As mountain bikes continue to evolve and redefine what a typical day on the trail means to many riders, individual components are under increased pressure to pull their weight. Tire manufacturers have met this challenge by developing casings that can withstand high-speed, technical descents, yet remain reasonably lightweight for climbing.
Maxxis’s latest all-mountain/enduro category offering, the Aggressor, features dual-compound rubber and tubeless-ready construction, measures 2.3 inches wide (for 26, 650b and 29-inch wheels) and is offered in both the EXO and DoubleDown reinforced casings. The 29er version with the durable DoubleDown casing we tested weighed 1,090 grams.
For most of us, tire selection reflects the type of terrain we ride most often, followed by individual performance goals such as rolling speed or control in a certain type of terrain. At 2.3 inches wide, the $80 Maxxis Aggressor falls into the current sweet spot for 'standard' mountain bike tire widths and is suitable as either a front or rear tire.
Its knobs are aggressive but fairly low profile and tightly spaced, making it quite fast-rolling. I primarily ran it on the rear, with a more dominant tread pattern (like a 2.3-inch Maxxis DHF or Specialized Butcher) up front. As casings become thicker, tubeless bead seating can be a challenge, but the Aggressor was easily installed with a floor pump.
The tire's knob height makes it appear narrower than some other 2.3-inch rubber, yet the square-ish tread profile provides excellent side-knob bite. Think of it as a slower-rolling, beefed-up Maxxis Ardent with improved cornering grip that holds speed better than a Minion or a High Roller.
After a few months riding the Aggressor on everything from rocky, hard-packed trails to slippery and sloppy conditions, it's proven to be remarkably versatile.
The dual-compound construction consists of a harder rubber in the center of the tire for faster rolling and longer wearing and a softer side-knob compound for cornering grip. After a couple months of primarily running the tire on the rear wheel, the tread showed few signs of serious wear and looks to have many more skids left in the tank.
The reinforced sidewalls of the DoubleDown casing make for a noticeably more rigid tire, but they impressively withstood countless sharp-edged impacts that could have ruined the day under other comparable tires.
There are many tires that roll fast or offer a ton of grip in loose conditions—qualities that are often mutually exclusive. The Aggressor, however, rolls well and hooks up well. And while many riders will be fine with the lighter-weight EXO casing, DoubleDown is the winning bet for hard chargers in extra-demanding terrain.
$80 / Maxxis.com