Price includes tyres
It’s taken a while but Mavic has finally come up with a carbon wheelset for trail riding. Called the Mavic XA Pro Carbon.
It only has a 32mm (external) wide rim, which isn’t that much by today’s standards but it’s tubeless ready, features a hookless profile and the wheelset comes fitted with a set of Mavic’s 2.35in (2.4in for 27.5in) Quest Pro tyres and two bottles of sealant if you want to ditch the tubes.
Lots of modern wheels feature the hookless design and for good reason – removing the bead hook makes the carbon rim easier to manufacture, it saves weight and adds strength. If you’re worried about the design being less secure – don’t be. We’ve tested quite a few hookless rims and we’ve yet to have an issue with the tyre unseating itself on any of them.
Fitting tyres to Mavic rims is normally pretty easy, which is a good thing with carbon rims because you don’t want a tyre lever (even a plastic one) anywhere near them. We fitted Maxxis and WTB tyres and they both seated first time with a reassuring pop. Including two bottles of sealant is a nice touch but I’d like to see slightly longer valve stems with these deeper section rims, just so the pump head can be fastened on a lot easier.
By going with carbon layup Mavic has managed to engineer some vertical give into the rim. The ride quality isn’t quite as resilient as the Stan’s No Tubes ZTR Bravo Team wheels we tested last year but the Mavic composite does reduce some of the harshness riding through rocky terrain.
One thing I did notice on the harder packed trails though is the Mavic wheels have a little twang when they ping of roots and rocks, which I actually think has something to do with the flat-bladed spokes rather than the rims getting knocked off line.
In terms of axle options Mavic runs the whole gamut – Boost (15×110 and 12×148) and standard spacing (15×100 and 12×142) with the option for a Shimano freewheel or SRAM driver body. Mavic also offers a single-sided Lefty60 front wheel for Cannondale bikes and the oversized Torque caps for RockShox forks as an option.
I’ve had issues with the bearing wear in Mavic wheels in the past and had them replaced after less than six months but no problems this time round – the sealed cartridge bearings in the rear hub (the ones that go first) are still good as new.
The ride quality of carbon wheels can vary dramatically, there are some that are way too stiff and uncomfortable, others are quick rolling, really light but they have the rigidity of a noodle.
Mavic’s XA Pro Carbon wheelset strikes the right balance between lightweight and lateral stiffness. It doesn’t have that comfortable and controlled ride quality of the Stan’s ZTR Bravo Team wheels but the Mavic XA Pro Carbon wheelset is a better package.
It’s also lighter and great value for money, especially since you get two tyres, worth £90,included in the price.