Mavic D521

1 ratings (1 Epinions review)
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Bomb-proof!

Nov 24, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:un-breakable for cross country

Cons:costly and heavy

I had a set of 221's on my full suspension GT when I bought it. It was my first serious mountain bike and still my favorite one to ride. As I got better at riding and more fit, I started having to true the wheels every couple of rides. I decided to get more wheel. I was also having to replace my rear brake pads every couple of weeks and adjust them once or twice per ride since I ride a lot of hills and hadn't learned to use the front brakes efficiently yet. 521's are ceramic alloy and should be used with pads intended for ceramic alloy rims. This may sound like a batch of extra expense, which it is, but the ceramic rim/brake combo is noticeably more tolerant of the heat buildup that occurs during repeated heavy use. It was worth it for me anyway. I laced them up 3-cross to a new set of Shimano LX hubs myself by studying the old rims and copying the pattern exactly. The bike shop also made sure to sell me shorter spokes for the drive side of the back wheel to get the "dish" right, which I would not have known to do on my own. After I built the rims the bike shop showed me how to use their truing stand and I trued them up to get the hops and sways out. **Caution** Only do this yourself if you are really patient. It took me like 6 hours per rim start to finish to get them perfect. I only did it because I insist on being able to care for my own bike and wanted to learn wheel-building.

Anyway, on to the rims' performance. They were not very cheap, but I feel that they are worth the extra money for someone that beats up rims. After the initial truing of the rims, I rode on them for about an hour and then trued them a final time. That was six months and countless logs, rocks, and endo's ago and they are still as straight as the first day. No kidding whatsoever. I even cased up a curb and pinch-flatted a tire with 65 pounds of air in it and they still held up. They're supposed to be good enough for downhilling, although I kind of doubt it, judging by the huge tractor rims that my buddy runs on his DH rig. They're certainly more than good enough for some spirited(read "not north shore") free riding.

The only downside are that they're a little heavier than the 221's(about 150 grams per rim) and a little wider. The weight is no worse than adding a full water bottle. And for a bike that already pushes 30 pounds, it's hardly noticeable. The width may cause some brake clearance problems. I had to use the thin spacers with the pad holders on my XT brakes. Even then, my leg sometimes touches the rear brake arm(which doesn't bother me, but might infuriate someone else) and I had to replace my cables because they weren't quite long enough to reach and still have some slack.


Recommend this product? Yes


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