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Maxxis Assegai Review

A big and burly tire that inspires confidence with outstanding traction
Maxxis Assegai
Credit: Maxxis
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $90 List | $53.90 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Excellent cornering, unbeatable traction, durable supportive sidewalls
Cons:  Very heavy, expensive
Manufacturer:   Maxxis
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 22, 2018
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 25
  • Cornering - 25% 10.0
  • Pedaling Traction - 20% 7.0
  • Braking Traction - 20% 9.0
  • Rolling Resistance - 15% 5.0
  • Longevity - 15% 7.0
  • Installation - 5% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Maxxis Assegai was designed with input from South African DH legend, Greg Minaar. Greg Minaar is the winningest World Cup downhill racer in history, so it stands to reason that he knows a thing or two about tires. The Assegai is a burly tire made for both front and rear use. It shares some tread design with the ever-popular Minion DHF, with tall and stout side knobs and directional rectangular center knobs, but they've added some spacing in the center and some lugs in the transitional zone. The result is the most traction our testers have ever experienced, uncompromising in all conditions. The 3C MaxxGrip rubber is soft and incredibly grippy, adding to this tire's traction but giving it much more rolling resistance than most other tires in our test.

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Maxxis Assegai
This Product
Maxxis Assegai
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award 
Price $53.90 at Backcountry
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$63.99 at Amazon
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$70 List
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$60 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Excellent cornering, unbeatable traction, durable supportive sidewallsEXO sidewall protection, excellent cornering grip, good on front or rear, dual compound increases longevityGreat cornering grip, good braking traction, aggressive tread pattern, super damp ride quality, available in 2.6 and 2.3-inch widthsVersatile, affordable, great all-around use, intermediate tread height, fast rollingReasonably priced, versatile yet aggressive tread design, good all-around performance as a rear tire
Cons Very heavy, expensiveNot the best for hardpack, high rolling resistance, requires good techniqueModerate weight, not the fastest rollingNot the best braking tractionModerate braking traction, firmer rubber compound
Bottom Line A big and burly tire that inspires confidence with outstanding tractionOne of the most popular tires ever, and for good reasonSpecialized's classic aggressive trail riding tire with a new rubber compound, enhanced grip, and same great valueA versatile and well-rounded do-it-all rear tire for any kind of ridingA 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...
Cornering (25%)
10.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Pedaling Traction (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Braking Traction (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Rolling Resistance (15%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Longevity (15%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Installation (5%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
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
Bead Folding Folding Folding Folding Folding
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.

Performance Comparison



Maxxis Assegai mountain bike tires - the assegai is a burly and confidence inspiring tire.
The Assegai is a burly and confidence inspiring tire.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Cornering


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.

Maxxis Assegai mountain bike tires - the assegai has a square profile compared to most tires, with a...
The Assegai has a square profile compared to most tires, with a stout row of side knobs for railing turns.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

Maxxis Assegai mountain bike tires - the assegai is the best cornering tire we've ever used, it has...
The Assegai is the best cornering tire we've ever used, it has endless amounts of grip.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Pedal Traction


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.

Maxxis Assegai mountain bike tires - its not light, and you won't likely mount it up on your trail bike...
Its not light, and you won't likely mount it up on your trail bike, but the tacky rubber and aggressive tread has tons of pedaling traction, pictured here mounted on the front.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Braking Traction


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.

Maxxis Assegai mountain bike tires - the assegai has tons of braking traction and excels on all surfaces...
The Assegai has tons of braking traction and excels on all surfaces including blown out dusty corners like this one.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Rolling Resistance


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.

Longevity


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.

Maxxis Assegai mountain bike tires - while other tires in our test were showing some serious signs of...
While other tires in our test were showing some serious signs of wear, the Assegai's side knobs are still looking pretty fresh despite the softer 3C MaxxGrip rubber.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Installation


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.


Maxxis Assegai mountain bike tires - the assegai is very durable, rocks tremble in fear when they see it...
The Assegai is very durable, rocks tremble in fear when they see it coming their way.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Value


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.

Maxxis Assegai mountain bike tires - want to step up your game on your gravity rig? the assegai is a...
Want to step up your game on your gravity rig? The Assegai is a beast of a tire.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Conclusion


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.

Other Versions


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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