Mavic are the oldest aluminium rim maker out there. They first made a useable alloy rim back in the 1930’s, so by now you’d be right in thinking they’ve got the hang of it. This is their latest track wheelset and unlike their rather lovely 5 spoke pro set these are aimed directly at the club track cyclist and racer on a budget. Priced keenly they still feature Mavic hubs and rim technology that you get on more expensive wheels further up the road ranges. With deep black rims, flat aero-dynamic spokes and a neat looking finish, the Mavic Ellipse track wheels look rather tasty and they don’t perform too badly either.
All black with subtle yellow Mavic branding these wheels have attracted a lot of attention and I’ve constantly been asked how well they perform. They certainly compliment my track frame very well and finish the look of the bike off very nicely. Now for the technical bit…
Tubs or clinchers?
Most track purists want to use tubs, why? Well they can handle very high pressures and they also stay on (most of the time) when they go soft. However these days clincher tyres are a match for most cheaper tubs anyway, so the rider choosing to race on a budget may want to consider using high pressure tyres instead. Many of the RCUK staff use good quality tyres on both wood and concrete tracks and have no problems, OK they can’t get up to 180PSI (but we’re hardly trying to break national records just yet!) and on Herne Hill tyres last longer and grip just as well, if not better, than cheap training tubs. They have a braking surface, if you fancy using a set for road fixed bikes, as seems popular at the moment.
The rear hub is double sided (you can put a sprocket on both sides) and although track ‘purists’ may frown upon this, it can save time on constantly switching gears when you’re using the wheels for varied riding on different tracks. So, quite a handy addition.
The sealed bearings feel smooth, however within a few weeks of use, we noticed some ‘play’ in the front spindle. We adjusted this but again, noticed that this increased slightly throughout six months of use. This hasn’t been too much of a problem but it is something to keep an eye on and adjust. Mavic hubs are great build quality and the bearings are super smooth.
The spindles are a little long, which might lead to track damage in a crash – not a problem if you fall off ahead of the bike, but if you slide along behind it, watch out for BIG splinters! Having crashed at Calshot velodrome recently I spent some time after picking out chunks of track from the spindles… luckily I preceded the bike, but the track needed a little TLC. Replacing the track nuts or using spacers could help this problem but it will also depend on your frame’s drop-outs.
The flat spokes are immensely tight, which allows you to transmit a fantastic amount of power through the back wheel. They feel a little heavier than some conventional spoked track wheels, however they make up for this in the added stiffness gained from the high spoke tension and the beefier rims.
Over the past six months these wheels have offered stiffness and speed throughout racing and training on a range of different tracks and surfaces. They look pretty good and I’ve experienced very few problems. I’ve bashed them a bout a bit too and they’re still perfectly true.
You’ll need to use long valve tubes or valve extenders to pump up your tyres as the wheels feature deep rims. On the downside I have had to look at the play in the front wheel, however this has been the only thing that’s needed attention since I’ve had them, they are really easy to adjust though which is good.