The Mavic Ksyrium SLE Clincher Wheelset represents what happens when that great and grand Ksyrium SL rim gets the special treatment that Mavic’s expertise after long years at the head of the alu innovations has netted. Lightweight and reliable, the Ksyrium SLEs will give you the chance to improve upon your best KOM scores.
The most important innovation is Mavic’s use of their Exalith 2 technology. The aluminum rims have been prepared with Exalith 2, which is a treatment that penetrates the alloy to delay rim wear and improve braking. What you’ll notice first is that the rims don’t look like aluminum and can even be mistaken for carbon from a distance. As you get closer, you’ll see that the braking surface of the rim has a slight textured appearance which requires the use of Exalith 2-brake pad specific pads to ensure the level of braking performance that these wheels are designed to achieve. The wheels are delivered with special Exalith-specific black pads. Mavic has tested their wheels with the Exalith 2 technology and discovered that braking distance in wet conditions is reduced by as much as 18%. And that could be a lifesaving amount, depending on how often you find yourself descending a mountain pass in a summer flash storm. Since the Exalith treatment is not just a coating but actually penetrates the alu rim, the Ksyrium SLE Clinchers will maintain that distinctive blackish color for thousands of kilometers, provided you take care not to allow great big gashes ruin the integrity of the rim’s top layer; make sure you keep rocks from being embedded in the brake pads.
To help keep the rotational weight down, Mavic then made use of their ISM 3D technology, which is an Inter Spoke Milling of the rim. It’s an idea so good that Mavic patented it since it helps reduce mass from the rim by machining not only the lower bridge between each spoke hole but also along the side of the rim, which results in a light and rigid hoop. The strength is not compromised, however, and the durability remains the same even if some 40 grams can be shed from each wheel. Keeping it light helps with acceleration, helping you feel nimble as you climb over your local cols. For the area around the nipple holes, Mavic has left that beefed up to provide enough strength to accommodate the FORE spoke insertion drilling. Mavic has incorporated the FORE design feature because it provides a 20% increase in the rim rigidity to maximize power transfer while offering another method to keep the weight down. The rim material itself is made from Mavic’s special Maxtal alloy, which is exclusive to Mavic and offers a greater strength to weight ratio than conventional 6106. Lighter rims mean snappier acceleration. The rim depths have been designed too, to offer greater aerodynamic properties, so the front wheel has a depth of 22m while the rear has 25mm depth.
Being aluminum experts, Mavic has also developed a method to keep the rim joint stronger and smoother. After the rim is bent into shape, the joint is arc welded and then that seam is milled for a flush, almost imperceptible finish. In a typically French acronym, they call this their Soudé Usiné Process (SUP), or Welded Machined Process. Whether you remember what they call it, you will notice just how balanced the wheel feels. To give you the best braking performance possible, Mavic makes use of their UB Control, which simply means that the braking surface is precisely CNC machined. That will ensure that your braking friction will get you slowed down fast without causing the bike to shudder and squeal when you have to slam on the brakes as 50 miles per hour.
For the spokes, Mavic relies on their Zicral bladed spokes. Light, stiff and incredibly strong, the Zicral are made of an aluminum alloy that provides them with a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio than previous iterations. Making use of their FORE integrated aluminum nipples, Mavic has found another way to shed some grams. And you’ll be glad that they took the trouble since the light weight will most definitely be an advantage on your climbs. To lace the spokes, Mavic turns to their ISO Pulse technology. With eighteen spokes in the front and twenty rear, the spokes are laced radially on the front wheel as well as the rear drive side and cross-two on the rear non-drive to maximize drive side dish, thus providing a better spoke tension balance between left and right flanges. If having the radial lace on the drive side sounds counterintuitive to you, it makes perfect sense in Mavic’s world of thinking outside the box. They can do this because their Zicral spokes are so inherently strong, and are held extremely securely by the FORE threaded spoke nipples, it means that the wheel will be able to withstand the hardest pounding.
The hubs are equally well thought out. The front hub body is made from carbon with aluminum flanges to keep the weight down, while the axle is aluminum. The rear body is a robust aluminum with an aluminum axle. For the hub innards, Mavic uses their QRM+ bearing system. Super smooth rolling, the cartridge bearings are double sealed and sport a micro-adjustability system without having to remove the wheels from the bike. For the rear hub, Mavic employs what they call their FTS-L system, which is a lightweight method of securing the pawl to the hub body by using two stainless steel inserts. You may not be able to put your finger on it when you are riding, but the level of rolling efficiency this set-up provides will make these wheels glide so smoothly and effortlessly that you’ll feel like you hardly have to pedal.
Confident that their Wheel Tire System (WTS) is the way of the future, Mavic has designed the Mavic Ksyrium SLE Clinchers in conjunction with their proprietary tires in mind. It makes sense since the tire is the first thing to hit the air and touch the ground; so much of a wheel’s performance comes down to the rubber that wraps your hoops. Mavic has taken the guess work out of it by shipping the Mavic Ksyrium SLE Clinchers with their Yksion Pro GripLink for the front wheel and the PowerLink tire for the rear. And yes, they are specific about which tire goes on which wheel. The front GripLink is designed especially to enhance grip and reduce the chances of having a flat. And for rainy weather, its tread is designed to evacuate water to prevent you from wiping out. The rear tire, while also having a high resistance to punctures due to the use of a nylon anti-puncture breaker, has been developed to offer excellent energy transfer, reduced rolling resistance and safe grip due to its tread pattern.
Mavic wheels come with a two-year warranty against defects. Mavic also has their MP3 Program. Short for Mavic Purchase Protection Plan, this is an extended coverage option. It is not required, but it is a cheap and cheerful way to buy some peace of mind—think crash insurance. You’ll need to buy MP3 through Mavic’s website within ten days of purchasing your Ksyrium SLE Clincher Wheelset, so be certain to get onto the Mavic site soon after you place your wheel order to get the details. More information will be packaged with your wheels.
Weighing a very respectable 1395 grams without the tires, the Mavic Ksyrium SLE Clincher Wheelset will accommodate your training and racing needs. They ship with the BR601 quick releases, Exalith brake pads, a computer magnet for the front wheel and a multifunction adjustment wrench.