Pricey for metal but a light, responsive and versatile tubeless 700c wheelset that works best with tyres up to 45mm
- Accurate feel
- Super easy tubeless
- Extensive axle options
- All free hub options
- 25mm wide 650B+ option
- 64mm tyre compatibility is 'optimistic'
- 'Instant Drive' isn't instant
The new Mavic Allroad SL wheels load all of the brand's signature technology and much-copied innovations into a tough, versatile and responsive alloy 700c wheelset for any drop bar mission on mid-width tyres, but how do they compare against the best gravel wheels available?
Design and aesthetics
The rims use Mavic’s well-proven FORE design where spokes thread directly into the rim face, which leaves the tyre bed fully intact for perfect sealing and extra stiffness. Tubeless valves are provided and tyre fit and track pump inflation is problem-free. The rims are hookless too, so there’s no pinching. While Mavic (and official ETRTO guidelines) says it’ll work with tyres up to 64mm (that’s a 2.6in MTB tyre) the 22mm internal width does mean tyres at 50mm upwards feel wobbly at lower pressures. Sticking with 40mm for most of the test gave us no issues and, unlike wider rims, and you can still run 25mm road tyres if you fancy a speed injection. You can get a 650B All Road SL + version with 25mm internal rims too if you want to max out tire volume and they’re 50g lighter too.
According to Mavic, the machined and shaped ISDM rims weigh just 440g, while a complete wheel weighs just over 1,600g. That’s 140g lighter than the Allroad Elite predecessor and 170g heavier than DT Swiss’s benchmark GR1600, and they have a light and responsive feel whatever tyre you run. The ‘Instant Drive 360’ freehub isn’t quite as immediate as the name suggests with a maximum nine-degree lag before it catches. Mavic say that they’ve prioritised reliability even with the extra torque of a motor in play though so the SL’s are totally E-bike happy. However, the 24 broad-bladed, double-butted spokes keep everything feeling tight and precise under power when the freehub does connect.
The Allroad SL wheels feel accurate and predictable through turns, and while the rims aren’t aero, Mavic claims that the spokes can save you up to five watts of drag. The rim machining adds some vertical compliance into the ride mix, but they are definitely on the bright and stiff end of the spectrum, rather than a damped limousine setup.
The ‘Infinity Hubs’ are easy to service if required, and while the 17mm axles are supplied with 12mm end cap inserts, you can configure them for QR skewers at either end as well as 15mm front spindles. There is also a full range of SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo freehubs to slide on and off, depending on your chosen transmission.
The preload of the QRM bearings is now ‘auto’ rather than manual-adjust, and while we’ve not had the wheels long, Mavic’s bearings are generally long-lived and trouble-free. However, you will have to buy six-bolt rotor adaptors if you’re not on Centrelock splined fit discs already and Mavic’s spokes can also create easy sourcing issues if you snap one in the back of beyond. The hub design does mean all spokes are the same length though so you can transplant in an emergency.
Mavic’s new gravel/all road wheels are really easy to set up and adjust to any common or historic gravel or ‘cross bike configurations. They work really well tubeless with 700c tyres up to 45mm and while the price is high for alloy, they’re lighter, with better quality mechanical elements than a lot of more expensive carbon options.
The naturally tight ride feel, acceleration and agility are great for giving sedentary bikes a welcome wake-up call. However, there are better options if you’re trying to smooth and soothe an already sharp bike.
Tech specs: Mavic Allroad SL gravel wheels
- Price: £590.00 / $717.00 / AU$1,065.00
- Weight: 1,612g (with valves fitted)
- Axles: 12 x 100/142 (supplied), QR x 100/135mm and 15x100mm front
- Size: 700c
- Width: 22mm (internal)
- Spoke count: 24
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