Maxxis Aggressor Tire Review
Maxxis Aggressor Tire Review: First Ride Impressions Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 EXO Tire.
The Maxxis Aggressor is a tire that’s been really intriguing to me. This is a tire with a fast rolling center section as well as relatively tightly spaced cornering lugs. As I have been testing thicker sidewall options such as Maxxis DoubleDown and Onza EDC the lighter EXO sidewall was an exciting option. I pulled the trigger on the 27.5″ 2.3 EXO.
Weight, wait, weight?
At 230lb I seldom worry about weight on my bike with the exception of things that spin. Particularly the weight of things spinning at the far end of a large rotating system. Think about some of the basic physics that effect MTB riding. I like moment of inertia as it’s pretty quick and easy I=Mass x Radius^2. It would be easier to convince myself to ride heavier hubs versus heavier rims or tires. A bit of weight closer to the rotation axis is less detrimental than the weight further out.
The EXO Aggressor actually weighed in under the Maxxis claimed 885g (with packaging!). This isn’t always the case but it was a nice surprise. Rubber typically varies in +/- 5 to 10%.
Coming off heavier sidewall options the Aggressor is a welcome cut in rotating mass. The Aggressor weighs in just shy of 200g (.43lb) lighter than one tire and a staggering 379g (.84lb!) lighter than the heaviest tire tested.
Obviously trimming this kind of rotating weight feels awesome while pedaling.
The Aggressor had good traction climbing in a variety of terrain (if you ever see me testing tires my riding lines are, um, all over, for the best understanding). Although I found some rock lines it was mainly dry hard pack or loose over hard. The Aggressor accelerates quickly which is great for the burst of speed into a switchback of jumping back up to pace out of a steep sections. This tire had enough grip to claw back when deliberately off line or off camber.
Downhill on the Aggressor
Descending performance is broken down into tread pattern and tire rigidity (sidewall and air pressure).
The Aggressor has better braking performance than I expected for a fast center section tire. The tire had good bite and stayed inline. I had expected a bit more “nervous” feel where the bike shudders back and forth under braking. Given the size of transition channel, between the center section and cornering lugs, I could see a bit more twitch if a rider applies brakes at deeper lean angles in flat corners.
Eliminating or minimizing lugs from the transitional area increases rolling speed, lowers weight but provides less grip entering a lean. If a rider “sort of” commits to a turn there isn’t full grip available with an open transition zone which can lead to a sliding feel. The Aggressor wants you to roll past the transition onto the cornering knobs for support.
This can be a bit intimidating for newer riders.
It can be hard to trust that a tire that’s slipping when you sort of, or start a turn will reengage at a more aggressive angle. It will.
Practice in turns you are comfortable on and it will become second nature.
The Aggressor had a bit less cornering grip than the Onza Ibex or Minion DHR II as the lugs aren’t quite as large. However the Aggressor wasn’t a scary XC / Light Trail tire by any means. If you’re looking for maximum grip there are some other options to review. Looking for a fast, balanced tire? The Aggressor is high on that list for sure.
Coming out of corners the Aggressor had excellent acceleration. Being lighter it spun up to speed quicker and the center section had good bite without excessive wheel spin.
The Other Side of Weight
As mentioned the weight savings is exciting for most of my riding. Cutting a large amount of spinning mass should make the up and downhill more fun, but it does change some performance factors.
I ran the Aggressor EXO at the same tire pressure that I had been running on the DD and EDC options previously. I didn’t notice anything uphill but became aware of differences downhill rather quick!
Going into corners balanced fore and aft I really had no issues. The Aggressor provided comfortable grip and predictable performance.
However, I ride off the rear tire fairly regularly coming out of corners, lightening the front and loading most of my mass off the rear. Sidenote: I find this technique works well to quickly decrease cornering radius’ as well, like carving deep into a turn. The lighter EXO sidewalls combined with lower tire pressures run on thicker sidewall options produced notably more tire squirm.
This squirm can be described as a side to side “wave” motion feeling but more often than not is detected when your turning radius is larger and larger pushing you offline. The first corner I felt this was a fairly high speed, flat, sweeper. As I transitioned from balanced to rear heavy the bike began driving straight towards the outside of the trail. Resetting weight on the front end took the added stress off the rear tire, re-balanced the bike fore to aft, pulled back online and allowed me to continue only a bit terrified… I rode off the rear tire in a couple other corners to confirm, one of the joys of testing equipment right? After three or four incidents I was sure it was tire roll.
Pressure & Sidewall
Upping the air pressure a bit will eliminate the squirm / roll. Having run EXO sidewalls many times in the past I’m sure I will find a good balance of grip, support as well as rim protection.
I am fairly hard on rims. Running the additionally reinforced sidewall tires notably minimized dings and issues keeping wheels true. Along with protecting rims the stiffer sidewalls provided additional support. (are you funding a junior racer? eating up equipement? ya, look into heavier sidewalls!)
I am interested if I can keep the rim off the trail or if I should use a Huck Norris strip. The Huck Norris may add a bit of weight but not as much as heavier duty sidewalls.
Left: 27.5″ Maxxis Aggressor 2.3″ mounted to 27mm internal width rims. Right: 29″ Aggressor 2.3″ mounted to 30mm internal rims.
Note the cornering lug angle and position to the sidewall edge. The 2.3″ Aggressor provides great cornering grip for high lean angle riders on these size rims. As riders go to wider rims the cornering lug will “stand up” or be more perky losing some of the cornering angle. Not all riders enjoy aggressive cornering angles and the 2.3″ tire will work up to 35mm internals for riders who aren’t looking to drag bars… Running around 35mm rims and love to corner hard? Check out the 2.5″ option to control lug position.
Overall I am impressed with the Aggressor as a rear tire. It has a fun trail / enduro feel. It’s balance of performance and weight make it an option worth considering for smooth racers. Adding rim protection options mean even more aggressive bashers might get away with a fast accelerating tire. As courses get longer and more “pedal-centric” it’s important to remember how much time is gained or lost under power versus thundering through chunk…
Available in 27.5″ and 29″ both 2.3 and 2.5 options the Aggressor will work with a variety of rim widths as well as chassis. (2.5″ will be an AWESOME rear option for the Ibis Ripley and HD4 by the way…)