As the name suggests ‘Shorty’ is inspired by the deliberately cut down spike tread tyres favoured by downhillers for intermediate wet and sticky or loose and loamy conditions.
While the wide-spaced centre siped 2,2,1,2,2,1 pattern main lugs and straight line of shoulder spikes look fairly aggressive even before mounting, getting them inflated splays the side knobs out for an ultra-grippy fang fest.
The 3C triple compound lays a medium-soft centre and really soft shoulders over a harder, more stable base mix for a sticky feel that stays surefooted at speed or silly side loads.
The reasonably sized EXO carcass (previous Maxxis mud tyres such as the Swamp Thing have always been undersized) doesn’t need levers to install and blows up tubeless easily on most rims. It’s also sturdy enough to absorb big landings or unexpected impacts without getting unsettled, but remains fluid enough to flow over random rocks and roots to sustain speed and line rather than just bouncing or sliding off.
The result is a tyre that properly locks into the ground, ripping cornering, driving and braking traction out of surfaces most normal knobbly rubber would slide about wildly on. The array of shoulder knobs mean that nailed to the trail feeling extends right over to silly angles of lean when you’d barely dare tilt the bike at all on standard rubber.
Wider spacing means they clear really quick even at low speeds too, so you’ll not be smearing mud onto previously clean sections and wiping out as a result. It’s a noisy crawler on roads and smooth trails, but at 832g it’s way lighter than other uber-confident tyres such as Mavic’s Charge, Schwalbe’s Magic Mary and Hutchinson’s DZO so it accelerates okay off-road. It comes in 26, 650b or 29in and is cheaper than most other 3C Maxxis tyres.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.