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It would be safe to say that mountain bike tires take a beating during their life on a bike. New tires can make a huge difference in performance and inherently help with crash prevention as well. Our friend Patrick shares his experience with the Maxxis Assegai tires. Check it out!
Since my son-in-law pointed out that my tires were worn, I opted for 1.8 lbs of weight and considerable rolling resistance over my DHR’s: I ordered a set of Maxxis Assegai tires. They make them in the EXO, EXO+, and super thick downhill casings. I opted for the lightest ones. I was never confident in my DHR’s cornering. They are fantastic in a straight line for braking but as soon as I lean over off the center knobs the side knobs just weren’t hacking it. I read the Assegai design addresses that.
The tires along with a new 200mm front rotor make it a different bike! You will really like the Assegai. I have the Maxxis Assegai Tire 27.5 x 2.5 Tubeless 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ on each end. They ride like dirt bike tires! I now appreciate the lure of 2.7 plus tires; the 2.5 Assegai must come close to that feeling. They are so good that I think they would work well in a 2.3 in the rear and a 2.4 upfront (if they came in those sizes). It would be nice if I could lose some of the rolling resistance and weight and still have better grip than the 2.5 DHF and 2.4 DHR that these 2.5’s replaced.
Speaking of weight, they do indeed spin up slower. Places where I used to top a climb and could catch my breath accelerating while coasting down left me needing a couple of pedal cranks to help the spin up.
Going up steep technical sections with the Maxxis DHR, I always had to balance my forward lean (trying to keep enough weight on the front wheel to steer) with not unweighting the rear so much that it spun out. The Assegai never spun out today. There were a couple of times that I was a gear too tall and expected the rear to break loose. Standing out of the saddle and cranking produced drive where I would have spun the DHR for sure. Pleasant!
Using the brakes in a corner with the Minions was always a little sketchy. Make that a LOT sketchy. With the Minions I always had to brake hard first, then corner. The rear tire would routinely skid and I would have to ease the rear brake to reacquire traction and brake again. The rear Assegai just wouldn’t break loose. This gave me a bike length or two of braking that I was missing with the skidding DHR. Lots of confidence with the Assegai’s while on the brakes in a corner. Again, it feels like riding on a dirt bike. The extra braking traction makes the brakes feel like there is more modulation since the point of skidding is pushed much further out. I didn’t expect this and it was a nice surprise. In hindsight, the physics of that makes perfect sense. That effect coupled with my 200mm front rotor added most to the dirt bike-like feel. The traction is impressive. In the loose gravel, while crossing a big wash, the extra drive was grin-inducing.
WARNING: Hitting loose pea gravel at speed causes a shower of self-induced roost! The Assegai’s spit gravel exponentially worse than the Minions!
We got a half-inch of snow last night. It was cold today and never got above freezing in all the shady spots on the trail. The icy patches were covered in snow but fortunately, I knew exactly where they were and coasted right over them. Elsewhere the frozen ground with the snow up top made it interesting. My confidence riding in snow is up since we’ve been doing it quite a bit. But the big knobs on the Assegai’s let the tires track. I was carrying speed into slick sections and braking with a confidence I would never have dared on the Minions. 1hr 19min for my regular loop made me happy. And that included dragging my front brake most of the way down my street to bed in the new front disk.
Two rides in and the glowing praise continues. While it’s wet I’m going to air them up a few more lbs. to lessen the rolling resistance. In the early summer when it’s super dry and skiddy I’ll have the option to air them down. I would ride the Minions at 20 psi in those conditions and they rolled like they were in the mud. I won’t have to go that low with the Assegai.
The big smile yesterday came at the very end of the trail. I have always had difficulty with a flat left turn near the end of one of my local trails. Being a sharp slow-speed 90, it’s steering with the front more than a lean angle to hack that turn. I’m always going too slow to skid the rear. On the Minions, at any speed faster than a walk, the front would push just a little and I always felt out of control. Yesterday I decided to test the tires there. I carried what should have been scary speed for that turn, leaned a little and steered left. The front end gripped and the bike tracked.