Moving on now from theoretical observations to real world performance, the Beavers are not a fast tire. In the very scientific rolling along with your buddy tests they’re definitely average. The low rumble of the aggressive tread pattern on gravel road or pavement is a hint that you’re on a tire that’s optimized more for grip than for short-track racing on gravel paths. However, the rolling resistance of the Beaver is a trade-off for remarkable grip on the flats and on uphills, on roots, wood and slippery surface.
The Beaver is indeed a remarkable tire in terms of the all-important characteristic of traction. I believe there are some reasons for that. First, the open nature of the tread sheds mud exceedingly well so the tread almost always works as designed unclogged by particulates(but to be fair, this should be true for mud tires generally). Second, the Beaver’s grip is unbelievably tenacious. Many a time I’ve felt the tire slip a bit, and then simply shifted my weight and finessed the tire over or up a particularly slippery section. This is one of those aspects of a tire’s performance that is hard to objectively quantify. The tread should work well given that the climbing edges on the knobs are square, that the knob profiles are high and that the rubber is soft but you never really know for sure how a tire will grip till it’s tried in the field. The bottom line is that Maxxis hit a home run with the Beaver’s grip.
On downhills, seeing a 2.0 Maxxis on the front is psychologically a bit of a downer for local Vancouver tech-gnar trails. They look so skinny even though they really aren’t (measuring in at precisely 2.0 as advertised on the tire carcass). I never got a chance to open up the Beaver on high-speed trails (Vancouver trails in fall are generally saturated and don’t lend themselves well to opening it up). However, at moderate and slow speeds, the Beavers acquitted themselves well. Soft rubber meant that slow speed downhills weren’t a heart-stopping adventure. Perhaps more surprisingly cornering at moderate speeds was confidence-inspiring (often narrow tires sacrifice cornering ability). I’d hazard a guess that the Beaver’s tall cornering decently stiff lugs helped in that respect.
One place where the Beaver’s suffered slightly is in straight-ahead braking on steeper slopes where they are at best, merely average. That’s perhaps not surprising. Theoretically the Beaver should do better as their braking edges are square and the rubber is decently stiff. However, something’s got to give when you’re using a narrow tire with smalllish knobs (the Beaver’s knobs might be aggressive but they have to be less than centimetre wide at most which isn’t a lot on which to stop) on steeps. In conclusion, if you’re riding a lot of steeps with abrupt run-outs and directional changes in the wet then govern yourself accordingly.
In summary, the Maxxis Beaver is the best wet weather tire I’ve ever had the privilege of riding. It’s quite light (especially for a 29er tire); has tenacious grip, and is predictable. It clears mud remarkably well and punches well above its weight on the downhills with the exception of steeps where it lacks a certain punch of braking power. .
Other than these minor quibbles my conclusion is that I’d be happy to leave the Maxxis Beaver’s on my bike all fall, into winter and perhaps even into spring. They’re a fun, light, confidence-inspiring tire.
US MSRP is $65.