Maxxis Aggressor 2.3″ vs. 2.5″ Review
The Maxxis Aggressor has quickly become one of the favorite rear trail and enduro tires in MTB. Designed as a fast rolling option with good cornering knobs what’s not to love? I’ve spent quality time on Yeti SB130’s with both the 2.3 and 2.5″ Aggressor options (First Impressions on the Aggressor Here). So does .1″ (2.54mm) per side really change performance? Yup. Let’s go through the details that create personality differences in a Maxxis Aggressor 2.3″ vs. 2.5″ Review.
The test bike is a Yeti SB130 spec’d with 30mm internal width rims. 2.3 and 2.5″ tires are an appropriate spec for 30mm rims, but have quite different trail personalities.
Cornering Knobs Compared to Sidewall
The left tire is an Aggressor 2.3″ and the right the 2.5″. This image illustrates the difference in between the cornering knobs compared to each tire’s sidewall.
(Need a quick refresher on tire terms? Check out out blog on the Fundamentals of Tread, Sidewall, Compound and Profile Shape)
On the left you see the cornering knobs “stand up straighter” so to speak. This means that they will engage at a lower lean angle. The other side of that, high lean angles will roll past the 2.3″ cornering knobs. With the 2.5″ tire a greater lean angle is required to roll onto the cornering knobs, however it will provide more grip deeper into the lean.
The 2.3″ tire’s cornering to sidewall profile is about the least I like to ride. It provides acceptable cornering grip in a variety of terrain. That said, I was able to out corner the 2.3″. Usually at higher speeds, compounding the “Oh Shit” feeling.
Running the Yeti spec Minion DHF 2.5 WT front tire provided a front end that would out-stick the rear.
Of course with a front tire that sticks I was able to re-weight forward, counter steer a bit, make sure the front kept rolling so the rear didn’t pass it and stay out of the weeds!
The 2.5″ Aggressor notably out cornered the 2.3″ for my lean angles. I’ve been hard pressed to over ride the 2.5″. It pairs excellent with the Minion DHF 2.5″ as well. The 2.5″ Aggressor doesn’t have the cornering that a Maxxis DHF or DHR would have in the rear but it feels like a faster tire option.
So which tire for who? Well there’s a few ways to look at it.
Don’t ride deep lean angles? Or are you tepid at higher lean angles? If you’re trying to ride with more lean than the 2.5″ Aggressor provides a platform that simply has more grip available than the 2.3″. That said, if you’re trying to get better at cornering with deeper lean why not go to something with more side lug like the DHR?
If you’re content with your riding style and find you’re not at big lean angles the 2.3″ tire will be faster accelerating (more on that in a bit).
Looking for a great balance for aggressive riding with less rolling resistance than the DHR mentioned? The 2.5″ Aggressor is a solid option.
On a wider rim than 30mm the 2.3″ cornering knobs would be even more vertical compromising cornering lean grip. If you’re riding 35mm internals and like deep lean angles that 2.5″ is a no-brainer.
Size and Weight
OK – stepping out onto the thin branches of weight. I’m using claimed weights from Maxxis – there’s variance in manufacturing with tires. The reality is rubber is heavy. Less rubber quickly equates to less weight.
The 2.3″ Aggressor is about 9% lighter than the 2.5″ option. This is because of the added width, differences in sidewall as well as lug sizing.
1mm taller makes a difference? Ya, there are a lot of lugs so the total amount adds up quickly. I prefer to look at it in percentages rather than just measurements. The center lugs are 25% taller on the 2.5″ at 5mm versus 4mm.
Not only taller, the 2.5″ Aggressor’s lugs have increased surface area on the contact faces. As discussed every little bit does add up – but the contact face increase doesn’t seem to effect the rolling feel as much as the weight does.
Once the 2.5″ is up to speed it feels extremely close to the 2.3″ in terms of efficiency. However spinning the tire up to speed or re-accelerating, especially as fatigue sets in, you do feel the larger tire.
Now to add another whole look at weight, or perhaps mass is a better word in this case – more and more riders are leaning towards the heavier Double Down casing from the more typical EXO offering. Double Down’s extra material provides better puncture protection, that’s pretty well known. What’s just now working its way off the race course and into the riding community is how the additional sidewall technology on the Double Down helps eliminate a lot of bounce or skip from the tires. Numbing the tire’s air spring properties allows suspension tuners to dial in suspension to the trail. If you’re good with a heavier option – about 21% heavier (claimed weights again…) – mount up the Double Down and shred…
It’s mine and I’m aware that’s all it is, but it is based on my riding style, bike setup, personality, etc. I prefer the 2.5″ EXO sidewall.
I ride 29mm internal rims and the 2.5″ Aggressor has a good side knob / sidewall profile which corners excellent. The 2.5″ tire has substantially less drift than the 2.3 which I attribute almost exclusively to the cornering lug positioning.
I am far from a great climber but the 2.5″ doesn’t feel like it gives up enough efficiency to justify the lighter and slightly faster accelerating 2.3″. If I can keep the pace up the 2.5″ works great. When I get dropped and have to chase – well, I tend to dislike any tire I’m testing at that point…
So if the bit of extra weight between the 2.5″ and 2.3″ doesn’t cross my line why does it when it comes to the Double Down? Well, because it does I guess. I don’t ride as gnarly as I once did, age I guess. I’ve found smoother ways to go fast when I do and enough sense of self-preservation to be realistic with what trails I belong on! So EXO tires at mid to high-ish PSI’s for my weight stay inflated, keep my rims off rocks, etc.
If I found myself needing to keep off a rim (like if I rode carbon) or back in gnarlier terrain I would look at the Double Down option for sure. I probably would be investigating the Double Down and maybe a Huck Norris personally. A lot of riders prefer the CushCore and EXO option as well. What’s the difference? Check out CushCore vs. Huck Norris Here.
Not sure which tire setup is best for you? Why not work with a resource that knows and rides? Chat with our expert team for the best products and pricing in MTB.
See you on the trails – Nate at BikeCo.com