2013 Mavic Crossmax SLR 29er mountain bike wheels

Mavic had planned a Crossmax SLR 29 last summer as a 2012 product, but development took longer than they thought so the launch was delayed until now. Initial prototypes simply made a 29er version of the Crossmax, but it was flexy and weak.

Mavic’s engineers said there’s a cubic decrease in stiffness as diameter grows. So, a 29er wheel would be about 39% less stiff than a similarly built 26″ wheel. A 29er wheel also has 40% more inertia, and spokes have a lower frequency but higher intensity stress, which can affect reliability. These are the challenges, skip through to see how they overcame them and more…

They tested more spokes (24 rather than 20), which fixed stiffness but added weight. They also tried stronger spokes and keeping it at 20 spokes, and that gave them the strength they wanted with minimal weight increase. But, in both cases, they noticed cracks appearing in the rim.

Interestingly, Cannondale test riders were saying that with 24 spokes, the wheel was more comfortable because spoke tension could be lower. With 20 spokes it was harder, stiffer and faster. That translates to racier, and that’s what they preferred.

The solution was to increase the thickness of the rim’s sidewall extrusion by 0.6mm. It’s a surprisingly small amount of extra material, but it solved the cracking problem. They also adjusted their ISM 3D milling from what’s done on the 26″ rim to balance strength with weight savings. Great, right? Not yet, this led to driveside radial lacing spokes breaking. They fixed this by giving only those spokes a special bead blasting treatment that increased strength without adding weight. After all this, the wheels held up in their field and lab tests.

Claimed weight for the new Crossmax SLR 29 is 1620g (755g front / 865g rear). Hubs work with all standards – Front 9/15 and rear 9/12 x 135/142 and they’ll come with all axle adapters in the box. And, as spied earlier, there’s a Lefty version, too! Spokes are their Zicral bladed spokes. Should be available in early June. $999.90 msrp.

2013 Mavic Crossmax ST 29er mountain bike wheels

While the SLR presented the most technical challenges because it had to be super lightweight to live up to expectations, the ST needed to be strong since it’s aimed at the All Mountain category. Surprisingly, Mavic says very little special features were needed to grow the wheel from their 26″ version and it still exceeds all of their test standards. It uses the same hubs as the SLR, the differences are that the rims don’t get the ISM 3D treatment, just basic ISM, and their round Zicral spokes with 24 front and 20 rear. So, while the weight difference between the two sets isn’t massive, but it’s rotational weight so the difference in feel should be more dramatic than the numbers may imply.

Claimed weight is 1710g (825 front / 885 rear) and it works with all axle standards, including Lefty and a 20mm front thru axle…something the SLR doesn’t have, but they come set up for 15mm thru axle front and other front axle adapters are available aftermarket. This and the Crossride 29 should be available in the fall around Eurobike time (late August/early September). $824.90 msrp.

2013 Mavic Crossride 29er mountain bike wheels

The Crossride brings Mavic’s wheels to the masses. Claimed weight is 2020g thanks to reinforced rims for the larger wheel size. It uses standard spokes and nipples and downgrades to their TS-2 two-pawl engagement system. But it’s only $299.90 MSRP. It comes with 15mm front axle and 10mm QR. Other axle adapters are available separately.

Rim width is 19mm inside on all three. The SLR and SL are available in either 6-bolt or Centerlock disc brake hubs. The Crossride is only available in 6-bolt.


2013 Mavic Crossmax SLR 29er mountain bike wheels actual weights

2013 Mavic Crossmax SLR actual weights: 755g front, 882g rear (with quick release axle endcaps).

2013 Mavic Crossmax ST 29er mountain bike wheels actual weights

2013 Mavic Crossmax ST actual weights: 831g front, 893g rear (with 15mm thru front, quick release rear axle endcaps).

2013 Mavic Crossride Disc 29er mountain bike wheels actual weights

2013 Mavic Crossride Disc 29er actual weights: 968g front, 1081g rear (with 15mm thru front, quick release rear axle endcaps).

Crossmax hubs (left) versus Crossride hubs (right).

Crossmax 6-bolt mount (left) versus Crossride (right).

The SLR’s ISM 3D milling (left) versus standard ISM on the ST. The ST is also painted after the milling, so you’re not seeing the alloy, but the bolder graphics aren’t bad looking.

The various axle adapters. If you’re running a Lefty, you get a dedicated hub. Mavic’s U.S. marketing manager Sean Sullivan said there’s just no way to make the hub convertible to work with Lefty and the normal axle standards.


For those unfamiliar with Mavic’s rim and wheel tech, here’s a quick recap of the acronyms:

ITS4 – four pawls in the freehub body, two engaged at all times for a 7.5º engagement. This design is fairly open, which lets their hubs convert to all axle standards using different end caps. Now, even the lower end hubs have a similar design except with just two pawls (TS-2) but works with all axle standards.

ISM – Inter Spoke Milling – machined material off rim between the spokes. ISM 3D has material machined off the sidewalls, too.

