**UPDATE April 17, 2012:** I’ve now done a [5000km review][5000] of the wheels. The short version is I repeat what I think below and highlight a problem.

While I haven’t blogged about each time I’ve broken a spoke, I’ve been through almost 10 spokes in the last year. Most of the spokes I’ve busted have been rear wheel non-drive site at the nipple (which seems pretty odd to me) and recently I added a front spoke to the list of busted ones. After my last rear spoke break I decided it was time to just replace the whole wheel worth of spokes and the same decision was made for the front.

Sure rebuilding the wheels with quality spokes was a short term solution but ultimately the solution to my issue with crappy stock Bontrager Wheels (on a 2009 2008 Trek 1.5) was to replace them with a quality set of wheels. With that in mind I recently purchased a set of Mavic Aksium wheels in black (since that matches the bike) at the LBS.

First Impressions

I write this today with about 120KM on the wheels since the purchase yesterday (April 8 2011). The first ride was a fairly flat 40KM and the second was 90Km with 1200 meters of climbing.

Right away the wheels felt faster. In all honestly I currently chalk it up to the same feelings we all had when we were kids with our new shoes, we ran so fast in our new shoes.

One thing is for certain the wheels are stiffer and smoother than the Bontrager’s that came with the bike. On my ride with lots of climbing they felt responsive when I put power to the pedals in the hills and rolled quick down the hills. I even managed to get 5KM an hour faster while going down the hill than I have any other time before.

The Aksium also comes with a machined braking surface which in all honesty is way smoother than the surface on the last set of wheels. The stock Bontrager’s always had a bit of a ‘throbbing’ sensation when braking, which is totally gone with the Mavic’s.

The final thing I’ll mention is that the wheels are pretty dang hot looking. The bladed spokes and funky looking hubs just make the wheel have a certain sex appeal that the old wheels just didn’t have. I have to admit that since I’ve really started riding the road bike I’ve been a little more concerned about how the bike and I look.

I know that an initial impression is only so good so at some point I’ll come back and look at the wheels once I’ve had the season to race and train on them.

[5000]: https://curtismchale.ca/2012/04/16/mavic-aksium-5000km-review/ “Mavic Aksium 5000km Review”