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Mavic Ksyrium Elite Fail

Old 08-04-14, 07:36 PM
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Mavic Ksyrium Elite Fail

After riding strictly MTB for many years, I got a road bike a couple years ago.

My bike is a Kestrel Talon. The stock wheels were some crappy Oval dealios. They went about 9 months (1,500 miles) and spokes started breaking in the rear, so I shopped around for some new wheels.

I read that the Mavic Ksyrium Elite were sturdy enough for big guys (I'm about 250 lbs) and found a set at Jenson for a good price (last years models).

They have been great for about 16 months now (2,500 miles). Spokes have stayed tight and the wheels ran true.

On my ride last weekend, with about 10 miles to go, I noticed a "chirp" and some drag from the rear brakes. I pulled over and the back wheel was starting to potato chip. I didn't have the special Mavic spoke wrench with me. I was able to release the rear brake cable and skew the axle a little and nurse it home.

The rear rim failed at the spoke nipples in three places.



I was a bit disappointed that an expensive wheel like this didn't last as long as my Gatorskins... A google search showed that I am not the only one to experience this sort of failure. There are also some positive reviews.

The bike shop said they would send the wheel back to Mavic for evaluation, so I'll give that a try. If they fix the wheel, I'll probably just sell them and get something sturdier, although I am not real excited about the extra weight.

I'm thinking DT Swiss TK 540 rim and White Industries T11 hubs (36 rear and 32 front). Any opinions on this combo? Keep the Ksyriums? Any other suggestions? Thanks for reading...
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Old 08-04-14, 08:04 PM
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Sorry to hear about your wheel troubles!

On the subject of Mavic Ksyrium wheels for heavier riders, I'll quote what a Mavic representative had to say on the subject here:
We generally suggest Ksyrium Elite for heavier riders doing road or Cyclocross. But depending on how hard the guys ride, even our strongest wheel systems will have a finite lifespan. The systems wheels like Ksyrium and R-Sys are built to accommodate the middle of the bell curve when it comes to rider weight and style. 250-pound riders for sure fall to the extreme end of the bell curve.

Therefore, quite honestly most heavier (250 lbs+) riders will be best served with custom built wheelsets.
Now, onto the subject of a quality custom built wheel, here is what I can say:

1) The DT Swiss TK 540 rim is one of the laterally stiffest rims on the market. It was designed for loaded touring, and in a clyde application it should have no problem staying true and not breaking spokes for even a ~300 lb clyde. My new back wheel is a 36h TK 540 laced to a Shimano Ultegra hub with DT Swiss Comp spokes, brass nipples and spoke washers. I've only got about 200km on mine but it has stayed dead true so far where my previous 36h Mavic Open Pro would come out of true after a single 30+km ride (despite repeated truings). The 23mm rim width also has benefits vs. the 19mm Velocity Deep-V that is often recommended for clydes (the TK 540 is also lighter).

2) No matter the quality of the components, a custom built wheel will only be as good as the wheelbuilder. Don't learn the lesson I learned the hard way with the piece of garbage 36h Mavic Open Pro I had built by my clueless LBS. Find a wheelbuilder who actually has useful advice for a clyde (i.e. has experience building wheels for clydes), has and uses an tensionometer to check and balance spoke tension, who stress-relieves the spokes before delivering the wheel to you, and who is willing to offer a long-term warranty on truings and non-impact spoke breakage.

3) Worry far more about back-wheels than front. I'm ~285lbs and on my new bike I didn't even bother to switch the Giant P-SL0 front wheel, notwithstanding its low spoke count, because I've never had a problem with any of the front wheels on any of my bikes. In my experience, high spoke counts on front wheels are generally not necessary, even for clydes. Perhaps others on this forum can chime in if they've had different experiences.
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Old 08-04-14, 08:35 PM
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The DT rim is a good option, another good rim if durability is the goal is the Velocity Deep V, that is one of my favorite rims for heavier riders since they are consistently very durable.

Like as mentioned above, a good build is key to long wheel life. Even the best components in the world will not last if not properly built.

