Mavic Aksium wheelset - review - Road Cycling UK

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Mavic Aksium wheelset – review

Well-respected budget wheel lives up to reputation for reliable performance in worst winter conditions

The Mavic Aksium wheelset is strong, stiff, and reasonably light, and combines satisfying if not earth shattering performance with bomb-proof reliability that justifies its reputation as a ‘go to’ winter wheel for riders not tempted down the path of handbuilt hoops.

Our test period has coincided with some of the wettest weather witnessed in this country for generations, but nothing more than a regime of regular cleaning has been required to keep them running smoothly and true.

The Mavic Aksium wheelset lived up to its deserved reputation for bombproof reliabilty

The Aksium has an established reputation for excellence at a price point likely to appeal to riders on almost any budget and we found nothing in our test period to raise an argument to the contrary.

Rims

Rims are the area of a winter wheel likely to suffer most in the worst conditions of the year, where grit combines with water to create an adhesive grinding paste.

It’s early days in our acquaintance with the Aksium, but we’re pleased to be able to report barely noticeable signs of wear despite riding on almost exclusively wet and grimy roads. Anecdotal evidence from riding buddies places a lifespan of more than two winters on the Aksium’s rims.

The machined braking surface provided a stable platform for the Shimano long-drop units installed in the RCUK test rig. The hammer-hardened treatment around the spoke eyelets contributed to a robust rim construction that has so far shrugged off the debris prevalent on the roads at this time of year without complaint.

We commented on the steady rather than electrifying performance of the Aksium in our opening paragraph, and we’d identify the 24mm rim, as conventional as they come, as a contributing factor. If you’re looking for wind cheating, drag-reducing affairs, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Such weaponry is hardly seasonal however, and the Aksium’s performance was entirely in-keeping with the type of riding most of us will do at this time of year.

The Aksium’s rim does not offer the drag-defeating depth of the latest, deep section carbon hoops, but proved more than equal to the task of recording steady winter miles

Spokes

One of the Aksium’s many pleasing qualities is its stiffness, and the straight-pull aero bladed spokes played their part in delivering an almost flex-free ride.

There are stiffer wheels on the market of course, but for an off-the-shelf package at such an attractive price there was little to complain of from the Askium in terms of its rigidity.

Heavier riders will exert greater demands, but I suffered no issues with flex, and more, ahem, robustly built riding buddies concur that they are unlikely to squander your effort in sideways movement.

The 2:1 lacing pattern of the Mavic Aksium rear wheel delivered the required stiffness for a flex-free performance

The 20-spoke radial lacing in the front wheel bore its (admittedly low) burden lightly and gave an attractive appearance on the front end of the RCUK test rig.

The rear was no less pleasing aesthetically, with its 2:1 configuration placing the radial lacing on the non-driveside. The two-cross lacing on the driveside, and the taller hub flange are both likely to have been deployed in the name of greater stiffness in the section of the wheel under greatest load and in this regard did not let us down.

Hubs

After the rim, the hub is likely to suffer most under the assault of wet roads, but regular cleaning has met the limited demands of this cartridge-bearing equipped hoop. The seals have done their job to date, allowing the wheels to rotate freely and in silence. The shells remain unmarked.

The Force Transfer Light freehub mechanism, a two-pawl system present and correct on Mavic’s flagship hoops of not so long ago, transferred power effectively enough and while it would be inaccurate to describe the Askium’s acceleration as ‘lightning fast’ (for a host of entirely justifiable reasons), pick up at the rear was adequate.

The Aksium’s sealed cartridge bearing hubs have proved impervious to one of the wettest winters on record

Conclusion

There are lighter, faster, and stiffer wheels on the market but they are all more expensive and hardly the type of equipment we’d choose for winter. The Mavic Aksium, with freehub technology trickled down from the French brand’s former flagships, superb reliabilty, and supplied tyres are worth every bit of their £220 asking price.

If you’re seeking an off-the-shelf winter wheel, there are few likely rivals. Handbuilt winter wheels are a popular choice, but are likely to incur the additional expenditure of the wheel builder’s expertise, unless you are imbued with such talents. Mavic’s Askium offers an unbox-and-ride solution to the challenge of winter riding at a price that won’t break the bank.

Price: £219.99
Size: 700c
Colour: black
Website: Mavic

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