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UPDATED: Mavic R-Sys Wheels Under Siege

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mavic r-sys bicycle wheels showing 2nd generation spoke breakage even after warranty recalls

Mavic’s R-SYS wheels, which use composite spokes and which, you may recall (bad pun intended) were recalled back in January, can’t seem to get a break.  Errrr, wait, can’t seem not to break.  Yikes…

The wheel above is a 2nd generation (ie. post recall) wheel ridden to infamy under Ben Delaney, a VeloNews writer, during a local road race.  In what appears to be truly a JRA (Just Riding Along…music to ambulance chasers’ ears), the wheel literally fell apart after exiting a turn.  Delaney went over the bars, head first and ended up with a broken shoulder.

The original wheels used hollow unidirectional carbon fiber spokes that were apparently vulnerable to shattering upon impact with something (pedal, foot, etc.).  The new version uses unidirection carbon fiber wrapped with angled fiber, sandwiching kevlar fibers intended to keep the spokes in one piece in the event of failure.

UPDATE: Hit ‘more’ for additional photos and links…

mavic-2nd-gen-r-sys-wheel-break31 mavic-2nd-gen-r-sys-wheel-break2

The above photos are from Ben’s VeloNews article…check it out for a recap of his race experience and POV on the failure.


Ron at CozyBeehive is also not a fan…he posted this pic (by Graham Watson) of the first generation (pre-recall) wheel after a wreck.

Me?  I’m a sucker for anything new and shiny and light, especially when said shiny new things come from a company that has a generally stellar track record like Mavic.  I was about three weeks shy of using R-SYS wheels when I built my latest road bike…but they weren’t going to hit shelves for a few weeks, so I “settled” for the Ksyrium SL’s.  I suppose the old motto applies for anything that’s pushing the boundaries of lightweight: Caveat Emptor.

Mavic, don’t worry, you’re still our reference for light weight when we compare wheels.

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