Don't be fooled into thinking the super lightweight Mavic Crossmax SL is just for racing
Even though the Mavic Crossmax SL wheelset is super-lightweight and near the top of the French firm’s range when it comes to price, Mavic isn’t pigeon-holing it as race-only. It’s designed for fast trail riding too.
This wheelset is built around Mavic’s new ISM 4D rim. ISM stands for inter-spoke milling, and means redundant material is machined from between the spokes of the extruded rim.
The 4D process takes this a step further, with all the hard edges removed and the rim given a more organic profile, which Mavic says improves aerodynamics.
The ISM 4D rim has a 23mm external width, with a 19mm internal width, and is properly UST tubeless, so you don’t need to use tape, or sealant with a UST tyre.
Mavic still has the best axle system. Swapping end-caps is literally a five-minute job, and there’s a big bag of them included in the box, allowing you to convert the front hub from 9mm QR to 15mm bolt-thru, and the rear hub from 9mm to 12x135mm, or 12x142mm. Standard and XD driver cassette bodies are available, and they’re easy to change too.
Coming off the back of testing a 35mm-wide Rock Guardz Rimz last month, the Crossmax SL wheels felt delicate, and the 2.35in Maxxis tyres I was running would flex slightly more in the corners.
On the flip-side, these wheels accelerate like they have a mini motor inside, and carry speed so well I was having to brake ever so slightly between jumps on one local trail, where I’d normally be pedalling.
The cartridge bearings in the hubs are no better-sealed than those on the Crossmax Enduro wheelset I tested a few months back, so you will have to replace or service them regularly, but this wheelset could add a real turn of speed to your bike.
You will struggle to get a bigger 2.4in tyre seated on the rim, and if you’re a harder rider, or of hefty build, I’d recommend going with something sturdier from the Mavic range.
If you’re quick and light, though, the Crossmax SL wheelset is better value than a carbon wheelset and, in most cases, just as light.