Custom Bike Accessories: Mavic Bicycle Wheels

This article is a brief synopsis of the French manufacturer Mavic and its line of wheels, rims and wheelsets

Though nearly every component on a modern-day bicycle is customizable or upgradable, few parts charges can have such a drastic effect as a simple change of wheels. Lighter rims can make a bike accelerate more quickly and handle more nimbly, while beefier, heavier rims add stability and strength. Wheels can be designed to cut the wind with deep-section rims and bladed spokes, while comfort and suppleness can be created with butted spokes and crossover lacing patterns. No matter what type of wheel you seek, however, for road, street and mountain bike applications, few companies deliver as good a combination of value, light weight and durability as Mavic.

Mavic (pronounced "mah-Vique") began as a nickel-plating business, but became a bicycle components manufacturer a few years later under the leadership of Charles Idoux and Lucien Chanel. The name is actually an acronym for "Manufacture d'Articles Vélocipédiques Idoux et Chanel," which translates roughly to "Idoux and Chanel's bicycle component company." Based near St. Etienne, France, the manufacturer is one of the few bicycle companies that still produces the majority of products in France, rather than outsourcing to Southeast Asia.

Mavic's road line is one of the best known in the world, thanks in part to the corporation's massive investment as a sponsor of professional cycling teams. From Lance Armstrong to Mario Cipollini, the winning riders at nearly every major European road race have been photographed crossing the line on a set of Mavic hoops. Perhaps the best-known of Mavic's wheels is the Ksyrium line. Headed by the 1500g Ksyrium SSL, the line also has the budget Elite and Equipe models, and delivers a solid combination of durability and lightweight to all price ranges. The Cosmic line focuses less on light weights, and more on aerodynamics, with stiff, deep carbon or aluminum rims. Outside it's pre-built wheelsets, Mavic also sells individual rims. It's Open Pro model is a great all-around road clincher, and popular choice for training wheelsets.

For dirt riding, Mavic helped develop the UST Tubeless standard, and its highest-end off-road wheelset, the CrossMax, is perhaps the best in MTB World Cup history. Employing much of the same technology of the Ksyrium, such as bladed, straight-pull spokes and rims without spoke holes, the CrossMax offers lightweight in a package durable enough for the abuses of daily off-road usage. The CrossLand wheelset offers similar technologies at a lower price, while the X517 and F517 rims have set the standard for cross-country and freeride rims. For the serious, wheel-pretzeling abuses of Downhill riding, Mavic's offers its distinctive, yellow, disc-specific DeeMax wheelset.

The Mavic range of wheels also extends to less well-known markets, such as street riding (the rugged 700c SpeedCity wheelset) and track (the multiple gold medal-winning Comete and iO wheels). Though many manufacturers produce lighter or less expensive wheelsets than these French wheelsmiths, few, if any of these competitors can offer the same combination of light weight, durability, ease of maintanence and good looks. And certainly, not a single one can boast the same consumer loyalty or sterling reputation as Mavic.

© High Speed Ventures 2011