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Tradition meets innovation.
The name Ksyrium has come to be synonymous with reliability, value, and tradition. Unfortunately, a world of ever expanding rim widths and tire mounting options means that tradition became something of an albatross around the neck. The Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST Tubeless Disc Brake Wheelset bridges the gap between tradition and innovation, combining classic Ksyrium reliability with disc brakes, a generous rim width, and what may be the easiest tubeless mounting operation we've ever seen. They're slightly heavier than the Ksyrium Pro version, but it's hard to fault them a few grams when the steel spokes and virtually indestructible rim mean that, in the off chance you knock them out of true or snap a spoke, any bike shop or competent home mechanic the world over will be able to quickly get them rolling again.
The key changes denoted by the UST designation are almost all at the rim, but the hubs bear a brief mention first. First, they're equipped for disc brakes, which have the kind of modulation and high-end stopping power that benefits riders in dusty, wet, or heavily laden touring conditions. Second, the Ksyrium Elite UST is among the first alloy wheelsets to roll out of the factory on the Instant Drive 360 freehub, which debuted in spring of 2016 on Mavic's first full carbon wheels. We were instantly won over by the new design, but the bar for entry was pretty high considering the price of the carbon wheels. Now, Mavic is lacing its most trusted training hoops to it, so the Instant Drive 360 hub is available for everyone from dedicated racers looking for spring training wheels or the dedicated recreationalist who appreciates the nuances of finely manufactured kit.
The Instant Drive 360 engagement mechanism replaces the usual pawl system with the dual-ratcheting rings formally found only in designer hubs on custom hand-builts. The design involves two rings that press together laterally. One face of the rings' teeth are sloped, so they ramp off each other while freewheeling. The other face isn't, so the rings' teeth lock to engage with pedal input. The design cuts the engagement angle down to nine degrees, a number we might expect to see on a mountain bike hub but are pleasantly surprised to find on the road.
Mavic's tubeless genius makes the rim the star here, though, and the reason why becomes apparent early in the process of mounting the tires. We all love the lower rolling resistance, cushier ride, and increased puncture resistance of tubeless tires, but getting them on and inflated is an admitted hassle that's left a lot of us sticking with traditional tubes. Mavic's road UST design virtually eliminates any of these misgivings. The tires pop-on without tire levers, and they inflate without a compressor, CO2, or high-volume floor pump. Just use the same beat-up old pump you've been repairing the hose on for years—though we do recommend sticking with Mavic's UST-specific tires, which come stock on the rims.
The key to the ease of mounting and inflation is typical Mavic. It involves an obsessive R&D cycle that established tolerances to within a millimeter; a hair in either direction would mean the tire would either be nigh impossible to mount but virtually immune to burping or easy to mount with a tendency to roll off in corners. Traditionally, wheel and tire manufacturers have defaulted to the former for obvious reasons; however, Mavic didn't accept the trade-off, and the reason it took so long to join the road tubeless game is because it wasn't satisfied until it had addressed the most common critique of reliably safe tire/rim interfaces.
We mentioned the differences between the Ksyrium Elite and Ksyrium Pro models above, but there are also some changes that separate the disc brake version from the rim brake one. The disc brake rim is wider, sitting at 19mm internally, while the rim brake version is bit narrower at 17mm. The reasons are mostly about the frames and surfaces each wheel is intended for. The disc brake rim is meant for straying into gravel and even light singletrack, while the rim brake version is primarily meant for road use. This rim's 19mm width pairs perfectly with 25 to 32mm tires, making it a great option for comfort and traction on gravel and efficiency on smooth tarmac.
- The ultimate beat-'em-up wheel for all-terrain adventures
- Tubeless tires provides a cushier ride and fewer flats
- Unrivaled UST design mounts like standard clincher tires
- Disc brakes provide confident modulation in almost all conditions
- Freehub similar to those found on high-end custom wheels
- ISM 4D rim machining sheds grams without sacrificing reliability
- Rim width ideal for tires from 25 to 32mm
- Includes pre-mounted Mavic Yksion Pro UST tires and sealant
- Item #MAV00J0
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
This is the best tubeless interface I've ever seen. All that talk in the product description about tool- and compressor-free setup is no joke—it's easier to install tubeless tires on these than it is to install clinchers and tubes on Campy's alloy wheels. (Looking at you, Neutron Ultras.) Mavic is becoming the king of wheels again, and this is why.
I write a lot of reviews, and I rarely award five stars, but Mavic's UST interface warrants it.
Is the rear wheel convertible from thru axle?