What do you get when a distinctly European style of racing crosses paths with a competition-oriented French company? It seemed inevitable that Mavic would go full-bore into the world of enduro mountain bike racing. With contributions from notable racers Anne-Caroline Chausson and Fabien Barel, Mavic has developed what it claims to be the first enduro racing-specific wheel/tire system.
Mavic’s Crossmax has long been a lodestar among race wheels, combining minimal weight, durability, and out-of-the-box convenience. Although the new enduro model barely resembles its XC predecessors, it appears to blend those characteristics to approach a different challenge.
Riders will have UST-compatible options in both the 26-inch and 27.5-inch wheel standards, as well as axle choices for 9mm QR, 15mm, and 20mm forks. The rear wheel also covers the range of 9x135mm, 12x135mm, and 12x142mm axle sizes. The pair clocks in at 1,660 grams for the 26-inch wheelset (1,710g for 27.5-inch wheelset).
Notably, the rim width differs between front and rear wheels. The front sports a 21c width, while the rear is a mere 19c wide. Mavic claims that this difference gives the front better handling grip, while the rear is more “responsive” — which is perhaps a French way of saying acceleration.
Additionally, the front wheel is laced with 24 spokes, while the rear is built with 20. Both employ the bladed, straight-pull, Zircal aluminum variety found on many Mavic wheels. The lower spoke count and narrower rim on the rear Crossmax Enduro have us wondering about durability. We can imagine ourselves charging blindly through a rock garden, gassed at the end of a 30-minute enduro and perhaps not riding as precisely as Chausson or Barel. Hopefully we’ll test a pair this summer and let you know if these concerns have merit.
Crossmax Charge and Roam tires
Clearly, Mavic’s engineers were all sitting in the same room when they designed the wheels and tires. Here too, we find designs made specific for front and rear use. The Charge is a 2.4-inch front tire, and the Roam is a lower-profile, 2.3-inch rear tire (2.2-inch on the 27.5-inch model).
Out front, the Charge looks a lot like a Maxxis High Roller with a similarly meaty, blocky tread pattern and generous side knobs. The Roam also has prominent cornering knobs, but most of its tread is low-profile ramped chevron knobs, intended to roll quickly. We’ve found lower profile rear tires to be in short supply and are looking forward to having a good option for rides that include smooth dirt roads and even pavement.
Front and rear tires share the same dual-ply UST casing and weigh 950g and 850g, respectively, in the 26-inch size. Clearly, durability was top priority when Mavic designed the Charge and Roam, as the tires alone are roughly the same weight as the accompanying Crossmax Enduro wheelset.
The combined wheel/tire system is priced at $1,000, with replacement tires retailing between $75 and $80.
Enduro: Headed towards specialization?
Once heralded as a discipline that could be raced on nearly any type of mountain bike, enduro may be crossing the Rubicon. Not surprisingly, Mavic is guided by its racing heritage to push the limits and provide athletes with every imaginable advantage.
Who can blame Mavic when it has former world champions on their roster? Hopefully, what’s good for the enduro racer is good for the everyday ripper. If that means stronger, lighter wheels and grippier tires, perhaps mountain bikers will come around to that bright yellow color.