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Mavic Aksium rear wheel equal to or stronger than a stock 32 spoke wheel?

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Mavic Aksium rear wheel equal to or stronger than a stock 32 spoke wheel?

Old 05-31-14, 06:45 PM
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BradMitch
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Mavic Aksium rear wheel equal to or stronger than a stock 32 spoke wheel?

I got a rear Mavic Aksium today for $105 from REI on clearance. I was talking to two of the guys in the bike mechanics area who work there and they told me this Mavic wheel (which has 20 spokes) will be equal to or stronger than my current stock wheel which has 32 spokes (my bike was with me). I told them I don't race or care much about aerodynamics or my wheel being super light and want something durable that can handle commuting and weeks of touring and this is what they recommended in the clearance section. Anyone have any thoughts? Is this true? I popped two spokes in the last two weeks on my other wheel so I decided to get this and re-build my 32 spoke wheel as a spare.

I am 6'2 and around 170lbs but I often carry a backpack which can have up to 25 pounds in it.
I ride on pothole roads but try best to avoid them.
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Old 05-31-14, 06:51 PM
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There's no "standard" 32 spoke wheel, so the devil will be in the details.

BUT

It's a bit of a stretch to claim that 20 spokes would match the strength of 32. (gauges being equal).

Strength is a fanny thing. A sports car is strong, as is a pickup truck, but you wouldn't use a sports car to haul bags of cement.
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Old 05-31-14, 07:20 PM
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I rode Aksium's at 300 pounds and they took quite the beating and never needed truing. They aren't the lightest wheel but quite known for their reliability. A lot of Clyde's use them due to their ability to handle the extra weight.

And I too was riding a 32 spoke wheel and kept breaking spokes. This was five years ago. I just sold the bike to somebody else and the wheels are still going strong.
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Old 05-31-14, 08:20 PM
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I've seen multiple mentions of Aksium wheels here on BF. I don't think anyone had any problems to report, and the wheels stayed true after many thousands of miles. It has a fairly heavy rim that probably helps the wheel strength.

I'd ride the Aksium for commuting, but I would get the 32 spoke wheel properly trued, and with all new spokes, and use that for touring.
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Old 06-01-14, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BradMitch View Post
I got a rear Mavic Aksium today for $105 from REI on clearance. I was talking to two of the guys in the bike mechanics area who work there and they told me this Mavic wheel (which has 20 spokes) will be equal to or stronger than my current stock wheel which has 32 spokes (my bike was with me). I told them I don't race or care much about aerodynamics or my wheel being super light and want something durable that can handle commuting and weeks of touring and this is what they recommended in the clearance section. Anyone have any thoughts? Is this true? I popped two spokes in the last two weeks on my other wheel so I decided to get this and re-build my 32 spoke wheel as a spare.

I am 6'2 and around 170lbs but I often carry a backpack which can have up to 25 pounds in it.
I ride on pothole roads but try best to avoid them.
I'm 180-190 (fluctuates seasonally) and commute with a similar backpack. I have 32H wheels, handbuilt, and they are strong and stay true. I think you could have had your rear wheel rebuilt and skipped the Aksium. You have mismatched front and rear wheels now, right? Just a personal foible but that would drive me batty.
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Old 06-01-14, 12:35 AM
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I just went out on a ride with it tonight. Below are some things I have noticed compared to my other rear wheel.

Something to note: I rode it with a 23c tire but have always used a 25c and plan to put the 25c on today).

1) The wheel is much easier to "flex" I can push with my hand without an extreme amount of force and have the rim almost touch my break pad (more so when pushing toward drive side of course).
2) When riding I feel I can tell the wheel has more flex like I mentioned. I prefer the stiffer feel but could warm up.
3) I hear a lot of rattling when riding fast or even very slow on less smooth roads. (I don't know what is causing this, Do you?)
4) Going up to speed and up hills felt a bit easier like every gear was one lighter. It might have partly been the excitement in my legs at trying a new tire but the bearings are also smoother -I can tell when I spin the wheel in my hands.

