The mid-travel 29er is no longer a novelty, and Mavic's 29in XA Elite WTS Boost Wheelset adds the final element to push wagon wheels into proper all-mountain territory: rim width. The rim's 25mm internal width lets 2. 35in tires fill out with more air volume. More volume means lower PSI, which in turn translates to more traction, more cushion, and--when paired with the durable Crossmax Quest tires--fewer flats. The wide rims are matched with equally wide Boost hubs, which improve spoke bracing angle and overall wheel stiffness to eliminate the one issue we've had with wagon wheels: noodliness. Despite its huge diameter and width, the rim is still classically Mavic: light, stiff, and as durable as alloy hoops come. The low weight comes courtesy of Mavic's oh-so-French ISM 4D process of extruding and machining the rim, a process that's now in its fourth generation. With each successive iteration, ISM has gotten more and more extreme, removing extra material and rounding off the squared edges of previous verisons. The strategic milling ensures that lost material doesn't equate to lost stiffness; however, this new generation is admittedly helped in the stiffness department by the wider rim and the improved spoke bracing angle of Boost hubs. The XA Elite's rims also lose a bit of material from the inside, where Mavic has eliminated the bead hook in an update to its original Universal Standard Tubeless (UST) tire bed design. UST first surfaced in the late '90s, when Mavic teamed up with Michelin and Hutchinson to effectively kill the tube. As with most things bike-related, Mavic proved that it was ahead of its time, and it took tubeless a while to catch on in the popular imagination. Now, of course, it's everywhere, and Mavic celebrated the technology's renaissance by introducing yet another development; namely, the hookless beads mentioned above. Though it's counterintuitive at first, eliminating the apparent security of a bead hook actually makes the tire more secur...
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