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The new classic.
Mavic has spent a lot of time over the last decade developing its softgoods game—jerseys, shoes, bibs, and the like. The brand has enjoyed some impressive success on that front, but for many of us in the Competitive office, we still associate the yellow label primarily with wheels, and perhaps no wheel is better known, ridden, and beloved than the Ksyrium Elite. It's only fitting, then, that Mavic includes it in its new lineup of comically user-friendly tubeless wheels, and the Ksyrium Elite UST Tubeless Wheelset promise to teach an entirely new generation of cyclists why the OG Ksyrium Elite played such a formative role in older cyclists' lives in the saddle. 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. 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 more 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. (But we never let that stop us from making questionable decisions.) The 17mm width pairs perfectly with the new trend of 25mm tires, whereas the wider 19mm disc brake version wants bigger tires that may be too fat to clear a proper road machine.
- A classic wheelset transitions into the new tubeless era
- Tubeless tires provides a cushier ride and fewer flats
- Unrivaled UST design mounts like standard clincher tires
- Freehub similar to those found on high-end custom wheels
- ISM 4D rim machining sheds grams without sacrificing reliability
- Rim width ideal for the new racing standard of 25mm tires
- Includes pre-mounted Mavic Yksion Pro UST tires and sealant
- Item #MAV00J1