Like most tyre brands, Maxxis use a lot of technologies that all have their own special names. It can be a bit confusing for the uninitiated, so let's dig in and figure this out!
The Makeup Of A Tyre
There are 4 main elements that form a tyre:
- The bead
- The casing
- The tread compound
- The tread pattern.
Let's look a bit deeper at each of these.
This is the part that locks into the rim when inflated. The different versions of bead that Maxxis make are:
Wire Bead This is the cheapest and heaviest, but also the most robust. While technically not a Tubeless Ready bead, because the wire inside is quite stiff they are actually very easy to make tubeless.
Kevlar Folding Also known as a folding bead, as the tyre is foldable. Kevlar beads are more expensive to manufacture, but save a good chunk of weight and are still very tough. This is not a tubeless-ready bead and we don't recommend trying.
- TR Kevlar Folding TR stands for Tubeless Ready. This is the same as the kevlar folding, but the rubber around the Kevlar is shaped in such a way that it creates a seal against the rim when inflated. TR tyres need to run a liquid sealant to ensure they remain tubeless.
This is the carcass of the tyre and refers to everything from bead to bead, except the tread. There are quite a few different versions of casing available from Maxxis, as it is largely responsible for how much a tyre weighs and how tough it is.
Before we get into the different types of casings, we should talk about another technical term called TPI (Threads Per Inch). Most Maxxis Tyres are either 60 TPI or 120 TPI. The higher 120 TPI casing is lighter, thinner and will be able to better conform to the shape of the terrain. However, the 60 TPI casing is more resistant to puncture, abrasions and cuts. The different types of casings are (in order from lightest to heaviest):
eXCeption Series This is a casing that is specifically designed for Cross Country racers, with a single 120 TPI layer making it super light. It's largely been superseded by the EXO casing though as it's not very tough.
Single Ply This is the basic casing, with one 60 TPI layer.
EXO EXO is most popular with cross country, trail riders and light-duty all-mountain riders. It's a single 60 TPI (generally) layer mated with an additional layer of abrasion and cut resistant material. The additional layer is extremely light and remains very flexible, so the comfort and flexibility of the casing remains extremely good.
EXO Plus + EXO+ is Maxxis medium-duty puncture protection option suitable for all-around trail riding and lightweight e-bikes. EXO+ underwent a rolling update in late 2021 to phase out the older layup made up of a 120tpi casing with Silkshield and EXO with a more robust design. The previous design was closer to EXO in terms of protection and the newer, more robust design better positions EXO+ in between EXO and Double Down.
The 2022+ models feature a 60 TPI casing with an EXO puncture protection layer in the sidewalls and a small butyl insert around the bead. The tougher casing and EXO material ward off damage from rocks and roots, while the butyl insert protects the tire from pinch flats and helps prevent rim damage.
Double Down (DD) - The newest casing in the Maxxis range. Double Down is designed specifically for enduro and heavy-duty all-mountain riders. It features 2 x 120TPI layers to give both great strength and puncture/abrasion resistance, but the casing still conforms to the terrain very well. This also has a Butyl rubber insert that stretches from the bead up the sidewall to offer ultimate pinch flat resistance.
Dual-Ply Also known as Downhill casing, this is 2 x 60TPI layers. It also has a Butyl insert stretching from the bead up the sidewall. This makes a huge difference in pinch flat protection, while also supporting the sidewall of the tyre.
Silkworm While this isn't a casing type in its own right, it can be added into a casing. Silkworm is an additional layer that is only located under the tread of the tyre. It is there to stop spikes, thorns or sharp rocks from penetrating through the tread.
Tread compound refers to the durometer (softness) of the tyre. Durometer is symbolised with an "a"; the lower the number, the softer the rubber compound. Maxxis makes a lot of different tread compounds, and they use either single, dual and triple compounds of rubber:
Single Compound The same compound the whole way over the tyre tread.
Dual Compound This is when the side knobs are made of a softer rubber for better cornering grip, and the centre knobs are a harder compound for better wear life and lower rolling resistance.
- Triple Compound Also known as 3C, this is when the base of the knobs is a firm rubber so the knobs hold their shape better, then the side knobs are covered in a soft compound for ultimate cornering grip, and a medium compound is used over the centre tread to lower rolling resistance and improve longevity. Maxxis make 3 different 3C compounds (outlined below).
From hardest to softest tread compound, Maxxis produces:
Single Compound - 70a Durometer is the firmest compound for maximum tread life and super low rolling resistance.
eXCeption A 62a Rubber compound perfect for cross-country race bikes.
MaxxPro A 60a rubber predominately used as a long life gravity bike tyre.
Dual Compound 51a/60a - A 51a rubber compound on the side knobs with a 60a rubber on the centre knobs.
3C Maxx Speed- 72a/60a/62a - These feature 72a rubber at the base of the knobs with 60a on the side knobs and 62a on the centre tread. This offers the lowest rolling resistance for cross-country bikes.
3C Maxx Terra- 70a/42a/50a 70a as the base for all the knobs, with 42a rubber on the tops of the side knobs and 50a rubber on the tops of the centre knobs. Designed for trail and all-mountain.
3C Maxx Grip- 70a/40a/42a 70a rubber makes up the base of all the knobs with 40a rubber on the side knobs and 42a rubber on the centre tread. The ultimate grip on gravity-focused bikes.
- Super Tacky 42a rubber all over largely found on Downhill and gravity focused bikes. This is a very soft, slow rebounding rubber. While it doesn't provide the precise feel of the 3C Maxx Grip, it is still a very grippy tyre.
The different tread patterns are what give Maxxis tyres their names. Maxxis make a huge range of tread patterns to suit just about everything!
Maxxis has recently tweaked the design of many of their tyres to optimise the tread for use on modern rims with wider internal widths. These models are designated as Wide Trail or WT.
Traditional tyres are designed around older, narrower rims and can create an overly square profile when mounted to wider rims, leading to less than optimal performance. WT tyres are optimised for a 35mm inner rim width but are proven to work over a range from 30-35mm inner rim widths, depending on the riders preference.
Maxxis Wide Trail XC tyres are optimised for use with 30mm internal width rims, but they will perform well on rims as narrow as 25mm. Maxxis does not recommend rims wider than 30mm or narrower than 25mm.
If you have any questions, hit us up in the comments! We'd love to hear from you.