Solid. Final. Precise. You know that thunk you hear when a Mercedes door closes?
That thunk, that sound of solidity, gives you a sense of reassurance that the car around you will keep you safe and was built for strength. Attaching your foot to one of these pedals produces a similarly reassuring sound. That sense of solidity defines the performance of these pedals.
It is no secret that Mavic’s Crossmax XL pedals are a basically a rebadged Time ATAC. The Mavic partnership with Time to develop pedals may see some new models in the future, but the current ATACs were a pretty good starting point. Maybe with the added marketing power of Mavic these pedals will get under more riders’ feet.
I have been a long time Shimano SPD rider, but I did head off to try some other models about 10 years ago. Among my choices was the original ATAC pedals, so this wasn’t a first date.
From the chunky carbon bodies to the increase in resistance as you go to release your shoe, the Crossmax XLs are quality. The engagement mechanism is a very simple set up. Two stainless steel springs clamp the cleat into place. The pedal body is a carbon-reinforced nylon that has guides molded into the body so that the cleat easily finds home. The body is also very open so that mud, dirt and loam fall through.
The cleat is designed to allow for some float; 2.5 millimeters side to side and five degrees of angular float. When engaged the friction between the sole of the shoe and the pedal prevents things from feeling loose.
The release angle can be either 13 or 17 degrees, depending on which way around the cleats are fitted. The release is the part of the pedal that I like the most. The spring builds resistance up to the point of release, making it very clear to the rider when the cleat will release. If you are a rider that is very expressive on the bike, this is a nice feature. Most people who have ridden with SPDs have had them release unexpectedly on them so this could be a reassuring change.
The platform style body gives the pedals some good stability once engaged and the ability to be unclipped and resting the shoe on the pedal helps in those “oh crap” moments when clipping in doesn’t seem like a good idea.
I haven’t been able to find much thick mud recently to test out the pedals’ ability to shed it, but in all the riding I have done, including a couple of races, I’ve had no issues getting in or out of the pedals. The bearings are still smooth and slop free and to be honest I haven’t noticed much about the pedals, other than them just doing their job.
The Crossmax XL on test here has a hollow chromoly steel shaft that rolls on sealed ball bearings. My pair weighed in at 380 grams and the MSRP is $249 USD. Mavic offers a titanium-shaft version for $399 that weighs a claimed 340 grams, and two lower-spec models.
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