Mavic Open Pro Exalith and AForce Al33 Ceramic update

According to my phone call with Mavic yesterday, the new Open Pro Exalith (and its disc and machined brake track siblings) will be available in early July. That's great news, and not very surprising given Mavic's size and resources. There's no reason why they should muff a launch, and they haven't. I'd also guess that the product will hit the ground running at full steam, and we're very excited to start building with them. Pricing is stable with what's been announced prior, and though they're expensive rims the process which Mavic calls Exalith (which is at root PEO) is more expensive than the base rim itself. That might seem a big concession to vanity, but when you consider that it's an aesthetic upgrade that also comes with a performance upgrade (even better braking) compared to other much much much more expensive aesthetic upgrades that come with performance downgrades (worse braking and other liabilities) it seems a good trade. 

Update a few years later (May '19), since this page still gets tons of traffic - it looks like the Exalith version of these suckers died on the vine. Too bad, but what can you do?

We're also just about to get another round of 'ceramic' (again, PEO) AForce Al33s so they'll be available in both RFSW3 builds and custom builds. 24/28 is already in stock, but 20/24 is about 10 days away. Given our personal experience with them, plus what others have had to say about them (from an email we got yesterday - "I absolutely love the wheels! Sorry about the late feedback. I have a set of 404 firecrest, some older edge tubbies, a pair of Rolf vigors which I love, but these are becoming my favorite.  Thank you so much!!"), we're extremely impressed with the product that this young company has put together and are proud to have helped them get the word out, and to be so closely associated with them. We're also proud to have helped them in their process, with our brake pad research and feedback leading to their pad product being improved. SwissStop BXPs - the perfect match for these. 

Slight smoke break here - congratulations for finding this page and thanks for reading. We'd like to offer you free US domestic shipping on any order over $100. Just use code "ilearnedsomething" at checkout. And now we return to our regular programming. 

Though we fully expect that the fervor for all black alloys will expand and continue to rage, the machined variants of the all black rims shouldn't get lost in the shuffle. They work exceptionally well, build as nicely as any rims we've used, and look fantastic. It's always telling to see what a wheelbuilder uses on his/her own bike, so have a look at mine.

All dressed up and plenty of places to go

These ah headed down Maine way, yessah!
All tarted up and ready to race
Beyond that, of course, there is a raft of other great options, each with a place. This week has been all about Easton R90SL builds in both rim and disc brake versions. We're always happy when a set of those is next on the list. Super rims that you know will bring an awesome customer experience. 

Final thought for the day is a slight rethink on the value of bladed spokes. Given what we know about the small overall range of aerodynamics among modern well-shaped rims, the 1w difference between bladed and round spokes that we measured a few years ago seems like a relatively better trade now, right? Nothing's changed in the absolute, but when the difference between bladed spokes and round is bigger than the difference between hand built alloy builds that come in well under a grand with the world's best hubs and carbon wheels that cost over two with... hubs, that $60 watt seems pretty cheap. Not that round spokes don't have their place, and I do honestly slightly prefer the look myself, it's just a thing I've been thinking about. 

Back to blog


Hi Matt,

Sorry to take a while to respond, our notifier thing is in the shop. Simply, I don’t know all the ways how they’ve changed the rims in that time frame. The R90SL are obviously tubeless ready and wide, but apart from that I don’t know enough about the previous “built wheel only” rims. The set of Easton/Velomax Circuits (?) that I bought in 1997 used Alex DA28 rims! But any way we’d gladly rebuild a rim that is in good shape yes.


Other than being tubeless ready now, did Easton make any other significant changes to the rim when they went from the R4 hubs to the Echo hubs? I have a set of EA90 Limited Edition wheels with R4 hubs that I bought from, ahem, Performance 4 years ago. They have been my workhorse wheels and other than broken spokes, probably because I was overbuilt for them, I haven't had any issues. I'm less overbuilt for them now (but according to you a 24/28 candidate) and haven't broken a spoke in quite a while. I had to replace the bearings in the rear hub this spring and as I was working on it I wondered if it would be worth sending them into you guys to rebuild them on White Industries hubs? According to the wear indicators it looks like there is plenty of life left in them. I started using latex tubes this spring and have been running 25 mil Conti GP4000 SII's on them. They measure out to about 27.5 mil once inflated and they just keep rolling forever.

Matt Weaver

Are the Exalith's now delayed?


Hey Matt,I'm not sure what the rims on your EA90s are in comparison to the R90Sl, but I'd guess they're a somewhat narrower earlier generation. The R90SL is only about 18 months old as a product now (give or take – it might even be newer, we built our first maybe 14 months ago). But if you like the rims and there's a bunch of life in them, it would make sense to reuse them and we can help with that. The knock against those wheels was the hubs, and we still now sometimes get resistance from people for whom R90SL is the right rim because they had Easton hubs that didn't work out all that well. Strange but true. Anyway, if your rims are in good shape and you want to reuse them that's not the wrong thing to do. Dave


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.