Mavic R-SYS SL Wheelset

Mavic R SYS SL Wheelset 300x300 Mavic R SYS SL Wheelset

Mavic R-SYS SL Wheelset

Despite an inauspicious start on the market, Mavic continue to forge ahead with the Mavic R-SYS range as their flagship clincher, which they claim is the lightest alloy clincher built wheel set available at 1385 grams.  That may be, but it looked very much like they were doomed to failure when Mavic undertook a major recall shortly after R-SYS debuted on the scene.

What went wrong?

R-SYS is a unique wheel, as it is laced with carbon spokes.  If that makes you feel nervous, you might feel vindicated to know that those spokes failed spectacularly when the R-SYS first was released, sparking the recall.  However, Mavic went back to the drawing board and redesigned their carbon spoke, changing, among other things, from uni-directional carbon fiber to multi-directional carbon fiber.

So why all the fuss about carbon spokes? Is it really worth the trouble?  The theory is that the carbon fiber spokes (known as Tracomp spokes) are highly effective both under compression and under traction.  Under normal loads, wheel “deflection” is reduced, while under greater loads, flexing is reduced as the spoke cannot loosen.

Stiff wheels are fast wheels

The result is a super stiff wheel, and from personal experience I can attest that this is the case.  The R-SYS SL is one of the stiffest, if not THE stiffest wheel I have ever ridden.  I am not a small rider.  At 190 lb, and in full sprint mode, the R-SYS remained extremely stiff and stable with no detectable deflection.  That feeling of zero deflection was also highly comforting on technical descents, leaving me able to concentrate on the best line, rather than worry about how my wheels would react under heavy braking or to every bump and hole in the road.

So are they really that fast?

If there is one area that R-SYS could be criticized, it would aerodynamics.  The carbon fiber spokes are round and fairly big, and do not fare as well as bladed spokes in wind testing.  This will be of varying importance to you depending on the type of riding you do.  If you are a competitive road racer with a penchant for the solo break, you might think twice.  But for anyone else that recognizes that the biggest aero disadvantage your bike has is you, the R-SYS SLs are worth a look.

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