Mavis wheels R-sys vs Ksyrium SL

derekwatts
derekwatts Posts: 107
edited December 2008 in Workshop
Hi Guys n Gals

In the market for a wheel upgrade, and found both R-sys and Ksyrium SL premium (the one with the titanium skewers) on a good sale price. (Both '08 models). The R-sys is 'only' about £60 more than the SL's, but what kind of a wheel is it to live with for regular training rides? Anyone have a set with plenty of miles in them? Are the carbon spokes trouble or can they be serviced yourself with a spoke tool? Ah by the way I know that the SL premium is the same as the regular SL except for the titanium skewers but unfortunately they don't have the regular SL on sale... £100 for a titanium skewer is a lot of money considering it makes less weight difference than a banana stuffed in your jersey!

I am hoping whichever I go for, it will be a substantial improvement over the 2003 Ultegra rims I have now...
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Comments

  • gkerr4
    gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    The R-Sys look better so go for them

    no really - at that level they are both going to be decent wheels (cue hundreds of handbuilt 'fans' (fanatics) harping on about catastrophic spoke failure or something..) so go for the R-Sys they are instantly recognizable as expensive wheels and therefore cool.

    (the carbon spokes can't be serviced at all is my understanding btw - they are factory bonded and should never need fettling. the only spokes which are serviceable are the drive side rear which are regular aluminium spokes.)
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    By all accounts, and this was verified by the bods on the Mavic stand at the London show in October, the R-Sys have had some problems what with spokes breaking and hubs not being reliable.

    I have five year old Ksyrium SLs (the TdeF models with the ti skewers) which are still brilliant and would recommend them. Weight wise they are on par with wheels of a similar ilk.
  • Ive seen too many photos of broken R-Sys spokes flying through the air to consider them myself. I gather they have quite a bad rep among racers over on the other side of the pond as well. Never ridden them, but with the tubular carbon spokes i would have thought they would have been a really stiff ride.... a little too to for training perhaps?

    What price have you found them for? Are you looking for light/aero/durable wheels? Maybe we could suggest some other wheels for you to consider...
  • gkerr4 wrote:
    go for the R-Sys they are instantly recognizable as expensive wheels and therefore cool.

    8)

    I like your logic - the logic of 'cool'!

    Not sure how cool it looks though to be carrying your bike to the nearest bus stop with a broken wheel! :shock: Actually the colouring of the SL's suits my bike very well, everything is already either red or black. I was worried about the R-sys spokes being squeezed in a bike box, as I know from a previous life how strong carbon is as long as the force is in the direction intended. I am planning to travel a lot with the wheels. To ride them of course, not to go backpacking with them through India or ot sit on a beach and share a cocktail with them or anything, no matter how instantly recognisable they are.

    Well thanks for the opinions guys. A bloke in a bike shop in Pasadena told me of the SL's "Dude, be like ridin' frikin razorblades after your Shimy-anos!" Is that good?? :(
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    The SLs are fine wheels. Not sure about riding razorblades, they feel very sturdy and strong to me, and light of course.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I have a friend who rides some R-SYS wheels and he's pretty happy with them, but agree about concerns about the durability of carbon spokes, particularly whilst in transit. There are plenty of really good wheels at this pricepoint - also consider Fulcrum Racing 1's / Racing Reds - just as strong and reliable as the Ksyrium SLs, but a little less common.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • aarw
    aarw Posts: 448
    gkerr4 wrote:
    The R-Sys look better so go for them

    no really - at that level they are both going to be decent wheels (cue hundreds of handbuilt 'fans' (fanatics) harping on about catastrophic spoke failure or something..) so go for the R-Sys they are instantly recognizable as expensive wheels and therefore cool.