Should I be concerned about the flex? I haven't ridden any roads bikes with less than 32 spokes before so I don't know how normal this feeling is.
Should I be concerned about the rattle?
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Old 06-01-14, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
I'm 180-190 (fluctuates seasonally) and commute with a similar backpack. I have 32H wheels, handbuilt, and they are strong and stay true. I think you could have had your rear wheel rebuilt and skipped the Aksium. You have mismatched front and rear wheels now, right? Just a personal foible but that would drive me batty.
They are mismatched but I don't mind that so long as everything is working and lasting. I have the 32H wheels and plan to order spokes and thread them myself to learn and to have an extra wheel... If I keep this Mavic for sure.
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Old 06-01-14, 03:56 AM
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In reference to the rattle, check your cassette. Mavic freehub bodies require a fairly large spacer (1.75mm) behind the cassette. If you use the shimano spacer, the cassette will be loose and rattle.
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Old 06-01-14, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BradMitch View Post
I got a rear Mavic Aksium today for $105 from REI on clearance. I was talking to two of the guys in the bike mechanics area who work there and they told me this Mavic wheel (which has 20 spokes) will be equal to or stronger than my current stock wheel which has 32 spokes (my bike was with me). I told them I don't race or care much about aerodynamics or my wheel being super light and want something durable that can handle commuting and weeks of touring and this is what they recommended in the clearance section. Anyone have any thoughts? Is this true? I popped two spokes in the last two weeks on my other wheel so I decided to get this and re-build my 32 spoke wheel as a spare.

I am 6'2 and around 170lbs but I often carry a backpack which can have up to 25 pounds in it.
I ride on pothole roads but try best to avoid them.
I wouldn't use it for "weeks of touring", simply because if one of your 20 spokes does break you'll probably struggle to find a replacement in a hurry and in the meantime I'd expect you to have trouble with the wheel being out of true.

With a 32-spoke wheel if one spoke breaks you'll need to adjust your brakes a little to allow for the wheel wobble but the chances are the wheel will still be perfectly rideable.
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Old 06-01-14, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BradMitch View Post
3) I hear a lot of rattling when riding fast or even very slow on less smooth roads. (I don't know what is causing this, Do you?)
My Aksium Race wheels used to rattle like crazy -- I figured out it was the valve stems. More specifically, the threaded retaining ring on the valve stems. No reasonable amount of tightening will keep the ring from loosening up and rattling against the rim. The fix was to just ditch the ring.
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Old 06-01-14, 07:11 AM
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They are pretty durable wheels, I do see a lot of freehub failures on them from people not lubing them every few months. Mavic only uses bushings in their freehub rather than bearings which does require a bit of maintenance, it is a quick 5-10 minute job.

I would not go as far as saying they are "stronger" or more durable than a well build 32 hole wheel and with so few spokes if something happens and one breaks you are usually stuck calling for a ride since you can not get it true enough to ride. Propriety and expensive spokes are another thing that drives me crazy.
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Old 06-01-14, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
My Aksium Race wheels used to rattle like crazy -- I figured out it was the valve stems. More specifically, the threaded retaining ring on the valve stems. No reasonable amount of tightening will keep the ring from loosening up and rattling against the rim. The fix was to just ditch the ring.
I didn't have a ring around the valve when I was riding so it must be something else. I put a 35c wheel on and different tube. I will ride later today and reply if the rattling has stopped. I don't think this will be the cure though.
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Old 06-01-14, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
In reference to the rattle, check your cassette. Mavic freehub bodies require a fairly large spacer (1.75mm) behind the cassette. If you use the shimano spacer, the cassette will be loose and rattle.
I took off the spacer it came with before putting on the cassette. It was my understanding that only 7 gear cassettes need a spacer but 8 and 9 gear don't (I have 8). Would it hurt to try using the spacer anyway?
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Old 06-01-14, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for the responses so far everyone! I'm thinking of also trying out a Alex R450 as I hear they are good especially for the price.
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Old 06-01-14, 02:05 PM
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A few points- Mavic went through a time when their rim splicer (the internal plug that keeps the seam aligned wheels joining) came loose. The rim would click/clack ones a revolution. People tried pouring glue/linseed oil to trap the plug and even screws to hold the plug still, all with varying success. I would never suggest a wheel with proprietary spokes or less the 36 spokes for any real touring. Repair options get very limiting quickly and the effect of a broken spoke worsens with the fewer you start with. If the OP wants to keep the Askium for a number of years then he should get replacement spokes NOW. I've heard that Mavic won't supple replacement parts for wheels past a certain age (3 years?). Why do you think the wheel was on a close out? I agree with the freehub inboard bushing needing periodic clean and lube. My experience is that the more rain you ride in the more likely this will be an issue. But it's a quick job with mineral oil as the lube. Overall i like the Mavis rims but not so much their wheels. Andy.
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Old 06-01-14, 02:25 PM
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Put the Mavic spacer back on.
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Old 06-01-14, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Put the Mavic spacer back on.
+1

