First Look: Mavic Lightens Up with new Crossmax SL Wheels
Until now, Mavic’s updated Crossmax Wheel Tire Systems on the mountain side have been geared towards the ever popular buzz word, Enduro. However, each successive launch has brought lighter and lighter wheels, and the all new Mavic Crossmax SL is the lightest yet. Not only are the wheels the lightest in the new WTS range, the wheels are the lightest mountain bike specific wheel system Mavic has produced. Designed specifically for cross country riders, racers, and fast trail riders, the Crossmas SLs certainly aren’t the uber wide wheels that have become so popular lately. Instead the wheels offer impressive durability with a new rim profile to create an impressively light aluminum wheel at an affordable price.
Much of the weight savings is thanks to the new rim profile that takes advantage of Mavic’s proprietary ISM 4D milling. Continuing with their UST tubeless rim channel, the SLs also see Mavic’s FORE drilling. This is what allows for an unpierced rim cavity, with the FORE aluminum nipples on Zicral bladed spokes threading directly into the rim. Mavic introduced UST technology in 1999/2000 and has helped set the standard to this day. Obviously tire technology has changed quite a bit, so Mavic doesn’t expect you to run UST tires – though you could. Instead, Mavic’s Wheel Tire System tires use a UST bead, but still need sealant to run tubeless. This interface with the UST bead and the UST rim is a big part of the reason Mavic hasn’t investigated hookless or super wide rims. Mavic is conforming to the ETRTO standards for tire and rim sizing, which they helped produce. Currently, Mavic feels that the various rim widths are ideal for their intended purposes. Drastically increasing the width or removing the hooks could potentially affect bead security, so Mavic doesn’t feel that the technology is there yet.
That means the Crossmax SL has a similar width to the previous Crossmax SLR, though it has an entirely new shape. The new rim features walls that are angled more to the outside which allows the tire to fill out more, and also puts the rim hook at a better angle for increased impact protection. Mavic claims the rims result in a 50% increase in impact protection which is good news for folks who run low pressure – or just kill it all the time. Also in this case, 23mm external/19mm internal measurements are fairly close to the competition for light weight, XC wheels.
Compared to other Mavic rims which use ISM 3D machining on the top and sides, 4D rims see material removed around the entire surface of the rim. Extra material still has to be left at the nipple insertions in order for the FORE drilling to have enough support.
Further weight savings is accomplished through the use of a carbon front hub shell, with an aluminum rear. Twenty Zicral spokes radiate from each hub with a 2x front, and IsoPulse rear lacing pattern (radial drive/2-cross non drive). Crossmax SL wheels continue with the ITS-4 freehub with Shimano 10/11 speed compatibility as well as an optional XD freehub body. Axle compatibility includes QR and 15QR for the front and QR, 12×135 and 12×142 rear. Sold in 26, 27.5 and 29″ sets, the 27.5 and 29″ wheels will include an optional fit for Lefty Supermax forks. No Centerlock option here, the hubs are 6 bolt only.
Availability for the Crossmax SL Wheel System is planned for September, with a retail of $999.90.
- 26” (1390g per pair, 630g front/760g rear)
- 27.5” (1470g per pair, 665g front/805g rear)
- 29” (1520g per pair, 690g front/830g rear) Actual weight – 700g front/ 833g Rear