I will be honest, I do not have the best reputation when it comes to getting flat tires. I ride hard, fast, and love sending it into sketchy sections. Unfortunately, this has also resulted in many flat tires over the course of my riding career. That being said, I have always been a fan of the Maxxis brand and was stoked to hear about their new casing for trail and enduro tires. Would these new tires be the solution to my problems? Let’s find out!
As mentioned, flats have been a consistent problem for me. I could take better lines, but screw that, I want to have fun. For their EXO+ compound, Maxxis combined already existing technologies, SilkShielf and EXO, to come up with a casing that should offer better protection against pinch flats with only a minor weight penalty of 40g more per tire. Currently, I am riding a 2019 Yeti SB130 and went with the 29x2.5 DHF for the front and 29x2.4 DHRII in the rear. Considering the EXO+ is a thicker casing I assumed installation would be a pain. Not the case, installation was quick and easy and took no more than 20 minutes.
For my first ride on the new tires, I hit up my local morning loop for a quick 5-mile sprint filled with some loose and rocky terrain. Considering I had run the DHF/DHRII combo in the past, I had a general idea of what to expect. The stock setup on my bike was Maxxis DHF in the front and Aggressor for the rear. A great setup no doubt, but not quite enough grip in the rear in my opinion. The initial climb felt good and I did not notice the added weight from the thicker sidewalls at all.
Once up top, I pointed the bike downhill and let it rip. I wanted to test the durability right away so the first thing I did was go full speed into a super chunky rock garden to see if the tires could take the abuse. Sure enough, they made it through no problem. The next test was a high-speed flat corner covered with loose rocks. In the past, I would have to hit the brakes hard to save myself from going over the edge, but with the new setup I held the line and was able to carry my speed the whole way. Seriously impressive stuff for a fist ride.
I will admit that I am not the best climber. For me, it's all about getting to the top so I can enjoy the way down. That being said, I did not find myself lacking grip when climbing my local trails. Most of what I ride is pretty loose, this can sometimes cause the rear wheel to spin on steep sections when applying power. Not the case with the DHF/DHRII. I was actually able to slow to a crawl for a few seconds, then mash the pedal down without losing any traction at all.
Now for the good stuff, the descents. As mentioned, the terrain I ride is mostly dry and loose which is perfect for the DHF/DHRII combo my bike is currently equipped with. Having ridden both these tires in the past but in different compounds, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Sure enough, the chunky side knobs of the DHF dug right in when blasting through berms giving me complete confidence that the bike would go exactly where I wanted. Not only that, but the Maxxis DHRII kept the back in line instead of sliding all over the place like the Aggressor. This isn’t to say the Aggressor is a bad tire, it is actually a great tire for some riders. However for me personally, I choose grip over rolling speed every time. Even with the aggressive tread pattern of the DHF/DHRII combo, I didn’t notice much of speed or weight difference.
A few months later and I am still running the same Maxxis DHF/DHRII Exo + tires with zero issues. No flats for months are huge for me and a clear sign that the EXO+ casing is worth the added weight. The DHF has slight wear but still plenty of tread, while the DHRII is more worn and will likely be replaced soon (see pictures below).
When I first started running these tires, I had mentioned how much I enjoyed the grip and predictability. I stand by this and loved them no matter where I was riding, from XC to DH, the tire performed excellently in all conditions. We even had rain for a few weeks which allowed me to test them in the mud. Again, I had no issues.
I have been running this tire combo for the last month and am happy to report that there have been NO FLATS. That in itself is a huge win and reason for me to keep riding this setup for the foreseeable future. In my opinion, the EXO+ casing is the perfect middle ground between heavy duty double down and the standard EXO. I highly recommend this tire combination for the aggressive trail/enduro rider looking for serious grip, durability, and added flat protection. As stated, weight gain was minimal, rolling speed remaining fast, and I had no mechanical issues, job well done Maxxis!