by Richard Lane
July 8, 2014
How does Mavic's Enduro WTS system stand up to ten months of hard use?
Mavic’s Crossmax Enduro WTS (Wheel Tyre System) has been developed in conjunction with some of the brand’s sponsored riders.
They’re aimed at enduro racers or riders looking for a wheelset that is light enough to climb efficiently, while being strong enough to withstand the blows on the descents.
I’ve been running the Crossmax on a Saracen Ariel 16X and they have served me well in many situations over all types of terrain. Available in 26 and 27.5, but not 29in, the Crossmax Enduro wheelset is basically a combination of the Crossmax SX and ST wheel. Mavic has taken the stronger SX front wheel and the lighter, narrower ST rear wheel, pairing the two to create a wheelset offering a 21mm-wide (internal) front rim that is ideal for more aggressive, larger-volume tyres and a narrower, 19mm-wide rear rim ready for a narrower, faster rolling tyre. The full 26in wheelset – with tyres, sealant and a bit of dried-on mud included – weighed 3,570g on our scales, while the wheels (with valves fitted) only came in at 1,740g.
The rear hub uses four pawls and engages very quickly. The wheels come in either Shimano/standard freehub or SRAM XD with optional upgrades between the two. I’ve had no issue with bearing preloads but the freehub bearing could do with a service after ten months of use. It’s worth considering whether or not your local bike shop stocks the correct spokes, and do they (or you) have the skills to work on the wheels when maintenance is needed – spokes are Zicral straight-pull bladed with Fore integrated nipples, so not exactly a common spare.
Mavic uses the UST tubeless system for its rims, which requires no tape due to the rim being fully sealed. I’ve not managed to burp either the front or rear tyre yet during the entire test period – even when I’ve run the tyre pressures way too low. Setting them up tubeless was a doddle, too.
Like many riders I like to run a sticky, more aggressive front tyre and a narrower, faster-rolling rear tyre. Mavic has done a good job of matching its tyre to the rims, with an incredible front tyre, but the rear is a step too minimal in muddy and rooty conditions for me. The front tyre on the wheelset is the Charge 2.4in with Super Contact Compound rubber – it keeps you tracking in the right direction in all conditions. Everyone has a favourite tyre that gets put on everything: the Charge has been it for me. It has an open tread pattern that digs in and clears quickly, an aggressive shoulder which fills you with confidence while cornering well in pretty much any conditions.
The Roam 2.3in rear is a little trickier and it takes a bit of time to get familiar with its minimal traction and braking characteristics in the wet. With slightly firmer rubber in the centre of the tyre, though, it truly has low rolling resistance and is a great climbing tyre in the dry. On descents it does predictably drift around, until you engage the softer, more aggressive shoulder.
After many months of solid use both tyres are starting to show signs of wear as you’d expect, though there is still plenty of life in them yet and the sidewalls are holding up well. Both front and rear benefit from a dual ply casing and I’ve not had a single puncture during the test. I think it’s fair to say these wheels have been strong enough to stand up to a beating but light enough to climb and ride all day.