The White Industries T11 hubs are a fantastic choice and it is what I currently have on my commuter/cross bike. With most 11 speed compatible road hubs they tend to have a lot of dish so running a lighter gauge spoke on the NDS rear can certainly help a bit with long term durability.
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Old 08-04-14, 09:17 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. It makes sense not to go too crazy on the front. I've never had a problem on a front either (other than impact )
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Old 08-05-14, 08:15 AM
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My Kysrium SL Premiums that I bought several years ago had problems early on. The hubs were not designed well. Things would get messy in there and it would sometimes scream like a banshee on fast descents. I had to have it opened up and lubed several times. There was also a design flaw with the nipples. The grease/lube inside the system would dry up through no fault of the rider and could cause the nipples to seize. That happened to my front. It came a little out of true once and when the shop tried to fix it, the nipple split. I sent it back to Mavic. They refused to fix it for free so I paid them something like $150. While it was out for repair, the rear rim cracked around the spoke, just like in your photo. Sent that back for repair. Another $150 down the drain. Mavic also told me I should replace the rear hub for an additional $350. We are talking about a hub that was maybe 2.5 years old and did not have an abnormal number of miles on it. I refused on principle.

All these problems cropped up within the span of about 2-3 years. I was riding at about 215 lbs. max. The wheels currently reside in my basement. Maybe I will someday use them as my winter wheels. I certainly will never buy another Mavic wheel system and may never buy another Mavic product again in my life. Mavic's customer "service" thumbs its nose at customers.
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Old 08-05-14, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
My Kysrium SL Premiums that I bought several years ago had problems early on. The hubs were not designed well. Things would get messy in there and it would sometimes scream like a banshee on fast descents. I had to have it opened up and lubed several times. There was also a design flaw with the nipples. The grease/lube inside the system would dry up through no fault of the rider and could cause the nipples to seize. That happened to my front. It came a little out of true once and when the shop tried to fix it, the nipple split. I sent it back to Mavic. They refused to fix it for free so I paid them something like $150. While it was out for repair, the rear rim cracked around the spoke, just like in your photo. Sent that back for repair. Another $150 down the drain. Mavic also told me I should replace the rear hub for an additional $350. We are talking about a hub that was maybe 2.5 years old and did not have an abnormal number of miles on it. I refused on principle.

All these problems cropped up within the span of about 2-3 years. I was riding at about 215 lbs. max. The wheels currently reside in my basement. Maybe I will someday use them as my winter wheels. I certainly will never buy another Mavic wheel system and may never buy another Mavic product again in my life. Mavic's customer "service" thumbs its nose at customers.
Poorly designed hubs are a big part of why I try to steer people away from Mavic wheels. The newer higher end models have much better hubs but the company has no interest in taking care of shops and their customers so I try to avoid them whenever possible. Thankfully there is some great competition out there
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Old 08-07-14, 11:12 AM
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I recently got a new to me bike after riding a flat bar commuter for a couple of months. The Specialized bike I got was great and I got it for a steal, because it didn't have wheels. After reading I found a chart that showed recommended weight limits for most popular wheels like Mavic and DT. I passed on the Mavic Ksyrium elites because the max limit was 220lb and I'm around 230lb. Not much, but I didn't want to deal with any problems. I eventually went with Fulcrum Racing 7's because their max weight limit is 240lb. They are also a pretty good deal and only weigh 1930 g for the set. I paired them with 725 tires and haven't had any problems in the last couple of months.

You can find the weight chart at https://www.canyon.com/_en/supportce...rticles_id=141
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Old 08-09-14, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TankSlapper
After riding strictly MTB for many years, I got a road bike a couple years ago.

My bike is a Kestrel Talon. The stock wheels were some crappy Oval dealios. They went about 9 months (1,500 miles) and spokes started breaking in the rear, so I shopped around for some new wheels.

I read that the Mavic Ksyrium Elite were sturdy enough for big guys (I'm about 250 lbs) and found a set at Jenson for a good price (last years models).

They have been great for about 16 months now (2,500 miles). Spokes have stayed tight and the wheels ran true.

On my ride last weekend, with about 10 miles to go, I noticed a "chirp" and some drag from the rear brakes. I pulled over and the back wheel was starting to potato chip. I didn't have the special Mavic spoke wrench with me. I was able to release the rear brake cable and skew the axle a little and nurse it home.

The rear rim failed at the spoke nipples in three places.



I was a bit disappointed that an expensive wheel like this didn't last as long as my Gatorskins... A google search showed that I am not the only one to experience this sort of failure. There are also some positive reviews.

