10,000 Mile Test: Mavic ‘Ellipse’ Bike Wheels Review

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.

track bike wheel

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.

fixed-gear road bike
The author’s fixed-gear road bike with sticker-less Mavic Ellipse wheels

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.

mavic-ellipse-wheel
Mavic Ellipse track wheel

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.

bike wheel hub
‘Hubs have proven solid’

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.

bike wheel spokes
Bladed steel spokes add aero quality

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.

Stephen Regenold
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Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.