Maxxis Tires – Which bike tire is best for you?

Making sense of the mountain bike tire options from this legendary brand

Tires

There are so many Maxxis Tires to choose from so we’ll help you decipher the options.

More than any other upgrade, choosing the right tires for where and how you ride can significantly improve your riding experience. But with so many tread patterns, tire widths, and confusing acronyms, it can be hard to sort through all the tire tech to find the best tire for you.

We’ve rounded up the best Maxxis mountain bike tires for every riding scenario along with a glossary to help you make sense of all the technology that goes into Maxxis tires. We’ve also included our test team’s favorite Maxxis tire combos for every type of riding.


The Best Maxxis MTB Tires

Maxxis has been on a roll, releasing hit after hit. They’ve done it by taking the momentum of the incredibly popular Maxxis Minion and releasing many new tread designs in many new sizes. In a recent Mtbr survey, 51% of readers said they intend to buy Maxxis tires when it came time to replace their current tires.

These are the best Maxxis mountain bike tires for every type of mountain biking.


Maxxis Aggressor

Rear tire duties are where this excels.

The Aggressor is designed for high-speed modern mountain bike trails. Advanced knob shaping creates extra gripping edges, and reinforced side knobs offer enhanced stability when cornering at speed. As a front tire, the Aggressor lacks the edge grip of the company’s other aggressive tires, but it’s a fantastic rear tire that pairs well with the DHF and Assegai.

Pros

  • Predictable cornering grip
  • Rolls quickly
  • Good braking traction

Cons

  • There are better front tires options in the Maxxis line
  • It’s more of a supporting actor than a lead

Best for: Use as an aggressive rear tire with outstanding cornering performance

Price range: $45-$66

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Maxxis Assegai

More grip, predictable cornering, the Assegai is great across a wide range of conditions.

Maxxis developed the Assegai in conjunction with DH legend Greg Minnaar. The side lugs are reminiscent of the original High Rollers, adding horizontal and vertical siping for grip. Center lugs are similar to the DHR II and DHF, plus transition spikes to reduce the vague transition points that some Minion DHF and DHR riders experience.

Pros

  • Lots of traction
  • Predictable cornering, especially as a front tire
  • Precise steering through rough terrain

Cons

  • Slow rolling
  • Hard to break loose and drift through turns (as a rear tire)

Best for: Confidence-inspiring cornering on rough terrain.

Price range: $59-90

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Maxxis Dissector

The Maxxis Dissector serves up speed without sacrificing cornering traction.

The Maxxis Dissector serves up speed without sacrificing cornering traction.

Like the Assegai, this new tire was designed with input from a Maxxis athlete. In the case of the Dissector, DH racer Troy Brosnan was looking for a fast-rolling tire that performed well in dry, hardpacked conditions, had excellent straight-line speed, and plenty of cornering traction. That pretty much sums up this tire. The Dissector performs well as both and front and rear tire.

Pros

  • Fast-rolling
  • Predictable cornering traction
  • Good traction even in wet conditions

Cons

  • As a trail tire, there are faster and lighter options
  • Braking traction is good, but not great

Best for: High-speed performance that won’t sacrifice grip

Price range: $68-$81

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Maxxis Minion DHF

The Maxxis Minions—both the DHF and DHR—were there to support mountain bikers as they started descending harder, offering great edge grip across a wide range of trail conditions. The Minon DHF has sturdy, siped cornering knobs and center knobs that offer good braking traction and good but not great straight-line speed. The DHF is commonly used as a front-specific tire but some riders run them front and rear.

Pros:

  • Impressive grip across a wide range of conditions
  • Braking traction is excellent
  • Rolls well for such a knobby tire

Cons:

  • Can wear quickly in very rocky terrain
  • The DHF lacks transition knobs, so there can be a moment of uncertainty when transitioning to the side knobs
  • Slower rolling than the DHF

Best for:

Aggressive trail riding, racing, downhill, and bike park riding.

Price range: $49-$90

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Maxxis Minion DHR II

The DHR os often used as a rear tire paired with the DHF. But don’t pigeon hole this tire as rear-specific; many riders run the DHR II at the front and rear. The alternating center tread design creates a smaller gap between the center and edge knobs, resulting in more predictable corners in some situations than the DHF.

