Mavic Aksium Review
With the Aksium, Mavic has built an all-rounder wheel that punches above its class on several counts.
- easy to service
- Somewhat heavy at 1840g
- muted road-feel
User Review( vote)
Years ago, legendary wheel builder Keith Bontrager said,
Strong, light, cheap, pick two.
Thus far, very few road wheels have come close to toppling that statement. If you’re expecting us to say that the Mavic Aksium does — well, we’re sorry to disappoint you, because they don’t.
Our standards for each category (strong, light, cheap) are high — but that doesn’t mean this wheelset is a failure. No, far from it.
- What we love — Price, bombproof, easy to service, availability
- What we don’t — Somewhat heavy at 1840g, muted road-feel
In fact, with the Aksium, Mavic has built an all-rounder wheel that punches above its class on several counts.
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of the Mavic Aksium wheelset to find out why they’ve become such a mainstay in not only Mavic’s product lineup but on bikes all around the world as well.
Mavic Aksium Build Quality
The first thing you notice when checking out a pair of Aksium’s is that they look quite smart for their price point — high quality, one might even say.
That’s because they are. Mavic has deep roots in the cycling business and has been building top-flight components for decades.
Their wheelsets have been celebrated by professionals and amateurs alike, especially after the now-iconic Cosmic model took the pro peloton by storm back in ’94.
Mavic’s Cosmic wheelsets are still in high demand today and continue to grace the roads in grand tour stages.
The Aksium takes its cues — and technology — as trickle downs from the lessons, feedback, and experience earned by Mavic in building such wheelsets for demanding riders.
Much like how Shimano’s lower-tier groupsets, like Shimano 105, have integrated the high-performance of previous Dura-Ace generations, the Aksium benefits from previous wheel iterations.
Part of the quality of the Aksium is owing to a surprising fact surrounding its build quality. Despite the $275 price point, they’re constructed by hand in Romania.
While it’s difficult to imagine that these are handmade at the attention-to-detail level of a pair of Lightweight Meilensteins, that they’re handbuilt rather than factory-made at all is an encouraging sign.
Made from S6000 aluminum, 20 straight pull steel spokes, and aluminum hub bodies, the Aksium’s have a clearly metallic feel that lets you know they’re going to last.
Which makes sense, considering Mavic themselves say the whole point of the Aksium is to ride as many kilometers as possible without being serviced.
Mavic Aksium Ride Test
With a 17mm rim width, the Mavic Aksiums place themselves at the forefront of rider technology. Previous generations of wheels had much narrower rim sections, leading to a skinny patch of the tire coming into contact with the road.
As time has gone by, and aided by plenty of research and rider feedback, the thinking behind rim width has become enlightened.
Wider rims stretch tires and create a larger contact area with the ground, improving comfort by delivering a more stable ride.
As such, Aksiums feel best when ridden with a 700 x 25mm or wider tire. Our best results were on a pair of 28mm Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons.
The 4 Seasons are workhorses just like the Aksium, and when paired together, one has the feeling of being able to ride endlessly without flats or going out of true.
However, all the joy that accompanies a feeling of indestructibility is tempered by one downside — a lack of road sensitivity. Aksiums, being made of weighty aluminum, are not the most compliant wheel out there.
So, while they easily roll over even the toughest of sections and will unhesitatingly jump into gravel situations, they’re not the best choice for dedicated road riders who need feedback from the pavement.
One such place where this becomes most apparent is a technical descent. As you bomb the inside of a turn fully tucked-in with hands firmly gripping the drops, nothing can help you squeeze every last drop of the corner like accurate road feedback can.
During moments such as these, the Aksiums may hold you back as the relatively muted ride leads to a loss of confidence.
A caveat to the above scenario is that it only applies to the most skilled descenders, as one needs to be at the limit to perceive the slight limitation Aksiums pose for downhill daredevils.
Apart from such moments, they’re nearly perfect wheels for rolling over kilometer after kilometer throughout base-building rides, gravel-riding, and fast commuting.
The daily ride-quality of the Aksiums is so widely loved that they’ve become nearly ubiquitous on everything from complete-package beginner road bikes to budget racer setups in amateur circuits across the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
Mavic Aksium Key Features
With the Aksium, Mavic didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they wanted to give riders an extremely durable option that does a few things well:
- Deliver enough durability that riders wouldn’t have to worry about their wheels even after heavy use
- Integrate a few high-end features where they matter
- Make the wheels versatile enough to be used for different applications (i.e., cyclocross, road)
The Aksiums do indeed deliver on these key points. Subtle engineering choices such as going for straight pull spokes rather than J-bends keep the spokes from breaking, and when paired with the seemingly unbreakable hubs & QRM bearings, you can imagine riding forever.
If you’re a road bike enthusiast, the Mavic Aksium Road Wheelset has a version to fit your braking preference, whether that’s disc brakes or traditional rim brakes. With its quick release feature, changing wheels is hassle-free, and the freewheel design ensures a smooth ride.
Is the Mavic Aksium Wheelset Worth Buying?
Mavic seems to think that the Aksiums are lightweight. Are they?
It all depends on what you consider to be light. In our view, the standard for lightweight yet ultra-durable wheels is the Dura-Ace C24, which comes in at just about 1300 grams for the pair.
At nearly 1900 grams of total weight, the Mavic Aksium is on the heavy side, though we wouldn’t call them overweight. Owing to how versatile these wheels are, and that you can slap on a pair of 28mm tires and take them up a fire road trail or enter a local cyclocross race on them, we see the weight as almost necessary.
Any lighter than this, and you would be tied into a single application lest you risk them breaking. This gets to the crux of the matter — the Aksium is such an unfussy wheel that while it isn’t the master of anyone terrain, it can perform handily across them all without giving you trouble.
Owing to the sheer utility at an affordable price point, the Mavic Aksium wheelset is a great choice for anyone looking for a set of daily trainers that don’t break the bank.
While not on par with masterpieces like the Dura-Ace C24, it doesn’t really matter, as they weren’t meant to be in the first place.
I’ve spent way more time in the bike trade than anyone should reasonably want to. In that time I’ve wanted to make cycling jargon and marketing easier to cut through to help people get the bike of their dreams.
When I’m not writing about bikes, I can be seen out bikepacking on single speed bikes or teaching kids how to ride.