For trail and all-mountain riders who aren't racing, carbon wheelsets have traditionally been something of an afterthought. A large crew of weekend warriors and after-work dirt hounds don't consider themselves fast enough to see a benefit from carbon hoops, and plenty that we know are content to bash through chunky rock gardens with the reassurance that their aluminum rims can handle a few dents and bumps. Of course, wheel tech, as its wont to do, continues to improve. With its tantalizing mix of compliance and responsiveness atop an affordable, trail-specific platform, Mavic's Cross Adventure line stands poised to convert even the staunchest alloy devotees, especially considering the improved durability of modern carbon. Take a spin on the new XA Pro Carbon 29in Wheelset and you'll have a hard time not noticing a pretty serious difference. As we mentioned, Mavic's main objective when creating the Cross Adventure line was achieving the elusive balance between responsiveness and harshness. It carefully shaped the rim's unidirectional carbon fibers to achieve lateral stiffness, but managed to create palpable vertical compliance at the same time that observant riders will be able to feel in the spokes. Rail steep berms on snaking switchbacks aggressively, then pop out the other side and into a small, bumpy rock garden without feeling jarred and shaken; the wheelset manages, impressively, to avoid sacrificing a hint of energy for its kinder nature. All-day trail rides or after work spins, your hands will be grateful for the balance. When you get ready to wrap the included Mavic Quest Pro tires around the Cross Adventures, you'll probably notice the hookless perch Mavic built for them to sit atop. This once unsettling technology has proven itself over a few short seasons, using a more natural profile to create a smoother interface between tire and rim that results in noticeably less burping over square hits and white-knuckle drops, especially when coupled with the r...
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