You can’t chuck an inner tube these days without lassooing a whole heap of “wheel systems”. Choosing some hubs, rims and spokes and putting them all together is clearly deeply unfashionable. Once upon a time Mavic was best-known for its rims, but nowadays its all about the wheels, with the iconic Crossmax and Deemax hoops pretty much starting off the whole system thing for MTBs. For 2009 the French giant has eight new wheelsets coming out – let’s dive in…
First there was Crossmax, then Crossmax SL, then Crossmax SLR. 2009 sees no new letters added to denote the pinnacle of XC wheelness, but the SLR wheelset has been substantially revised. Mavic’s ISM (Inter-Spoke Milling) process has been whittling away material from rims for a few years now, but the new SLR sees it extending on to the sidewalls as well as the spoke beds to take the SLR’s UST-compatible rim down to 380g. Front and rear rims are both asymmetrical to reduce dish. You still get bladed aluminium spokes, but they’re now butted (and there are two red ones per wheel).
Mavic has adopted the new 15mm through-axle standard for XC/all-mountain applications, with the Crossmax SLR being 15mm-ready out of the box. Plug-in reducers get the front wheel set for conventional 9mm QR forks. Splendidly, there’ll also be a 110x20mm front SLR wheel available separately, as well as a Cannondale Lefty-ready model.
The rear hub features Mavic’s new ITS4 freehub, with four pawls working in two pairs. The specs say “pawl engagement is reduced by 60%” but something might have gone awry in translation there – we think what they’re getting at is that the pick-up lag is down by 60%. The new freehub is also 20g lighter than the old. You’ll be able to choose from six-bolt or Centrelock rotor mounts.
And the weight? The 15/9mm front wheel comes in at 690g, with the rear being 830g for a six-bolt and 820g for a Centerlock. So a six-bolt pair dusts the scales at 1,520g. That’s actually the same weight as the 2008 wheels, but Mavic’s big thing for ’09 is reduced inertia and better stiffness – the weight’s come out of the rims and spokes and gone into the hubs and axles.
Moving into the “FR/Enduro” category, the 2009 Crossmax SX has seen substantial weight savings. The 21mm internal rim width, up-to-2.5in tyre compatibility and 110x20mm front wheel tells you roughly where the SX is heading. Like the SLR, the SX gets the new ITS-4 freehub (which also makes the rear wheel 12mm through-axle ready), and there’s a bit of the old ISM going on on the UST rims too.
With 24 Zicral spokes at both ends, white hub shells and new graphics, the SX is certainly something of a looker. A pair comes in at 1,755g.
If the Crossmax SX looks likely to be a bit spendy for you, the Crossline may fit the bill. It’s a new budget wheelset that’s intended to do for Mavic’s FR/Enduro line-up what the popular Crossride does for XC/AM. It actually looks very similar to its pricier brother, with a 21mm internal width rim (but no machining, made from 6106 aluminium rather than Maxtal and with a pinned rather than welded joint) and through-axle ready hubs at both ends. You get the new ITS-4 freehub too.
Rather than 24 aluminium spokes per wheel, the Crossline features 28 butted steel ones. They’re still straight-pull jobs, though. They’re also designed for use with inner tubes rather than UST. In common with most of the rest of the Mavic line-up there’s a choice of six-bolt or Centerlock rotor mounts. A pair of Crosslines comes in at 2,055g.
The bright yellow Deemax wheels were certainly an eye-catching presence on the DH/freeride circuit, but it fairly quickly became apparent that the needs of DH racers and the needs of extreme freeriders don’t actually align as closely as you might think. Which is a roundabout way of saying that the original Deemax was a bit heavy.
It’s all going on with the 2009 edition, though. The more subdued, all-silver appearance is immediately obvious, but what you can’t see is the loss of a mighty 300g from the new wheels. The rim section is still huge, with a 23mm internal width to take up to 3in tyres, but it’s been on the receiving end of that machining again. On the Deemax, just the margins of the spoke bed are machined away, leaving a strengthening “spine” running around the rim.
Spokes are butted stainless steel, 28 front and 32 rear. Up front it’s 110x20mm only, while the rear wheel has 135 or 150mm options. The wheels are UST ready, but there’s no Centerlock option for mounting your rotors – not something that we suspect the target market will miss. We’re not entirely sure what Mavic’s claims of “a more compliant rim for better control” are all about, but there won’t be much controversy over the inclusion of the quick-pick-up ITS-4 freehub. And the weight? 2,160g.
With the Deemax going on a crash diet and being pitched more at the DH racers, the Deetraks has been subtly repositioned. Rather than being presented as a budget alternative to the ‘max, the Deetraks is now described as “the most versatile wheel for any kind of extreme MTB”. Mavic is bigging-up the input from top freeride, slopestyle and street riders into the new wheels.
The 6106 aluminium rims are even wider than the Deemax items at 25mm internal width (31mm external). Spokes are again butted steel, but with a hefty 2.3mm/2.0mm/2.3mm profile. And unlike every other wheel in the Mavic line-up, they’re conventional bent spokes rather than straight-pull, which will certainly make it lots easier to get your wheel sorted out in the event of a spoke failure.
Again, there are 135 and 150mm rear options, and with 20mm front and 12mm rear axles and a bunch of adaptors you should be able to fit a pair of these to pretty much anything. And at 2,255g they’re not ludicrously heavy, either.
Crossmax ST Disc
Still with us? Good. Next up we have the Crossmax ST, which fits in to what Mavic call the “cross mountain” category and what most of the world knows as All Mountain, or simply Riding About For Fun. With a 19mm internal rim width, the ST will take bigger tyres (up to a proper 2.3in, according to Mavic) than the more XCish Crossmax variants, but you still get the Zicral spokes (24 both ends) and UST readiness.
As with the SLR, the ST front wheel is adaptable for 15mm through-axles or 9mm QR setups out of the box, with 110x20mm and Lefty options also available. Like the new Deemax, the ST rims have been machined away in such a way as to leave a spine around the perimeter where the spoke holes are. All-up weight is 1,635g for a pair.
Finally, the entry-level Crossride wheels have had a revamp, getting new hubs, a new rim profile and shedding 40g in the process. There are two versions, the disc or rim-brake compatible UB Disc and the disc-only, er, Disc. Both have 19mm internal width 6106 aluminium rims and 2mm bladed straight-pull stainless spokes. The UBs are silver and weigh 1,940g/pr while the Discs are black and weigh 1,905g/pr.
Availability and pricing will follow as soon as we find out about them, but for now head over to www.mavic.com (noting that it doesn’t seem to work properly in Firefox, so if you can’t see the “wheels” link try IE…).