Maxxis offers an overwhelming variety of different mountain bike tires. It can be difficult to know even where to start! The easiest way to break down all of the different options is by tread pattern and tire construction. For some riders, they may be attracted to be a particular tread pattern like the infamous Maxxis Minion DHF or the relatively new Maxxis Aggressor. For others, because not every tread pattern is offered in each casing option, the construction of the tire becomes more important. Maxxis offers what they call Single Ply, EXO, EXO+, Double Down, and Downhill casing constructions for different riding disciplines. We are going to dive in to the all new EXO+ tire from Maxxis and hopefully shine some light on helping you find the best Maxxis tire for your mountain bike.
The EXO+ casing from Maxxis combines two already popular technologies: EXO and SilkShield. EXO casing tires utilize a very cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant material along the sidewall of the tire to give the tire more durability and puncture resistance. SilkShield, which is more popular with Maxxis cross country tires, is a puncture resistant layer that wraps from one bead of the tire to the other. Maxxis claims that EXO+ improves tread puncture protection by 27%, sidewall durability by 51%, and resistance to pinch flats by 28%. The EXO+ fits right in the center of the trail category and for now comes in a few popular tread patterns: Minion DHF, Minion DHR II, Assegai, and Rekon. We are sure that EXO+ will find its way to other popular tread patterns down the road. Find the two illustrations below that show you the anatomy of a Maxxis mountain bike tire and the EXO+ construction.
For this particular review, we are riding a Maxxis Minion DHF 29x2.5 WT EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra.
The EXO+ casing option fits right in the middle of the trail bike category. It's not quite a bullet proof downhill or enduro tire, and it is probably a bit overkill for your cross country or "downcountry" bike. That's where my Santa Cruz Hightower comes in to play. The Hightower uses 135mm of rear wheel travel and is fitted with a 150mm travel Fox 36 fork. This bike is my every day trail bike that I can take on just about any trail and have a good time. I am spoiled to live so close to Pisgah National Forest and Dupont State Forest in North Carolina, a perfect place to put the EXO+ casing tires from Maxxis to the test.
Right off the bat, before I even knew how much the DHF 29x2.5 EXO+ tires weighed, the tires felt light. When climbing, the EXO+ tires compared to the traditional EXO casing didn't make the bike feel any heavier or more sluggish. I think that's the beauty of this new construction. If you wouldn't have told me, I don't think I would even notice a difference in feel, grip, or performance between a traditional EXO and EXO+ tire in the same size and tread pattern.
I rode these EXO+ tires on some of the most rugged trails in Pisgah and Dupont: Bennet Gap and the Big Rock trail. These tires passed the test with flying colors. With repetitive high speed hits on Bennet Gap and sharp square edged rocks on Big Rock, I certainly never had any problems flatting or cutting the tire. The biggest take away with EXO+ is that you get a tire with the proven protection from EXO with increased puncture resistance across the whole tire from Silkshield, all with a weight penalty that goes mostly unnoticed.
The EXO+ casing tires are for those riders that ride rough and aggressive mountain bike trails that don't quite need the beefier Double Down tires. If you are riding and racing enduro, Double Down might be your best bet. For me personally, I think EXO+ tires are durable enough for everything I ride on my trail bike. Balancing weight and durability, the EXO+ tire casing seems like a win.
EXO+ Protection seems like a no brainer! I have always been a fan of Maxxis EXO tires because they do a great job balancing both protection and weight. The additional protection and safety that comes with EXO+ without much additional weight or a heavier feel seems like a win. Sure you could just jump up to the heavier Double Down casing tires but that might be overkill for some riders and certainly is for me on my every day trail bike. EXO+ is a nice addition to Maxxis' already stout lineup of tire offerings.
Max Morgan is 26 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!