Maxxis have taken their downhill triple compound and brought it to the cross-country market with the Ikon tyre. High-speed traction is offset by high cost and low puncture resistance though. At 530g for the lightweight eXCeption version and 550g for the reinforced EXO (£57.99) version, they’re seriously light for a 2.2in 29er tyre and the 26in eXCeption (£50.99) versions are well under 500g.
The low, close-spaced tread from shoulder to shoulder makes them very fast-rolling which makes them obvious race or high-speed trail rubber. While we’re used to the surprising level of grip from tyres like the legendary Kenda Small Block 8, the triple compound tread takes things even further. Even in damp woodsy, high torque conditions, the Ikon startled us with what it could grab grip from and on drier trails it’s a license to hit crazy lean angles with confidence.
If you keep the pressure reasonably high (30psi-plus) it’s fat enough to take on rockier trails without undue worrying and the EXO sidewall protection helps it shrug off scuffs okay for a cross-country tyre. We’ve not had any puncture problems on rockier, rougher trails up north, but a spell of farmtrack style riding down south was marred by thorn or other spike punctures. Maxxis tyres generally work well in Stan’s style tubeless systems though, so that’s an obvious solution.