Update May 15, 2012: About 2 weeks ago I blew through 2 more rear spokes on the non-drive side at the head (not the nipple near the rim). Mavic offered to take it back and rebuild it, then decided to simply ship out a new one. I was going to leave the update on this review till a new blog post, but since I’m waiting for a new wheel still…I’ll have to give the new one a 5000km review, but so far Mavic service (and my local bike shop PedalSport) have been super helpful.
Today we’ll take a look back at my Mavic Aksium (aff link) wheels after 5000km on them. My initial review was just that, looking at the wheels after a few rides on them. Today I can take a look back and really decide how they perform.
So far I’ve put 5000km + on the wheels riding them in heat, a bit of snow, lots and lots of rain, smooth pavement and even some gravel roads. They are a reliable performer and handle predictably. Really I can just reiterate all the stuff I said in my first look at the wheels. They haven’t let me down, at least not in a way that I can fault the wheels definitively.
One reason I got the wheels in the first place was because I was breaking spokes on the stock Bontrager wheels every other week. In theory the Aksium’s were unlikely to suffer the same issue. Since owning them I have actually ended up with 2 broken spokes. The first was a day or two after getting off the plane in Ontario last summer. There was a matching ’cut’ in the tire so my best guess is damage during the flight or I hit something hard enough to damage the wheel and break a spoke. I think I’d remember hitting something hard enough to cut through to the tire casing so my vote goes to the first option. The second busted spoke was in early April 2012 (about 10 months later), and I remember hitting a pot hole in the dark without really seeing it at 5am. On top of the hit the wheel took, the broken spoke was the next closest spoke to the first break. I certainly can’t say that the wheel is not very tough, seems I may be hard on wheels. I went through twice as many spokes on my Bontragers in the same period of time, so they are certainly tougher than the stock wheels were.
The biggest issue with the spoke was getting a replacement. I was just outside of Collingwood Ontario which is a hot bed of cycling in Ontario and there are lots of shops. Every shop I called in Collingwood told me that I had to buy 100 spokes (a full box) to get one, that is if they were even willing to order them which many were not. Then I called BikeFace in Owen Sound and for some reason they could order 10 spokes instead of 100, I guess they have a supplier that no other shops have (which is not the truth, they just cared and had more knowledge). So for $20 I was able to get 1 replacement and 9 spares in a few days. The issue was that I needed black bladed spokes with a straight pull. It’s just non-standard all around. Secondly the bike shops were less than helpful, even the well known ones in Collingwood. Next time I get a wheel with bladed spokes I’ll order a set of replacements right away so I have them just in case.
Overall I’d recommend the wheels as a worth upgrade to anyone on entry level stock wheels. There are certainly more expensive wheels with carbon rims, and ones that are lighter, but that doesn’t diminish these as a solid upgrade.