SLS Price: $1150 Weight: 1395grams Includes: 23mm GripLink / PowerLink Tires.