The Mavic Crossmax ST sits near the top of Mavic’s line of mountain bike wheels and features much of the company’s most advanced technology. It starts with the rims, which are constructed from Mavic’s Maxtal alloy that is 30 percent more resistant than standard 6106 alloy. The rims then go through what Mavic has termed Soudé Usiné Process (SUP). After bending, the rim joint is arc welded, then milled smooth. This provides a strong and smooth joint that provides precise wheel balance.
Next, the Crossmax ST rims are subjected to Mavic’s Inter Spoke Milling (ISM) to reduce material between the spoke holes. The ISM process results in a lighter rim and reduced inertia without sacrificing the stiffness of the rim. The spoke holes themselves only pass through one of the rim’s two rim walls. Mavic has termed this process Fore, and, according to Mavic, it makes the rim four times more resistant to fatigue stress and increases rim rigidity by 20 percent. The biggest advantage to the Fore process is that it allows Mavic to implement their Universal Standard for Tubeless (UST) system, which enables the use of lower tire pressure.
All the technology that has been applied to the rims continues in the spokes and hubs. The spokes are made of Zicral alloy for lighter weight, and the machined alloy front hub use Mavic’s Qualité de Roulements Mavic+ cartridge bearings, which are double sealed and covered with a micro-adjust cap system that allows a looser adjustment for a smooth spin, or a tighter setting for when riding in the elements. The hubs on the Crossmax ST are compatible with 9-mm quick release, 15- or 20-mm thru-axle setups.
The spokes on the rear wheel are laced to the rear hub radially on the drive side and crossed 2 on the non-drive side. This lacing pattern brings better wheel stability and better power transfer due to more consistent tension balance between the left and right flanges. Internally, the rear hub uses Mavic’s Instant Transfer System 4. Working 2 by 2, the system provides quick engagement, with only 7.5 degrees of free play between engagement positions. Finally Mavic uses a 17-mm monobloc axle that is 12-mm-thru-axle compatible.
The Mavic Crossmax ST wheelset shipped with tubeless valve stems, Mavic quick-releases and adaptors for 15-mm thru axles or 9-mm quick-release forks. Spacers for 20-mm thru axles are available from Mavic. The UST system makes a tight fit between the tire and the rim. Mounting rubber was easy, though tire levers are required for mounting new tires.
In the dirt, Mavic Crossmax ST wheels spin beautifully smooth. The reduced rim weight due to the ISM process is noticeable, making acceleration immediate while good lateral stiffness allowed the wheels to be flicked around obstacles on the trail. When the trail turns skyward, the Mavic Crossmax STs are quick and maintain their speed. The Instant Transfer System 4 of the rear cassette provides instant engagement that is quite noticeable out of corners and when scaling technical accents.
On steep, rooted descents normally reserved for longer travel or freeride bikes, the Crossmax ST wheels shined with their stiffness and precise steering performance. They survived brutal hits and came out unscathed. After months of abuse and total lack of maintenance, the Crossmax STs are still true, round and rolling smoothly. Cornering was quick and fast with positive trail feedback being delivered to the handlebars. Some of the best aspects of the Crossmax ST wheels are the ISM machined rims, the UST tubeless system and lightweight Zicral alloy spokes which allow the use of the bigger, more aggressive and better gripping tires to be run without sacrificing acceleration or the wheels’ quick rolling feel.
The Crossmax ST is suited for a wide spectrum of riders. The wheels are light enough to be raced cross-country yet strong enough for hard trail use. The rider choosing the Crossmax ST is a true all-around rider, a rider that rides all week and then hits the race course on the weekend. The Crossmax ST wheelset is versatility without compromise.
The Crossmax line is made up of four models, with the Crossmax SLR sitting at the top of the line above the Crossmax ST. The Crossmax SLR is the lightest mountain wheelset within the Mavic line, tipping the scale at a mere 1,400 grams. Most of the SLR’s weight savings come from the extensive ISM machining that is done on the rim’s sidewall and not just between the spoke holes. Another major difference is the SLR wheelset is only available with a 9-mm or 15-mm thru-axle front hub, where the ST can be converted for larger diameter 20-mm thru axles. The third wheel in the Crossmax line is the C29ssmax, which is a 29-inch version of the Crossmax ST available with either a 9-mm quick-release or 15-mm thru-axle front hub. Finally, there is the Crossmax SX which is more endurance oriented with a slightly wider (21 mm) and more robust rim. It is also only available in the 15- or 20-mm thru-axle setups.
The Bottom Line
Price: $775 (set)
Weight: 1,590 grams (set), 765 grams (front), 825 grams (rear)