Mavic Deemax mountain bike wheelset £630

Downhill legends get diet treatment

BikeRadar score 4/5

Mavic made a lot of noise with the last Deemax incarnation, with its shouty yellow hubs and rims. The 2009 model is much more understated, but lets its ability do the talking.

The first thing to talk about with the new Deemax is the weight, or lack of it. Mavic have managed to shave a full 500g off the previous yellow perils, essentially by creating a completely new wheel.

The rim now bears the marks of some serious machine work. This not only sheds weight, but it also adds a degree of compliance.

This is intended to give better traction, as the rim can move slightly with the ground rather than being super rigid and bounced around. It’s nigh on impossible to detect this in use, but many top downhill riders claim to get far fewer impact punctures with less rigid rims.

The rims are UST tubeless compatible, and are a cinch to fit tyres to and get them to seal, with nothing more that a track pump. We do advise using a bit of sealant in case of thorn punctures or ‘burping’ air under high G-force cornering.

One of the major criticisms of the old Deemax was the tendency for the straight-pull spokes to pop out of the hub under heavy load. Mavic have answered this criticism with their new SRS (Spoke Retention System) hub machining. So far we haven’t managed to pop a spoke out, and we really have tried.

The all-new hub also gains another acronym, ITS4 (Instant Transfer System 4). Basically the hub has four pawls which engage two at a time, reducing the amount your cranks rotate before drive gets through to the floor. It’s noticeably quicker, but we did have some teething problems.

Under hard acceleration an audible crack was heard. The freehub body didn’t slip and Mavic told us that it would need to ‘bed in’. Sure enough it did, but you want things to be right ‘out of the box’ when you are shelling out £660.

Following the initial bedding-in period the wheels have performed flawlessly. They hold onto their tension better than the old DeeMax wheels did, hardly even needing a spoke key near them since day one. The light weight of just 2,160g for a pair adds a degree of nimbleness to even a heavy downhill rig.

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