Eddy Merckx once famously said “Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades.” It’s a good little slogan and one that still rings true, but of course we all know that big Eddy bought a few tasty “upgrades” of the chemical kind during his career – so take that with a grain of salt or three. Sure you still need to pedal, but hauling less mass up that hill is always better!
With my recent “off” causing damage combined with some very good Christmas and New Years sale prices, I decided to throw a few weight saving upgrades at my trusty Kinesis Aithein for no other reason than because A) I could and; B) I wanted to see what difference it would make.
Complete as shown above, the original build came in at 8.0kg (17.6lbs).
It’s often said that upgrading your wheelset is the most cost effective and noticeable way to upgrade the feel of your bike. In the past I’ve found this to be true, with many off the shelf bikes coming with average quality wheels and tyres compared to the rest of the finishing kit. I’ve racked up a lot of miles on my Fulcrum Racing 3 wheelset (shod with Conti GP4000S or GP 4 Season tyres). They’ve been absolutely bomb proof, but the brake tracks were wearing thin. Time for an upgrade!
Enter the Mavic Ksyrium Pro Exalith SL wheelset ! I’ve always swayed towards Fulcrum wheels, so it was time to try something different and a good mate of mine swears by Mavic wheels.
The sales pitch for this limited edition wheelset boasted light weight, superior stiffness, improved efficiency and a claimed wheel-only weight of 1355 grams. On my scales (with the supplied matching 25mm tyres, tubes and skewers) they came in at 1005g for the front and 1154g for the rear. A total of 2159 grams.
Compared to my Fulcrum Racing 3’s with Conti GP4000S tyres, that’s a saving of 235 grams. Or half a pound in old money. If you were upgrading from a low end factory wheelset, you could double that saving.
I’ve put a few rides on the Mavics now and they feel pretty responsive, kicking quickly when you put the hammer down. They really encourage out of saddle climbing. As for the matching Mavic tyres supplied with the wheels, I’m not sold on those yet and may go back to Continentals when they wear out.
To save a few more precious grams I could switch to titanium skewers. I swear I have a set somewhere in my box of bike bits! Then I could go back to the GP4000S tyres of course, which are lighter and very fast. Lighter inner tubes could shift a few more grams also. But that’s it for now. Next up, I shed some weight from the current 105 groupset!