FORE – uses the material from the rim to create the threaded nipple hole. That’s why Mavic wheels have those larger nipples. It keeps the rim bed solid, which means its stronger and you don’t need rim tape to go tubeless.


  1. greg on

    “Interestingly, Cannondale test riders were saying that with 24 spokes, the wheel was more comfortable because spoke tension could be lower. With 20 spokes it was harder, stiffer and faster.”
    funny, as wheel stiffness is practically unchanged (actually gets slightly STIFFER with lower tension) until the spokes go slack. shows how preconceived notions affect perceptions.
    claimed weight is pretty close to actual…
    if the surface treatment on the right rear spokes improves strength that much, they should do it on all the spokes.

  2. Bryan on

    I agree with all three posts above. I’ll happily keep my Crest/ZTR wheelset which has the same weight, yet is half the price and 2mm wider than the SLR. Or if I’d like to spend the same amount of money, the American Classic Race is 200g lighter, yet over 4mm wider.

  3. Greg on

    I think some of these comments are a bit short sighted… yes the Crests are lighter and cheaper (I’ve been riding/racing a set since they were introduced)
    But they are not bombproof and from my expierences with other Crossmax wheels, the Crests are much flexier and not nearly as durable.

    The Crests are an excellent weight at a good price, but they are fairly disposable.

  4. tom on

    Understand that the warranty is confusing with these wheels. The MP3 warranty seems good but prices fluctuate between a dollar and up. If you don’t get that, you don’t get a crash warranty worth its salt from Mavic, and many times the dealer doesn’t let you know about MP3 up front. (customers responsiblity to request)… What?

    My crash Crossmax rebuild costs $300 from CT and $180 from a shop in CA.
    I live in CT and its getting fixed in MA (under an hour from me).
    But I have to send it to CA to get the better price.
    Mavic says LBSs set the price. The shops say that its Mavic.
    The MP3 would remove all that confusion.

    Also keep in mind Mavic won’t deal with riders, only shops but not all shops, just a few.
    Mavic hubs only deal with Mavic spokes and rims for the Crossmax line.

    Great riding wheel, but you should think about these things before you pull the trigger.

  5. Jake on

    I partially agree with the first two comments. I can get over the 19mm ID on the SLRs, but on the STs? On a wheel that’s probably meant to run 2.25 in+ wide tires? That’s the one shortcoming I see to these. On the plus side, I owned a pair of Crossmax SLR 26ers a couple of years ago, and they lasted me two seasons of hard racing, then I put a new freehub body on and sold them to a friend. He has raced them for the last two years. The rear wheel has had a few spokes replaced, but my LBS has always been able to take care of that. I broke a spoke 2 hrs in to a 12 hr race and finished the race on a rear wheel with one less spoke that was still true. The durability of Mavic’s product is amazing. The next year, on 355s I went through one front and one rear rim in one season of racing. I would probably hand my money over to Mavic right now for the SLRs if I only had the $1000 to spare.

  6. j on

    You got copypastetypo on your measured weights. Crossmax st measurements are copied to crossride. Scale shows 968+1087=2055 for crossride on your images.

    Thanks for the article, interesting data.

  7. Dan on

    Crests Bombproof? Not even close (unless you’re a feather weight riding flow trails)….And the lateral flex on the crests is a deal breaker for me…Don’t get me wrong I still ride Stan’s rims (Arch Ex and Flow’s) but I will say that the Crossmax wheels are stiffer…The way you get a Stiff set of wheels from Stan’s is to lace em’ to Industry Nine Straight pull hubs and spokes!! But the new Crossmax wheelsets are super sweet with the increased engagement and lightweight….Especially the ST’s….

  8. Andy on

    question – does Mavic intend releasing a lefty crossmax ST 29er, the SLR’s are a fortune here in the UK £800+. ST’s more realistic and stronger £500+. I use 26′ crossmax ST’s on my prophet for 3 years and had no issues at all. Looking to run crossmax SLR’s or ST’s on my 26′ flash carbon 3 as road wheels with Panaracer Pasela PT City Wire Bead Tyre 700x28c or similar

  9. el gato on

    I regret buying these wheels. the hub bearing design sucks. no seal on the outside the bearings to keep the element from ruining the bearings, oh by the way also inside the freewheel side also encounters moisture. ive had these wheels for 11 months. LBS said mavic doesnt not warranty bearings even though my rear prepoad adjuster backs off once in awhile. LBS is an authorize dealer i got from mavics website .yes i wash my bike about once a month to keep contaminants from wearing out my bike. but apparently maivc really doesnt care about the little people thats making them money to sponsor “their athletes” . i have no confidence on their customer service, cant get ahold of anyone in the company , ive tried emailing them. NOTHING. only place ive gotten anything from their company is thru MTBR blogs and that person still said to take it to a dealer. my friend got custom wheels with Stan rims and industry nine hubs laced at the same price. Can you believe that? with industry nine hubs. thats the way im gonna go next time when i purchase a 650b


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