Pros:

  • Impressive grip across a wide range of conditions
  • Braking traction is excellent
  • Rolls well for such a knobby tire

Cons:

  • Can wear quickly in very rocky terrain
  • Like the DHF the DHR lacks transition knobs, resulting in a moment of uncertainty when transitioning to the side knobs
  • Slower rolling than less aggressive trail tires

Best for: Aggressive trail riding, racing, downhill, and bike park riding.

Price range: $49-101

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Maxxis High Roller II

Good in mud and good in duff

An open and aggressive tread design gives the High Roller II excellent soil penetration and mud-clearing ability. A square profile provides a solid, consistent feel across the knobs. Modified knobs on the shoulder and center improve braking performance and traction on hard surfaces. An excellent choice for technical, loose terrain. The High Roller II is available in trail, enduro, and downhill specs.

Pros

  • Good mud shedder
  • Performs best on loose, rocky terrain, muddy terrain, and loam

Cons

  • Slower rolling than the DHF and DHR
  • Overshadowed by newer Maxxis tires

Best for: Loose, rocky terrain, and mud/loam.

Price range: $49-$90

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Maxxis Ikon

The well-defined and closely spaced center knobs help keep speed high, while taller, more widely spaced side knobs dig in during hard cornering.

Billed as Maxxis‘ most versatile cross-country tread pattern, the Maxxis Ikon focuses on speed. This XC race-ready tire has a high-volume casing and a fast-rolling tread layout. Closely spaced center knobs maintain speed, while taller, more widely-spaced side knobs dig in during cornering. Some cross-country racers run the Ikon front and rear, more often the Ikon is paired with a knobbier front tire, such as the Rekon.

Pros

  • Fast-rolling tread pattern
  • Predictable cornering

Cons

  • While cornering is predictable, it lacks edge knobs and is prone to drifting
  • Does best in dry conditions

Best for: Cross-country racing in dry conditions

Price range: $68-$106

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Maxxis Rekon and Rekon Race

The Rekon bridges the gap between cross-country and trail tires.

The Rekon bridges the gap between cross-country and trail tires.

The Rekon bridges the gap between the cross-country focused Ikon the more aggressive tires in the Maxxis Arsenal. The Rekon’s tread pattern is incredibly versatile. It can be paired with a faster rolling rear tire, such as the lower-profile Rekon Race or Ikon for cross-country racing, or it can be used as a rear tire with a more aggressive front tire for trail riding. 

Pros

  • Performs well across a wide range of conditions
  • Does a great job of balancing traction with speed for XC and trail use

Cons

  • Lacks the grip of more aggressive trail tires
  • Slower rolling than the Ikon

Best for: Stage racing, technical cross-country races, and go-fast trail bikes

Price range: $64-$95

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Maxxis Tire Acronym Glossary

Tire tech doesn't have to be confusing.

Tire tech doesn’t have to be confusing.

Every tire manufacturer seems to have their own acronyms that refer to their special tire tech. It’s a maze of terminology but they basically refer to the durometer of the rubber (how sticky versus how durable), how or if the sidewall is reinforced, and how the casing is constructed. Here’s our guide to the Maxxis terminology.

3C: Maxxis 3C Triple Compound mountain technology uses a harder, longer-lasting base layer and two progressively softer top layers in order to optimize traction and stability.

EXO: This is a cut-resistant, densely woven casing material added to the sidewalls of tires. This is light and flexible tire protection system, so the tire still conforms to the terrain and maintains good grip. Tires with EXO casings are good for cross-country and trail bikes where riders want some flat protection but also value lightweight.

EXO+: EXO+ combines two Maxxis protection materials: SilkShield and EXO. The SilkShield layer runs from bead-to-bead with a layer of EXO along the sidewalls. Combined, these two materials create EXO+. Maxxis claims these dual layers of casing protection improve tread puncture protection by 27%, sidewall durability by 51%, and resistance to pinch flats by 28%.

DD: DoubleDown is dual-ply tire casing where two 120 TPI casing layers are reinforced with a butyl insert provide the enduro racer with the support and protection of a downhill tire, but in a lighter package. DoubleDown is great for aggressive riders, clydesdales and enduro racing. Many riders opt to run an EXO tire upfront and a DoubleDown tire in the back to balance weight savings with flat protection.

