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Mavic XM719 Rims: Probably Not Suitable For Loaded Touring

December 8th, 2013 22 comments


When choosing a rim for the next wheel on your touring bike, you may want to avoid Mavic’s XM719 model.

We’ve recommended this rim in the past (based on our own experience and the recommendations of others) but it seems something has changed. In the past month, several bike tourists have contacted us to report broken XM719 rims.

Bert and Gillian were the first to get in touch. They’ve broken five of these rims in just 9,000km of cycling around North America. In an email, they wrote:

It started happening after only 1,000km on the back wheel of the bike with the heaviest load. By the time we completed 3,000km a further two back-wheel rims broke on the same bike. At that stage we replaced the back rim on the heavier bike with a SunRingle Rhyno Lite rim, which solved the problem. During the last week, the same issue developed on the front wheel on the bike with the heaviest load (after 9,000km) as well as the back wheel of the bike with the lesser load (after 6,000km).

Bert & Gillian’s touring bikes.

Francesco Alaimo also told us that a crack developed in his XM719 rim after just 1,000km. He was able to ride the bike a further 3,000km before the rim gave out entirely.

In Bishkek I met a guy who had to substitute his XM719 for exactly the same problem after less than 5,000km and a couple on a tandem had exactly the same problem previously.

Cracked XM719 rimFrancesco’s cracked XM719 rim.

When we asked for opinions about rims on Facebook, Charles Coderre also reported failures of the XM719 rim (although his rims did last quite a bit longer than for the other cyclists we heard from).

We are riding fully loaded (bike and gear = 80 to 100 pounds). The Mavic XM719 we had on our rear wheels did not last. After 8,000 kilometers, my rim cracked on the entire circumference and was starting to open. I changed for Sun Rhyno Lite. After 13,000 kilometers my wife’s rear MavicXM719 rim was also starting to crack and open.

To double-check these reports, we asked two bike experts for their opinion. Both Marten Gerritsen and the wheel builders at Bike4Travel recommend Ryde Sputnik rims as a durable choice, and both had concerns about the suitability of Mavic rims for loaded touring.

We put these concerns to Mavic and they said the XM719 was a reliable rim with a return rate of less than 0.5%.

We’ve been selling those kind of rims to globe trotters for decades now (so thousands of them) and with very few issues. That said, this type of use (heavy load on the bike and rider) makes the rim more prone to this kind of fatigue. We have no influence on the wheel assembly and very often those kinds of cracks happen if the spoke tension is too high.

Mavic will replace a rim under warranty (if it’s found to be defective) but that’s of little use to most bike tourists. When your rim breaks during a tour, you just need to get it repaired and keep moving. The last thing you want is to be stuck in one place for days (or possibly weeks) negotiating a replacement with a company — especially when that company makes contact so difficult!

On the Mavic website, there are no obvious contact details (only lists of shops selling their products). It took us several days to get any reply via their social media channels. Compare that to our experience, when a Bontrager rim failed on us after just 3,000km of loaded touring. We were able to contact them easily and had a no-questions-asked refund within days (our previous rims from Alex and Alessa lasted for nearly 30,000km before we opted to replace them).

Given all of this, we can’t recommend the XM719 rim for touring anymore. It’s true that any one of these failures could have been caused by something other than the rim (eg. over-inflation of the tire or a poorly-built wheel) but when we hear so many reports about a single rim, it naturally makes us cautious. To be on the safe side, go for an option such as the Ryde Sputnik. Hopefully that will save you the trouble caused by a rim failure on the road!

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22 Responses to “Mavic XM719 Rims: Probably Not Suitable For Loaded Touring”

  1. Brian says:

    I heartily recommend Sun Rhyno Lite rims hand laced to Shimano XT hubs. The rims are about half the price of the Mavics and are pretty bomb proof. The Shimano hubs are a no brainer considering the price, quality and ease of service. My wife and I rode 10,000 kms this year from North Africa thru Europe to Central Asia on these wheels and we only had to do some minor truing. These are fantastic wheels; they’re heavy and definitely NOT sexy, but I don’t have to think about them.

