Mavic CrossTrail Disc Wheels
Mavic, a French component manufacturer, is world renowned for their history of quality. They have been producing top notch parts since 1889, when “Manufacturers of Articles for Velocipedes by Idoux and Chanel” was formed. They built spare parts for bikes and were presided over by a businessman who also had an interest in a metal plating business. In 1934, Mavic manufactured the first aluminum rim. Against the rules at the time, Antoine Magne secretly used this revolutionary rim, albeit painted to appear to be wood, to ride to Paris and win the Tour. The new aluminum rims saved 450 grams over the previous standard, wooden rims. In 1983, Mavic introduced a new rim with hooks to capture a bead on a tire produced by Michelin. What followed was the clincher tire revolution as we know it. Mavic had produced fine rims and cartridge bearing hubs for a long time before they began to think about wheels as a global system. In 1996, the first CrossMax was introduced and raced at the Olympics in Atlanta.
Clearly, Mavic is an industry leader when it comes to rolling components. They continue to innovate, and that doesn't stop with their top-of-the-line. We recently had the opportunity to spend a few months riding a set of Mavic CrossTrail Disc wheels. These wheels enter the market as a reasonably priced cousin of the world class CrossMax SL. The beauty of this wheelset lies in the fact that it benefits from great technology forged on the trails of World Cup competition, yet doesn’t cost more than your car. Notable features include Mavic's proprietary Fore rim drilling, straight pull spokes, and sealed cartridge bearings.
The Fore rim drilling is a process by which Mavic only pierces the inside wall which faces the hub. The nipples are threaded directly into the rim. This leaves the outside wall free of spoke holes. Unlike conventional rim drilling, Mavic rims such as this do not require a rim strip to be run tubeless. We have found that Mavic’s system integrates perfectly with UST tubeless tires. They are always easy to bead and seal. The same cannot always be said for other rims requiring the use of a strip or tape. For this review, we mounted a set of Continental Explorer UST 2.1 tires -- the entire job took less than ten minutes and they sealed perfectly. The only time we’ve spent with them since was atop them, riding. As it should be.
Straight pull spokes are employed by Mavic in all of their wheels, both mountain and road. Straight pull spokes eliminate the j-bend of the spokes required by conventional hub flanges. As most spoke failures occur at the j-bend, Mavic has increased the overall strength of the spoke without adding any weight by eliminating it. The flat spokes in the Mavic Crosstrail Disc are made of stainless steel -- a great choice for this wheelset, as they are durable and help keep the cost down by comparison to the Zicral spokes found in the CrossMax SL. We “rode ’em like we stole ’em,” logging some pretty heavy mileage in the process. As of yet, we haven’t had to touch them up with a spoke wrench. And, our primary test pilot is a guy who could stand to lose a few pounds and loves to wear out bike parts.
One last feature of the Mavic CrossTrail Disc that we found very appealing is the sealed cartridge bearings found in the hubs. Mavic has been using this type of bearing since 1975. The benefit for the mountain biker is the issue of lower maintenance. The cartridges contain the bearings and the races, sealed with rubber discs to keep out grit and grime. In the event that the bearings do become contaminated or pitted, they can be pressed out and new ones pressed into service. Just like that, the hub is brand new again! For those of you that frequently ride in wet or really dirty conditions, the Mavic CrossTrail Disc wheelset is a good idea for that very reason.
Out on the trail, the Mavic CrossTrail Disc wheels feel solid and stiff. Tipping the scales at 1815g, they are not heavy. Just a few years ago that would have been a pretty svelte racing wheelset. Now, it’s just a good sturdy weight for a set of wheels that will get you through your epic, time and again. Sprinting out of the saddle is the litmus test for lateral stability and these wheels pass with flying colors. They felt rock solid while cornering, bouncing through rock piles or just hammering down beautiful trails. Again, this comes as no surprise as these wheels benefit greatly from the trickle down technology of high end wheel sets like the CrossMax SL and SLR. Even though the CrossTrail Disc is positioned towards the bottom of the Mavic food chain, it is a superb wheelset. They cut costs, but not corners to get these wheels under $500. To achieve this, Mavic crafted the axles and spokes from steel instead of aluminum. The ISM milling of the rim is not as pronounced as the higher end rims. And, the skewers are not quite as nice as those on the CrossMax SL.
Manufactured by a company well known for their high quality hubs and rims, the Mavic CrossTrail Disc wheelset is a terrific option. While they are value priced, they still incorporate top-level features. It is the ideal wheelset for someone building a new bike on a budget. Truthfully, you would have to come up with a pretty convincing argument for yourself to pony up for an upgrade if these were your wheels. If you are a weight weenie or a racer, the Mavic CrossTrail Disc wheels might be a touch on the heavy side for you. If so, look up the line at the Mavic CrossMax SL. With that in mind, the CrossTrail Disc wheelset would be great for training rides. The Mavic CrossTrail Disc wheelset rides great, and can be had without breaking the bank.