A legendary name in wheels and a legendary name in gravity mountain biking. Are the Mavic Deemax Pro Sam Hill's a match made in heaven?
A legendary name in wheels and a legendary name in gravity mountain biking. Are the Mavic Deemax Pro Sam Hill wheels a match made in heaven?
Roll back about eight years or so ago and Mavic’s 26in wheels ruled the roost in all-mountain riding with its hugely popular Crossmax package. The brand then somehow got a bit lost in marketing itself across the transition to 650b/29in and enduro, and was also a little slower to adapt to changing consumer trends toward wider rims.
Sensibly, however, Mavic has continued to refine the many clever features it’s developed over the years through copious amounts of athlete field testing, and plenty of these are featured in these latest Deemax wheels.
One such technology is Mavic’s closed tubeless system that negates the need for rim tape via a solid and totally airtight rim bed. The brand pioneered tubeless in MTB and its solution still works simply and holds air perfectly. The sculpted Mavic Deemax Pro rim is made from a rock-hard, own blend, alloy named Maxtal with a claimed higher strength-to-weight ratio than rival alloys. The rims are also weight balanced with the tubeless valves for smoother spinning at speed, which is a trick DH racers use for more stability at the speeds someone like Sam Hill rides at.
At 28mm inside, they’re narrower than most designed for enduro or DH, but we found they’re actually wide enough to correctly support any tyre up to 2.6in, and this lack of girth isn’t really an issue. The brand’s logic is it saves a smidgen of weight and increases ‘cut’ in cornering too, due to the marginally narrower tyre profile.
There are only 24 straight-pull bladed spokes at each end that thread into the sealed rim bed, but they’re unusually thick and made from alloy to keep outer wheel edges lighter to reduce inertia. One concern with this design is sourcing specific spokes, so it’s sensible to keep the multiple spares provided handy, especially for a foreign enduro race or holiday.
Mavic’s latest high-end freehub uses a 40-point ratchet-style design that’s positive and also pretty quiet while freewheeling. Pick-up is really fast sneaking extra cranks in or timing strokes to match terrain on nadgery climbs, and the Deemax always feel tighter and faster to accelerate than you’d expect from a near 2kg wheelset.
The complete package is really solid and stiff when hammering berms or leaning hard, but never overly spiky or jarring on repeated rough hits. Mavic’s price is at the top end for an alloy wheelset, but the Deemax go really quickly up, down and along, so performance is almost imperceptible from the fastest, most direct carbon hoops, plus you get better comfort than most rivals with a noticeably ‘dull’ feel when trails really want to pummel you.