The Maxxis Crossmark II is designed for maximum straight-line speed and low rolling resistance, and excels best in dry conditions where going fast is all that matters.
The original tyre was developed for Olympic champion Christoph Sauser, but has since been updated to provide more control while maintaining the same speedy demeanour.
Maxxis Crossmark II EXO TR 29 x 2.25in details
Its distinctive tread pattern has been developed to ensure it provides better cornering traction than the original Crossmark.
The tread has ramped central blocks that should serve up good braking traction and ramped intermediary blocks that should help to provide a predictable transition to the square shoulder blocks, which are interspersed with siped blobs.
The optional EXO casing should have better sidewall cut resistance and it’s available in a choice of 26in, 27.5in and 29in sizes, and 2.1in or 2.25in widths, with folding beads and dual compound across the range.
- Using as a rear tyre
- Straight-line speed in dry conditions
- Pairing with a chunkier front tyre for rougher trails
Maxxis Crossmark II EXO TR 29 x 2.25in performance
The Crossmark has long been a popular tyre with XC racers that want fast rolling rubber for dry and loose conditions, and it certainly delivers on this promise with a startling pace on the trail.
The very tightly packed ramped blocks ensure it’s blistering fast in a straight line, and cornering grip has been improved over the first generation Crossmark with the ramped transitional blocks interspersed with square and round knobs along the top of the sidewall.
However, the transition from the centre to shoulder of the tyre is not the most progressive when cornering and can let go if the trail is damp or soft.
That means it’s best saved for scorched dry trails because when you encounter mud or wet roots it does lose grip. In the dry it’s another matter and they performed best on baked hardpack trails with a light coating of dust.
Even though the Crossmark II is fairly quick rolling, it’s still not as rapid as a Bontrager XR2 or Schwalbe Racing Ralph.
The 771g weight is also on the high side for an XC race tyre, but if you’re trail riding and want a fast rolling rear option with the security of the EXO casing, the Crossmark II might well suit you. It also proved easy to set up tubeless on my DT Swiss XR1501 control wheels.
Maxxis Crossmark II EXO TR 29 x 2.25in bottom line
A reasonably quick tyre in dry conditions, but unpredictable in the damp and a bit on the heavy side for an XC racer. However, the EXO casing makes it a good rear tyre option for trail riders.
How we tested
We pitted 10 of the best cross-country-style tyres against each other to find out which we think is worth your time and money.
- Bontrager XR2 Team Issue TLR tyre
- Continental Race King BlackChili Protection tyre
- Maxxis Ardent EXO TR 29 x 2.25in
- Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo TLE 29 x 2.25in
- Schwalbe Rocket Ron Super Ground SpeedGrip
- Schwalbe Racing Ray Addix Speed 29 x 2.25i
- Specialized Ground Control
- Vittoria Barzo TNT tyre
- WTB Ranger TCS Light Fast Rolling