Cracks in my Mavic Ksyrium SSC SLs



davidbod

New Member
Oct 7, 2003
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I washed the bike today and when I was going over my rear wheel I noticed that at 2 spoke locations the rim is cracked on both sides of the spoke. They are small cracks that are about maybe 5 mm long on each side running away from the spoke hole parallel with the rim. Its like the spoke trying to pull out of the rim has stressed the rim and created these small cracks.

Has anyone seen this before? Has anyone had any experience in returning something like this for a warranty service? They are about 15 months old with about 3500 miles on them. I just checked and Mavic's warranty is 2 years.

Thanks,
David
 
davidbod said:
I washed the bike today and when I was going over my rear wheel I noticed that at 2 spoke locations the rim is cracked on both sides of the spoke. They are small cracks that are about maybe 5 mm long on each side running away from the spoke hole parallel with the rim. Its like the spoke trying to pull out of the rim has stressed the rim and created these small cracks.

Has anyone seen this before? Has anyone had any experience in returning something like this for a warranty service? They are about 15 months old with about 3500 miles on them. I just checked and Mavic's warranty is 2 years.

Thanks,
David

A buddy of mine had the same problem with his. He retuned the wheel about a month ago and just recently got it back. I'll have to check with him to see what thay charged him. I would take it back to your shop ASAP.
 
davidbod said:
I washed the bike today and when I was going over my rear wheel I noticed that at 2 spoke locations the rim is cracked on both sides of the spoke. They are small cracks that are about maybe 5 mm long on each side running away from the spoke hole parallel with the rim. Its like the spoke trying to pull out of the rim has stressed the rim and created these small cracks.

Has anyone seen this before? Has anyone had any experience in returning something like this for a warranty service? They are about 15 months old with about 3500 miles on them. I just checked and Mavic's warranty is 2 years.

Thanks,
David

I'd expect an expensive rear wheel to last longer than 3500 miles, but a lot depends on how much you weigh, how hard you hammer, and what kind of road surfaces you ride over. Not sure what typical life is supposed to be for SSC SLs, or what you expected from these wheels.

Can you post a link to the Mavic warranty? (Couldn't find it on their website). I'd like to read it and see what it says about fatigue (wearout) failures. I don't see how they could afford to give a flat 2 year warranty for racing wheelsets that would cover fatigue failures. Does Mavic sell these as race wheelsets, with appropriate warnings about limited life?
 
dhk said:
I'd expect an expensive rear wheel to last longer than 3500 miles, but a lot depends on how much you weigh, how hard you hammer, and what kind of road surfaces you ride over. Not sure what typical life is supposed to be for SSC SLs, or what you expected from these wheels.

Can you post a link to the Mavic warranty? (Couldn't find it on their website). I'd like to read it and see what it says about fatigue (wearout) failures. I don't see how they could afford to give a flat 2 year warranty for racing wheelsets that would cover fatigue failures. Does Mavic sell these as race wheelsets, with appropriate warnings about limited life?
Well I weigh about 195 and I do ride hard in group rides, but a wheel should be able to hold up longer than a season and 3500 miles. I looked at the booklet that came with the wheels and the warranty is one year not two. In the booklet they talk about checking the wheel each season for wear and cracks at the eyelets. Everything I read on these wheels prior to buying them was that they were bomb proof.
 
davidbod said:
Well I weigh about 195 and I do ride hard in group rides, but a wheel should be able to hold up longer than a season and 3500 miles. I looked at the booklet that came with the wheels and the warranty is one year not two. In the booklet they talk about checking the wheel each season for wear and cracks at the eyelets. Everything I read on these wheels prior to buying them was that they were bomb proof.
Ksyriums are notorious for this. The spokes don't last long either.
 
davidbod said:
Well I weigh about 195 and I do ride hard in group rides, but a wheel should be able to hold up longer than a season and 3500 miles. I looked at the booklet that came with the wheels and the warranty is one year not two. In the booklet they talk about checking the wheel each season for wear and cracks at the eyelets. Everything I read on these wheels prior to buying them was that they were bomb proof.

Sorry that the wheel failed so soon after warranty ended. Don't know how long these "should" last, but I'd be disappointed too. For what they cost, I'd expect more like 10,000 miles. Of course, a strong rider that hammers in the big ring can put a lot of torque into the rear drive-side spokes, which translates to fatigue stress around the spoke holes.