  2. isaac m says:

    I had the same issue after 3000 km on my back wheel , same rims Mavic xm 719 Im not longer recomend them for touring

  3. Frank says:

    I have Alex Rims on the Surly and have 20,000 ks plus and still going strong.

  4. I quite literally just finished (two days ago) working with my LBS to build a new touring rig. They originally recommended Sun Rhyno Lite’s as well although I decided to go with Velocity Cliffhanger’s.

    I’ll be riding the TransAmerica in a couple months on these… let’s hope I chose well!

  5. Steven Scheib says:

    Several touring folks have experienced Cliffhanger failures just like the Mavic 719. Called Velocity several times and they recommend their Psycho rim for bullet proof endurance! One problem is the rim is not made anymore due to lack of sales. Only Peter White has inventory! I have a set and was told I could pass these rims on to someone in my will as they will last the lifetime of any 3 bike frames? We will see!

  6. Sascha says:

    No problems with them and know lots of others who find them more than up to the task…?

  7. Trevor says:

    FWIW, my experience is that the Exal rims (http://www.exal.be/) are great value for money and very reliable. I haven’t broken one yet despite a lot of trying. If you are based in Europe, give them a try.

  8. Shaun says:

    It’s a real pity Mavic don’t make the X618 anymore. Those are double-eyeletted and pretty bombproof without being too heavy and were my goto rim for mountain biking.

    When I was looking for a new set of X618-ish rims I ended up with some Rose own-brand rims which are double eyeletted, reassuringly heavy at 610g and with the added bonus of being both inexpensive and having reflective strips on the rim. I presume they’re rebranded Alex or some other Taiwanese brand.

    http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/xtreme-mtb-rim-26-sari-m-19-r/aid:46875

    At the time I was also looking for a hub dynamo and Rose had a special offer on for a built set of those rims, XT rear hub, XT 3N80 dynohub, DT spokes, tubes and tyres. I paid about £150 all in figuring the rims were pretty much free after paying for the hubs.

    I’ve had three or maybe four weeks in total fully loaded front and rear and the bike is my commuter with Conti Town & Country tyres which I was pleasantly surprised by both on road and off. I occasionally take the off-piste route. I’ve also had them on my xtracyle, loaded.

    They’ve upped the price a bit but still a bargain IMHO.

    http://www.rosebikes.co.uk/article/mtb-wheel-set-26-dh-3n80deore-xt-780—sari-m-19r/aid:483388

    I’m honestly not connected with Rose in any way, just happy with my purchase. If I was to mark them down at all, it’s that the reflective strip peels off eventually if you wash your bike with cleaner. I’m using Magura rim brakes and round here it’s gritty sandstone so rims get a battering offroad. These are lasting well after over a year of on and off use and mini-tours.

    Now someone’s going to tell me they had them and they cracked….

  9. Peter says:

    Also had the same issue at the start of a tour up the east coast of Australia in 2012 (inside split in XM719 rear rim). Replaced with EX721 Mavic rim and just doing some maintenance this morning and this rim has also failed (outside split).

  10. Dan says:

    Is it possible to split the failure rate data based on whether or not the xm719 rim was hand-built into a wheelset or machine-built?

  11. Julien Roy says:

    1 more to the list!
    I still haven’t returned it yet officially because my client is still travelling, but the failure is similar to what the picture shows.

  12. Bert & Gill says:

    We were the ones who raised the issue initially with Andrew and Friedel. We have covered 5,000km since we replaced our Mavic XM719s with Sun Rhino Lite rims and they are performing fantastically (on worse roads).

  13. Michal Plech says:

    I rode few tours on two different Mavic rims. open pro on the read fo about 6000km and XM719 bike packing in Scotland and Iceland. I am not a small guy anymore (105kg) plus all the camping gear adds up. and i had no problems with any of them. XM719 is really proper MTB rim light and raged. If you want something even stronger get XM319. extra extrusion walls inside make it stronger. And from wheel building experiance… too much tension on the spokes. Or not equal tension on all the spokes. pulling eyelets it’s not easy to do. before you go on any tour find the best wheel builder you can and ask for the right set for what you do

  14. Ian says:

    A really interesting thread here…….. Quite surprising as Mavic usually make quality products…….. Especially their rims.

