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While it may seem easy to get bogged down in the myriad acronyms peppering the Mavic Crossmax Elite WTS 27.5in Wheel's spec sheet, the only thing that really matters is that the mishmash of letters and numbers results in a lightweight wheelset that's fast enough to rip any cross-country course and strong enough to withstand the bumps along the way. The star of the show is undoubtedly Mavic's Inter Spoke Milling 4 Dimensions (ISM 4D) process, which is a mainstay in reducing rotational weight and enabling the Crossmax Elite to accelerate in a snap and hold speed across varying terrain.
ISM 4D represents the latest iteration of one of Mavic's signature design pieces: milling the unnecessary material from a rim to eliminate grams and reduce rotational mass along the wheel's circumference. The original ISM was limited to the rim's inner face. It's successor, ISM 3D, expanded that treatment to the sidewalls. ISM 4D goes a step further, smoothing the rim's transitional angles as much as possible while maintain the rim's structural integrity. The net result is a 15% reduction in claimed weight without a corresponding penalty to stiffness or durability, and it also increases the rim's aerodynamics by minimalizing potential footholds for the wind. By reducing resistance from inertia and air, ISM 4D wages a two-pronged campaign against the most pernicious foes of forward motion.
While Mavic's ISM 4D is responsible for keeping rim weight low, the Instant Transfer System 4 (ITS-4) rear hub ensures that all that efficiency isn't wasted by sluggish, unresponsive engagement. IST-4 is a four pawl system that alternates engagement between two pairs of pawls. Since both pairs engage at different points in the freehub's rotation, the gap between engagement points falls to just 7.5 degrees of free play.
This nearly immediate engagement is notable for sprinting out of corners and jockeying for position in mass starts, and it really shines on technical climbs that require you to pick through trail furniture and pop over rock ledges. It's hard enough navigating this kind of terrain as it is, so the extra precision is much appreciated. The sharp engagement angle is further complemented by the stiff, 17mm monoblonc axle, which tapers down to 12mm to take advantage of the new, more efficient standard of oversized dropouts.
The Crossmax Elite rims incorporate the Universal Standard Tubeless (UST) design, which eliminates tubes and tape while running tubeless with Mavic's UST tires and is compatible with virtually all tubeless and clincher tires. This particular wheel comes outfitted with Mavic's own Pulse tire, which features harder compounds (55 center strip and 50 shoulders) than all-mountain tires like the Crossmax Quest XL (50 and 40, respectively). These harder compounds privilege reduced rolling resistance over grip, so they're well-suited to the XC and light trail duties the Crossmax Elite prefers.
- Lightweight CX wheel with Mavic's legendary reliability
- Maxtal alloy is lightweight and strong
- Milling process reduces rotating weight
- UST tubeless ready
- Lightning fast hub engagement for snappy responsiveness
- Comes outfitted with Mavic's Pulse tire