Words by: Liam Woods
As you may have noticed, and perhaps it's why you are here, Maxxis has a LOT of tire options out there. While we have some amazing content to help explain the different tires, we noticed riders are still a bit lost when it comes to solid front and rear tire combos and why you might want to ride certain treads over others. Below we will go through our favorite tire combos from Maxxis, starting with the most grip being for Enduro/Trail and Downhill use, and then going into Trail and eventually XC combos. Read on and nerd out on some Maxxis Tires.
If you have not yet checked out our previous videos like our Maxxis Tire Guide, Top Maxxis XC Tires, as well as individual Maxxis Tire reviews like the Maxxis Assegai, Maxxis Minion DHF/DHR2, Maxxis Dissector and the Maxxis Aggressor, go give them a watch. Check out those videos if you want to learn more about each individual tire. If you've already seen them, carry on to our top combos.
Starting with the most grip, we have the Maxxis Assegai tire front and rear. With more grip also comes a heavier weight and a slower rolling resistance, so keep that in mind with what you are looking for. Most grip isn't always what you want and oftentimes the best tire combo for you is a balance of grip, rolling speed and weight. Also, the more grippy tires typically come in heavier casing options, like Downhill and DoubleDown, so if you want a thicker tire casing for fewer chances to flat and more protection on your rims, then that could be a factor to look into as well. If you want to learn more about thicker tire casings, we have a video on that too!
The most grippy tire combo from Maxxis is the Assegai tire up front and out back. The Assegai is designed by Greg Minnaar to provide the most grip in the most conditions. You can run this almost all the time, no matter the season and trail type. If running the Maxxis Assegai front and rear, I would suggest putting that on a Downhill bike, Enduro or heavy-duty trail bike as it will be a slower combo and way overkill for a trail or XC bike. While the Assegai is a bit heavier than similar tires, as well as it will roll more slowly, that isn't the reason the Assegai is the most grippy tire we have ever ridden. Below are the weights as well as casing options the Assegai is available in.
Moving into a very grippy yet a bit faster rolling than the previous, you would have the Maxxis Minion DHF up front and a Maxxis Dissector out back. The Maxxis Minion DHF is a classic trail, enduro and downhill tire with more wins than probably any tire on the market. The DHF is great as it rolls decently fast, yet has grip for days. The Maxxis Dissector is a newer tire from Maxxis designed with help from Troy Brosnan. Made to be a faster, lighter tire in downhill and enduro riding it's best to be used out back as we have suggested here. With this combo you will be rolling a touch faster yet have plenty of grip for about any trail condition, from dry to hardpacked to tacky and even wet. Check out below for weights and specs on the Maxxis Minion DHF and the Maxxis Dissector tires.
Moving faster and lighter, we have the Maxxis Minion DHRII tire up front and again the Maxxis Dissector tire out back. Both of these tires are available in downhill, double down, EXO+ and EXO casings making it a great combo for a huge number of bikes, while balancing the grip, rolling speed and weight extremely well. If anything, this is a combo I would recommend for so many riders and just choose your preferred casing. For most riding you don’t need any more tire and you will be in love with this front and rear tire combo from Maxxis. The Minion DHRII is similar to the Minion DHF using the same side knobs, yet a faster center tread. Many top downhill riders have been running the Maxxis DHRII up front and it has plenty of wins and great results, so I think it will be good for us average riders too. Check out the specs below for each tire.
Now this tire combo is extra special, only because it’s Jeff’s favorite so in his eyes, it deserves top ratings, but he might be biased… It's the Maxxis Minion DHRII up front with the Maxxis Rekon out back. This is a great trail spec tire combo and is a perfect down the middle choice for a rider looking for some grip and confidence, yet wants to roll fast and maybe throw in a drift or two. The Maxxis Rekon is a great trail tire and while it is a bit newer, it didn’t take long to catch on and be spec’d on a bunch of bikes. If you are familiar with the Maxxis Ardent tire, the Rekon I think is a better, newer version of that tire, hence the lack of Ardent in our combos. Check out the specs below for each tire.
This combo is very similar to the previous yet just a bit faster and lighter. The Maxxis Dissector tire up front and the Maxxis Rekon out back is a great combo for getting around. The Dissector is a little faster rolling and lighter than the Minion DHRII and therefore moves its way into the aggressive cross country, downcounty, XC category that I pretty much still call a trail bike. Recently many brands have chosen to run this combo on their light trail, XC-ish bikes like the Revel Ranger and the Transition Spur. A perfect balance of fast rolling, just enough grip, and just light enough, yet still down to party. We love a party so check out the specs below.
