Mavic Crossmax XL S

Mavic Crossmax XL S: mid-term review

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The Mavic Crossmax XL S is the flagship alloy trail wheelset from French wheel aficionados Mavic. Touted as the best they’ve ever made. This is how they’re holding up after four months of riding…

  • Brand: Mavic
  • Product: Crossmax XL S 29
  • From: Mavic
  • Price: £775.00
  • Weight: Front 875g, Rear 1,010g (Pair 1,885g)
  • Tested: by Ross for 4 months
Mavic Crossmax XL S

Designed to be light and strong, and ready for big days on the trail, the Crossmax XL S is available in 29in only and retails for £775.

The rims

The rim is made from Mavic’s Maxtal aluminium alloy that is claimed to be light yet durable. They are drilled for 24 spokes both front and rear, and feature an asymmetrical design. To further reduce weight, Mavic uses a process they term ISM light rim technology – which stands for Inter Spoke Milling. This involves machining away material from the lower bridge of the rim between each spoke hole to create “a light and rigid rim without reducing durability”.

The Crossmax XL S’s are tubeless ready and forgo the need for rim tape by using Mavic’s Fore Tapeless Tubeless Technology. This is where the lower rim bridge is pushed up into the rim and threaded, so there is no need for drilling which makes it stiffer and stronger, but also no holes in the rim bed so no need for rim tape.

Internally the rims are 30mm wide and designed for tyres between 60mm and 76mm wide (2.35in and 3in). They also feature a Black Shield Coating which is designed to protect them from impacts and scratches. Lacing them to the hubs are 24 steel straight pull bladed spokes that use Fore integrated aluminium screw in nipples.

The hubs

Hubs are Mavic’s Infinity hubs and are available in 6 bolt or Cente rLock options, and Boost spacing only. The hubs run on Mavic’s Instant Drive 360 freewheel technology which uses two 40 tooth ratchets for fast engagement and a large contactless rubber seal for low friction.

The hubs run on double sealed cartridge bearings and use Mavic’s QRM auto bearing preload technology. This automatically adjusts the preload to enhance long term durability and keep things spinning freely.

In the workshop

Getting the wheels set up was simple, straightforward and faff free. As the Fore Technology removes the need for rim tape it’s just a case of fit your tyres, add sealant and inflate. For the duration of the test the wheels have been shod with a 2.4in Maxxis Shorty Gen 2 up front, and a 2.4in Maxxis Minion DHR II on the rear.

The tyres went on easily enough, with just the last part of Shorty needing a tyre lever to pop it on. Once on, I added 100ml or so of WTB sealant to each tyre and inflated with a standard track pump. Both tyres went up straight away and have held pressure through the test, with just the odd top up as you’d expect. Pressures have generally been around 22 to 23psi psi in the front and 25psi in the back.

The testbed

On the trail

The wheels have been fitted to a RAAW Madonna and then more recently a Deviate Claymore. Both bikes are on the harder hitting end of the spectrum for what the wheels are directly aimed at, but both bikes are used as daily driver ‘trail bikes’.

The Crossmax XL S’s spin up well with the hubs engaging quickly and no perceived drag and the decent weight helps with efficiency when climbing. The hub engages quickly allowing you to put the power down when climbing or sprinting out of turns, or when see-sawing the pedals up tech climbs. The bearings run free and keep spinning, letting you make the most of downslopes and do a great job of carrying speed and so far there’s no play.

Once up to speed the wheels offer a great ride feel. They feel stiff enough to be efficient but have enough flex to never feel harsh. They hold a line well in fast rough sections and across rough and rooty off-chambers, and track well through chunky rock without getting pinged off line constantly.

The test rubbers

They offer plenty of support in fast turns, and have a nice lively feel when pushed into ruts, while still doing a good job of muting smaller trail chatter and harsh hits rather than transmitting everything up into the bars.

They’ve taken everything that’s been thrown at them so far, with quite a few hefty clangs coming from both the rear front and end from square edge rocks but so far they aren’t showing any dings dents. Given that they’ve been tested through winter, and a lot of the riding has been done in sub-optimal conditions, they’re still spinning free and true with no signs of giving up.

The only issue I’ve had was the rear wheel losing tension on a couple of spokes twice. The first time I quickly nipped them up while out. The second time I spent more time on them and made sure the wheel was true and evenly tensioned, and since then it’s been fine. This then leads me on to my only complaint – straight pull bladed spokes. I don’t own a ‘proper’ bladed spoke tool, so inevitably end up with them twisting or marking them trying to clamp them. (Full disclosure: I think you get a bladed spoke tool with the wheels but… it went AWOL. Keep yours in a safe place!)

Overall (so far)

The Mavic Crossmax XL S’s do just what you want from a trail wheelset, and do it well. They’re pretty light, have a great ride quality and have been tough and durable. They’re kind of unremarkable in the best way possible, they feel like a really good aluminium wheelset.

I’ll update this review towards the end of the year once they’ve had a lot more miles put through them.

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Review Info

Brand: Mavic
Product: Crossmax XL S
From: Mavic
Price: £775.00
Tested: by Ross for 4 months
Author Profile Picture
Ross Demain

Ad Sales Manager

Ross pairs his childlike excitement for bikes with a complete disregard for the wellbeing of his ribs, or his rims. Best known for riding cheeky trails, his time is also spent trail building in his local woods, drinking beer, eating pies and entertaining his two children.

More posts from Ross

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Mavic Crossmax XL S: mid-term review
  • alexpalacefan
    Full Member


    Went out of tension twice in 4 months.
    Non-standard spokes.
    Alloy nipples.

    All the things you don’t want in a wheelset. WTF does a product need to do to get a bad review?


    Full Member

    I got a set of these for £300 in CRC’s Black Friday sale. Pretty chuffed with them myself.
    I’ve never had Mavic factory wheels go out of tension, so never thought of checking them! I’ll check these 🙂

    Full Member

    Went out of tension twice in 4 months.
    Non-standard spokes.
    Alloy nipples.

    All the things you don’t want in a wheelset. WTF does a product need to do to get a bad review?

    Yet we’ve run ‘old’ Crossmax XL and newer Crossmax wheelsets for 6+ years, and they were second hand to us.

    They’ve actually done better than other wheels we have had, a Hope hubbed one (shell cracked), Raceface (ate freehubs every couple of months), DTSwiss (rims of Cheeses) and Sun Ringle (would not keep tension and soft rims).

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