Mavic Crossmax 29"er Wheel Set: First Ride Impressions

Now that I have a few rides off road on the Crossmax 29″er wheel set, I will lay down some impressions I have for you. Keeping in mind that these particular wheels that I am riding are pre-production units. While they are very close to production specs, they may not totally reflect what the actual wheels will be like. Hence the reasoning for Mavic’s sending out an actual production set in about a week. In the mean time, you can certainly glean some tidbits from what I have to offer here.

The Crossmax 29 wheels were designed to address a couple of main drawbacks to 29 inch wheels in general. First, as we all know, 29 inch wheels are a bit heavier than their 26 inch brethren. Mavic wanted to not only make a light weight wheelset, but do it with out losing needed strength, lateral rigidity, and make it tubeless. They used their special rim milling process and tweaked it for the 29 inch wheels which resulted in a wheel with a lower rotational weight than many competitors wheels. This should make the wheels feel snappier out of corners and up climbs. The special Zircal aluminum spokes and lacing pattern were also done for light weight, strength, and rigidity. A wider spaced flange measurement also works in conjunction with the spokes and lends greater wheel strenght and lateral rigidity. Finally, the tubeless nature of the rims helps cut rotational weight by helping to eliminate the tube and also should help out in reducing rolling resistance.

What worked? What translated to the trail? Well, much of it seemed to be applicable, at least so far.

First I want to touch on the tubeless subject. These Mavic wheels are recommended to be run tubeless with only the Hutchinson Python 29″er tires at the moment. I didn’t have any of those available at the time I began the test, but I did have some Bontrager Tubeless Ready tires at hand. After contacting both Mavic and Bontrager and getting a tentative green light to try my idea, I went ahead and mounted the Bontrager Tubeless Ready ACX on the front and the Dry X on the back. The tires seated up with a floor pump just fine. I used Bontragers Super Juice sealant and away I went.

The first thing you notice is that these wheels are indeed easy to spin up. They should be, since they are pretty light. (1800 grams with skewers and QR’s installed) The interesting thing is that even though they are light weight, they seem quite stiff both laterally and vertically. I noticed that they seemed to brake well, and that they exhibited no discernable wind up in sudden, explosive bursts from low speeds.

I was emboldened to go at them even a bit harder after my first off road ride. I decided to take them to “The Camp”, where the terrain is a bit more varied, and give them some more aggressive riding. “The Camp” was dry, hard, and very fast due to the lack of rains recently, so I was able to push these wheels as hard as I wanted to. As the ride went on, I began to realize that the Mavic Crossmax 29″er wheels might just be one of those “invisible” products. A component that you just ride and you don’t even think about, because it just does it’s job without your noticing it.

Only time will prove that out for the long run. However; the ride at “The Camp” was definitely a lot of fun and I didn’t notice one hiccup from the wheel department. I mashed, pushed, carved, and climbed everything I could and the wheels just laughed at it. The Bontrager tires never burped, rolled, or acted strange in any way. The tubeless set up was just peachy. Again, a longer period of testing might find a fault here, but nothing bad so far.

The wheels need no special treatment for a break in period, but I did notice that the rear wheel has developed a touch of bearing play. Again, these are pre-production wheels and have several demo miles on them previous to my recieving them, so it might just be an anomaly. I just wanted to point out that there was one thing I noticed as a slight problem. We will see if that crops up at all on the production set that is coming soon or not. (Note: The bearing play was not perceptable while riding. In fact, it was barely percepatable off the bike. I noticed it after a post ride inspection)

So, the initial rides were very positive and encouraging. Once a couple of things come together here I plan to transfer the wheels to my Salsa Dos Niner and head on up to Decorah for a right proper off camber fest. That ought to put a better light on how capable these wheels are in the lateral rigidity department. Stay tuned!


No Responses to “Mavic Crossmax 29"er Wheel Set: First Ride Impressions”

  1. RJ Says:

    I was pawing these at Pedrosfest…unfortunately, at $775 it just seems painfull! Very nice looking setup though!


  2. doug Says:

    Good to hear!

    Does this wheelset use cartridge bearings like the 26″ Crossmax SLs? Agh. Just read your initial article on these. Looks like they do run similar bearing/hub arrangement as the SLs.

    I’m hoping to get a set as soon as I can for my singlespeed.

  3. j Says:

    + make it in a single speed version too

  4. CMaxrider Says:

    I had posted previously that I had problems with blow off using CMax wheels and Bontrager ACX TR tires on the rear. I took the rear tire back to a Trek dealer where they warrantied the product and gave me a replacement. I can say that the original problem must have been with the tire spec as it was very loose. The new rear tire, along with the original front, have been on for a month now without problems. So, I take back what I said abot the Bontragers as it is really a good tire and climbs better than the nevegal in the rear, but with less cush. The wheels have been great so far.
    At 220, I will race them and use on endurance rides, but do worry a bit about longterm heavy use under my weight which you also mention in your Final Review. So, what could be the expected downside of overuse of this wheelset? Should I have a heavier trail wheel build for general use? I have some Hope Pro IIs that I could mount up.

  5. Guitar Ted Says:

    CMaxrider: Yeah, I think that would be a great idea for you. My plan is similar. Use heavier, tougher whels everyday and use the Cr29max’s for events and when there is a lot of climbing.

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