    (the carbon spokes can't be serviced at all is my understanding btw - they are factory bonded and should never need fettling. the only spokes which are serviceable are the drive side rear which are regular aluminium spokes.)

    this entire post just screams all furr coat without knickers.... :roll:
  • Jez mon
    Jez mon Posts: 3,809
    I wouldn't go for the R-Sys, I don't really like the look, but I'm also not sure that carbon tubular spokes are really a good idea. Have you thought about something with a deep rim?
    You live and learn. At any rate, you live
  • Rich-Ti
    Rich-Ti Posts: 1,831
    I want the R-SYS, and am assured the issues with the spokes on the original release have been sorted for the 2 '09 versions.

    Unfortunately I'd have to go for the Premium version as I can't stand silver wheels... bugger!
  • inseine
    inseine Posts: 5,788
    If you read the tests (and are bothered) the R-SYS are about the slowest wheels you can buy due to their awful aerodynamics which easily outways thier light weight. Like someone said, they look OK though!
  • the r-sys are stupidly overpriced but if you think they are cool and you are getting a good price then go for it. Given the choice between a pair of ultegra wheels or the r-sys I would take the ultegras in all honesty. But people who have then say they are stiff and nice to ride and I can believe that. Mavic make very strong wheels and despite the one or two horror stories on the internet I would not be worred about durability ... well, perhaps a bit if I wanted to race them.

    I don't understand why you're liimiting your choice to Mavic though? Other brands do it better.
  • DaSy
    DaSy Posts: 599
    I have both 08 SL premiums and R-Sys wheels, and have been very happy with both.

    I bought the SL Premiums after being very disappointed with the durability of a set of Easton Orion II's I have. The Eastons rode okay - a bit of a soft noodle when climbing hard out of the saddle or cornering hard - but they just went out of true at the slightest provocation. They were trued twice by the factory and twice by my LBS in less than a year.

    The SL's although lighter on the scales, felt a little heavier on a climb (I think due to there being more weight in the rim itself), but descended noticeably quicker, and were a much stiffer wheel which was nice on hard corners - no more brake rub on climbs or corners.

    The R-Sys came with my new bike and at the price I paid, I effectively got them for free!

    They are again lighter than both the previous wheels, but again having a lot of the weight in the rim, don't necessarily feel that much lighter when climbing - but still better. The most significant thing you notice about the wheel is how laterally stiff it is. It doesn't deflect no matter how hard you climb out of the saddle or lean into a corner, it really is a major difference over any wheel I've tried before. They are also, surprisingly a very comfy wheel to ride, and soak up road buzz and holes better than the other 2 wheels.

    I've ridden about 5K miles on them so far on the awful roads of Berkshire and they are still true and look like new. I didn't intend to ever buy these wheels, and had my major reservations about them when I first heard of them. Since I could get the frame, forks and finishing kit for the same price as the fully built bike with R-sys, I thought I could at least e-bay them if they were no good.

    They are now the only wheel I ride, the SL's and Orion's are hanging up, and even though the weather has changed and I should be riding my cheaper wheels, I find it hard to go back.

    I love the durability and bombproof nature of Mavic wheels, and the R-sys so far are living up to that reputation.

    As far as servicing them, spokes can be replaced by a competent wheel builder, it just requires a new tracomp ring and clips each time (the ring is inside the hub and is what the end of the spokes sits against to allow them to have something to stand on to provide the compression part of the traction and compression that gives the latteral stiffness to the wheel). This ring is fairly cheap, but does mean it's a bit of a drama to replace a spoke. You can't just tighten a spoke up on them as the spoke would split as it's not able to turn due to the tracomp ring and being bonded into the nipple, but it also is not necessary as the wheels just don't go out of true in normal duty.

    There you go, a long drawn out write up, both wheels are great, the R-Sys are light and very stiff laterally, but a more hassle should anything go wrong. The SL's are light and fast and very tough, a great all round wheel and easy to get repaired.