The bike shop said they would send the wheel back to Mavic for evaluation, so I'll give that a try. If they fix the wheel, I'll probably just sell them and get something sturdier, although I am not real excited about the extra weight.

I'm thinking DT Swiss TK 540 rim and White Industries T11 hubs (36 rear and 32 front). Any opinions on this combo? Keep the Ksyriums? Any other suggestions? Thanks for reading...
Same exact fail for me too. Rear wheel KME began breaking apart near spokes. Mine lasted 5 years though.

I'm a bit lighter than you. My average weight over the 5 years is 220: high of 240, low of 190; but most of the miles were ridden when my weight was under 220. I ruined the wheel this past spring. My LBS said bumpy roads are more of a factor than weight.
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Old 08-09-14, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by TankSlapper
After riding strictly MTB for many years, I got a road bike a couple years ago.

My bike is a Kestrel Talon. The stock wheels were some crappy Oval dealios. They went about 9 months (1,500 miles) and spokes started breaking in the rear, so I shopped around for some new wheels.

I read that the Mavic Ksyrium Elite were sturdy enough for big guys (I'm about 250 lbs) and found a set at Jenson for a good price (last years models).

They have been great for about 16 months now (2,500 miles). Spokes have stayed tight and the wheels ran true.

On my ride last weekend, with about 10 miles to go, I noticed a "chirp" and some drag from the rear brakes. I pulled over and the back wheel was starting to potato chip. I didn't have the special Mavic spoke wrench with me. I was able to release the rear brake cable and skew the axle a little and nurse it home.

The rear rim failed at the spoke nipples in three places.



I was a bit disappointed that an expensive wheel like this didn't last as long as my Gatorskins... A google search showed that I am not the only one to experience this sort of failure. There are also some positive reviews.

The bike shop said they would send the wheel back to Mavic for evaluation, so I'll give that a try. If they fix the wheel, I'll probably just sell them and get something sturdier, although I am not real excited about the extra weight.

I'm thinking DT Swiss TK 540 rim and White Industries T11 hubs (36 rear and 32 front). Any opinions on this combo? Keep the Ksyriums? Any other suggestions? Thanks for reading...
I feel your pain. I am 265lbs. and LBS said that he Kysrium Elite S wheels would be a good choice. I went 2000 miles and on a hill spoke on rear wheel pulled right out of wheel leaving me stranded. I thought no big deal stuff happens. I have the MP3 warranty and will end up with new wheel. I am now on third week riding on crappy old wheel waiting for my wheel. I think I will end up trying to find something decent and sell the Kysriums. Just afraid that every hill I come to I could end up walking. I am now reading everything I can trying to decide on wheels that will do my Seven justice and hold up.
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Old 08-09-14, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Sasquatch16
I feel your pain. I am 265lbs. and LBS said that he Kysrium Elite S wheels would be a good choice. I went 2000 miles and on a hill spoke on rear wheel pulled right out of wheel leaving me stranded. I thought no big deal stuff happens. I have the MP3 warranty and will end up with new wheel. I am now on third week riding on crappy old wheel waiting for my wheel. I think I will end up trying to find something decent and sell the Kysriums. Just afraid that every hill I come to I could end up walking. I am now reading everything I can trying to decide on wheels that will do my Seven justice and hold up.
Try 36 spokes with wider tire: 28mm.
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Old 08-09-14, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Sasquatch16
I feel your pain. I am 265lbs. and LBS said that he Kysrium Elite S wheels would be a good choice. I went 2000 miles and on a hill spoke on rear wheel pulled right out of wheel leaving me stranded. I thought no big deal stuff happens. I have the MP3 warranty and will end up with new wheel. I am now on third week riding on crappy old wheel waiting for my wheel. I think I will end up trying to find something decent and sell the Kysriums. Just afraid that every hill I come to I could end up walking. I am now reading everything I can trying to decide on wheels that will do my Seven justice and hold up.
A Seven certainly deserves better than that! What I am using on my Ti bike could also work really well for yours is White Industries hubs laced to Velocity A23 rims with quality DB spokes. One thing I really like about the A23 is they do an offset option that helps balance the spoke tension between NDS and DS spokes which is especially nice since most modern road hubs are designed to work with 11 speed cassettes leaving a lot of dish in the wheel.
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Old 08-09-14, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by chriskmurray
A Seven certainly deserves better than that! What I am using on my Ti bike could also work really well for yours is White Industries hubs laced to Velocity A23 rims with quality DB spokes. One thing I really like about the A23 is they do an offset option that helps balance the spoke tension between NDS and DS spokes which is especially nice since most modern road hubs are designed to work with 11 speed cassettes leaving a lot of dish in the wheel.
Can you post a picture of your bike? Also what spoke count should I use at 265Lbs.
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Old 08-09-14, 04:33 PM
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Sure thing. I would suggest 36h rear and 32h front for your weight, the 4 extra spokes really do not add much weight and will help a lot with long term durability, especially if you are a powerful rider, which a lot of guys over 250lbs are.

