-Less racing oriented than the SL, this wheel is the indispensable tool for all your MTB outings: tough and reliable, but always lightweight, it will withstand intensive use on a variety of different types of terrain, and can also be used for “free ride”! On single tracks and cross mountain, the Crossmax XL opens up the entire mountain and will follow you on all your outings. Finally, a “real” MTB wheel!
I've had these wheels for 6 years one 2 different bikes. I have never trued them. Ever. They came straight out of the box from the factory, put them on my bike and am riding them since then. They've been to Downieville, Demo, UCSC, NorthStar and plenty of other wheel-busting places - and yet they are still rolling round and straight. The only thing that is starting to show wear is the rear hub internals - I've had to rebuild that a few times. I also love the fact that you can run the front as either 9mm of 20mm AND now you can get 15mm adapters (from Risse Racing). A+ wheels.
Similar Products Used: crossmax sl, chris king, bontrager, ritchey, syncros, easton
Bike Setup: MojoSL
a Cross Country Rider
from Amherst, NY
Date Reviewed: November 21, 2008
Strengths: I figured I would write this review although these wheels are no longer a current model just in case people are looking at closeouts. They are stiff, fast, low rolling resistance, with great looks and a great spoke layout. I used the ceramic braking (rim brake) model and found it to brake very well (exception see below) based on its design, although it squeaks when wet as all ceramic brakes seem to.
Weaknesses: Disclaimer: I ride fast hardpack exclusively with these and keep these wheels at or around 55-60psi. That being said, I am still very disappointed with these wheels as these pressures are within the wheels' "stated" tolerances.
1) They leak if you go tubeless and you'll be putting in at least 10-15 lbs. of air before any ride. I quickly started to use tubes with mine, basically disregarding any weight savings for the added convenience of not having to refill my tires every day (with tubes it can be more like every 5-7 days if I'm lucky).
2) Most Annoying: I have purchased 2 new rear wheels now and both have split the actual aluminum at both sides of the valve hole opening on the inside of the rim parallel to the circumference of the rim. Not a huge problem if you use tubes with them as I do (they will leak from the ust valve not being able to seal the rim all the time otherwise once this happens and your tires will go totally flat), but the annoying part is that the rim starts to bow out at the valve creating an uneven rim braking surface. If I apply the brakes lightly, I get the "catch" every 1 revolution of the tire, and if I brake hard the rear wheel will lock as the brake comes around to the valve, resulting in a potentially messy (but stylish if expected I admit) skid. The wheels still ride great, and I have basically mastered the art of braking under these conditions and have had only a couple mishaps (no downhills for these) and no serious wipeouts.
I will definitely not be buying a 3rd rear wheel made by Mavic without some reassurance that this problem has been fixed.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 1, 2007
Strengths: Light, rigid, very good looking.
Weaknesses: Maybe the rear Hub... maybe.
I'm very glad about these wheels. I'm only 120 lbs and my ride is between XC and freeride with BMX experience. I do sometimes jumps with these wheels, not fat ones, but just decent ones (a few meter longs and max 1 meter high). For the last 3 years, no maintenance was needed (even for the spokes !) except this year the rear hub that I needed to update. I guess this is normal after more than 4000 kms intense riding in the mountains... :-)
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 16, 2006
Weaknesses: aggressive optics
Wanted to change to tubeless and have a ceramic rim for good and endurable service with Shim XTR rim brakes. There is virtually no rim combining ceramic coating and tubeless system on the market. A custom built wheelset was not available then. So there was no choice but theses Crossmax Wheelset. Very happy till now. Certainly the stiffest wheelset ever (and I do have Mavix 521 rims with my other wheelset). At that weight really super. However, stiffness not always translates into durability. Lets wait for the future. Also the price is absolutley o.k. I would had have to go with Shimano XT hubs and Mavic 521 rims and pay more.