    The aero thing is a bit of a wives tale trotted out quite often, and the test I saw that this seems to be based on was testing them against lots of aero and deep section wheels, that these are not, and not trying to be. As an everyday non-aero wheel they are as good or bad as any other.
    Complicating matters since 1965
  • DaSy wrote:
    I

    The aero thing is a bit of a wives tale trotted out quite often, and the test I saw that this seems to be based on was testing them against lots of aero and deep section wheels, that these are not, and not trying to be. As an everyday non-aero wheel they are as good or bad as any other.

    DaSy ... that's not true as they perform poorly when compared with other mid-profile clinchers such as Eurus.

    BUT ... I take your point that to most of us riding road bikes for pleasure and keeping fit the comfort/stiffness/feel benefits can outweight the aero negatives.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    I tried out a pair of R-Sys, liked them but I ended up going for these, which look mighty fine on my red and black bike -



    http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/productdetail.asp?productcatalogue=SHIMWHFR875

    SlushFund.jpg

    They feel lighter than the R-Sys but are not as stiff (I couldn't believe how stiff the R-Sys were when giving it big legs out of the saddle on climbs), they are stiff enough however and are also cheaper and IMO look cooler, especially with the marbled carbon :)
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    They are racing and bling wheels. Not training wheels. You won't improve your fitness
    by buying a set of wheels. IMHO get a really good set of 32 spoke hand builts, at half the price, and ride them for training. They will be dependable, sturdy, easy to repair and true, last longer, and you won't have to worry about busting up 2000 dollars worth of wheels.
    If, however, you've got bunches of money that you don't know what to do with or you've
    just got to have bling at any cost then by all means go for it all. For what it's worth neither of them would be my choice for TRAINING wheels, even if I had the money. Now, as strictly racing wheels I'm sure either would be fine, in tubular only, of course. TRAIN on dependable equipment. It makes it much more enjoyable, particularly when you break a spoke on some low spoke count wheel in the middle of nowhere and the wheel becomes
    so out of true that it can barely be ridden, if at all.
    Dennis Noward
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    Ha this made me laugh, on the Mavic web site the regular R-Sys wheelset weighs 1350g and the R-Sys Premium comes in at 1360g. Sorry did I miss something?

    Have they got that wrong or is it me? Surely the premium wheelset which surely costs more to buy anyway, with extra titanium and carbon bits, should weigh less? In that respect what's the point?
  • There isn't that much in it performance wise but the R-SYS carbon straws are a little bit stiffer on the rear (which is what matters in a hard effort). Oh no - that's the proper rear drive side spokes isn't it :-) Stiffness of the wheel at this level will make substantially less difference to your performance (sorry, training) than your choice of tyres though.

    Stiffness (higher=stiffer):
    R-SYS: 50N/mm front, 55 N/mm rear
    Ksyrium ES: 56N/mm front, 47 N/mm rear
    Shimano R550: 46N/mm front, 42 N/mm rear

    The R-SYS are also the least aero 700C racing wheel but for training that shouldn't be a worry.

    Drag at 50km/h:
    R-SYS: 35.0W
    Ksyrium ES: 33.2W
    Cosmic Carbone SL: 21.9W
    Shimano R550: 25.9W

    If you're being completely vain and aren't that interested in value for money (not judging but just being straight!), the R-SYS Premiums would be the way to go. If you're set on clinchers, I'd get a set of Cosmic Carbone Premiums and some of the cheap as chips Shimano wheels for the same amount of money and have a lot more fun...

    The R-SYS spoke breaking thing is AFAIK based on one dramatic incident in a US race so shouldn't be blown out of proportion. It's true that if you crash dramatically the carbon spokes might be more of a hazard to other riders but this isn't happening on training rides the world over on a frequent basis.

    In summary, although they are good wheels, neither the R-SYS nor the SLs are exceptional performers or good value for money. I'd sling Racing 1s, Racing Zeroes, Shimano Dura Ace 7850 carbon/alloy 1380 clinchers and Campagnolo Neutron Ultras into the mix too if you're only considering clinchers.

