It looks like they’re catching up with the concept of unpaved road riding over on the Continent. Mavic showed off their new Ksyrium Allroad wheelset, designed for gravel roads. (Or, as Chipps says, “gravél”, which is French for “very small, dynamic cobbles”.)
These beauties stick to Mavic’s classic design, with just 24 flattened Zircal straight-pull spokes front and rear, and sleek carbon rims shaped to minimise excess material. One key difference from other Ksyrium models is the internal rim width: 19mm, fast becoming a new standard for more brawny road rims. The other is disc capability. The hubs can also be converted to thru-axles.
The wheels come complete with matching Yksion Elite tires, made by Hutchinson, either the Guard model in 28mm (the minimum tire width recommended for this rim) or the tubeless-compatible Allroad model in 30mm. Neither brings to mind the more burly forms of gravel and dirt, but one can always put on some bigger treads when the need arises.
Mavic once made a similar, but less fancy, wheelset called Speed City. When it came out, in 2003 or so, it was a rare complete wheelset that combined 700c rims and disc hubs. It was intended as an alternative wheelset for disc-equipped mountain bikes — training on the road and the like — which was understandably not all that popular. After a few years, the concept of all-purpose ‘cross/commuters began to blossom, which fit these wheels perfectly, but Mavic discontinued them in 2011. (I still own and ride mine.) It’s nice to see Mavic come back around to the idea of dirty road riding.