Mavic Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL C wheels

Mavic's Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL C wheels offer some of the best carbon-rim braking on the market, nearly on par with an aluminum brake track.

Photo: Brad Kaminski |

1,390 grams





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Type: Clincher
Rim Depth: 25mm
Internal rim width: 17mm
Spoke count: 18 front; 24 rear
Deflection: 4.54mm front/ 5.88mm rear

There’s no doubt that Mavic’s Ksyrium Pro Carbon SL C wheels are exceptional hoops. And there’s further no doubt that braking is much improved — we’d go so far as to say it’s some of the best carbon-rim braking on the market, nearly on par with an aluminum brake track.

But who are these wheels for? They’re full carbon, so these aren’t for the penny-pincher. And they’re clinchers, so top-tier racers probably aren’t interested. They have a somewhat wide inner rim width at 17mm, and they’re generally low-profile at 25mm. At first glance you might call them endurance wheels, and they certainly can be, but we’ve got a hunch they’d also be right at home on the race course or in the mountains.

At 1,390 grams, the Ksyriums don’t stack up against the likes of Lightweight’s feathery Gipfelsturms (1,035 grams), but at a third of the Lightweight’s price, the Ksyriums hit a decent race weight. And more importantly, they’re surprisingly stiff. I had come off a set of Zipp 404 NSW wheels and was expecting a wibbly-wobbly feel as I transitioned to the much lower-profile Ksyriums, but it never came. We don’t have stiffness numbers on the Zipps, but I’d be willing to bet that, despite the big difference in rim depth, the deflection numbers between the two wheelsets aren’t as vast as you might think.

So far, braking is as good as promised, though admittedly my riding has been mostly dry. I did get these wheels wet on one ride during a rain shower and was a bit overzealous testing the brake track; the pads grab the rims aggressively, even when slicked with rain, enough that I almost threw myself over the bars. There was a bit of squealing, though, in both wet and dry conditions, only after I had put about 100 miles on the wheels and pads. (Note: these wheels are also available in a disc-brake version.)

The solid braking comes courtesy of Mavic’s iTgMax braking technology, which essentially translates into a heat treatment for higher durability, and laser prep on brake track for stopping power. After about five rides, I started to notice a yellow tint to the brake track, the result of pad wear (Mavic’s pads are yellow), so my guess is brake pad life will be short. It’s an acceptable trade-off given the consistency of the braking power, though you should be prepared to replace your pads a few times a season. You’ll notice a Sci-Fi-esque hum when you apply the brakes, which is kind of annoying, but after a few rides I didn’t notice it.

So who are these wheels for? The answer seems crystal-clear now, after a few hundred miles: They’re for any rider, aside from top-tier racers who prefer tubular tires. Endurance riders who occasionally hit stretches of gravel will appreciate the wider rim; racers will love the stiffness in a light package that spins up quickly; and everyday riders will appreciate the superior braking and svelte ride of carbon at an attractive (albeit still expensive) price tag.

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