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2017 Mavic Open Pro Exalith (and other stuff)

The first legit "good" set of wheels I ever owned was a set of Open Pros on DA hubs. This was a long time ago (I'm old), and while they weren't quite state of the art at the time, they were plenty current. Despite the myriad times Mike and I have bemoaned that "someone really needs to make a modern Open Pro," we didn't think it would be Mavic that did it. But now the modern version of that exact build of my long ago past could be something we ride (and, more importantly, build) a lot this coming year. This world never ceases to amaze.

From Team Dream's InstagramI was barely three weeks ago that I wrote about how the industry-at-large seemed to finally be sparing a thought for the humble alloy rim, and now this news has come out. I swear we knew absolutely nothing of this when I wrote that post. 

This is notable from Mavic for a couple of reasons. First, they updated the Open Pro, which I think the world had more or less given up on. That speaks to two things: that they give a crap about updating aluminum rims, and also that they give a crap about component rims and not just pre-built wheels (the era of which they more or less created with their Helium wheel set). Last, they're bringing an Exalith (which is their trade name for a black coating process that several manufacturers use) component rim to the market. And it's tubeless ready and wide.

The specs as we know them are that it's 19mm wide inside, claimed to weigh 435g, will be available in Exalith, machined side wall, and disc versions, and will be available in 24, 28, and 32h drillings (disc in 28 and 32 only). In a twist that we couldn't have imagined 4 years ago when people were looking at us sideways when we talked about the primacy of inside width, the outer width isn't even reported in the BikeRadar thing - nor is the depth talked about. Disc rims will be offset drilled. 

To answer your next question, we have no idea. They're saying late spring to early summer. 

Though this seems like a very very cool rim, we don't think it's the be-all-end-all, everything for every rider and every purpose rim. There's no such thing. We're just happy to be able to bring you ever more compelling alloy options that will make ever more difficult to miss carbon rims. And yes, we're a Mavic dealer.

The other thing we're working on is accessory options, so you can just pull your wheels out of the box, adjust the tire pressure, and roll. We've been sending out a lot of wheels with tires on them already, disc builds with rotors, cassettes, yada yada. With the new shop, we're keeping a bunch more stuff in stock ready to go, so that gets easier. I just have to get my act together and get everything on the site. 

If the UPS guys shows up today, the other two sections of this will arrive

One last thing on the shop is that we're literally in right field of the local minor league team's field, so I was thinking "wouldn't it be cool to do a Wednesday mellow ride and have beers and cookout after, and watch the end of the baseball game?" Well guess what, June 7 there's a home game EVERY Wednesday night throughout summer. Score. 

Had to include this, never made a sign before and it's almost too pretty to put outside


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Reader Comments (12)

Dave, it seems like new rims are popping up almost quarterly. At what point does it end? I bought a set of wheels with Pacenti SL23 v2 rims from you in Jan 16 and they already feel outdated compared to the aero optimized or coated brake track offerings of today. It almost seems like an arms race of alloy for those that are paying attention.

March 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I'm interested in the answer to Matt's question as well... Not regretting, just wondering!

March 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterScott Booth

Update: I don't feel slighted either. I got great rims and hubs with White internals for a steal. It just seems that what is new is old so fast!

March 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Matt and Scott, it sounds like you both have a touch of the FOPO. (See our blog from last week.) If you love the wheels you're on, you're on the right wheels. If you don't, Mavic would be happy for you to choose a set made with their new rims. And we'd be happy to build them for you if that's what you want.

From what we can tell so far, the most significant development in the new Open Pros is not that they are advancing any technological or design threshold. Rather, it is that they are new Open Pros - an iconic rim finally updated to a modern width. Not everything that's new improved means that what came before it is old and lousy. But given the narrowness of Open Pros before this relaunch, I expect they were ceding a lot of share to HED, Pacenti, Easton and others, and elected to stay in the component rim game for another cycle.

But they also don't appear to be competing directly with the 27mm - 32mm aero-informed designs that we tested in the wind tunnel last month, which is smart given how crowded that part of the market is. They appear shallower and are certainly lighter (listed at 435g I think). Whether a few millimeters of depth and a few dozen grams of weight constitutes a meaningful differentiation from HED, AL33, Kinlin or Pacenti rims is a function of the prospective buyer's own calculus on what they prioritize. Would I shelve a pair of brand new FSW3s for these? Probably not. But if I were looking to replace Ksyriums or 3 year old carbons, would I consider these along with FSW3s? Sure.

March 14, 2017 | Registered CommenterMike May

What's up with the Park truing stand missing the left feeler arm?

March 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Bond

You neglected to mention that these are UST Tubeless compatible, noteworthy for a Mavic road rim

March 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

Joe - They work better that way. The other one's missing the left arm too. The intended centering mechanism doesn't work well enough. Flip-centering works great.

Greg - "And it's tubeless ready and wide." Maybe we didn't specifically mention UST tubeless, but the gist is sure there.

March 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterdave

I realize aero and Ksyrium shouldn't be in the same sentence, but is the 4D milled rim on the newer Ksyrium's (and now the Open Pro) offer any aero benefit at all? Any aero data I can find, the older Ksyrium box section rim is the lowly control wheel. Thanks

March 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

Hi Mitch - Good (and inevitable) question. The most relevant reference on this is the Tour magazine mid-depth wheels review from fall of 2016. In that, the Ksyrium Pro Exalith showed 234w, while the Zipp 303 showed 225 and the Zipp 404 showed 222. Campy Bora One (50mm) shows 224.7. So on that wheel, yeah there's an aerodynamics hit. How does the Open Pro compare to the Ksyrium Exalith? I just can't say. I haven't even yet seen a profile drawing, and can't intuitively tell you how the milling "bumps" are going to affect things. It wouldn't be my first choice for a time trial wheel, but for a crit or a Gran Fondo I'd take it any day - lets just say that. - Dave

March 15, 2017 | Registered CommenterDave Kirkpatrick

Any news on availability dates for the new rims?

May 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Don't have a good update, sorry. The price lists are out which is a good sign. Sounds like late June or early July

May 18, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterdave

Hi Dave,
I’m a fan of your blog. Would like to make use of your knowledge.
May I ask what are the 'best' quality rimbrakes for a fixed gear? The size will be 700c, fixed gear. Tires will be up to 28-30 mm. Hubs will be double fixed, no discbrake. Mostly flat. No tubeless or tubulars. Just clinchers. No carbon please. They will be laced with 32h hubs. My weight is 105 kg and produces quite a few watts.
Options I'm thinking about; Easton R90 SL/ Pacenti Forza/ Velocity Quill/ HED belgium +.

I hope you recieve my message. Thanks in advance.



June 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom

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