    Check out Adrien's tests for the data I've quoted above:
    http://accel6.mettre-put-idata.over-blo ... wheels.jpg
    http://accel6.mettre-put-idata.over-blo ... s_2008.gif
  • Ha this made me laugh, on the Mavic web site the regular R-Sys wheelset weighs 1350g and the R-Sys Premium comes in at 1360g. Sorry did I miss something?

    Have they got that wrong or is it me? Surely the premium wheelset which surely costs more to buy anyway, with extra titanium and carbon bits, should weigh less? In that respect what's the point?

    The quoted weights are rubbish but obviously the marketing department didn't get to the numbers quick enough... On the bright side, the skewers might be lighter and are excluded from those weights anyhow!

    You're paying for looks and as you say a bit of Ti, not any material difference in performance.
  • berkan
    berkan Posts: 27
    I have been riding the Mavic R-SYS for a year now and overall they have performed very well.

    I had some teething troubles to begin with as the Tracomp ring in the front wheel failed and had to be replaced. The spokes are quite fragile to knocks and damage but work excellently for what they are designed for, strength. I am a bigger stronger rider and the rigidity of these wheels is great whilst not being uncomfortable. If you are worried about comfort on any wheel I would recommend the higher level Vittoria tyres with their high thread count

    I did a lot of research before buying these wheels and yes I did read the study on rouesartisanales where they slated the wheel's aerodynamics. It is probably true that they are not very aero, especially the front wheel where it counts, it is pretty obvious that spokes that thick and round are not going to cut the air very effectively.

    I rode the back wheel in the North Tipperary countryside this summer where the roads are as rough as any other country in Europe and it stood up very well.

    Now having sung the praises of this wheel, which is also very light and good for climbing also. I do have to say that I would go for the new dura-ace composite carbon/alloy wheel if I were to be buying a new set. I had the previous iteration of the dura-ace wheelset (the scandium SL) and although it was terrible at going out of true they now string the rear hub differently and this is apparently no longer a problem.

    So to conclude, although I would recommend this wheel, if you are looking for a durable/light/multi-purpose/carbon-composite wheel, unless you require high rigidity and strength, go for the dura-ace. It is cheaper to boot and therefore very good value
  • problem with dura ace is you're still a beta tester for a safety critical technology

    don't go down the 32spoke route - as that's the one option slower than the R-SYS !!!

    the whole handbuilt reliability thing is exaggerated and outdated
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Yup - I've had more badly built 'handbuilts' than factory wheels. I've just built myself some new training wheels - Open Pros on Record, but for stiffness and weight, there are many factory built wheels that significantly outperform them.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Monty Dog wrote:
    Yup - I've had more badly built 'handbuilts' than factory wheels. I've just built myself some new training wheels - Open Pros on Record, but for stiffness and weight, there are many factory built wheels that significantly outperform them.


    I agree. The reliability of many models of factory wheels is as good as it gets. I must have owned about a dozen or more sets of factory hoops and only had issues with one. Handbuilts have been more variable. It's just cycling mythology.
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    problem with dura ace is you're still a beta tester for a safety critical technology

    don't go down the 32spoke route - as that's the one option slower than the R-SYS !!!

    the whole handbuilt reliability thing is exaggerated and outdated

    This "slower" thing for a training wheel has got me wondering. Racing is where you want to go fast, not training. Of course this assumes that you train correctly and don't
    "race" with your buddies everyday, although this would seem to be the case with most riders(at least in my experience). Every day is race day.
    I've used 32 spoke wheels for what seems like forever. Can only recall a couple of broken spokes and they rarely need truing. I remember breaking two spokes during a long ride some years back and I was able to true it back up on the road and finish the ride
    without much of a problem. Try that with ANY of the latest "factory" wheels(even one
    broken spoke can render them useless). Add to that the fact that some of them can't be fixed by yourself and possibly not even by your local bike shop and that doesn't sound like fun, fun, fun, to me. Remember, I'm talking TRAINING wheels here, not race wheels.
    Of course if you race everyday then...... well you're a better man than I ever was(not hard to do). I also realize that being seen on the latest "stuff" has become very important in this day and age. So If you need or have to have all the latest to train on, in case someone sees you, well, have at it. Just make sure your wallet has the proper credit cards.

