Mavic Deemax Ultimate Wheelset

Mavic Deemax Ultimate Wheelset Mavic Deemax Ultimate Wheelset

Mavic Deemax Ultimate Wheelset

When you are considering a wheelset for downhill riding and/or racing, the last thing you might think you need to worry about is how much they weigh.  After all, the main consideration is that they can take the punishment and huge forces involved in negotiating a downhill course, and anyway, gravity is on your side, so isn’t this one of the few situations where you can say that more is better?

Well, not quite.  Descending and racing involves a lot of twists and turns, which not only require good handling and good braking, but also good cornering and good acceleration.  Most, if not all, downhill courses involve not just twists and turns, but also roots and rocks, so that the rider is constantly adjusting to find the best line and maintain his momentum yet accelerating to top speed as quickly as possible coming out of corners.  Also, a heavy wheel tends to mean wider cornering  (the more momentum you build and maintain, the harder it is to change direction).  Finding the correct balance is therefore not as easy as you might think, and you might be understandably reluctant to go for the lightest downhill wheelset out there.

The downhill test…

The Mavic Deemax Ultimate is rare among downhill wheelsets in that it tips the scales at under 2 kilos.  Total weight is 1956g , with the front wheel weighing 909g, the rear 1047g.  While I was comforted that this is the wheelset of choice of numerous professional and World Cup downhill racers, I was quite certain that my abilities did not measure up to theirs, which left me concerned that I need a wheel with more ballast to forgive the mistakes I would inevitably make.  The pleasant surprise was that the lightness of this wheel actually makes it easier to ride.   Coming into corners and around obstacles on the way down, I was able to brake that much later, and still remain stable.  The lowered momentum created by the wheelset  meant that I could make errors of judgment in the lines I took, and make last minute adjustments without paying the penalty of over running the corner, or skidding out.

The ride characteristics also have not suffered.  The 27mm rim is wide enough to provide excellent, stable cornering with the rim being UST (tubeless) compatible for the maximum amount of tire options and handling characteristics.  The Mavic Deemax Ultimate Wheelset has 28 front spokes and 32 rear, configured in a straight-pull, 3-cross spoke pattern.   The rim and spoke combination was solid and comfortable on the descents without any flex whatsoever, even on the highest drop offs.


Despite my initial concerns the Deemax Ultimate proved to be an excellent choice, and not just for the experts and pros.  At $1200 they are not cheap, but are within the range of most riders making the transition to specialist wheels, and they are worth the investment if you want the best because they are built to last.

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