Maxxis Assegai Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Excellent cornering, unbeatable traction, durable supportive sidewalls
Cons: Very heavy, expensive
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|Price||$61.00 at Evo|
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|$53.90 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Excellent cornering, unbeatable traction, durable supportive sidewalls||EXO sidewall protection, excellent cornering grip, good on front or rear, dual compound increases longevity||Great cornering grip, good braking traction, aggressive tread pattern, super damp ride quality, available in 2.6 and 2.3-inch widths||Versatile, affordable, great all-around use, intermediate tread height, fast rolling||Reasonably priced, versatile yet aggressive tread design, good all-around performance as a rear tire|
|Cons||Very heavy, expensive||Not the best for hardpack, high rolling resistance, requires good technique||Moderate weight, not the fastest rolling||Not the best braking traction||Moderate braking traction, firmer rubber compound|
|Bottom Line||A big and burly tire that inspires confidence with outstanding traction||One of the most popular tires ever, and for good reason||Specialized's classic aggressive trail riding tire with a new rubber compound, enhanced grip, and same great value||A versatile and well-rounded do-it-all rear tire for any kind of riding||A versatile, well-rounded, and reasonably priced trail riding tire best suited for use on the rear of the bike|
|Rating Categories||Maxxis Assegai||Maxxis Minion DHF 3...||Specialized Butcher...||Maxxis Aggressor 2....||Specialized Elimina...|
|Pedaling Traction (20%)|
|Braking Traction (20%)|
|Rolling Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Maxxis Assegai||Maxxis Minion DHF 3...||Specialized Butcher...||Maxxis Aggressor 2....||Specialized Elimina...|
|Size tested||29" x 2.5" WT||29" x 2.5" WT||29" x 2.6"||29" x 2.5" WT||29" x 2.3"|
|Weight as tested||1109g||954g||1123g||950g||945g|
|Front, Rear, or Both||Both||Front, Both||Front, Both||Rear||Rear|
|Casing Tested||EXO||EXO||GRID Trail||EXO||GRID Trail|
|Compound Tested||3C Maxx Grip||3C Maxx Terra||Gripton T9||Dual||Gripton T7|
|Tread Count (TPI)||60||60||60||60||60|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Maxxis released their new DH tire, the Assegai, in the spring of 2018. As we were selecting tires to add to our mountain bike tire test, we thought it might be interesting to add a couple of gravity-oriented options to compare to our otherwise trail-oriented selection of tires. The Assegai appealed to us because it is brand new on the market, but also because it looks a lot like the award-winning Minion DHF, one of our top-performing tires. Obviously, being a DH tire, the Assegai is on the heavy side and has noticeably more rolling resistance than many of its competitors, but that is to be expected. Since then, we've ridden the lighter version of this tire on our personal and test bikes, and love that it is a lower weight that makes it more suitable for everyday riding.
After riding the Assegai, our testers realized that they'd never quite experienced a tire that has that much traction when cornering. Sure, we'd all ridden the Minion DHF and the Specialized Butcher and thought they cornered well, which they do, but riding the Assegai we all learned how it really felt to rail a turn.
With tall and very stout rectangular side knobs, a deeply lugged center tread, and tacky 3C MaxxGrip rubber, the Assegai is pure hookup, on all surfaces and conditions. The profile of the tire is somewhat square, which often results in a tippy feeling when getting the tire on edge, but we didn't experience that with the Assegai. It transitions seamlessly between the center and side knobs with no drift in between.
Testers also found themselves committing to and pushing harder into turns than they usually would, as this tire inspired the confidence to do so with its tenacious grip. Like any tire, it does have a limit in its cornering grip; it just happens to be much higher with the Assegai. The supportive sidewalls of the Assegai also allow you to run lower tire pressures without the fear of the sidewall rolling or folding, even down to around 20psi.
Due to the aggressive tread design of the Assegai, it has loads of pedaling traction. All of the knobs are tall, with most of them having squared-off edges, although the rectangular center knobs are slightly ramped, and they claw into loose dirt with ease. The edges of the knobs bite quite well, and there is siping on most that enhances the grip on hardpack and solid rock.
It performed exceptionally well in loose dirt, and it was extremely uncommon to lose traction while climbing with this tire. Its pedaling traction was on par with the best we tested. We used it primarily as a front tire, but of course, it can be used either front or rear. If using it in the rear be prepared for it to scramble up anything, you'll just pay for that traction with lots of rolling resistance.
Not surprisingly, the Assegai also shines in the braking traction department. Again, the tall knobs and relatively wide spacing of them provide lots of bite into the surface, whatever that might be. The knobs are vertical and grab into the dirt like claws. If you're looking for a tire that slows and stops with the best of 'em, even in super loose conditions, the Assegai has got you covered.
It shares the high marks for braking traction with other aggressive tires like the WTB Convict, and the Maxxis Minion DHR II. If you prioritize braking control, the Assegai has you covered.
As you've probably already guessed, the Assegai has some of the highest rolling resistance in our test selection. The combination of the deep aggressive tread and the stickier 3C MaxxGrip rubber definitely slow this tire down.
We expected it to feel slower than it actually does, but we found it to be comparable to the WTB Convict, but faster rolling than the Schwalbe Magic Mary. Of course, it rolls way slower than tires designed to have less rolling resistance, but these tires are meant to do different things and are worlds apart in their performance.
Throughout our testing, the Assegai has proven itself to be a rather durable tire. The EXO casing has proven tough enough to stand up to everyday trail rides, and tougher casings are available for those who are concerned about getting flats. The 3C MaxxGrip rubber compound is impressively tacky, and that softer rubber compound is likely to wear faster than something harder.
We haven't had the chance to ride the Assegai enough to wear them out, but many of the other tires in our test are showing more wear on the side knobs after the same amount of riding. Perhaps this is due to the tread design that has tread in the transitional zone to share the load of the cornering forces? It's safe to assume that when used as a rear tire, the side knobs would tend to wear more quickly. Either way, we're impressed with the longevity of the rubber considering the softer compound used.
Installing the Assegai was very easy and painless. The tire took little effort to get on the rim and could be done completely by hand without the use of a tire lever. Once on the rim, seating the bead was equally easy and required only the use of a standard floor pump. We were impressed with how easy it was to mount and feel that most people should have no trouble doing it at home or even in a parking lot as long as you have a floor pump.
The value of this tire is definitely up to the individual and what you want and need from your tires. Do you want a big burly tire with ridiculous traction? At retail, the Assegai doesn't come cheap, but if you're looking for a confidence-inspiring tire with outrageous traction, then we think this tire is worth the asking price.
The Maxxis Assegai is our Top Pick for Cornering Traction. If you're not super concerned with weight or rolling resistance and you're looking for a tire with outstanding cornering capabilities and seemingly endless pedaling and braking traction, you'll want to give the Assegai a try. Mount 'em front and rear on your long travel rig for an unbeatable combination for smashing downhill.
The Assegai is currently offered in both 27.5" and 29" wheel sizes in a 2.5" width. It is also available in EXO and EXO+ plus casings and 3C MAXX TERRA, 3C MAXX GRIP, and Dual rubber compounds.
— Jeremy Benson
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