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Old 08-09-14, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Sasquatch16
Can you post a picture of your bike? Also what spoke count should I use at 265Lbs.
I also forgot to mention, to help with the amount of dish you have to deal with on the rear wheel, a slightly lighter gauge spoke on the NDS is also a good idea even with an offset rim so something like DT Competitions (2.0-1.8-2.0) or Wheelsmith DB14 (2.0-1.7-2.0) everywhere but NDS and DT Revolutions (2.0-1.5-2.0) on the NDS or even just DT Comps DS Rear and Wheelsmith DB14's everywhere else if you do not want to spend the money on Revolutions which can be pricey.
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Old 08-10-14, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by chriskmurray
I also forgot to mention, to help with the amount of dish you have to deal with on the rear wheel, a slightly lighter gauge spoke on the NDS is also a good idea even with an offset rim so something like DT Competitions (2.0-1.8-2.0) or Wheelsmith DB14 (2.0-1.7-2.0) everywhere but NDS and DT Revolutions (2.0-1.5-2.0) on the NDS or even just DT Comps DS Rear and Wheelsmith DB14's everywhere else if you do not want to spend the money on Revolutions which can be pricey.
DT Revolutions for a 265lb rider? That's an... interesting... recommendation. The only guy I trust to build wheels says he doesn't recommend Revolutions unless the rider is under 180lbs and then only on the front or NDS. That's a recommendation I'd be inclined to follow...
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Old 08-10-14, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel
DT Revolutions for a 265lb rider? That's an... interesting... recommendation. The only guy I trust to build wheels says he doesn't recommend Revolutions unless the rider is under 180lbs and then only on the front or NDS. That's a recommendation I'd be inclined to follow...
I actually only recommended the Revolutions on the NDS rear, not for the entire wheel. Modern 11 speed compatible hubs leave you with a lot of dish, even with an offset rim it is nice to have a lighter gauge spoke on the NDS to help with the lower than ideal NDS tensions.

Even with that being said, the Revolutions are tougher than people think since they are still 2.0 at the ends, my biggest complaint with them is they can make wheels feel flexy if you use them all the way around.
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Old 08-10-14, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by chriskmurray
Sure thing. I would suggest 36h rear and 32h front for your weight, the 4 extra spokes really do not add much weight and will help a lot with long term durability, especially if you are a powerful rider, which a lot of guys over 250lbs are.
Do you really think a 32h is necessary on the front? I'm curious because my experience as a ~285lb clyde has been that the number of spokes on the front wheel isn't even worth worrying about as I've never had trouble with a front wheel, regardless of its spoke count. As I mentioned on the other recent wheel thread, I haven't even bothered switching out the stock Giant P-SL0 16 spoke front wheel on my bike because I am in the process of testing this theory long term.
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Old 08-10-14, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Pedalocity
Do you really think a 32h is necessary on the front? I'm curious because my experience as a ~285lb clyde has been that the number of spokes on the front wheel isn't even worth worrying about as I've never had trouble with a front wheel, regardless of its spoke count. As I mentioned on the other recent wheel thread, I haven't even bothered switching out the stock Giant P-SL0 16 spoke front wheel on my bike because I am in the process of testing this theory long term.
You could certainly get away with fewer spokes but you do have a little less support should you crash or blow through pot holes. You also loose a small amount of lateral stiffness going with fewer spokes and most heavier riders put out A LOT of torque where this could be noticed. So to me while you can get away with it, unless you really care about saving 15 or so grams of wheel weight, something most 250+ lb riders could care less about, I see no real reason to do it. I know it is not the case for the OP but as more and more road bikes are going the disc brake route, disc hubs in anything less than 32 holes are tough to find unless you are OK paying for higher end hubs so that is another consideration if your bike happens to have discs.
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Old 08-10-14, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by chriskmurray
You could certainly get away with fewer spokes but you do have a little less support should you crash or blow through pot holes. You also loose a small amount of lateral stiffness going with fewer spokes and most heavier riders put out A LOT of torque where this could be noticed.
That's really interesting, I wouldn't have thought that lateral stiffness would be an issue with a front wheel since the torque is applied through the rear. I may switch over my old 32h front wheel onto my new bike sometime to see if I can feel a difference.
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Old 08-10-14, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Pedalocity
That's really interesting, I wouldn't have thought that lateral stiffness would be an issue with a front wheel since the torque is applied through the rear. I may switch over my old 32h front wheel onto my new bike sometime to see if I can feel a difference.
It is one of those things that it technically there but most can not notice a difference. You are correct in the rear makes a much larger difference though.

