Mavic's latest Aksium Elite Wheel System returns virtually unchanged for the new model year, combining the same value, reliability, and obsessively developed French engineering that has long made Mavic yellow a staple on bikes of all levels. Obviously, the Aksium Elite doesn't stack up to the wheels atop the neutral support vehicles in European races, but it does make a damn fine training set for a dedicated athlete or an inexpensive but notable upgrade over most bikes' stock wheels. You've probably noticed that the Aksium Elite is substantially less expensive than Mavic's Ksyrium wheel offerings, and -- as expected -- that price difference comes with a change to the spec sheet. Rather than having FORE drilled rims and thread-in spoke grommets, the Aksium rim is a more traditional single-eyelet style where the spoke holes penetrate the rim's outer wall. The Aksium rims are constructed from S6000 aluminum, and Mavic uses its UB Control technology to mill the braking surface. The result is improved brake friction and smooth, controlled stopping in almost any weather conditions. The wheels feature 20 (front and rear) steel spokes with brass nipples. Each spoke is equipped with Mavic's Self Lock technology that uses a special shape on the spoke end to make it impossible to loosen when it's on the thread. The design reduces tension loss, and the wheels stay truer, longer. The Aksium Elite wheels aren't as light as some costlier counterparts, but their outstanding durability and Mavic's aerodynamic details help to compensate for the extra grams. The 21mm rim profile, low spoke count, and use of bladed spokes manage to mitigate much of their beefiness. And, while the Aksium uses the identical lightweight FTS-L steel freehub body as the Ksyrium Elite and SL wheels, its sealed bearing hubs lack on-bike adjustability. The Aksium Elite system comes complete with Mavic's Yksion Elite Guard tires, which represent a substantial improvement over the Aksion tires that came wit...
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