Many consider MAXXIS to be the benchmark in mountain bike tire performance. The Taiwanese brand are now introducing their cross-country range featuring the latest MaxxSpeed rubber compound. We tested the IKON, ASPEN, Rekon Race, and a new mud tire called Severe with the all-new compound.
MAXXIS have a huge portfolio of bicycle tires for all disciplines. The high-end mountain bike tires come equipped with a triple rubber compound. These so-called 3C tires rely on three rubber compounds of a different hardness for different sections of the tires. Below the knobs is a hard compound that prevents the knobs from buckling too easily under load. The knobs of the central tread are made of medium soft rubber, which provides traction and low rolling resistance, while the shoulder knobs are made of a soft compound for maximum cornering grip.
Depending on the intended use, there are different 3C compounds available. MaxxGrip is the softest compound, used on downhill or enduro bikes for maximum grip. However, it is also less durable and has a fairly high rolling resistance. MaxxTerra is in the middle in terms of grip, rolling resistance and durability. This compound is especially suitable for the rear wheel of trail or enduro bikes. MaxxSpeed is the hardest rubber compound, and with its minimal rolling resistance it is best suited to use on cross-country bikes. This compound has now been revised and is intended to improve rolling resistance even further with the addition of silica – an additive that is frequently used in car tires. It also promises to offer improved grip in wet conditions, though it usually comes with the disadvantage of faster wear.
The new cross-country line-up from MAXXIS
The new MaxxSpeed rubber compound is available on four MAXXIS models: Rekon Race, IKON, ASPEN, and Severe. The Rekon Race is a semi-slick tire, which should offer minimal rolling resistance thanks to its shallow tread. Therefore, it’s typically used as a rear tire. The IKON is an all-round tire for dry conditions. Whether on the front or rear wheel, on loose ground or hardpack, it should provide a decent level of grip with low rolling resistance. With the ASPEN, MAXXIS promise an all-round tire for a variety of conditions, from dry to intermittent. Due to its versatility and low rolling resistance, it is one of the most popular tires for XC bikes. The Severe is the latest member of the cross-country line-up. With its open tread pattern, it should offer plenty of grip on muddy trails while being good at self-cleaning.
The MAXXIS Severe with the new MaxxSpeed compound on the trail
All the tires on test proved to have low rolling resistance, providing an efficient and sprightly ride feel. Pulling away, you can quickly get up to speed and carry that speed well without it feeling like the tires are slowing you down. Due to the shallow tread, all the tires in the XC range reach their limit when things get very muddy, leaving you to slip and slide on the trail – especially when compared to more aggressive alternatives. The newcomer in the lineup doesn’t pack up with mud thanks to the open tread pattern, thereby keeping the tread usable even in muddy conditions. The ride might be a little wilder due to the shallow tread but still manageable with the Severe. The thin EXO casing helps the tires conform to the terrain and thus deliver a good level of traction. On the downside, however, this makes them more susceptible to punctures or cuts compared to tires with thicker, heavier casings.
Our conclusion on the MAXXIS Severe featuring the new MaxxSpeed rubber compound
MAXXIS dominate the mountain bike tire market for a reason. The Rekon Race, IKON, ASPEN, and Severe cross-country tires featuring the new and improved MaxxSpeed rubber compound perform well in a wide range of conditions. They’re light and fast-rolling, thereby offering a fleet-footed ride quality and quick acceleration. Of course, they don’t offer as much grip as more aggressively treaded tires, but they’re predictable at the limit, and there is a suitable model for all kinds of trail conditions.
more infos: Maxxis.com
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Julian Schwede