I have had a few riders that are hyper sensitive to wheel stiffness and they do not like running a lower spoke count for that reason. These are mostly bigger riders who like to corner very aggressively but some riders of pretty average weight as well. I have one rider who is a pro mountain biker who builds enough torque that on long steep climbs he even flips the lever on his brake caliper to pull the pads away from his rims because he flexes things enough for them to run both front and rear. Being a very weight conscious rider he still runs low spoke count wheels mostly with DT Revolutions though and would rather save the weight and deal with the flex.

I personally am not very sensitive to it but I tend to run 32 hole on most of my personal wheels other than my cargo bike simply because parts are much easier to find in 32 hole should something happen and I am on the road away from my shop.
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Old 10-02-14, 07:12 PM
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I have been running my old stock rear wheel for a few weeks now (while deciding on a new wheelset). I've had one more broken spoke on the NDS so far...

I pulled the trigger today on some new wheels. I went for H+Sons SL42 rims 28 Hole Front / 36 Hole Rear with White Industries T-11 Hubs, DT competition spokes.

Next up - Spoke Tension Gauge!

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. I'll post up a review and pics once my wheels arrive.
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Old 10-02-14, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel
DT Revolutions for a 265lb rider? That's an... interesting... recommendation. The only guy I trust to build wheels says he doesn't recommend Revolutions unless the rider is under 180lbs and then only on the front or NDS. That's a recommendation I'd be inclined to follow...
32 of them front and rear NDS work fine for me at 215 + 15 pounds of luggage for 230 total although I've since shrunk a lot.

Other heavy people seem happy with sufficiently high spoke counts in their Wonder Wheels and DT Aerolites or Sapim CX-Rays everywhere which are the same thing but flattened for aerodynamics.

The caveat is that lateral wheel stiffness is a function of total spoke cross-sectional area and as a larger rider you might not be happy, especially for rear drive side where you don't have a shallower bracing angle contributing to stiffness.

Structurally they should be fine.
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Old 10-02-14, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Pedalocity
Do you really think a 32h is necessary on the front? I'm curious because my experience as a ~285lb clyde has been that the number of spokes on the front wheel isn't even worth worrying about as I've never had trouble with a front wheel, regardless of its spoke count. As I mentioned on the other recent wheel thread, I haven't even bothered switching out the stock Giant P-SL0 16 spoke front wheel on my bike because I am in the process of testing this theory long term.
Personally I go for identical spoke counts at both ends where there's a choice because that means you can keep one spare rim and be back in business tonight after bending the front or rear.
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Old 10-03-14, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by TankSlapper
I have been running my old stock rear wheel for a few weeks now (while deciding on a new wheelset). I've had one more broken spoke on the NDS so far...

I pulled the trigger today on some new wheels. I went for H+Sons SL42 rims 28 Hole Front / 36 Hole Rear with White Industries T-11 Hubs, DT competition spokes.

Next up - Spoke Tension Gauge!

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. I'll post up a review and pics once my wheels arrive.
I'm looking forward to the pictures and the reviews
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Old 10-04-14, 08:07 PM
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Just an FYI....deep on the Mavic page...these wheels have a weight limit. I thought about picking some up when I bought my SuperSix in 2013. If I remember, they have a 220 lbs limit or something like that.
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