Road Ride – Trying Out My Mavic Aksium Wheels

My Basso has been out of action with worn wheel bearings and the nuts that I needed to undo to service the hub were rusted up. I couldn’t get them undone with my cheap flexy cone spanners so it looked as though I’d have to take the wheels to my local bike shop to get them serviced. I’m pretty sure that cups and cones would be damaged too, and the wheels could do with retruing so it looked like it could be quite expensive. Then buddy Bill made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse…

He had the chance to buy some mint Campagnolo Nucleons at a good price, so he was willing to sell me his Mavic Aksiums for £50. Now they cost him well over £100 new and his had only done a few hundred miles since his bike is only used in the summers here, the rest of the year he is abroad and the bike is in storage. What’s more, he was throwing in the tyres and tubes – what a bargain!

I’ll get the old wheels sorted out when I have more money and keep them as spares. Mean time, the Basso is roadworthy again!

My dear old ma found out about the new wheels and sent me a contribution towards them. I told her not to be silly, but she said that she’d rather have the pleasure of helping her kids out now than make us wait to inherit off her later. Well, I can’t argue with that!

And so it came to pass that I had a cheque which needed paying into my Halifax account. Unfortunately, there is no longer a Halifax branch in town. Thanks HBOS – very handy! While you are at it, why not charge a pound a day for any overdrafts? Never mind, you already do that, even if an account is only 1p overdrawn. Super!

I therefore needed to make a trip to Halifax or Todmorden to pay the cheque in. It was a good opportunity to try out the new wheels, and get some much-needed bike time in. I had planned to set off in the early afternoon but that plan was scuppered by heavy rain so I waited for a break in the clouds which eventually came at about 2:50 pm. I set off into a strong headwind and immediately hit the afternoon ‘school run’. The A646 was pretty busy so I turned off up the climb to Mankinholes to get away from cars for a while, returning to the main road after the descent from Lumbutts.

The Aksiums have bladed spokes and they felt as though they were cutting into the headwind better than my old wheels with round spokes would have done, but, as expected, they were more sensitive to sidewinds. I’m going to have to be even more careful on fast, windy descents in future.

That road surface is awful! Perhaps these wheels are stiffer than the old ones, or the Continental Ultrasport tyres are less comfy than my old Michelin Krylions – I was getting battered. I’ll try dropping the pressures by a few PSI for the next ride to see if that improves matters.

I made a quick stop at the bank, and then headed for Littleborough, taking my preferred diversion up the little climb to Calderbrook on the way.

Blackstone Edge Old Road beckoned. I turned up past the Rake Tapas bar and headed off up the steepish little climb in front of me. I could feel that I haven’t been doing enough riding this year, and that I am carrying too much weight, but at least my right leg was behaving itself. I had a couple of twinges, but none of the pain that I’ve been experiencing recently on longer rides.

The wind was playing silly buggers, something I’ve noticed before on this loop. It gets funnelled down the valleys so the wind direction down below can be very different to that above where it can go where it wants, but how can it blowing in completely the opposite direction? It’s a very strange phenomenon!

I had planned to do a bit more but decided to turn left at the reservoir and head for home. It looked like it might rain again and I was getting hungry. There will be longer rides in weeks to come.

The wind slowed my descent so I didn’t break any speed records going through Cragg Vale. As usual, I took the Calder Valley Cycleway home to avoid the traffic.

Verdict on the wheels? Not bad. They are certainly a lot quieter than my old wheels when freewheeling. I used to be able to alert pedestrians by back-pedalling as I approached them, but it doesn’t work with the Mavics. It’s nice having smooth bearings again too. It is quite surprising how much difference it makes to the feel of the bike, given that the local roads are not smooth.

Verdict on me? Needs to lose weight and get out on bikes more! 😉

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