When talking beefy axles widths, cross-country isn't usually the first discipline that comes to mind. However, with the recent trends in Boost axles bleeding out from their more gravity-aided arena into all aspects of off-road riding, XC rigs have seen an influx of Boost frame options. Mavic steps up to meet this trend with its Crossmax Elite WTS 29in Boost Wheelset, which adds 148 and 110mm spacing to a build that's light and fast with durability to handle whatever terrain the course provides.
While Boost defines the hubs, the star of the rims is Mavic's Inter Spoke Milling 4 Dimensions (ISM 4D) process. ISM 4D is 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 milling was limited to the rim's inner face. It's successor, ISM 3D, expanded that treatment to the sidewalls, and ISM 4D takes things a step further, smoothing the rim's transitional angles as much as possible while maintaining its structural integrity. The result is a net 15% reduction in claimed weight without sacrificing stiffness or durability, as well as increased aerodynamic benefits with a reduction in potential footholds for the wind to catch on.
While Mavic's ISM 4D keeps rotating weight low, the Instant Transfer System 4 (ITS-4) rear hub ensures that all that efficiency isn't wasted by sluggish, unresponsive engagement. ITS-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 instantaneous engagement is noticeable while sprinting out of corners and surging for position in mass starts, and it also 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 monobloc axle, which tapers down to 12mm to take advantage of the new, more efficient standard of oversized dropouts.
The Crossmax Elite rims incorporate Mavic's Universal Standard Tubeless (UST) design, which eliminates tubes and tape and is compatible with nearly all tubeless and clincher tires. It comes outfitted with Mavic's own Pulse tires, which feature harder compounds than all-mountain tires like the Crossmax Quest XL to favor reduced rolling resistance over grip, matching well with the Crossmax Elite's XC and light trail persuasions.
- A cross-country wheel with bad intentions
- Boost axle widths stiffen wheel/frame systems
- Lightweight, strong Maxtal alloy rim
- Milling process reduces rotating weight
- 7.5-degree hub engagement snaps to attention
- Includes Mavic's Pulse cross-country tires