If you stood on the sidelines of any EWS this year your eyes would have been assaulted by yellow, a colour that has become almost synonymous with top level enduro racing. Three of the main champions of the ‘yellow revolution’ were Jerome Clementz, Fabian Barel and Anne Caro Chausson, and it was these three elite racers who worked with Mavic to produce the Crossmax Enduro Race Shoe.
Weighing just 460g and promising some serious performance, the Crossmax has been designed uncompromisingly to meet the demands of elite EWS racers. A fusion of the popular Alpine Xl shoe and the Fury XC race shoe. The Crossmax blends the aggressive styling and neoprene cuff of the Alpine XL, but shares the stiffer sole and ratchet from the Fury XC to allow a precise fit and more positive performance. We have been testing the £150 (€165) shoe throughout the 2014 race season to see how they perform.
The neoprene cuff is thicker and more padded than the Alpine XL, enclosing the foot well and providing greater support during lateral forces. The wrap-around tongue and quick lace system provide additional support and result in a very comfortable shoe that feels super efficient on the pedals; with a soft, full volume fit around the foot. The wide ratchet strap allows precise adjustment of the pressure over the forefoot, and allows you to put brutal power down without any movement in the shoe, on both the up and down-stroke. We did feel that the Ergo Ratchet is in an exposed location on the side of the shoe, and indeed one ratchet quick-release was damaged in the first small crash; it still functions but is now a little awkward to release. However, new ratchets are available as a spare part and are easy to replace; and Mavic recommend that once the shoe has been fitted, that you cut down the excess strap to suit your requirements thus providing better protection for the assembly in a crash.
The Contagrip sole unit features more fibreglass reinforcement compared to the Alpine XL (50% up from 30%), providing a stiffer, more efficient power transfer to the pedals. The cleat channels are roomy, allowing the cleats to be positioned further towards the rear of the shoe for a more aggressive style, and the tread is open around the cleats ensuring easy engagement. We did not experience any issues with the sole clogging up with mud; and when walking the Contragrip sole gripped well on wet root and rock.
During rocky stages, we found that the padded cuff and stout rubber toe box provided excellent protection from rock strike and high speed debris. The toe box is well vented allowing ample cooling on long or hot rides; of course this also means that your feet get wet if you are riding in bad weather, but these are race shoes not winter boots! The glossy bright yellow upper has proven durable to the rigours of hard racing; and after over 40 rides, the shoes still look great.
During the last six months we have ridden, raced and explored with these aggressively styled shoes; and from big mountain epics to EWS races the performance has been exceptional. The Crossmax strike a perfect balance between performance and comfort, stiff enough to ensure maximum power transfer, while being comfortable for all day rides. If out-and-out enduro race performance is what you seek, the Mavic Crossmax is the best race shoe we have ridden, and if bright yellow is too much for you, they are also available in black.
Words: Trev Worsey Photos: Trev Worsey, Jeremy Rullier
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