    I am wondering if it is a poor quality batch of rims that have made it onto the market ?

    Other things to consider ?

    Wheels builder used or ? LBS using the old “pull the spokes by hand to test spoke tension” trick ? That can lead to really uneven spoke tension………… Leading to results that we are seeing here in this thread sadly :-(

    I ? Am a heavy rider ( 260lbs ) and use a wheel builder that uses a spoke tensioner tool when he builds my wheels from scratch ( being a heavy rider, I ALWAYS have my wheels built by hand and from scratch, as factiry wheels are truly awful ! ) ……The proof is in the pudding….. My 36 Hole Velocity Deep V Rims, spinning on trusty Shimano 105 hubs…….. have just had a minor true on the rear wheel……… After some 10,000 kilometres. These wheels sit on my hack bike and are used and abused to be honest.

    Something else that is actually really relevant to rim health, is tyre pressures…… Personally, I ignore the maximum pressures quoted by bicycle tyre companies and go for somewhere in the middle of highest and lowest.

    Who knows as far as hubs are concerned but I have never and will never go anywhere near Shimano Deore hubs etc etc on a loaded tourer.

    I run a Thorn Nomad Mkll for touring now……….. Rohloff on the back and an admittedly over the top 48 hole Phil Wood touring hub on the front, spokes laced to a pair of Rigida CSS Andra Rims……… The Rohloff built wheel is super strong due to the “lack of dish” …….. Phil Wood….. Well, their products are top quality with few crappy reviews. I ran a 40 front, 48 rear touring hub set up on my now sold Vivente World Randonneur……….. Not a single issue in 6000 kilometres of seriously loaded touring in Australia !

    • Bert & Gill says:

      Based on our experience we can rule out the wheel builder/bad batch theories because we had the same issue happening to rims purchased in 3 different locations and built by 3 different wheel builders.
      Also, after the first failure we purchased a tyre gauge and carefully monitored our tyre pressure. This didn’t prevent further failures.
      Unfortunately only after we broke 5 rims did we meet a wheel builder who knew of problems with Mavic rims. He had a lot of experience building touring bikes and called them garbage.

      • Ian says:

        Well, looks like Mavis have out sourced the rim making side of their production…….. With catastrophic results for both Cycle Tourers AND their share of the wheel market.

  15. Phil says:

    @Ian: Mavic outsourcing their rim production – is that a fact or just a guess?

    I’m currently thinking about getting Mavic 819 rims for a Rohloff back wheel with loaded touring in sight (NZ South Island with kid and trailer). I wonder if Mavic’s FORE technology might make these rims stronger and more durable.

  16. Sascha says:

    I don’t see any mention of whether it’s rims failing more with rim brakes or discs? Are they failing with both brake systems? Seems to me mainly rims using traditional brakes which is odd as the splits are down the middle like they are built with too much tension?

  17. andrei says:

    How much it was inflate your tire and if you use disc brake system with rim brake rim is normal to broke because is not made for that

  18. Another bad user experience here. In our case though, the rim was extremely worn out after about 5000 km of touring, loaded, and in the Andes. Sure enough, tough condition for it, but on our other bike we had an Rigida (Ryde) Sputnik also in the back. This rim shows no sign of wear, after the same conditions and km and with a heavier load.

    Also experienced the same problem when trying to contact Mavic directly, so contacted the supplier Rose Bikes. Their response was pretty poor also: a rim is an expendable part, 5000 km can be enough to wear it out, and was out of warranty. Unfortunately we counld only get yet another Mavic rim (X221) in Northern Perú, although we now know it is know a “touring” rim and what to expect..also we did not pay a fraction of what the 719s cost.

  19. menNOMADS says:

    Last week I experienced a similar problem. Not sure what type of rim, but it’s Mavic Crossmax SLR. Rims are factory spoked and equiped with disc brakes. I have used them many years for mountain biking w/o any problem. Then after 3 days of touring with a BOB Yak trailer, the rim completely cracked.

    No more Mavic for me, especially after reading this blog. The rims might be perfect for MTB, but they are not suited for heavy load touring.

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