Mavic has a strong reputation for solid and reliable wheels, and the Crossmax XL Pro Ltd wheels are its latest offering, developed to meet the demands of enduro racers and all-mountain trail riding. They use the same rims, hubs and spokes first introduced in 2014 on the then-new Crossmax XL wheelset, but feature a brand new Crossmax Quest XL rear tyre, matched to a Charge XL tyre up front, developed with top enduro racers like Fabien Barel, Anne Caroline Chausson and the Canyon Factory Enduro Team.
• Purpose: enduro racing/all-mountain trail riding
• Material: Aluminium rim and spokes
• Diameters available: 27.5" only
• Axle options: 9/15/20mm (front); 9/12x135/142mm (rear)
• Width: 23mm internal, 27mm external (UST compatible)
• Spokes: 24 Zicral spokes front and rear, with Isopulse lacing on rear
• Tyres: Crossmax Charge XL Front - Crossmax Quest XL Rear 2.4”
• Weight:1710g without tyres, 3640g with tyres
• MSRP: $999, £675 and €850 for complete wheel and tire system
• Contact: www.mavic.com
Mavic Crossmax XL Pro wheels bristle with details. Mavic prefers aluminum over carbon (but there are rumours that this could be changing in the future
), and the rims feature their trademark Inter Spoke Milling (ISM), which removes material from the rim between the spokes. A 23mm internal width and 27mm external width is wider than previous Mavic rims, but not as wide as the latest trend from rival wheel companies. Twenty-four spokes in each wheel are laced two-cross, and because the spoke nipples are threaded directly into the tubeless rim, there’s no need for any rim tape. Shimano-type and SRAM X-D freehubs are available, with a four-pawl ratchet design that promises rapid engagement. Most common axle standards are accommodated via a range of replaceable end caps supplied with the wheels. The hubs use the common six-bolt rotor interface.
Mavic provides the wheels with tyres already mounted, with inner tubes in place, making them ready to ride from the box. Mavic does supply a pair of tubeless valves and bottles of sealant in the box, though, so going tubeless is but a ten-minute job. Converting the wheels to tubeless really couldn’t be any easier: whip out the inner tubes, screw in the valves and add some sealant (by removing the valve core) and inflate the tyres first time with a track pump. No mess, no faff.Tyres:
The wheels come with Mavic’s most aggressive tyres. Developed with feedback from the top mountain bikers that the French company sponsors, they are designed for the demands of enduro racing, as well as all-mountain trail riding. The rims are shod with a Crossmax Charge XL front and the brand new Crossmax Quest XL rear tyre. The Charge XL is a familiar tyre and this one is made from Super Contact Compound (SCC), 40a-durometer rubber on top of a dual-ply (Guard 2), reinforced 2.4” wide casing. The Charge XL weighs in at 990g for the 27.5” version. Mavic's new Crossmax Quest XL has been designed to counter the criticism of the standard Quest tyre by more aggressive riders. It’s 2.4” wide and uses a dual-compound X-mix rubber compound (50a in the center, 40a on the sides) along with lower profile tread pattern with more tightly packed blocks when compared to the Charge. Its casing is also a dual-ply reinforced design, and the 27.5" Quest X weighs 940g. Installation
The ease of setup is really a big plus for Mavic. When tubeless is this easy, you wonder why you ever bothered with inner tubes, as the tyres pop up onto the rims with just a regular track pump. They hold air well. I’ve been checking them before every ride with a digital gauge and pressure loss has been minimal. Setting the wheels up for my bike required changing the Shimano freehub to an SRAM XD Driver unit, which was a bit of a task - I had to remove the four pawls and minuscule springs and transfer them from one freehub to the other. I broke into a bit of a sweat when one spring jumped out of my hand and made a bid for freedom, but I did manage to retrieve it and get the new freehub in working order. On the Trail
I’ve been putting these wheels through plenty of riding recently, from hitting up the trails in my local woods to trips to Bike Park Wales and further afield for more rigorous and demanding testing. Conditions for most of the riding has been sub-optimal: lots of rain and mud basically, but through it all, the Mavic wheels and tyres have shone.
My first outing was a muddy night ride. Lots of gloop and slippery roots. Low visibility. That sort of situation made me question how the tyres would cope, compared with the mud tyres that I would normally choose at this time of year, but they actually performed well. The front tyre hooks up confidently in the corners, providing a secure front end that inspires confidence - enough so that you feel happy pushing faster into slippery corners when normally one might hold back and be more tentative.
The rear tyre is a huge improvement on the company’s previous Quest. The Quest XL rolls well on the flatter trails and disguises its high weight nicely, but get into the steep drops and chutes and the tread pattern (along with the softer rubber compounds) help you place the bike right where you want it and it copes well with slippery rocks and roots. The dual-compound rubber provides plenty of grip in challenging conditions, and the reinforced sidewall ensures it can take the hits. Compared to the Charge XL, the new Quest XL has an extra row of small blocks between the centre and shoulder blocks, and that provides a good transition from straight line to leaned-over cornering action - predictable traction, right up to the limits of grip.
A day at the bike park on harder and faster trails showed the tyre combination in a really good light. There were no problems when the trail transitioned from tight and root-infested singletrack to wide open, high-speed berms to rock gardens with multiple step downs. Through this variety of terrain and varying levels of grip, the tyres provided plenty of traction. They proved to be very stable at higher speeds, with the reinforced sidewalls providing a solid feeling when battering through obstacles. The tyres, especially the revamped Quest, are the ones that this wheelset should have had when it first launched last year and goes a long way to addressing any complaints levelled at them. What my riding showed me is that the tyres are really good all-rounders, and that’s what you want in an enduro design.
The low weight of the wheels and the overall stiffness gives a hugely responsive characteristic. They provide a cornering accuracy that matches the best aluminum wheels, and they pick up speed rapidly with the freehub engaging instantaneously. The overall weight of the wheels and tyres isn’t too offensive, and longer trail rides with plenty of climbing posed no problems. The rims are tough and survived some hard riding. There is no denying they’re a bombproof wheelset, exactly what Mavic advertises them to be.
Compared to the latest generation of rims that hover around 30mm internal width, the Mavic’s look narrow. Mavic has always been a conservative company and it’s not one to react overnight to fast-changing trends. One must remember that the Crossmax wheels and tyres are designed to work in concert. The reinforced casings of the tyres serve to provide plenty of sidewall support, and even at 22 psi, the tyres feel solid and secure when cornering, with no burping at all. And, the benefit of a slightly narrower rim is lighter weight. In every respect, they are a really competent wheelset and the new tyres are a big improvement. Time will tell, however, if Mavic will be left behind in the push to wider rims.Issues
The only issue I have concerns the rather high wear rate of the tyres. After just a handful of rides, the tread on both the front and rear tyres was starting to scrub up quite noticeably. A faster wear rate is to be expected of a tyre with a soft rubber compound, and to their credit, no big chunks have been taken out, which is common with some soft compound tyres after hard riding. Otherwise, there have been no issues, the wheels are still spinning true, the bearings are smooth and the freehub is still engaging quickly. Pinkbike's Take:
|With the new tyre combination Mavic's latest Crossmax XL Pro Ltd is a really good wheelset for the aggressive rider wanting a strong and light wheelset shod with grippy and predictable tyres. The whole package is very nicely finished, with easy tubeless installation, multiple axle standard compatibility and good durability for both bearing and freehub life. The narrowness of the rims may put off some potential purchasers, but overlook that and you won't be disappointed with the Crossmax XL Pro Ltd wheel system. - David Arthur|
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