Could the Mavic Ellipse be the best urban bike wheel on the market? Our editor put thousands of miles on a set for this multi-year bike wheel review.
It’s been a long road to ride since 2012, when one August day I unboxed a set of wheels and attached them to a bike frame. (See “Track Bike built for City Streets, Raw Speed.”)
Fast-forward 10,000 miles — yes, that is my estimate of distance put down after almost four years on the bike — and the wheels are still going strong.
Tires have come and gone. Parts have changed, and I even swapped in a new frame after a crack formed on the bottom bracket on the original. But the wheels, Mavic’s Ellipse Track, have remained true.
Review: Mavic Ellipse Track Bike Wheels
The aluminum alloy wheels are sold for track racers and urban riders who bike fixed-gear or singlespeed. I roll them almost year-round, commuting, training, and racing occasional alley cats and other events in Minneapolis and beyond.
At $400 – $500 for the pair (depending on where you shop), the Ellipse Track wheels are marketed as a mid-range set. Beginner or intermediate track racers are candidate, as well as urban bikers who want fast, do-all wheels.
An aerodynamic build, including a 30mm deep rim profile and low-count, bladed steel spokes, helps the wheels cut through wind.
At about 1,900 grams per pair, they are light weight for their price. I have certainly ridden lighter wheels, but the Ellipse Track feel fast — they accelerate with ease, and they course up hills.
Mavic Ellipse Is Fast, Durable
Mavic touts “high-efficiency cartridge bearings” in the hubs. In my multi-year review, the efficiency has shown, as well as the hubs’ durability.
Basically, the wheels spin as smooth as they did on day one, no service needed and not a single spoke loose despite much abuse.
The Ellipse Track wheels come with a “flip-flop” rear hub, threaded for either a fixed-gear or a freewheel on back.
The rims fit tires size 21 to 28 mm, giving a range from super skinny to “fat enough to absorb some bumps.”
If you race on a velodrome, you likely already know about these wheels; they are among the most popular sub-$1,000 set for track racing.
For anyone else, if you ride singlespeed or fixed and need a durable, fast set of spinners, look at the Ellipse for the full package.