    Dennis Noward
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Neither, the only Mavic wheels really worth getting are the Cosmic Carbones....
    I like bikes...

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  • DaSy
    DaSy Posts: 599
    I must be the only person who feels this way judging by the strong emphasis everyone puts on aero wheels, but I actually dislike aero section wheels. the Cosmic Carbones I rode for a while were hatefully susceptible to side winds, plus weigh significantly more than either my R-Sys or SL's.

    The side wind thing just ends up making me nervous when out on the roads with deep section and aero spoke wheels, and as 95% of my time is spent in either training rides or just rides, the aero benefits are outweighed by the nervous energy I use up keeping a line.

    As someone who tends to make time on others on climbs and not on the flat (I am working on that though!), lightweight wheels feel far more beneficial to me than aero ones. To each his own though
    Complicating matters since 1965
  • DaSy wrote:
    As someone who tends to make time on others on climbs and not on the flat (I am working on that though!), lightweight wheels feel far more beneficial to me than aero ones. To each his own though

    Are you lighter than average with a relatively small upper body? I'd completely understand your sentiments if this is the case. And training a weakness (flats) is often less fun than maintaining or training your strengths.

    Totally understand your comment on 'feel' too but the Watts saved are likely to be higher from better aerodynamics than dropping weight. Clearly no amount of aerodynamic improvement will compensate your nose in a ditch from being blown over!
  • wheeler585
    wheeler585 Posts: 552
    edited December 2008
    Campag shamal ulta's, say know more!!! But at the end of the day,doesnt matter what wheels you have, its all in the legs baby!!!
    Up hup hup hup.....fricking hate that!
  • DaSy
    DaSy Posts: 599
    Are you lighter than average with a relatively small upper body? I'd completely understand your sentiments if this is the case. And training a weakness (flats) is often less fun than maintaining or training your strengths.

    No, I'm 6'1" and 155 lbs and a 41" chest so kind of normal (not a sentiment echoed by my other half!).

    I just enjoy climbing, and seem to have a mindset that is geared to it. I have spent a fair bit of time recently on TT type training, and am making some good gains but mentally I never feel very satisfied by this type of riding. A long climb up a big mountain makes for a memorable ride for me and the sight of a steep hill has me keen to get to it, whereas my riding buddies all start moaning. When they discover that I'm leading a ride and have a great new route, there is usually a lot of whinging about the amount of climbing in the last "flat" ride I led!
    Complicating matters since 1965
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    One thing I have noticed is that while everyone seems to be talking about performance
    wheels, hardly anyone is talking tubulars. IMHO a good set of race wheels(since everyone seems to have forgot you were talking training wheels) are of course, tubulars.
    This, as always, will cause howls of protest, but that's the way I've always seen it.
    Anyway, my theory is that training wheels are sturdy, with good tough tires, and easy to work on. You're training, not racing, ride something that won't give you problems. Spend the big money on your race bike and or wheels and use it / them for racing only. Unless,
    like I've said, you've got the money and it's burning holes in your pockets. Given a choice I'd rather trash a handbuilt than a factory wheel. I can rebuld my handbuilts.

    Dennis Noward
  • That's a BMI of 20.5 which is pretty low! I can empathise with your riding buddies - though I know what I can sustain up a hill and have got better with practice at just sucking it up to the point of even enjoying it!

    Anyhow.... What's the answer?! R-SYS or Ksyrium SLs? Personally I think this is going to run and run... :-)