I've gone through a couple of 32 spoke rear rims in less mileage than that, when I weighed 200 lbs. They were cheaper wheels, built on Ultegra hubs...first one was a Matrix ISO, second was a Mavic MA-40.

I'm riding Velomax Circuit Comps now, and they are holding up great at 3300 miles so far this year; best I've found so far. My weight is down to 170, and I'm just doing training/club riding/Centuries....guess that would help either a little or a lot.

"Bombproof" is the same term my LBS salesman used to describe them....but I have no idea how many hard racing or training miles that translates to. Agree the term conveys more than a season/3500 miles though.
 
dhk said:
Sorry that the wheel failed so soon after warranty ended. Don't know how long these "should" last, but I'd be disappointed too. For what they cost, I'd expect more like 10,000 miles. Of course, a strong rider that hammers in the big ring can put a lot of torque into the rear drive-side spokes, which translates to fatigue stress around the spoke holes.

I've gone through a couple of 32 spoke rear rims in less mileage than that, when I weighed 200 lbs. They were cheaper wheels, built on Ultegra hubs...first one was a Matrix ISO, second was a Mavic MA-40.

I'm riding Velomax Circuit Comps now, and they are holding up great at 3300 miles so far this year; best I've found so far. My weight is down to 170, and I'm just doing training/club riding/Centuries....guess that would help either a little or a lot.

"Bombproof" is the same term my LBS salesman used to describe them....but I have no idea how many hard racing or training miles that translates to. Agree the term conveys more than a season/3500 miles though.
When I was deciding on this wheelset I was also looking at the Velomax Orion IIs, but the shop I got them from recommended the Ks over these for reasons of durability. Kind of wish now I had gone with the Velomax wheelset. I'm finding out now how much of a hit my wallets going to take to rebuild the wheel.
 
I feel your pain, and hope the shop gives you a break. You could always order a set of "everyday" wheels to go with the SL's, and save them for races or big events.

I debated on the Velomax Circuit Comps vs standard DA/32 spoke wheels when I ordered my custom frame, but decided to try them since the OEM price was less than the Wheelset 32 spoke built wheels.

In general, I think lightweight and aero wheels are being oversold to many of us who need durability more than the last few seconds at the finish line. Saving grams by shaving weight off the rims is a poor trade-off if it reduces life...at least for me.
 
dhk said:
I feel your pain, and hope the shop gives you a break. You could always order a set of "everyday" wheels to go with the SL's, and save them for races or big events.

I debated on the Velomax Circuit Comps vs standard DA/32 spoke wheels when I ordered my custom frame, but decided to try them since the OEM price was less than the Wheelset 32 spoke built wheels.

In general, I think lightweight and aero wheels are being oversold to many of us who need durability more than the last few seconds at the finish line. Saving grams by shaving weight off the rims is a poor trade-off if it reduces life...at least for me.
It's funny you mentioned Matrix ISOs in your previous post. My 1985 Trek 770 came with Matrix ISOs on Campy Super Record hubs and I still have them hanging in my garage. I can't imagine how many tens of thousands of miles this set has on them, or how many times I have rebuilt the hubs. They are 'bomb proof'. The set after that is a pair of Mavic Open Pro CDs on Ultegra hubs. They have been my stand by pair for the Ks which I will now be going back to. Of these two other wheelsets, I have never broken a spoke or destroyed a rim. I'm a heavier rider, so I do get things out of true when I hit big holes, but nothing a little work with a spoke wrench can't cure.

I think your right about the lightweight wheelsets. Unless your trying to shave off seconds the price for longevity is'nt worth it. If I had known that this problem existed with the Ks before my purchase I don't think I would have bought them. I think there are other options which may not be quite as light, but would have been more value for money in the longevity department.
 
davidbod said:
It's funny you mentioned Matrix ISOs in your previous post. My 1985 Trek 770 came with Matrix ISOs on Campy Super Record hubs and I still have them hanging in my garage. I can't imagine how many tens of thousands of miles this set has on them, or how many times I have rebuilt the hubs. They are 'bomb proof'. The set after that is a pair of Mavic Open Pro CDs on Ultegra hubs. They have been my stand by pair for the Ks which I will now be going back to. Of these two other wheelsets, I have never broken a spoke or destroyed a rim. I'm a heavier rider, so I do get things out of true when I hit big holes, but nothing a little work with a spoke wrench can't cure.

