With so many different tire options available, from not only Maxxis but brands like WTB, Schwalbe, and Onza, there are so many different tread patterns, rubber compounds and tire constructions to choose from. Today we are taking a look at the Maxxis Crossmark II tire, a tire designed for maximum rolling speed without giving up cornering performance. Read more to learn the ins and outs of the Crossmark II and how it performs out on the trail.
The Crossmark II is aimed towards a lightweight trail bike or cross country bike where rolling speed is sometimes more important than grip. The tightly spaced ramped center knobs keep this rolling fast. This combined with open-spaced cornering knobs is designed to handle a variety of trail conditions. The Crossmark II is offered in Maxxis' popular EXO tubeless ready casing along with a with a lighter single ply option. The Maxxis Crossmark II is aimed towards bikes like the Yeti SB100, the Devinci Django, and the Pivot Trail 429. Let's see how it performs out on the trail.
I will be riding the Crossmark II tire on a Santa Cruz Blur featuring 100mm of rear wheel travel with a 120mm Fox 34 Step Cast fork up front. The Blur is running a Fox DPS shock out back and is rolling on Industry Nine Trail 270 wheels. The Crossmark II tire is mounted only on the rear and I've got a Maxxis Minion DHF up front. The bike is finished off with a Fox Transfer dropper post and a full kit from Deity Components. To learn more about how the Blur compares to other bikes, check out our Yeti SB100 vs Santa Cruz Blur test!
The Crossmark II immediately impressed me with how much braking traction and cornering stability it provided. Before I ever got this particular tire out on the trail, I assumed it was going to be fast rolling but also feel a bit loose. I am more accustomed to riding more aggressive tread patterns like the Maxxis DHR II tire just because it is more suited to the type of bikes and terrain I usually ride. With that being said, I was really impressed by what this little tire could do. The ramped center knobs give you very low rolling resistance while maintaining adequate braking traction. When you do get on the brakes hard, the square edge on the back of the center knob is what digs in to the trail surface and gives you braking performance. Mastering both low rolling resistance and braking efficiency is a hard thing to do, and that's exactly what the Crossmark II does.
Now let's look at the cornering knobs. The cornering knobs on the Crossmark II tire are not too tall and not too short. If the cornering knobs are taller relative to the center knobs, the profile of the tire will be a bit more square. On the contrary, if the center knobs are very low profile compared to the center knobs, the tire profile is more round. Another thing to think about if that your rim width also plays in to the tire shape and profile. The reason the tire profile is important is because it can influence the tire's cornering characteristics regardless of the actual shape of the cornering knob itself. I've got the Crossmark II tire mounted to an Industry Nine Trail 270 rim with a 27.0mm internal width. 27mm is right in the wheelhouse for what this tire is designed around, giving the tire a neutral profile. With all that in mind, the best way to describe the Crossmark II's cornering abilities is consistent. There aren't going to be any surprises when the tire does break loose and being to slide. The transition from gripping and hooking up through a corner to breaking traction is a smooth one. The Crossmark II performed best in dry hard pack, and loose over hard pack conditions. The lightweight feel of the tire combined with cornering and braking performance gives you a tire that accelerates quickly and slows down under control.
The Maxxis Crossmark II tire is a lightweight mountain bike tire intended for the trail category that shines in dry hard pack and loose over hard pack conditions. The ramped center knobs do a great job balancing both low rolling resistance and braking performance. The side knobs transition nicely from hooking up through the corners and breaking traction. The Crossmark II tire should be on your radar for a high performing rear tire on your lightweight trail bike.
Max Morgan is 27 years old, and lives in Brevard, North Carolina. Max grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and started racing downhill at the age of 15. He has now been racing professionally for the last 9 years, competing in the UCI World Cup series and U.S. Pro GRT series. To learn more about Max, check out Max's rider spotlight here!