The updated Maxxis Assegai get full marks for performance, grip and durability
Wherever you ride, Maxxis’s Assegai is a totally safe bet for aggressive riding. With its recently updated EXO+ casing proving more reliable and a better match for how hard you can push the tread.
EXO+ has been around for a few years now but sometimes came up short on protection and wasn’t entirely able to hack it in rocky areas of the UK or alpine hotspots. In fact, some riders even reckoned it was more puncture and damage-prone than the lighter EXO option.
In response, Maxxis completely re-engineered the casing with a claimed 50% more puncture resistance and up to 20% more protection from snakebite damage. This places it closer to DD than previously, yet the weight increase is no more than 5%.
Maxxis has achieved this by doubling the thickness of the casing fibres from 120TPI to 60TPI, and removing the old reinforcing SilkShield nylon breaker layer. The ‘EXO’ part remains and refers to a sidewall protection panel extending from bead to shoulder blocks to add support and protection in the zone with no tread blocks.
In addition, new EXO+ also adds a further butyl bumper around the bead that blunts and resists snakebite damage if the tyre gets bottomed out on the rim wall in a heavy impact. This final part is crucial to resist damage at a location where tyre plugs are difficult to install and usually ineffective.
New EXO+ feels slightly sturdier than previously, but there’s still a much more supple ride that deforms better over rocks and roots than the considerably heavier DD casings. Protection and damage resistance seems much superior to before, and we’ve now seen EXO+ do a full week’s foreign uplifted enduro riding; something the older construction would likely have struggled to manage.
Having this new casing bolted to the classic Assegai tread is a winning combination that will work for loads of riders on the front and bring a noticeable weight saving and also extra compliance over Double Down. Assegai obviously still packs constant levels of high grip at all lean angles (with a denser tread that fills in more blank spaces across the transitional shoulder zone than the Minion DHR II) and class leading hold in any casing or compound, compared to rival weight and rubber stickiness tyres.
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The Assegai boasts a near perfect shape too, with a flat enough crown to be really planted on the ground at speed and then seamlessly transition to fiercely pointing out edge blocks with araldite levels of bite and hold, even tipped right over. EXO+ is much improved then while the tread pattern is as dependable and versatile as ever. As such, the Assegai remains a brilliant year-round choice in the UK for a broad band of riding.