The Maxxis Assegai, downhill world champion Greg Minnaar’s signature tyre, was launched nearly four years ago, but it still feels a bit of a newcomer compared to the brand’s classics.
The latest EXO+ casing on test here has been beefed up after many riders felt the ‘+’ didn’t bring any extra toughness over standard EXO.
Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ WT specifications
The new single-ply casing has a thicker (60 TPI) fabric weave and, more like a Double Down, a butyl wedge above the bead to resist snakebites and bolster the sidewall. Weight hasn’t increased massively for the new EXO+ casing, this test tyre tipping the scales at 1,080g.
Fewer threads per inch means slightly less suppleness than a 120 TPI EXO casing, but this subtle difference is balanced by extra stiffness, so it’s harder to twist, burp or buckle.
Another major benefit is that the thicker individual fibres resist penetration from sharp edges better, making the shell much tougher than before.
Even though the inflated Assegai shape on a 30mm internal rim is quite squared-off, the tread pattern still rounds smoothly at the edges, with small toothy knobs punctuating the grip channel.
Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ WT performance
In terms of sheer grip, the Assegai rules at all angles in many different conditions.
It feels well-damped, calm and super-stable, with no sense of nervousness or wanting to tip side to side, and whether in loose soil or hardpack, dust or grease, the MaxxGrip rubber blend here is as tenacious as anything else I’ve tried.
What’s great about the Assegai is its extremely consistent connection to the trail, leaning all the way onto the side knobs. This bolsters confidence and makes grip really easy to judge and trust.
The tread simply never lets go unexpectedly, even if you push it to the limit.
There is arguably less of an aggressive bite than a Minion DHR II when really leant over, if you’re good enough to really throw the bike about, but it might take elite downhill skills to even sense this difference.
Even with lighter casings, the Assegai rolls slower than most equivalent-weight tyres. So unless you’re really charging downhill all the time and want ultimate control, this will be a front-only option for most. The taller edge blocks that jut out at sharp angles and the slightly diminished mud clearing don’t work as well as other treads out back either.
Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ WT bottom line
The super-grippy Assegai lays down a lot of rubber for high comfort and delivers enough feedback to read terrain at all lean angles.
It’s squared-off enough to be super-stable under braking, tips smoothly into and out of turns, and supports against the hardest loads charging into broken-up corners or rutted berms.
How we tested
We tested eight mountain bike tyres designed for all-mountain/enduro riding back-to-back on the most varied terrain we could find to see where they performed best, and worst.
You can also find all of our top-rated reviews in BikeRadar’s guide to the best mountain bike tyres.
Tyres on test
- Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip EXO+ WT review
- Maxxis Dissector 3C MaxxTerra EXO WT review
- Michelin Force AM2 Competition Line review
- Michelin Wild AM2 Competition Line review
- Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO Super Trail Addix Soft review
- Teravail Honcho Durable review
- Teravail Kessel Durable review
- WTB Vigilante Tough/High Grip review