Mavic Crossmax XL wheel and tyre system - first look

New wheels and tyres are “all about the adventure”

After launching the race-focused Crossmax Enduro wheels and tyres in 2013, Mavic was keen to bring something to the market that was less about all-out race speed and more about “versatility, comfort and durability”, less about enduro racing and more about the “enduro adventure”, as the French company puts it.

The result is the new Mavic Crossmax XL WTS (which stands for ‘wheel and tyre system’).

Crossmax XL wheels

Compatibility

The new Crossmax XL wheels will be available in 26in, 650b (27.5) and 29in sizes. Mavic claims that a pair of 26in wheels weigh just 1,660g, the 650b wheels 1,710g, and the 29in wheels, an impressive 1,780g.

Unsurprisingly, all wheels are supplied with axle adaptors to let you run QR, 15mm or 20mm at the front, and QR, 12x135mm and 12x142mm at the rear. The rear hub is also XD Driver compatible should you be running SRAM’s 11-speed cassette.

Versatility

Mavic was keen to point out that although the new Crossmax XLs aren’t race-focused, they’re still extremely efficient when it comes to going up and down the trail or mountain.

Both the front and rear wheels have 24 spokes to help to keep them as stiff as possible. The front is laced two cross, and the rear has been given Mavic’s Isopulse treatment; the driveside spokes are laced radially, and the non-driveside are laced two-cross, which, combined with the ITS-4 (Instant Transfer System) freehub system, should make for a very speedy pickup and effective power transfer.

To help keep weight down and inertia as low as possible, Mavic has used its Inter Spoke Milling (ISM) process to remove as much unnecessary weight from the rim as possible. Mavic says it’s also made small, but important weight savings on the hubs, which help to contribute to the rather appealing low overall wheel weights.

Mavic claims it has shaved some weight from the hubs

Comfort

Unlike the race-orientated Crossmax Enduro rims, which differ in width from front to rear, the Crossmax XLs both have an internal width of 23mm. This is significantly wider than the 21mm Crossmax SX, for example, and helps add volume to the tyre, increasing comfort in the process, without adding extra weight.

The new V-shaped, asymmetrical rim profile keeps weight to a minimum thanks to the optimised extrusion and new ISM process.

Durability

To help improve the wheel system’s resistance to dinging and bending – essentially the rim and tyre connection, which is essential when not using tubes – the rims’ bead hook is now kicked out slightly, rather than bolt upright, and uses a thicker wall thickness when compared to their previous rims.

Mavic has lab tested this new rim profile, and claims that the new Crossmax XL rim is 50 percent better in impact tests compared with the other Crossmax rims.

Crossmax Quest tyres

Mavic’s new tyre, which will come as part of its Crossmax XL wheel and tyre system, is called the Quest. It comes in a wide, high-volume 2.4in width in the 26in and 650b sizes, while in 29in it’s a little narrower, measuring in at 2.35in.

The Quest is designed to be a proper all-rounder and, as such, is fairly easy going on the scales, says Mavic, claiming the 26in tyre weighs 690g, the 650b tyre 780g, and the 29in tyre a reasonable 810g.

Versatility

The new Crossmax Quest tyres are intended to work across a variety of terrain and in a variety of conditions, whether the bike is being ridden up, or hammered down in the wet or dry.

Compared with the already established Crossmax Charge and Crossmax Roam tyres, the new Crossmax Quest tyres use more evenly-spaced knobs that are shorter and less aggressive to help them roll quicker, with a single 50a compound – which Mavic refers to as the Contact Compound – that’s designed to work well on roots, rocks or in the dirt.

Shallow, evenly spaced knobs help to reduce rolling resistance but still offer grip in a wide variety of terrains and conditions

Comfort

The bigger volume created by the wider 23mm rims and the wide 2.4in (or 2.35in for the 29in wheeled version) tyres helps to take the sting out of the trail and should make long stints in the saddle much more bearable.

In fact, compared with the Crossmax Enduro WTS front wheel, volume has increased by 16 percent, while at the rear it’s a massive 49 percent increase in volume compared with the Crossmax Enduro WTS rear wheel.

The Guard+ reinforced casing is designed to be reliable and supple enough to minimise deflection when in contact with trail obstacles.

Durability

As with any expensive product, durability and premature wear are always a concern. The Quests are UST tubeless-ready – which will help stave off punctures, even at lower pressures – while the Guard+ reinforced casing should prevent tears and other such annoying trail-related damage. 

Mavic also claims that its 50a Contact Compound suffers 50 percent less abrasion compared with the 40a compound used in its Crossmax Charge tyre, when tested in the lab.

The Crossmax Quest tyre is UST tubeless-ready

Pricing

The Crossmax XL WTS will set you back £750 / US$1,000 /  €850, and will be available from June.

Initial riding impressions

We spent two days on the new wheel and tyre system riding in the Maritime Alps, just north of Nice, France. Although we’d need to ride these new wheels and tyres on more familiar trails for an extended period of time before passing any serious judgement on them, we certainly had enough time to form some initial impressions of the tyres at least.

While the wheels stood up to a massive amount of abuse and came away from serious rock riddled trails unscathed, it was the tyres that left us scratching our heads a little. Yes, they certainly roll plenty fast enough and offer a very predictable feel, but on the steeper looser trails where we spent most of our time, we would have preferred a slightly tackier compound up front to boost cornering and braking confidence.

When we felt like we really needed it, there just wasn’t quite enough bite. At the rear, the tyre seemed to perform perfectly well. We’ll bring you a full review when we get some proper riding time in on them though, so stay tuned for more soon.

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