Editor’s Note: An overview of the best Maxxis tires is available HERE.
Updated Sept. 10, 2019:
Since originally reviewed, Maxxis has added a few important sizes to the Ikon line up. With the growing popularity of wider rims and tires, a 29×2.6wt Ikon has been added to the lineup. Sporting the WT (Wide Trail) initials, the 29×2.6wt is designed specifically around rims from 30-35mm of internal width. They feature shorter sidewalls and increased support at lower pressures. These key updates to the Ikon make it an excellent option for riders in drier climates looking for a fast tire that still offers a solid contact patch.
What is it
Billed as Maxxis‘ most versatile cross-country tread pattern, the Maxxis Ikon is designed to work on just about any trail condition outside apocalyptic mud. This race ready tire has a high-volume casing and fast rolling tread layout where a well-defined and closely spaced center helps keep speed high, while taller, more widely spaced side knobs dig in during hard cornering. Construction is 120tpi with a triple compound and EXO protection.
Check out Mtbr’s guide to choosing the right mountain bike tire.
The Maxxis website currently lists an expansive 31 size/construction Ikon options, including 26er and 27.5. For our preferred 29er XC race platform, the Ikon comes in 2.0, 2.2 (tested) and 2.35. Compound options are Dual, 3C, 3C Maxx Terra, and 3C Maxx Speed, which is what Mtbr tested. The 3C Maxx Speed is claimed to reduce rolling resistance, and but also maximize tread wear and traction. The 3C Maxx Terra is softer, giving it better traction, but less durability.
On the Mtbr Park Tools DS-1 Electronic Scale the Maxxis Ikon weighed 640 grams, which is equal to claimed weight. When mounted on a Stan’s ZTR Crest S1 aluminum wheels, which have a 23mm internal rim width, actual width measured by the Park Tools DC-1 Digital Caliper was 2.16 (versus the advertised 2.20). Mtbr tested the Maxxis Ikon on a variety of trail types, including hardpack, loose over hard, and high alpine rocky.
- Easy to mount
- Claimed weight = actual weight
- Performs well in wide variety of conditions
- Impressive sidewall durability
- Good braking traction
- Performance enhancing siping on all knobs
- Uses multiple compounds
- Predictable cornering grip
- Second lightest tire in test
- Narrower than advertised
- Needed booster pump to set-up tubeless
- Some premature side knob wear
- Not as fast as some tires in this test
- Second most expensive tire in test
Versatility is the word that comes to mind when riding and testing the Maxxis Ikon. While not blessed with the same extreme low rolling resistance as the Kenda Saber Pro, Vittoria Mezcal, or Schwalbe Racing Ralph, the Maxxis Ikon was generally more confidence inspiring in a wider variety of terrain.
Mtbr spent most of our Ikon test time on the loose-over-hard (and bone dry) trails near Salida, Colorado. But despite sketchy, loose conditions, the Maxxis Ikon held its own, maintaining traction both in straight line steeps and marbly corners. And while we didn’t sample the Ikon in any truly muddy conditions, it fared well on softer terrain, providing plenty of bite but never packing up.
Check out all the tires in this cross-country tire shootout.
We also appreciated the 3C compound technology, where more durable rubber populates the tire’s center, while a softer/gripper compound is used for cornering knobs. The difference is palpable to the touch and on the trail. (The third rubber compound is found below the tread blocks and is a harder, longer lasting base layer.)
However, we did notice some early signs of knob degradation on the cornering knobs, meaning there’s a price to pay for the extra grip when leaning your bike over. The Maxxis Ikon was also the second most expensive tire in this test ($77 for the 3C Maxx Speed/EXO/TR combo), trailing only the Schwalbe Racing Ralph ($92).
The Maxxis Ikon was also one of the easier tires to set-up tubeless. They slipped onto Mtbr’s Stan’s test wheels without hassle, and the bead snapped right into place when blasted with air from our dual chamber Topeak floor pump. Add some Stan’s tire sealant and overnight air leakage was negligible.
Bottom line, while not the fastest tire in this test, the Maxxis Ikon is arguably the best overall tire among the group if you’re looking for an option that won’t slow you down on XC race day, but can also hold its own on more aggressive trail rides. Indeed, I’d even consider mounting a fatter version of this tire on the rear wheel of my trail bikes because it will roll reasonable fast on long climbs, but not be too sketchy on the way back down.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
More Info: www.maxxis.com