MAXXIS ASSEGAI TIRE REVIEW
Words by Drew Rohde
Photos by Jesse Polay & Sourpatch
Last year Maxxis invited us to come ride their new mountain bike tire, the Assegai. Designed in major part by Greg Minaar of the Santa Cruz Syndicate downhill team, the Maxxis Assegai had the potential of becoming the best mountain bike tire ever. At the time of the launch however, they only had their DH casing available in a Maxx Grip compound, and while the traction blew our minds, the slow rolling speed and weight were big hang ups for anyone looking for anything but an all-out DH tire. Since then we’ve been able to spend time on several sets of Assegai tires on ebikes and mountain bikes all, with impressive results.
Now available in three different compounds, and several different casings, the Maxxis Assegai offerings span from full-blown DH racer to aggressive trail rider. Maxxis and Greg Minaar designed the Assegai to be the ultimate tire to suit the demands and needs of aggressive riders looking for maximum traction.
What originally began as a drawing combining some features of other popular Maxxis tires with some new ideas, the Assegai has morphed into a tire that offers some of the best traction of any tire we’ve ridden. That traction does come at a premium however as rolling speed is quite slow.
The knob height of the Maxxis Assegai tires falls right between that of the DHR II and the Shorty, so they’re definitely a pretty tall knob. The tire also has many similarities to the DHF, namely the familiar parallel lugs running the down the side of the tire. The center of the tire has an alternating two knob, three knob design. The center knobs are ramped and siped to increase traction while braking and climbing. The side knobs found next to the larger center knob were designed by Minaar as a way to help aid in traction delivery while transitioning from center to side knobs. The side lugs are absolutely vital to the performance of this tire and we’re sure the triple-siped treatment helps them carve up the earth.
Over the last several months we’ve run Assegai tires on everything from downhill bikes to enduro bikes and even on some of our favorite eMTBs. The first few rides on a fresh set of Assegai tires always yields the same response, “It’s like these tires are literally clawing the ground while you corner!” Enter a corner late, jackknife that front end, do whatever you want and you can feel these tires digging in. One of our favorite things to do is enter a corner and just manhandle the front end, turning the front wheel sideways and dipping it over.
Traction is most definitely the name of the game when it comes to the Assegai. Traction is a good thing when you want it, but it also tends to mean resistance when you don’t. No matter the casing or compound, the Assegai tires roll slow. If you are a downhiller looking for confidence and every bit of traction you can find in the park, then these are some incredibly impressive tires. If your downhill racing is flatter or requires some pedaling, you may want to opt for a tighter packed, or faster rear tire at the very least. If you’re an enduro racer or spend nights in the garage looking for ways to save time and get more efficient, this will not be your tire of choice.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Maxxis and Greg Minaar have done something special when it comes to creating a tire that finds traction. And we don’t mean normal traction, we mean earth churning, soil rousing traction that has you questioning how you just made that corner. Whether going up, down or sideways, this tire will offer a very composed, predictable and safe feel. Nothing is free however and the downside to having all that traction is paid for when it comes time to pedal or coast. The rolling speed of this tire is slow, like really slow, so if you’re looking for a race tire, it may not be the way to go unless conditions warrant it. For us, this will continue to be a tire we look forward to riding and carving into oblivion, especially when we’ve got a motor helping us out.
Price: Starting at $65
Weight: Starting at 1,005g
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Traction, Traction, Traction!
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