I think your right about the lightweight wheelsets. Unless your trying to shave off seconds the price for longevity is'nt worth it. If I had known that this problem existed with the Ks before my purchase I don't think I would have bought them. I think there are other options which may not be quite as light, but would have been more value for money in the longevity department.
I just read the owner's manual for my Rolf Prima Vigors (which I think are a better wheel than the Mavic Ks in most ways). It, too, goes so far as to mention inspecting the rims for cracks (weekly or monthly -- I forget) because rims are "consumable" and need to be replaced from time to time.

This sexy lightweight stuff may/may not be worth it to you. I'm sure some sets go forever, others don't. A friend w/ SSC SLs had one crack after less than 6 months. Lucky him -- inside the warranty period!
 
Aztec said:
I just read the owner's manual for my Rolf Prima Vigors (which I think are a better wheel than the Mavic Ks in most ways). It, too, goes so far as to mention inspecting the rims for cracks (weekly or monthly -- I forget) because rims are "consumable" and need to be replaced from time to time.

This sexy lightweight stuff may/may not be worth it to you. I'm sure some sets go forever, others don't. A friend w/ SSC SLs had one crack after less than 6 months. Lucky him -- inside the warranty period!

I have no doubt that there are wheels that are just as light as the Ks and will hold up over time. I'm just dissappointed that the Ks are so flimsy considering the price. My reasearch into this after the fact has opened my eyes to the fact that many people are having problems with cracked rear K rims. These riders range in weight from 140 to 200+ lbs, so weight does not appear to be the factor. One guy in Australia on roadbikereview had cracks at 6 months, had it rebuilt to then have cracks again 3 months later. After the whole wheel was replaced he has had no further problems over some 3000 miles. His local LBS claims that Mavic changed their manufacturing process which was the cause of the cracks. Who knows what the truth is. I'm going to get it priced for a re-build and then decide what to do. If it comes to more than 1/2 the price of a new wheel I may have to ditch it for something else.
 
Both I and a friend of mine (who lives in Arkansas) had our rear wheels develop cracks. Mine was about as old as yours (15 months). I took it to the lbs where I bought the wheels, they gave me a free loaner (Velomax), sent the old one to Mavic where they replaced the rim. Total cost about $22 for shipping and handling. My friend had exactly the same experience at a completely different lbs.

I'm 6'2" and weigh 175 lbs FWIW. When I took the wheel in I was expecting a hassle so I started with "gee I don't know how this happened, I'm careful, haven't hit any potholes, etc". The guy at the lbs said don't worry about it, it's not anything you did, Mavic machines the rims to such tight tolerances around the spokes some of them are just defective.

So my advice: take it back to where you bought it and get it fixed under warranty (which is 2 years).

Greg
 
ghsmith54 said:
Both I and a friend of mine (who lives in Arkansas) had our rear wheels develop cracks. Mine was about as old as yours (15 months). I took it to the lbs where I bought the wheels, they gave me a free loaner (Velomax), sent the old one to Mavic where they replaced the rim. Total cost about $22 for shipping and handling. My friend had exactly the same experience at a completely different lbs.

I'm 6'2" and weigh 175 lbs FWIW. When I took the wheel in I was expecting a hassle so I started with "gee I don't know how this happened, I'm careful, haven't hit any potholes, etc". The guy at the lbs said don't worry about it, it's not anything you did, Mavic machines the rims to such tight tolerances around the spokes some of them are just defective.

So my advice: take it back to where you bought it and get it fixed under warranty (which is 2 years).

Greg

I talked with Bob Lickton at Lickton's in Illinois where I bought the wheelset from and he agreed quite quickly to have the wheel returned to be fixed under warranty. That was a relief as I had contacted a LBS here in Houston and they had quoted just under $200 to have it fixed (new rim and spokes). I'll let everyone know what happens when I get it back.

David
 
davidbod said:
I talked with Bob Lickton at Lickton's in Illinois where I bought the wheelset from and he agreed quite quickly to have the wheel returned to be fixed under warranty. That was a relief as I had contacted a LBS here in Houston and they had quoted just under $200 to have it fixed (new rim and spokes). I'll let everyone know what happens when I get it back.

