Mavic Deemax Pro Review

Enduro-specific wheelset with a downhill legacy

Wheels
Mavic Deemax Pro Review

Bearing the iconic Deemax name, the Pro model is designed for enduro and all-day trail riding and uses and all-aluminum construction that delivers lightweight, reliable performance. Photo: Mavic

What is it

Designed for enduro racers, the Mavic Deemax Pro uses the French company’s iconic Zicral aluminum spokes and an updated 28mm internal width, UST tubeless ready alloy rim that supports modern tire sizes and aggressive riding styles.

Pros
  • Stiff and responsive
  • Deliver performance and reliability
  • Wider 28mm internal rim width supports wider tires
  • Excellent tubeless setup
Cons
  • Expensive for alloy wheels
  • Some will want even wider rim width
Mtbr’s Take

If we’re honest about mountain bike wheels, it takes a pretty drastic change in looks, reliability, stiffness, weight, or setup for anyone to actually notice a difference. There are simply too many components (many of them designed to move) between you and your wheels for an instant connection to occur. Indeed, once you have a set of reliable, reasonably stiff wheels that set up tubeless without too much hassle, and engage quickly enough, most of us turn our attention elsewhere.

Mavic Deemax Pro Review

The Mavic Deemax Pro uses a 28mm internal width, hookless bead, aluminum rim, 24 Zicral alloy spokes, and robust, sealed bearing hubs. Photo: Mavic

In a perfect world, your wheels should disappear as you ride, with your attention focused on other things. Your contact points, your suspension and tire pressures, and maintenance on your drivetrain and brakes consume more of our time. And this is exactly what the Mavic Deemax Pro wheelset allows you to do: Forget about your wheels, knowing that they will deliver for years to come.

The Mavic Deemax Pros look good, are easy to set up tubeless, and they ride well, providing a responsive, stiff wheelset that allows the suspension and tires to do their respective jobs. Weighing 1969 grams for the 29er pair (925g front, 1044g rear), these aren’t lightweight cross-country wheels. Instead they’re designed for the rigors of enduro racing and aggressive trail riding. This means that strength, rigidity, and reliability are prioritized. And for the average mountain biker, this is exactly what’s needed (even if they don’t recognize that easily).

Hubs

The Mavic Deemax Pro wheelset uses sealed bearing hubs front and rear. Both have an aluminum hub shell. The rear uses Mavic’s auto adjust sealed cartridge bearings and Instant Drive 360 freehub mechanism. It offers 9 degrees of engagement, which is plenty quick for my riding. I have found that when I ride flat pedals I like quick engagement for techy tight scenarios, but lately I’ve been back on clipless and the Mavic’s were great in every situation I encountered.

Mavic Deemax Pro Review

The yellow hub continues the legendary color scheme of the Deemax line into the 21st century. Photo: Mavic

The front hub uses Mavic’s long-employed adjustment that can be done with the wheel on the bike. It did come loose on me while riding in Moab, but it was easy to adjust it using the tire lever/hub adjuster tool that Mavic includes with the wheels. Since that adjustment no more loosening has occurred.

The Mavic Deemax Pro wheels are available in Boost and standard hub spacing, and comes with Shimano HG or SRAM XD freehubs. Quick release is also an option with available adapters. In all cases, rotors are mounted using the six-bolt interface.

Spokes

Mavic uses 24 straight-pull Zicral aluminum spokes front and rear. These are the technology that set the cycling world afire in the early 2000s (technically they debuted in 1999) and they are still relevant today, providing incredible rigidity while remaining lightweight. The other upside is that the rim bed isn’t pierced. So there is no need for tubeless tape inside the rim, decreasing weight while increasing simplicity.

Rim

Available in 27.5 and 29er diameters, the Mavic Deemax Pro rims use Maxtal alloy material that is shaped into a hookless profile with a 28mm internal rim width. They are kept light using Mavic’s ISM 4D technology and thanks to Mavic’s Zicral spoke system, as mentioned above, they set up tubeless with ease. Mavic recommends tires between 1.8 and 2.5 on the Deemax Pro rim. I used WTB 2.4 and 2.5 tires and they were a good combination. Despite a few rim hits, they never dented or knocked the wheel out of true.

Down with Deemax?

Many longtime mountain bikers will have vivid memories of the all yellow Deemax wheels blasting down downhill courses under the likes of famed French DH stars Nicolas Vouilloz and Anne-Caroline Chausson. And while Mavic still produces its Deemax DH (and still sees great success with them on the World Cup circuit), the Deemax Pro brings more versatility and a 29er option. But it comes at a cost of $1250, which is a big pill to swallow for alloy rims.

Mavic Deemax Pro Review

Also available in a Lefty version, the Deemax Pro is offered in a wide range of hub specs both front and rear. Photo: Mavic

The idea of a premium alloy wheelset is actually pretty novel in 2019. Many will opt for a carbon fiber wheelset if they’re looking for top performance. Contrast that with the perception that aluminum rims are cheap or in some way not up to the task of aggressive mountain biking. In the case of the Mavic Deemax Pro, it’s obvious to this reviewer that there is a place for high-end, alloy, mountain bike wheelsets in 2019. The Deemax Pro wheelset, while certainly not inexpensive, costs less than a quality set of carbon wheels while still delivering premium performance and reliability. And that is what we all want: To forget our wheels once we’ve put them on our bikes.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Price: $1250
More Info: shop.mavic.com


About the author: Nick Legan

Nick Legan is happiest with some grease under his nails and a long dirt climb ahead. As a former WorldTour team mechanic, Legan plied his trade at all the Grand Tours, Spring Classics, World Championships and even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In recent years, gravel and ultra-distance racing has a firm grip on Legan’s attention, but his love of mountain biking and long road rides hasn’t diminished. Originally a Hoosier, Legan settled in Boulder, Colorado, 14 years ago after finishing his time at Indiana University studying French and journalism. He served as the technical editor at VeloNews for two years and now contributes to Adventure Cyclist, Mtbr and RoadBikeReview. To follow along on Legan’s cycling adventures, find him on Instagram at @nlegan and be sure to check out his new book Gravel Cycling: The Complete Guide to Gravel Racing and Adventure Bikepacking.


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  • C. says:

    How stupid can they be to release yet ANOTHER narrow rimmed wheel??? Idiots. Some companies are entirely clueless as to what people want because it WORKS. 30mm inner width is the MINIMUM usable rim at this point in time for nearly ALL applications save actual cross-country pro-racing, and even then, only on actual race day. Other than that, narrow rims quite simply SUCK. Tire roll SUCKS. Tire squrm SUCKS. Wake the heck up Mavic. Join the modern world for christ’s sake.

  • Eastcoastpally says:

    I’m still on 25mm internal width rims…so they are obsolete?…I didn’t know?!? Are they going to explode? Am I going to wash out on every turn?

  • Tom says:

    I own a set of these wheels and the rear rim is shot after less than 1/2 season of riding. There is a flat spot that covers about 2.5 spoke drill holes that has the wheel so far out of round that I can no longer get the wheel to seat tubeless. Do yourself a favor, if you are an aggressive rider and don’t have a sponsorship with Mavic entitling you to an endless supply of rims…stay away from these. Worst set of wheels you can buy for the money.

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