MaxxSpeed: Used primarily in cross country and enduro tires, the two compounds in the outer layer are specially formulated to reduce rolling resistance and optimize treadwear and traction.

MaxxTerra: An intermediate compound configuration used in select mountain tires. 3C MaxxTerra is softer and offers more traction than 3C MaxxSpeed, yet provides better treadwear and less rolling resistance than MaxxGrip.

MaxxGrip: 3C MaxxGrip uses the softest rubber compounds to offer the ultimate in grip and slow rebound properties for unparalleled traction in downhill applications.

TR: TR is the abbreviation Maxxis uses to denote mountain bike tires that can be used tubeless with tire sealant. We highly recommend running tubeless tires for their improved ride quality, lighter weight, and the ability to seal small punctures.

WT: Wide Trail (WT) construction optimizes the tire’s tread layout and profile on today’s modern, wider rims that range in width from 30-35mm.


Five great Maxxis tire combinations for every type of mountain biking

While there are many more possible Maxxis tire combinations, these are the five our team of testers has tried and consistently come back to for everything from cross-country to downhill.

Traditional cross-country racing & short-track racing: Rekon race in the front, Ikon in the rear

Aggressive XC & technical stage-racing: Rekon in the front, Rekon Race in the rear

Short-travel trail & down-country riding: Dissector in the front, Rekon in the rear

Aggressive trail riding & enduro racing: Assegai in the front, Aggressor in the rear

Downhill racing & bike park riding: DHF in the front, DHR in the rear

Do you have a favorite Maxxis tire combination? Share it with fellow mountain bikers in the comments section below. 


Mtbr is committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.


About the author: Mtbr

Mtbr.com is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.


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Comments:

  • mv70 says:

    How about after rainy days like mud and water.Slippery roots type wood.
    Have now shorty front and forekaster rear.

  • Karl says:

    I guess I didn’t get the memo? What with the semislick Minion. Looks this has been dicontinued.

  • topfuel564 says:

    The Aggressor may roll better, but I will trade that for the braking of a DHR II.

  • Marc says:

    I run High Roller II in the back and up front I now have a DHR II.

  • Teleken says:

    They need to bring back the Ignitor in a 29.2.35 or 2.4 it rolled great & had taller side knobs than the Ikon or Rekon (both known for washing out) it was the best 26″ front tire for XC and Marathoin riding.

  • Rene H says:

    As everything, best combo is related to your mtb discipline and type of terrain… After many different combinations my best combo for Trail riding in Georgia, USA (loose soil) is High Roller II 3C front and Maxxis Minnion SS Dual on the back (great fast rolling and cornering).

  • Sean Birnbaum says:

    Why isn’t the Ardent mentioned here?

    • Josh Patterson says:

      Because it’s not one of the best Maxxis MTB tires. In our experience, the Rekon does everything the Ardent does only better.

      • Bob K says:

        Thank you for this interesting comparison! I use the Ardent on the front for cross country riding and have been very happy with it . I would enjoy reading your pros and cons about the Ardent, but will look at the Rekon when it’s time for a rreplacement.

  • DPeper says:

    Almost the whole Maxxis line there:) However you missed the Ardent 2.4 which is a great tire to put on your trail bike if you find that pushing 1000gr. big knob tires around after a couple of months on a bike that has way too much travel for your trails:). They’ll lighten it up and still give consistent cornering good traction.

  • LSchultz says:

    What if one is a normal human recreational biker in mixed terrain?

    • Bob K says:

      The Ardent (not mentioned above) is described as “The Do it All” tire on the Maxxis website.If you want smaller knobs (less traction but decreased rolling resistance), look at the Ardent Race. In the comments, the author prefers the Rekon over the Ardent.

  • Paul Ballantyne says:

    For many years maxxis have been my go to tyre brand, but I’ve had enough of them losing their shape over time, developing a wobble, which seems to be an increasing problem for many. The last one I got was defected from new. OK I got a no hassle refund but not idea when I had a bike park visited booked for the following day and was left raiding my old tyre stack for something suitable. Sorry maxxis I’m off to try something new.

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