For those looking to make their bike faster the simplest and often most effective upgrade is the wheels. The rotational mass can be the difference between a sluggish or lively ride. Weight plays a big part when it comes to wheels, but reliability, aerodynamics and stability are all considerations wheel manufacturers have to make when designing their latest set of hoops.
Mavic claims to have ticked all these boxes with their R-SYS SLR Limited Edition Clincher Wheelset, so I decided to head out onto some testing Italian roads to put the French company’s wheels to the test.
The Mavic R-SYS SLR Limited Edition Clincher Wheelset has been designed to be fast on the climbs, stable on the descents and to be able to maintain speed on the flats.
Straight out of the box and the first thing that caught my eye was the distinctive signature yellow Mavic graphics on the rims, hubs, skewers and even the tyres. This uniformed look shows Mavic has really considered the appearance of their limited edition wheels.
"Mavic’s state of the art Exalith 2 brake track is designed to offer sublime stopping power in both the wet and the dry..."
Next step was to fit the supplied Exalith brake pads. These wheels use Mavic’s state of the art Exalith 2 brake track, which is designed to offer sublime stopping power in both the wet and the dry. Having experienced the powerful and assured braking performance of Exalith before I felt confident as I clipped in and headed out for my maiden ride.
Spinning along the flat, the wheels instantly felt lively and picked up speed well. Even though the rims were just 24 millimetres deep on the front and 26 on the rear, their ISM 4D asymmetric shape meant the wheels held their speed as I picked up the pace.
Mavic's ISM 4D technology is one of the main ways that the French manufacturer is able to keep the wheelset's weight down without compromising strength or stiffness. ISM 4D stands for Inter Spoke Milling 4 Dimensions and this technique keeps the rim's weight down without sacrificing strength.
Mavic’s pioneering WTS (wheel and tyre system) uses Mavic’s Yksion Pro ProLink and Yksion Pro GripLink tyres, which are included with the wheelset. These clincher tyres have been optimised for the rim and for performance in both the wet and dry.
On slightly damp roads these tyres performed impeccably, even when pushed hard in the corners. Their 127 TPI casing proved tough and more than up to the task of handling some of Italy’s more rural roads.
Onto the first climb of the day, the might Monte Grappa. A gruelling 18 kilometre, 8% average mountain pass that also features a hair-raising, technical descent. This would be the perfect test for the R-SYS SLR’s climbing and descending capabilities.
From the off I was impressed. The wheels felt stiff and stable when climbing out of the saddle and when putting power through the pedals when sitting down, the rear wheel felt planted to the tarmac.
"Weighing a mere 1295 grams (without tyres) really made the difference, especially when the gradient kicked up."
A climb like that is where weight really plays a part and weighing a mere 1295 grams (without tyres) really made the difference, especially when the gradient kicked up. Mavic has managed to make this wheelset both stiff and lightweight with the help of QRM SL axles and bearings as well as Zicral aluminium and Tracomp carbon spokes.
Cresting the summit I readied myself for the descent. With a series of switchbacks, rough roads and sheer drops, this was going to push both my bike handling skills and the wheels’ performance to the limit.
"Assured and predictable, I was able to brake later into the corners."
Into the first of the bends and I dabbed the brakes to find the Exalith pads and rims shrugged off the speed with ease. Assured and predictable, I was able to brake later into the corners than I would on traditional aluminium or carbon rims.
Although stiff, the wheels felt comfortable travelling at speed over the rough terrain and they even took the odd pothole in their stride.
Upon reaching the bottom of the descent, I was impressed. Agile when ascending and fast and confident downhill, these wheels were the perfect companions for hilly or mountainous adventures.
Two months on and the wheels continue to impress. After numerous run-ins with potholes, these wheels remain true and the tyres show little signs of wear, with no punctures to report of.
If you are looking to upgrade, looking for a set of hoops for a hilly or mountainous sportive or just want a do-it-all set of wheels for racing, the Mavic R-SYS SLR Limited Edition Clincher Wheelset is a fine choice.
Although not as fast as their more aerodynamic counterpart the Cosmic, the Mavic R-SYS SLR Limited Edition Clincher Wheelset still holds its own on the flat and really excels when the road rears up.
The tyres, proved grippy, fast and durable, while the Exalith 2 brake track makes these the perfect set of wheels for both winter and summer riding.
Lightweight and stiff
Comes with Mavic Yksion tyres that offer sublime grip and reliability
Exalith braking track provides strong stopping power in the wet and dry
Easy to maintain
Fast on the climbs
Not the most aerodynamic wheelset on the market
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