With plenty of relatively low profile, closely packed knobs, it’s obvious Maxxis's Ikon is going to be a super-fast rolling race tyre, but thanks to a good volume, some compound trickery and a decent shoulder, it’s also surprisingly good as a fast trail tyre as long as you avoid mud.
The string of letters and price tag signify that this model uses a reinforced EXO casing and a trio of rubber compounds to give a harder central tread and softer edges. It’s actually the harder MaxxSpeed triple compound mix, so you get decent wear resistance though wet weather grip isn’t up with the really tacky trios offered on its heavier duty rubber.
It’s also fairly obvious that if you want to run the Ikon up front, it’s going to need to be dry and reasonably hardpacked. While the edge and volume is decent, it struggles to cut down to grip on looser terrain. Stick it on the back and the speed benefits are immediately apparent, while there’s still enough edge to maintain corner speed. When it does break traction it does so progressively and predictably, so it’s easy to manage.
However, the carcass itself uses a high thread count and thinner fibres for extra suppleness so when run with tubes we found it was pretty easy to pinch flat despite the EXO protection. Happily, it also uses a Tubeless Ready carcass and running it as such was simple when combined with a bit of sealant.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.