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.