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I have a Mavic Helium clincher wheels and a broken drive side spoke. I need a new one (and would be happy to buy a couple of them including non-drive side) but everywhere I look it seems I would need to spend 40€ (for a minimum spend plus shipping).

Where I could get some decently priced ones? Or, could I fit them with spokes from another model? like the Krysium?

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  • While a valid question, you might consider rephrasing it to remove the request for specific source recommendations, because those are off-topic here. I don't have anything concrete to offer - I know that in most cases, Mavic straight pull spokes will not interchange with "standard" ones like DT or Sapim because the head shape is a little diferent, though I don't know that it wouldn't work here or couldn't be made to work. If you had a road-focused shop around that's been active since the late 90s, that could be a simple solution, since in that era most road shops sold individual Mavic spokes. Sep 8, 2023 at 17:21
  • This is an auction with a photo of a Helium spoke, and it does look superficially identical to standard straight pull spokes, e.g. this one. I'm not sure if the size of the head or the taper differs, though. The Ksyrium spoke most certainly will not work, it will probably be the wrong length and I'm sure the head differs.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Sep 8, 2023 at 18:40
  • Aside - Save all the old broken spoke parts till you find a match, and when you do, buy a couple of spares plus whatever fancy nipple driver your wheel uses.
    – Criggie
    Sep 8, 2023 at 22:55

2 Answers 2

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I think that the Helium was one of the first pre-built wheels. By now, it seems that most of the industry has moved to selling complete wheels, whereas in the day of the Helium, you'd probably talk to someone at a shop who would use standard parts. The Helium and most of Mavic's complete wheels use proprietary parts. The Helium front rim is 26 spokes, so it can't be replaced with a stock rim unless you can convince someone to drill you a 26-hole rim.

For what it's worth, most complete wheels use standard spokes. Any shop can order them. The bearings will also be standard. The rims will have to come from the manufacturer. For the hubs themselves, they usually aren't proprietary, but they may be made by an original equipment manufacturer, and your only clear source for freehub bodies or endcaps may be the wheel seller.

At the time the Helium was introduced, straight pull spokes were a novelty. I think only Velomax and Cane Creek used them. This eBay listing shows a spoke, and it does look superficially like a normal straight pull spoke. You'd need to measure the length, and you run the risk that the size or taper of the head differs, or else that some other piece of proprietary technology is needed to secure the spoke to the hub or rim. The Ksyriums most definitely don't use standard straight pull spokes, and the length might also be wrong. You also need to know how to get the hub's endcap off.

As Nathan said, most likely the best course of action is to ask a bike shop what to do. If you can find a shop was was a Mavic dealer back in the day, they may be able to help. I think you would start at the higher end shops. Be aware that the Helium is quite old, and Mavic has gone through some corporate changes (mainly getting sold to at least two holding companies). Thus, it may be difficult to find someone who knows the wheels, and it could be impossible to order spares if they're proprietary.

This should serve as a warning of the downsides of proprietary parts. That said, that wheel may have been in service for nearly 30 years. Even if it was ridden only intermittently, it has had a good run. It's probably impractical to expect manufacturers to maintain proprietary spare parts for 20 years (or so) after production ceased. Probably 5 to 7 is on the good side.

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With the old Helium, the rim is not so unusual in that there's a relatively standard nipple in a double eyelet.

If you remove a spoke identical to the one you wish to replace, you can compare the spoke head at the hub to a modern straight pull spoke -- I think it will be compatible, but best check.

At the rim, you can use a new nipple. If mavic are using oversize nipples here (though i think probably not), Sapim produce BAT reduction nipples to allow use of 14G spokes in the "wrong" size rim hole. If it's necessary, it's possible.

Finally, you can have any spoke cut to almost any length by numerous companies that deal in person and mail order.

This is a speculative answer but anyone who works with wheels and is reasonably "expert" would be able to keep you rolling, given a little time.

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