Ben has been testing the most recent casing offered by tyre giants Maxxis in the form of the EXO+ casing on the Assegai, Rekon and Minion treads.
The Maxxis EXO+ casing might well be the answer to any aggressive rider who doesn’t want to run Maxxis’ full blown downhill casing.
Maxxis are probably the biggest name in MTB tyres right now with the majority of my test bikes coming with a set of Maxxis Minions fitted in some form or another. You may also notice that I often complain about lightweight EXO tyre casings on long travel enduro bikes, preferring the extra weight and security of a Double Down casing.
This is where the EXO+ casing comes in, sitting just between the light weight EXO and the heavy hitting Double Down, could this be the ultimate UK do it all tyre casing?
I was sent a pair of 29” Minion DHF and DHR 2 in as well as a fast rolling Maxxis Rekon rear tyre. More recently I also got my hands on a 27.5” Assegai that I have been running as the trails got soggier into the darker months.
What is EXO+?
The new casing takes the existing EXO tyre and adds a new layer to the inside of the carcass. Called Silk Shield, it adds about 80g to the tyre’s weight depending on model and size and according to Maxxis it provides the following benefits…
27% increase in puncture protection in the tread area.
51% increase in sidewall durability.
28% increase in pinch flat resistance.
That all sounds very impressive, especially for only an 80g weight penalty and about £5 more expensive.
On the trails
First impressions are that they feel closer to an EXO casing than Double Down in terms of weight and getting them up to speed. Once up to speed there is a slight improvement in corner support over the lighter EXO casing tyres that I often ride on test bikes. You still have to run similar pressures to EXO tyres as the sidewall is not that much thicker.
They do not mute the trail quite as much as a Double Down with very low pressure, but do grip and conform nicely to the trail just as you would expect from a Maxxis in 3C Max Terra compound.
During testing I have only had one puncture that was on the rear Rekon in 29”. It was a dry, fast and rocky trail that has claimed many wheels and tyres in the past. It cut the carcass between the tread and would not seal despite having fresh Stan’s Race Sealant. Once plugged it was fine for the rest of the ride and was useable for the rest of the summer months. It is hard to say if Double Down would have survived this heavy rock strike or not, I suspect that it may have punctured also, but maybe not as badly.
What do we think?
In my opinion, this is what bike companies need to be speccing on aggressive trail and enduro bikes. It is a great compromise between weight and increased performance for basically the same price. It makes EXO almost redundant apart from XC types and the lightest riders who may not need the added protection.
EXO+ is a decent step forward in tyre performance and technology and it would be my go to choice of Maxxis casing for UK riding. When heading to rocky trails or bike parks I would probably fit a tyre insert for added protection and if I was heading to the Alps or similar I would probably take a Double Down rear tyre for added peace of mind and reduced faff.
Low weight to toughness ratio
Don’t have to choose between EXO and Double Down
Could do better:
Check out the full Maxxis EXO+ range on their website here.