18th January 2017

Mavic Wheels: The ultimate bike upgrade


If you own a decent road bike and you want to make it better, the most profound upgrade we’d recommend for most riders is a good set of wheels. That’s why we are proud to announce that from 2017 we are expanding our range from THE bicycle wheel company – Mavic.

Mavic were the first bike company to begin manufacturing ‘system wheels’, that is, wheels where all the components are created under one roof, as opposed to cobbled together from various manufacturers’ parts. The result is wheels that are lighter, stronger, and provide flex-free power transfer. Read more on system wheels…

Consider just a few highlights from their illustrious history

1926: Mavic manufactured the first aluminium alloy bicycle rims. This innovation knocked around 450g off the weight of an otherwise identical steel-rim bike and simultaneously improved its braking performance.

1934: Mavic introduced the Dura rim – an alloy rim reinforced with steel eyelets to better support the spokes.

Antonin Magne won the Tour de France riding on Mavic Dura rims. These rims were painted to look like wood to get round the UCI rules, which disallowed alloy rims as an unfair advantage.

bike wheel building machine at mavic

A peek inside the Mavic factory reveals an array of machines straight out of The Matrix.

A Tour de France winner bending the rules? Imagine that.

1973: Mavic introduced free, neutral mechanical assistance at Paris-Nice – a tradition they continue to this day at amateur and professional events up to Tour de France level.

1975: Mavic created their first radial bearings hub – the beautifully polished Mavic 500 – a smooth spinning hardwearing hub that matched the quality of their rims.

1996: Mavic launched the Helium wheelset, which is generally regarded as the original system-built wheelset, factory built as a whole entity. Optimised for road mountain stages, the Helium offered minimum weight without compromising lateral stiffness.

The Helium pioneered straight-pull spokes, which eliminated the elbow – the weak link on most spokes. Both the rim and the hub were drilled specifically to support these spokes to minimise stress and maximise longevity. This reinforcement enabled Mavic to build the wheels with fewer spokes (26 spokes at the front and 28 at the back instead of the usual 32) and to specify a stiffer lighter rim to reduce weight.

1999 – Mavic took the Helium design and built on it to create the Ksyrium.

Here, Mavic introduced a new IsoPulse hub with bladed oversized Maxtal spokes that were threaded directly (no spoke nipples required) into the equally new FORE rim to create a significantly stiffer wheel that was competitively light.

When the wheel is this laterally stiff, it helps eliminate brake rub and speed-robbing flex. That way the wheel can more efficiently perform its primary job of converting every ounce of your effort into forward motion.

A Tour de France winning design from the start, the Ksyrium has evolved over the years and is still considered the benchmark all-rounder road bike wheel design to this day.

1999 – UST Tubeless – Mavic worked in close co-operation with their two compatriots, Michelin and Hutchinson, to create the Crossmax UST – the first mountain bike wheel / tubeless tyre system, which enabled riding at lower pressures for improved traction without risking blowouts caused by pinching.

Today, the smooth rolling, puncture resistant benefits of tubeless technology is now crossing over successfully to road tyres too.

2010 – Wheel / Tyre Systems – having pioneered the wheel system concept, the logical progression for Mavic was to design tyres, which exactly match the profile of the rim to optimise performance.

Today, more and more of Mavic’s better wheels come supplied ready fitted with Mavic Yksion tyres.

Mavic acronyms and initials

Here’s a selection of the acronyms and initials Mavic have employed since they were founded in the 19th Century.

MAVIC means Manufacture d’Articles Vélocipediques Idoux et Chanel named after the initials of the surnames of company founders, Charles Idoux and Lucien Chanel.

QRM (Qualité de Roulements) Silky smooth rolling double sealed cartridge bearing hubs are a feature of even Mavic’s least expensive wheels.

ISOPULSE – Super rigid spokes are direct laced into the rigid hub body to keep spoke tension as even as possible and to transmit power directly from the hub to the rim.

SUP (Soudé Usiné Process) – here the rim joint is welded then milled for a smooth seamless finish to ensure the rim is absolutely true and the braking surface is judder free.

UB Control (Usiné Brut Control) the rim’s braking surface is milled to create a more effective braking surface with a smoother joint.

FTS Force Transfer System – Mavic’s lighter weight aluminium rear freehub is internally reinforced with stainless steel inserts at the pawl-to-hub body contact area to ensure longevity and fast, consistent engagement.

FORE – Only one wall of the rim is drilled to take the spoke. This strengthens the overall rim structure and improves rigidity.

HH – The rims are ‘Hammer Hardened’ where the spokes exert greatest stress.

Shop Mavic Wheels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × two =