Similar Products Used: Customs Wheelsets (Whizz Wheels, very dependable stuff), Mavic Crossland (good and simple, bought for winter outings; made me go for tubeless with my summer bike)
Bike Setup: Trek 1996 9900 OCLV Carbon Hardtail. Schwalbe Racing Ralphs 2,24 tubeless
a Cross Country Rider
from wb wi USA
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2006
Strengths: The strength is the whole deal. These are made to be strong cc wheels and that is exactly what they are. Changed from race x-lites and the difference is immediate. Now my bike just goes where I point it.I haven't needed to true them in the year that I have had them.
Weaknesses: Well it is heavier than the Bontragers just the stiffness makes up for it.
The perfect wheels for me. I'm 6'5" 210 and the stock wheels on my Fuel flexed too much and needed to be trued after every race.After changing to a Fox fork and these wheels its is like my bike is laser guided. I just look at the line and there I am. I don't notice the extra weight because the stiffness puts all my power to the ground. If you're a big guy who makes lots of power but still want the least weight as possible these are for you.
Similar Products Used: Bonty race x-lites, bonty selects.
Bike Setup: 2005 top fuel 110, Fox R80RLT, Kenda Nevegel tube-less,Race face stem and post.
Date Reviewed: May 14, 2006
Strengths: durable, reliable, fast, true...
Weaknesses: slight freehub drag, tolerable and has caused no chain suck or any other problem I can discern.
I slapped these on my race bike because I'd had repeated problems with lighter race wheels failing in various manners. These too felt a crapload more stiff than the older racelites with the dt freehub which was far more tetchy than the XL's freehub. For the record, others have told me the SLs are very nice too and I even know a Kona employee who rides them, as I ride the XLs, on local trails which are brutal at regular intervals. I've never broke anything on these wheels even when a nail punctured my lame Michelin instapop tires and poked straight into, but not through, the inner rim.
The XLs are excellent race wheels for most, but especially for of larger size and higher power. They effectively transfer that power which, I believe, is worth more than the marginal weight loss of the SLs. If one is of lower weight themselves, I'd think the SLs would serve nicely. Either way, I've seen these wheels in action and had many attest to their quality and durability.
One small note: I've had dealings with Mavic on occasion about my old Crossmax and have come away with a slight bitter taste for their customer service. Keeping in mind Mavic's seeming interactive difficulty might facilitate negotiations if you, the reader ever comes to the point of need of Mavic usa's services.
Bike Setup: Giant XTC Team, Fox Float 80RL, Sram X-9, Shimano XT, Avid Single Digit 7, Ritchey comp/pro mavic
a Cross Country Rider
from Canberra, ACT, Australia
Date Reviewed: October 17, 2005
Strengths: Tubeless rim design (no strip), strenght - stiff build, appearance, front wheel/hub, ceramic rim brake surface
Weaknesses: Rear freehub body drag and constant maintenance requirements, only two pawls, oversize spokes stratch easily
Have two sets of these wheels and have a friend who has two set of Crossmax SL's. All four of these wheelsets exhibit excessive freehub body drag. That is friction between the freehub body and the hub where a ceramic bush mates to a seal.
The drag is enough to unweight the rear derailleur causing a slack chain that induces increased slap, higher chance of chain drop and occasional suck. No to mention friction that can only slow wheel rotation while coasting.
Any form of grease creates too much drag. Only lightweight oil is ok (mavic's own oil is best). This only lasts for about one ride/race and the freehub requires service.
Discussion with many dealers/ shops/ mechanics conclude this is a common problem.
Solution is to service your freehubs frequently.
Also friend with the SL's has developed play in the freehub body that is located between the seal and ceramic.
Also have experienced a spoke coming free of its mount and hanging loose. Not sure if this is a pro or con as the spoke came loose/out but didn't snap in two.
Because of the small number of spokes one spoke failure did cause the wheel to go out of true and the nipple system makes adjustments harder than standard spokes.
My local bike stores do not keep spares for these systems.
The tubless system is great and the front hub/ wheel has been awesome.
But my love hate relationship with these wheels is at an end and I have lost confidence in Mavic freehubs. I am moving to a Hugi/ Bontrager system.