David

I just got the wheel back yesterday. It was rebuilt with a new rim and spokes at Mavic's service center in MA. Took nearly 4 months, but was apparently Mavics problem not Lickton's due to supply issues on the new rim? Only cost to me was the shipping charge to Lickton's.

David
 
davidbod said:
I have no doubt that there are wheels that are just as light as the Ks and will hold up over time. I'm just dissappointed that the Ks are so flimsy considering the price. My reasearch into this after the fact has opened my eyes to the fact that many people are having problems with cracked rear K rims. These riders range in weight from 140 to 200+ lbs, so weight does not appear to be the factor. One guy in Australia on roadbikereview had cracks at 6 months, had it rebuilt to then have cracks again 3 months later. After the whole wheel was replaced he has had no further problems over some 3000 miles. His local LBS claims that Mavic changed their manufacturing process which was the cause of the cracks. Who knows what the truth is. I'm going to get it priced for a re-build and then decide what to do. If it comes to more than 1/2 the price of a new wheel I may have to ditch it for something else.
The truth is that the only way to cut weight off of a rim is to remove more metal. Durability is always going to be a trade off for light weight. With the exception of the machined sidewalls, the manufacturing tolerances aren't nearly as tight as the manufacturers would like us to believe. Rims are made by an extrusion process that's prone to extremely fast tool wear. As the die wears, the walls of each rim to come out of the extruder get a little bit thicker. The overal volume of metal in the rim can increase by as much as 15% before the die gets replaced. On a wheel with a low spoke count, that results in a huge variation in the stresses induced in supposedly identical rims.
Unfortunately, short of going through a big stack of wheels and weighing all of them, there's no way of knowing if you're getting a light and weak rim from the begining of the production run or a stronger and heavier one from the end.
 
artmichalek said:
The truth is that the only way to cut weight off of a rim is to remove more metal. Durability is always going to be a trade off for light weight. With the exception of the machined sidewalls, the manufacturing tolerances aren't nearly as tight as the manufacturers would like us to believe. Rims are made by an extrusion process that's prone to extremely fast tool wear. As the die wears, the walls of each rim to come out of the extruder get a little bit thicker. The overal volume of metal in the rim can increase by as much as 15% before the die gets replaced. On a wheel with a low spoke count, that results in a huge variation in the stresses induced in supposedly identical rims.
Unfortunately, short of going through a big stack of wheels and weighing all of them, there's no way of knowing if you're getting a light and weak rim from the begining of the production run or a stronger and heavier one from the end.
Great info. Believe the root of the issue is weight-driven marketing. As long as a manufacturer can shave 50 grams off a rim, and sell it at a higher price to riders shopping for the lightest stuff on the market, durability tends to take a back seat.
 
davidbod said:
I just got the wheel back yesterday. It was rebuilt with a new rim and spokes at Mavic's service center in MA. Took nearly 4 months, but was apparently Mavics problem not Lickton's due to supply issues on the new rim? Only cost to me was the shipping charge to Lickton's.

David

I think it's a bloody disgrace that you had to wait so long to get back a product you paid decent cash for because it wasn't up to the job. If you'd be cyclo-crossing on those rims, or if you'd done 10 k miles on them then OK, you'd kind of expect it. However, you didn't (did you? ;) ). So much for superior quality at a higher price, then?

Hope you have more luck with the rebuild - happy pedalling!
 
David,
If it helps, I was at my LBS yesterday looking at another six13 with full Record and SL's...

The owner of the store told me that indeed the warranty is 2 years, and he also emphasized that it doesn't matter HOW these wheels are damaged, even if one hits a Car or jumps off a Roof (I'm always doing THAT)...all he does is call the Mavic Rep on his cell phone and he will supply a new wheel within a couple of days, no questions asked...free of charge of course...

So please let us know what transpires...good luck!!!

davidbod said:
I washed the bike today and when I was going over my rear wheel I noticed that at 2 spoke locations the rim is cracked on both sides of the spoke. They are small cracks that are about maybe 5 mm long on each side running away from the spoke hole parallel with the rim. Its like the spoke trying to pull out of the rim has stressed the rim and created these small cracks.

Has anyone seen this before? Has anyone had any experience in returning something like this for a warranty service? They are about 15 months old with about 3500 miles on them. I just checked and Mavic's warranty is 2 years.

Thanks,
David
 

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