Maxxis' Ardent isn’t a heavily reinforced ‘enduro’ tyre but it’s significantly tougher than most XC tyres of a similar speed. The EXO carcass version adds a bit more protection than standard without affecting the smooth rolling, rock shrugging ride too.
It’s also taller than most 2.25in tyres so there’s more to cushion the blows from blocks and drops. The 2.4in versions are massive. They’re also some of the easiest to set up tubeless, sealing onto most rims with just a few seconds of track pump action.
The dual compound tread is broad and flat for easy rolling but there’s still enough bite to brake and get power down reliably most of the year at the back and even on the front in summer. Bigger, softer side knobs mean you can corner with reasonable confidence too.
While they roll fine once you’ve got them going their tall height and weight makes them harder to accelerate from slow speeds. Their height also makes the unstable at lower pressures so while the tread isn’t as aggressive we actually prefer the more agile and predictable handling of the lower, lighter Ardent Race when we’re pushing hard on less punishing trails.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.