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Maxxis has been pumping out some of mountain biking's best tires for decades now, and the Forekaster combines fast tread with good grip. Our friend, Jacob recently wrapped his wheels in that very same combo and loves the grip and speed. Check it out!
Tires, yeah they play a really important part in setting up a bike for a good ride. For many years I was 'that guy' that would choose one set of tires for an entire season conditions be damned and run them until they failed or wore out.
Fast forward to now...I'm older and wiser (wife says stubborn) and I have changed my ways. Now I will change tires for the seasonal conditions or to optimize for the ride.
Enter the Maxxis Forekaster to my array of tire choices. And lets set the stage for this review so you can follow along and maybe learn a thing or two...
BIKE: Moots Farwell
EVENT: Something Wicked Endurance Race
LOCATION: Long Island, NY (Lawn Guyland for anyone wanting to pronounce it properly)
CONDITIONS: Race Day - SLOPFEST
So let's begin...the Moots Farwell as they put it 'Plus sized 2.8” tires for ultimate versatility and fun, 120mm fork travel, made to grip and rip, up and down the trail'. The great thing about this bike is that it's geometry lends toward aggressive trail riding while still being comfortable enough to ride in an endurance race. It has quiver killing potential for some folks.
For this event I opted to swap out my 27.5+ wheel tire combo and run a set of Industry Nine 29" Trail-S wheels that I keep around for races where a 29" wheel will help me out. My choices for 29" tires are pretty easy for where I live in New England and being a Maxxis fan I ordered up what I would need for these wheels: Maxxis Ardent Race 29 x 2.35 for Front, Maxxis Ikon 29 x 2.2 for Rear, and a pair of Maxxis Forekaster 29 x 2.35 for Front & Rear for sloppy conditions.
So with all preparations for the bike and rider set for Something Wicked it was now just a matter of waiting to see what the weather would be like for race day. Something Wicked is a 6 (+/-) hour race that is done at the Cathedral Pines park on Long Island. It's a 10 mile loop of almost all singletrack minus one half mile section through the campground where staging and feeding is setup. It's a fantastic park and the trails there are pretty damn fun. The thing to keep in mind is this is Long Island we are talking about...not a whole heck of a lot of elevation so it was going to be a consistent on power race.
Two days before the race Mother Nature decides to deliver about 4-6" of fresh snow onto the race area. SWEET a snow race. One day before the race Mother Nature decides that it should be 50 degrees and sunny...snow melts...ground gets really soft...and we have the makings of a SLOPFEST!
This weather prompted me to mount up the Maxxis Forekaster tires for the race and find out what they are all about. No better time to test out a new pair of tires meant for loose and wet conditions than during a 6 hour race, right?!?!
Race day was AWESOME. Mud, slippery roots, rocks, and a very wet/loose race course. The Forekasters being a Dual Compound tire were perfect for this race. The side lugs and 'cornering area' of the contact patch being a softer compound definitely did pack up a little bit more than the center tread. This however was not very noticeable while riding. The center tread portion cleaned and cleared mud better than anything I've seen since Wet Screams.
Forward bite and braking traction is EXCELLENT in the wet and loose with these tires.
Some folks I've spoken with don't like the Forekaster as a rear tire, I noticed what they spoke of and managed to learn to love the tires. The rear end tends to 'step out' when cornering unweighted. It can get a little squirrely. Keep in mind for the most part when it's sloppy and loose you should be weighting the front tire and banking on it's traction to get you through a corner. The rear end breaking loose was VERY predictable once learning where and how it will happen.
They roll fast too...not file tread fast but definitely faster than one would expect from a Dual Compound Loose/Wet conditions specific tire.
For a tire that I could see being used for Fall and Early spring riding in areas where Wet & Loose are common this would be a solid choice to put on the bike. For a Wet & Loose race tire the Maxxis Forekaster is a solid choice. Excellent forward bite, great braking, and very good cornering stability for loose, wet, and muddy conditions.