Mavic’s expertise in the cycling world dates back over 127 years. In fact, the company got its start back in 1889 when Charles Idoux and Lucien Chanel started making spare parts for bicycles. The name Mavic, Manufacture d’Articles Vélocipédiques Idoux et Chanel, very roughly translates from French to English as cycling parts manufactured by Idoux and Chanel. Mavic then made many great contributions to the cycling industry with the creation of such things as electronic shifting, aerodynamic wheels and the Mavic assistants program. Mavic’s neutral support vehicles, otherwise known as Mavic assistants, are still a racer’s best friend. These vehicles are loaded down with all the equipment a racer might need to fight off mechanicals and get back into the race. Moving forward in time, Mavic’s contributions to the cycling world haven’t stopped. The current staff works hard around the clock to bring the best possible products to the market.
Epic journey: Tito Tomasi is a French pro mountain biker who enjoys riding long, epic, multi-day rides. He recently did an epic journey through Nepal before meeting up with us and the Mavic crew.
XA Pro Carbon wheels: Mavic has been making carbon road wheels for a while now, but the XA Pro Carbon wheels are their first-ever mountain bike carbon wheelset.
Mavic, after spending years making carbon road wheels, decided to step into the carbon wheel game for its mountain bike product line. The interesting thing, however, is that Mavic’s popular cross-country wheelset, the Crossmax, didn’t get a carbon upgrade. Instead, Mavic released an entirely new wheelset called the XA Pro Carbon. XA stands for Cross-Adventure, meaning these wheels aren’t meant for high-speed laps around a racecourse; they are built to tackle rough terrain and take a rider around the world. To put these wheels to the test, we spent two days beating our new wheel-sets on the rugged terrain in Basque Country, Spain. But first, Mavic explained to us what features a modern carbon mountain bike wheel should have. First and foremost, carbon wheels should be lighter than their aluminum counter-parts. They should have a high level of impact resistance, be stiffer laterally, be quicker to accelerate and brake, and, of course, be tubeless compatible. These factors were all taken into consideration when the XA Pro Carbon wheels were built.
Tito rocks: Mavic’s Tito Tomasi tackled the most technical sections of the trails with ease.
XA Elite hub
XA Pro hub
This new wheelset is the widest Mavic has yet to make, with a 32-millimeter outer diameter and a 26-millimeter inner diameter. The XA Pro Carbon wheels use a two-cross lacing pattern on the front and rear wheels and also use an asymmetrical design to add stiffness and vertical compliance. The hubs play nice with most current standards, from 142/100-millimeter axles to Boost sizing, and have the option of an 11-speed XD driver or a Shimano free-hub body. The rims are available in 27.5- and 29-inch sizes and use a hook-less bead, which Mavic claims will help keep the tire from burping air due to a more natural connection between the rim and the tire’s sidewall. Mavic also developed a tire called the Quest Pro that will come with the new wheelset. Mavic believes in wheel systems instead of just making rims or tires separately. Mavic decided that a 2.4-inch tire was ideal for the XA Pro Carbon rims and their intended trail/cross-adventure use. The XA Pro Carbon wheels will retail for $1850 with included tubeless-ready valve stems. An aluminum version of this wheel, called the XA Elite Aluminum, will sell for a much cheaper $750 with a slightly narrow- er rim and three color combinations: blue, green and black.
Singletrack galore: The Basque Country offers miles of extraordinary singletrack.
XA Elite wheels: Along with Mavic’s new carbon wheelset is a much more affordable aluminum wheelset that uses similar technology and comes in three color options— blue, green and black.
Lunch break: Our two-day journey required us to pack all the necessary items we would need to travel to our next destination. A ham and cheese sandwich on a French roll was a great treat after several hours on the bike.
The wheels in action: The XA Pro Carbon wheels were put to the test in Basque Country, Spain, with the help of a local tour company, Basque MTB. The wheels went through a two-day, overnight journey with vastly changing terrain. The large exposed mountaintops, jagged rocks and narrow goat trails were a great way to test how well the XA Pros held their line. We were rather pleased with the XA Pros’ ride quality right from the start of our ride. At times, when a healthy dose of accelera- tion was needed, the XA Pros felt like they spun up to speed quickly and efficiently, and Mavic’s proprietary tires worked really well. Honestly, we were really surprised with the quality of these tires. The combination of the rims and tires seemed to work especially well on our mid-travel trailbike, but we believe these wheels could find themselves at home on either a lightweight cross-country rig or a downhill-blasting enduro bike. Throughout our ride we were lucky enough to avoid any flats or damage to either our tires or our wheels. This was greatly appreciated, since some of the trails we rode had rugged technical sections. All in all, Mavic’s latest creation conforms with all of the current trends and provides trail riders with the essential tools needed to conquer the trails. If by chance you’re more of a hands-on person, make sure you sign up for Mavic’s Riding Is Believing program. This free-of-charge program will allow you to take the wheelset of your choosing to the trails near you. We suggest you give the XA Pro Carbon wheels a spin.
Bay of Biscay: The trails along the coast of northern Spain provide an awesome view of the Bay of Biscay. The bay connects the northern coast of Spain with the western coast of France and is known for causing many ship- wrecks during the winter months due to its gruesome stormy weather.
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