The new Maxxis Severe tyre is one of the best XC MTB tires we’ve used, especially if the tracks are soft and wet. If fills the fast, light trail tire gap left by the change of the Forekaster design too, especially as performance is consistent however much it wears. However, like the rest of the Maxxis MTB tire range they will likely come with the usual high pricing.
Design and specification
Maxxis have stuck with the usual 120tpi Eco casing (only Nino Schurter and pro friends get the ultra expensive 170tpi) but in a 2.25-inch width rather than the theoretically 2.3-2.4-inch widths of most Maxxis XC tires. All Maxxis race tires (Ikon, Aspen, Rekon Race) are switching from a multi compound MaxxSpeed mix to a new single compound recipe with a much higher silica content than previously. Maxxis say the tech comes from their road race tires but we’re seeing a lot of brands using a similar approach now.
The tread pattern is totally new for Maxxis too, with alternating, slightly angled siped cleats (they look a lot like tiny versions of the paired cleats on a Maxxis Minion DHF) along the center-line. A sparse population of intermediate sideways siped blocks dots the shoulder and small inline siped rhombus blocks sit just above the outer edge of the carcass.
Inflation is typically easy for a Maxxis tire and they popped up tubeless on several different rims with casual track pump use. That’s particularly useful for privateer racers as it means your arms and nerves won’t be trashed if you decide to switch rubber after a course check. The 57mm width (at 19 psi on a 28mm internal rim) makes it wider than a lot of tires that claim to be 2.35/2.4-inch. Both tires came in at exactly 750g which is heavier than pure race rubber, but is reassuring both in terms of accurate quality control but also rocky impact survival. That’s been playing out true over the past couple of months where I’ve regularly hit the rim without inserts in and the sidewalls are still fine and there’s been no burping or pressure loss. As a result while they’re designed as a dirty race tire they’ve proved perfect for winter/wet spring fast trail/downcountry riding.
Carcass feel is the familiar Maxxis XC blend between encouragingly energetic and alive but damped and stable enough to run lower pressures. The new silica compound is conspicuously quick and combined with the center-line style tread means that the Severe rolls a lot faster than a lot of much slicker looking rubber.
Maxxis claim thirty percent lower rolling resistance on a drum - which equates to a minute gain over a ninety minute cross country race - they also claim better wet grip and durability too. Considering how scary quick they feel I’ve been consistently impressed by how aggressively they can be ridden in typical winter conditions. The wide open tread (it looks a lot like the legendary Dugast Rhino cyclocross tire) means they clean instantly rather than clogging too so sticky grass slogs or bottomless swamps are a lot cleaner and quicker than normal.
Unsurprisingly you will need to nurse them across wet roots and rocks but even riding them in the dark when you can’t see what slip or grip shock is coming next they’re less lethal than they look. The single compound means you’ll get consistent performance in terms of adhesion although the lugs will obviously lose grip as they wear. The fact they’re still looking fresh backs up the durability claims and means your high end spend is at least an investment not an indulgence.
As someone who loved the original Maxxis Forekaster tire and was gutted to see it go, the Severe goes a long way to helping overcome the grief. It’s not quite as grippy in wet and slimy rock/roots conditions (unsurprising given the MaxxSpeed compound) but it’s shockingly quick on a wide variety of surfaces. It’s usefully tough in terms of trail survival too and signs are that it’ll last really well which helps boost value. While I’d love to try a MaxxTrail version of the Severe it could be the perfect rear match to the new Forekaster up front for fast temperate climate trail use too. I’ve still not seen that tire despite it launching months ago so maybe it’s an NFT rather than a real thing.
For further information check out Maxxis.com.
Tech specs: Maxxis Severe tire
- Price: $TBC / £TBC / €TBC
- Sizes : 29 x 2.25-inch only
- Options: MaxxSpeed single compound only
- Weight: 750g