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New clincher and tubular mountain bike wheels from Mavic

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Spotted in the Cannondale Factory Racing pit area were Mavic's upcoming Crossmax SLR 29er wheels.

Spotted in the Cannondale Factory Racing pit area were Mavic's upcoming Crossmax SLR 29er wheels.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Cannondale Factory Team racers were on a mix of new Mavic C29ssmax SLR 29" clinchers and tubulars for Pietermaritzburg. Here, Marco Aurelio Fontana's bike is fitted with the tubulars.

Cannondale Factory Team racers were on a mix of new Mavic C29ssmax SLR 29" clinchers and tubulars for Pietermaritzburg. Here, Marco Aurelio Fontana's bike is fitted with the tubulars.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This is a Mavic Crossmax SLR but that's no clincher tire wrapped around it. This tubular version is perhaps a team-only item at this point but the Dugast tires are available to consumers.

This is a Mavic Crossmax SLR but that's no clincher tire wrapped around it. This tubular version is perhaps a team-only item at this point but the Dugast tires are available to consumers.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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We also spotted this fleet of tubular Mavic 26" cross country wheels in the pit area at Pietermaritzburg.

We also spotted this fleet of tubular Mavic 26" cross country wheels in the pit area at Pietermaritzburg.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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How big are the spokes on Mavic's Crossmax Ultimate wheels? Compare the spoke with the presta valve stem right next to it.

How big are the spokes on Mavic's Crossmax Ultimate wheels? Compare the spoke with the presta valve stem right next to it.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Mavic Crossmax Ultimate tubular rims are milled on the inner wall to decrease weight.

The Mavic Crossmax Ultimate tubular rims are milled on the inner wall to decrease weight.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Mavic's Crossmax Ultimate wheels have been making guest appearances from time to time since at least 2009 so despite the labeling, we're still holding our breath on whether they'll actually make it to production.

Mavic's Crossmax Ultimate wheels have been making guest appearances from time to time since at least 2009 so despite the labeling, we're still holding our breath on whether they'll actually make it to production.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The massive alloy hub shell on Jean-Christophe Peraud's Crossmax Ultimate front wheel anchors hollow carbon fiber spokes.

The massive alloy hub shell on Jean-Christophe Peraud's Crossmax Ultimate front wheel anchors hollow carbon fiber spokes.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Dugast tubulars on Jean-Christophe Peraud's Mavic Crossmax Ultimate wheels are neatly glued and sealed.

The Dugast tubulars on Jean-Christophe Peraud's Mavic Crossmax Ultimate wheels are neatly glued and sealed.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ag2R-La Mondiale pro roadie Jean-Christophe Peraud raced in Pietermaritzburg on Mavic's elusive Crossmax Ultimate tubulars.

Ag2R-La Mondiale pro roadie Jean-Christophe Peraud raced in Pietermaritzburg on Mavic's elusive Crossmax Ultimate tubulars.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new Mavic Crossmax SLR 29er wheels feature machined aluminum rim side- and inner walls to help shed some grams.

The new Mavic Crossmax SLR 29er wheels feature machined aluminum rim side- and inner walls to help shed some grams.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Mavic's new Crossmax SLR 29er wheels look to use the same hubs as the currently available 26" model.

Mavic's new Crossmax SLR 29er wheels look to use the same hubs as the currently available 26" model.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Hubs on the new Mavic 29er wheels look to be borrowed from the current 26" models.

Hubs on the new Mavic 29er wheels look to be borrowed from the current 26" models.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Doubt they're tubulars? Here's some proof.

Doubt they're tubulars? Here's some proof.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Some Cannondale Factory Team bikes were equipped with new Mavic tubular wheels and Schwalbe tubular Racing Ralph tires.

Some Cannondale Factory Team bikes were equipped with new Mavic tubular wheels and Schwalbe tubular Racing Ralph tires.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)

This article originally published on BikeRadar

We knew Mavic was set to launch some new wheels soon but we weren't expecting to see quite so many variants at the opening round of the UCI World Cup. Here in Pietermaritzburg, we spotted not only a new 29er version of the company's Crossmax SLR but also an alloy tubular version, a 26" Crossmax SLR alloy tubular, and even the elusive Crossmax Ultimate with carbon spokes.

The new Mavic 29er wheels were showcased on the bikes of Cannondale Factory Racing – which also confirms a Lefty-specific edition is coming. Though they weren't labeled as such, they look to essentially be a 29" version of the current Crossmax SLR – so we're going to go ahead and declare these to be C29ssmax SLR based on Mavic's existing nomenclature.

The machined aluminum hubs and round Zicral aluminum spokes are similar to the current 26" Crossmax version and the tubeless-compatible aluminum rims are also heavily machined on the sidewalls and inner walls to reduce rotating mass. Rim width, however, looks to be about the same as the current 26" Crossmax SLR or perhaps just a slight bit wider. Unfortunately, we didn't have calipers on hand to verify.

Team rider Jeremiah Bishop stuck with his usual tubeless setup but European pros Marco Aurelio Fontana and Manuel Fumic were spotted with alloy tubular editions instead wrapped with Schwalbe Racing Ralphs. We don't have official information from Mavic to confirm this but presumably, the tubular rims should be a fair bit lighter than the tubeless hoops and based on previous experience, we expect the tubular tires to deliver a smoother and more ground-compliant ride as well.

Elsewhere, we also spotted tubular-specific versions of Mavic's 26" Crossmax SLR wheel wrapped with multiple variations of Dugast rubber. Just like in 'cross and on the road, cross-country racers are starting to favor tubulars for their ultra-supple ride quality and ability to conform to the ground. Weight benefits as compared to top-end aluminum rims and tubeless tires are honestly quite negligible though we've also seen some carbon rimmed tubulars here as well (more on that later).

Most surprising were the Crossmax Ultimate tubular wheels fitted to the bike of Jean-Christophe Péraud – yes, the same Ag2R-La Mondiale professional road racer who has decided to compete for a spot on the 2012 French Olympic mountain bike team.

We've seen these wheels before – as early as 2009, in fact – but their reappearance here lends a bit more hope that they'll be slated for production. Based on earlier information, the carbon-and-aluminum hybrid tubular rim and carbon fiber spokes yield a total claimed weight of well under 1,200g without sacrificing stiffness like some other ultralights currently available.

It's unclear at this point which of these new mountain bike wheels are team-only items at this point. To be fair, mountain bike tubulars still have limited applicability to amateur mountain bike racers but with the coming wave of disc-equipped 'cross bikes, those C29ssmax SLR alloy tubulars would be awfully appealing indeed.

Mavic is set to announce its new wheel range this April at Sea Otter so we'll have more information then.