We are now in fast rolling, low tread XC tires here. While we might say these combinations are for the strong and confident riders as the grip has decreased significantly, you would want these tires to go fast versus getting all out traction. The Maxxis Rekon up front and the Maxxis Rekon Race out back combo is crazy fast but one thing that stands out is the wide volume available for each tire. So ultimately it's less tire knob, yet a wider casing than most XC tires. The Rekon comes in a 2.4 and the Rekon race in both a 2.4 and 2.35 casing as well as a 2.25 option in each tread. The Rekon in a 2.4 up front and the Rekon Race in a 2.4 or 2.35 rear would be a great fast, yet comfortable combo that would be awesome on a beefy XC bike, downcountry bike or really whatever you want to run it on. With lots of options, check out the specs below.
The classic cross country tire combo, the Maxxis Ikon front and rear. This is what I used when I raced cross country and it's still an amazing, popular option five years later. Fast rolling and made for pure speed, the Ikon does come in a 2.35 width option so you can get some volume out of it. Either a 2.35 front and rear, 2.35 front and 2.2 rear, or 2.2 front and rear, either way you will be rolling fast and getting PR’s on all those fast, smooth trails or climbs. It's not really guaranteed, but I'm sure it will help. The Ikon is also great for some dirt jumping as well. I currently have the 2.35 front and 2.2 rear on my DJ. Check out sizes and specs below.
We might have missed a top of possible combos but this is not every combo possible ever. It's really just what we like and maybe what you hadn't thought about yet. Below are a few more that are just very popular and we thought we needed to throw these in for all the haters (just kidding, we love everyone... )
The classic DHF/DHRII, you can't go wrong. It's grippy, all around amazing, and goes together like peanut butter and jelly.
Another classic, you find this combo often and spec’d stock by a lot of brands. While we haven't talked about the Aggressor, it's a great rear tire that works in mostly dry conditions. It rolls fast, and with a mostly square knob, it has great climbing traction and braking traction.
The Maxxis Aspen tire has recently gained lots of traction, full pun intended, and you will find lots of top cross country racers using Aspens front and rear. Extremely fast rolling, and now available in a 2.4 width, this already has a few World Cup wins and even some World Championships as well. While really only good in fast, dry conditions, I felt we couldn’t leave this wining tire out.
Well, that is still a ton of information, but hopefully with the help of a few suggestions, you now have some new and maybe better tire combos to try out. My favorite part about tires is just by changing tires you can really change the feeling of your bike, make it beefier, make it lighter, or become a better rider. My personal favorite out of these combos would be a Maxxis Minion DHR2/Dissector combo, as it really does lend itself to most types of riding. I also suggest you choose thicker casings for an enduro bike, or lighter for a trail bike. Time to go fast and keep the rubber side down.
This article was written / authored by Liam Woods. Liam has been in the bicycle industry for over 10 years as a racer, professional mechanic, service manager and as of late, media and content creator. Liam has ridden thousands of different bikes, ridden countless components, tested endless MTB apparel of all kinds and written reviews on it all. He's a key piece to the Worldwide Cyclery "All Things MTB" content creation puzzle. He also makes consistent appearances on the Worldwide Cyclery YouTube channel and Instagram.
Ladies and gentlemen, over the years we have made what seems like a billion videos on tires, especially maxxis since it's like the biggest brand in North America at least for mountain bike tires and kind of the king in the ring. So today I'm going to tell you my personal absolute favorite Maxxis tire combos as in front and rear combos for basically all riding disciplines: downhill all the way to cross country. There is a ton of overlap, there are many models from Maxxis tires and a lot of people just want simplicity. That's what I'm trying to do in this video.
Okay so these days people are running what used to be considered full-blown downhill tires on their enduro bikes and even their trail bikes. So I don't know, put whatever tires you want on your bike depending on what you're doing with it. We have a video which is the Maxxis tire guide 2020 where I go into much more detail about all of the Maxxis models and kind of the concept of why xc bikes would have lighter weight faster rolling tires and why downhill bikes need more durable grippier larger tires. so watch that if you're curious about that.
So I'm going to start at the downhill/enduro/super enduro section and work my way to the best cross-country tire combos. I don't have too many of them and I'm going to leave out a lot of Maxxis models and I'm sure a ton of people are going to comment why the hell did you leave out blah blah blah. oh come on guys it's so simple. Maybe you need a refresher course? Hey but that's not the point. I want to make this the simplest possible video.
