The pure grip is unquestionable
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.
The Maxxis Assegai is only available in Wide Trail 2.5in size with a thick double-ply casing currently, although more flavours are coming soon.
Many of Maxxis’ most popular tyre designs are based on definite cornering strips or gaps between edge blocks and centre treads, but the Assegai fills in the blanks on the shoulder with extra toothy knobs, so there’s less dead space. It also has taller tread blocks, more like a Shorty, making it look a bit of mashed-up mud tyre with tighter knob spacing so it can work in the dry too.
Jutting out at sharp angles, the edge blocks are very aggressive, and as heavily siped as the central tread. The whole package is ride tuned by Greg to work from blown out dirt and rocks, right up to muddy ground, and ‘give a very consistent feel all the way onto the side knobs’.
From the first ride, the Assegai’s pure grip is unquestionable. There’s a less on/off and almost relaxed feel in turns compared to the iconic Minion DHR II, and the Assegai feels noticeably heavier and slower too – rolling everywhere a bit less sprightly in the same rubber blend. This lends calmness, but on the 29-er enduro (rather than downhill) bike I used it on, it feels a fraction harder to be really active on the bike. I’d explain this as less urgency accelerating or when really squaring off turns, since the tyre wants to ‘rail’ rather than ‘cut‘ – this may be due purely to the tread pattern or as a result of increased gyroscopic forces as well.
The taller Assegai knobs handle mixed conditions really well and bite sharply in mud, but also get blocked in stickier soils quicker than a more open tyre. Double Down models with a thinner casing have been spotted in the wild already, and while I love the awesome grip here, I can’t wait to get my hands on some slightly lighter and easier to drag round versions of this tyre for the kind of riding I’m into.