The pure grip of the Maxxis Assegai is unquestionable. There’s a less on/off and almost relaxed feel in turns compared to the iconic Minion DHR II.
Maxxis Assegai is the signature tyre of Greg Minnaar. Named after a Zulu spear, it’s designed to cut through dust and loam on the toughest DH tracks.
When we reviewed the Maxxis Assegai in late 2018, it was only available in a heavy, double-ply, downhill casing. That’s since changed, and it’s now sold in EXO, EXO+, DD and DH versions, and either Maxx Grip, Maxx Terra or Dual compounds.
It’s been almost two years since we first rode it now, and our favourite model has become the Maxx Terra, EXO+ version here that uses a reinforced, single-ply, construction, and slightly harder rubber compound. Being a bit lighter, and using a different tread block blend, accelerates the DH tyre’s super-slow rolling speed, yet still provides incredible grip.
The Assegai fills in some blanks on its grip channel with extra toothy knobs, so there’s less dead space than most Maxxis patterns. The tread isn’t as open as some, so in very sticky clay and mud it doesn’t clear like a dedicated mud tyre, but that’s about the limit of the Assegai’s negatives in terms of grip. Everywhere else – whether loose soil or hardpack, dust or grease – traction is class-leading.
Jutting out at sharp angles, the tall edge blocks are very aggressive, and heavily siped like the central tread. They dig in and don’t let go, and there’s an extremely consistent feel all the way onto the side knobs, which means grip is really easy to judge, to the extent we’re struggling to think of a single occasion in hundreds of rides where the tyre has let us down unexpectedly.
The Assegai lays down a lot of rubber for good comfort, yet balances support with suppleness and trail feedback, so you can always feel the ground at all lean angles. It’s super stable under braking, and also under the hardest loads if you really weight the front tyre charging into broken up corners or rutted berms.
The Assegai’s pure grip is beyond doubt then, but even in the lighter casings it rolls slower than most equivalent weight tyres. This lends calmness and is fantastic on the front end, but unless you’re really charging downhill all the time and want ultimate control, a faster rolling rear might be preferable. This is the grippiest, most controlled tyre on the market though, so we’ve upped the score to a maximum 10 now more casing options exist.