So number one if you want the absolute most traction you're on a downhill bike or an enduro bike or a super enduro bike or whatever. You got to go with a double ass combo as I like to call it. Double cheeked up on a Thursday afternoon. And it's an Assegai tire front and rear. I do think this is the grippiest tire on the planet and the grippiest tire maxxis has ever made. They worked with professional world cup downhill racer Greg Minnaar to make this thing. It is amazing and keep in mind it's not the lightest and not the fastest rolling, but that's not the point. You run the double ass combo because you want the absolute most traction. That's the double-ass combo.
Now if you want to go a little bit lighter, DHF and dissector. So DHF is the iconic Maxxis tire that's won countless world cups. Sam Hill used to run this thing front and rear. It was amazing. I think this combo doing a DHF in the front and a Dissector rear is kind of like the next step down from the double ass combo. It's still very tractiony very grippy but a little bit lighter weight and a little bit faster rolling because that dissector is nice and light, nice and fast rolling, a really good newer tire from Maxxis. They once again developed this with a professional world cup racer, Troy Brosnan. You want to go even lighter, dhr2 in the front and a dissector in the back. I recently did actually that, wasn't that recent back in december a trip in new zealand with new zealand mountain biking, amazing trip. I usually run a little bit lighter tire setup on my trail bike but when i went there with my revel rascal 130 mil travel trail bike, I did a dhr2 in the front and a dissector in the back, i really like that combo i think it's like pretty durable but still nice and lightweight and sheds mud really well. I personally feel that the dhrII sheds mud better as just a tire in general, especially a front tire than the DHF does and I knew I was going to get into some mud in New Zealand so that's why I went with that combo.
Once again getting even lighter - dhr2 rekon. That's what i have on my current trail bike and probably the most common tire combo that i use, here's the reason: where i'm riding most of the time is kind of like general trail slash enduro stuff on a 130mm travel bike. This is my current bike, Unno Dash. I absolutely love this thing, it's astonishing. Dhr2 in the front, i love that tire, and then the Rekon in the back it's a pretty lightweight setup. I'm not a huge guy and I'm not riding it on like really crazy rough sharp rock stuff, so I can kind of get away with that and it's still pretty light. I also personally like to have a little bit less traction on the rear end than the front end because I want that rear tire to break loose easier in a corner and I feel like if i'm trying to have both tires stick i want the rear to break loose because i can control that a lot more than i can control if the front breaks loose. So I typically like to run something that has a bit more traction up front and a little bit less out back. So if I was on a downhill bike I would probably do that DHF Dissector combo and on a trail bike I really like the DHRII/Rekon combo.
Once again getting even lighter: Dissector in the front, Rekon in the back. Dissector is going to be lighter than a dhr2 in the same sizes. The next bike I'm currently building right now is a Revel Ranger. It's a downcountry 115 millimeter travel bike, a little bit lighter weight, lighter duty than this thing, so i wanted a bit lighter and faster tires and that's what revel specs it with and i really like that tire combo. again it's just a step down in weight from this combo. So that's the dissector in the front and the Rekon in the back. Now we're bordering cross country territory right. So that was the tire combo for like a 115 mil travel down country light duty trail bike now if we're talking cross country bikes at 100 mil travel or hardtails, Rekon in the front Rekon race in the back that's my favorite tire combo there. Even further down the line if you're really a weight weenie you're really looking for just absolute fastest rolling lightest tires maxxis ikon front and rear so that's that's it that's all of them.
Again, I left out a ton of different Maxxis models but that's the point of this video. The point of this video is to tell you my personal favorite tire combos. Link below in the video description to a blog that kind of breaks these down in terms of weights and availability and just again it excludes all the other Maxxis models. I know a huge issue in mountain bike tires is the amount of overlap and it causes total decision paralysis people look at a wall of Maxxis tires and they panic and they don't know what to do and it's for good reason because Maxxis has so many tires and they're so similar like really trying to dissect the difference between a DHF and a dhr2 when they have the identical corner knobs and all these different compounds and widths it'll make anyone explode. We made a video about the DHF versus a dhr2 that I thought was really funny and we really kind of poked fun at that and how hard it is to tell the difference between those two things so there's a ton of overlap in those things. This video, this blog below lays out just my personal absolute favorite combos from sort of the heaviest and the grippiest all the way down to the lightest and the fastest and anywhere in between. So again if you're focusing on just you want pure grip go towards that double ass combo if you want pure speed go towards that ikon ikon combo and then where you find yourself in between every notch on the thing there there's not going to be overlap between the next one it's going to get lighter and less traction all the way down from the double ass to the ikon ikon. I hope that video was helpful, again I know I went over that really fast, so go back, pause this, look at the blog below, and thanks for watching. See you next time.