With Mavic Aksiums it's not whether you need the spacer, it's whether you need an additional spacer.
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Old 06-01-14, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Put the Mavic spacer back on.
I will try this. But I am still curious why would I need the spacer if I've repeatedly heard it's only needed for 7gear cassettes? I do feel tiny amount of play in the cassette now that I am paying closer attention :O

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Old 06-01-14, 04:53 PM
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I agree with some of the posts above, I would much rather have a well built 32 spoke wheel with normal components than a 20 spoke Aksium wheel with a proprietary Mavic hub/spokes/rim.

After some frustration in the past with the off brand or proprietary "racing" wheels I've decided to stick with only loose ball Shimano hubs and j-bend or standard straight pull spokes. If anything breaks I can fix it myself without trying to hunt down discontinued parts.

Originally Posted by BradMitch View Post
I will try this. But I am still curious why would I need the spacer if I've repeatedly heard it's only needed for 7gear cassettes? I do feel tiny amount of play in the cassette now that I am paying closer attention :O
Mavic freehub bodies are extra wide and require an extra with ALL cassettes. 7-speed cassettes require the Mavic spacer PLUS an additional spacer.
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Old 06-01-14, 05:15 PM
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Aksiums are known for being heavy and durable. Assuming that you have something like a single wall Alex rim previously I would expect the Mavic to be stronger.
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Old 06-01-14, 09:02 PM
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I use double wall rims with the 32h.
Anyway, went for a ride tonight with the spacer and didn't experience the previous rattle. Thanks to everyone for explaining that situation. Everything felt pretty good but I am still leaning towards getting a 32h wheel and taking the Mavic back for touring/convenience of parts/ and overall stiffer feel.
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Old 06-01-14, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BradMitch View Post
I will try this. But I am still curious why would I need the spacer if I've repeatedly heard it's only needed for 7gear cassettes? I do feel tiny amount of play in the cassette now that I am paying closer attention :O
Mavic cassette bodies were designed to allow cassettes to be spaced for any cassette. Mavic used to sell their own cassettes with spacers that allowed the cassettes to be used with both Shimano or Campagnolo drivetrains. Campagnolo cassettes are wider than Shimano cassettes. To install an 8 speed Shimano cassette on your wheel you need the spacer that came with the wheel, same for a 9 speed Shimano cassette. If you install a Shimano 10 speed cassette you need an additional 1mm spacer that is supplied with the cassette. For a 7 speed cassette you need 2 spacers as well. The good news is that your Mavic wheel is 11 speed compatible. The only time you don't use a spacer is if you install an 11 speed cassette on your wheel
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Old 06-01-14, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by BradMitch View Post
Everything felt pretty good but I am still leaning towards getting a 32h wheel and taking the Mavic back for touring/convenience of parts/ ...
I didn't read the whole thread carefully but I would strongly recommend against using a 20 spoke Aksium rear wheel for touring. If that's what the shop recommended, find a different shop. Get a 32h or 36h (preferably handbuilt) wheel if you're going to be touring.
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Old 06-02-14, 09:47 AM
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A spoked wheel needs maintenance attention, though a carbon disc wheel probably stays fine for a long time as they would be race day only.
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Old 06-02-14, 06:37 PM
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No! A 20 spoke wheel is useless for touring. The ideal is 36 unless you are a very large rider with a big load. Low spoke count wheels are a marketing ploy to get people to spend their money on something new and improved.
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