Full marks for the Forekaster - one of the best all-round downcountry tyres that versatile enough for year-round UK use
The Maxxis Forekaster has been around for years, but isn’t normally seen on complete bikes, where the Minion, Dissector or Rekon usually feature. With a low profile, fast-rolling spikey tread, the old version was a wet weather/mixed conditions tyre for aggressive XC riding and a bit of trail riding that we always got on pretty well with. The original version offered a load of grip in all kinds of conditions (up to quite loose) considering how fast rolling it was, but it wasn’t as cushioned as some trail tyres.
This latest version tweaks the remit and also the tread by adding beef and height to blocks as well as a subtle centre lug redesign. There’s extra volume in the carcass and a (less subtle) reshaping of shoulder blocks, which are now continuous, rather than alternating/offset previously, and also a fair bit pointier and more angular.
The new Forekaster sits in the Maxxis range between more specific XC and trail tyres like the Rekon and the less aggressive end of the DH/Enduro line up like the Dissector. We’ve tried both the slightly lighter EXO Forekaster and a new e-bike rated EXO+ version that’s a brilliant rear option, as it’s only marginally heavier, but much tougher; Maxxis claims way more puncture resistance and being up to 20% less prone to snakebite damage than the older EXO + lay-up.
Very fast rolling and quick to turn and accelerate, the Forekaster feels close to an XC tyre, but punches way above its weight in terms of grip in all conditions. It works great at both ends and you can really lean on the edges to dig and cut in, it holds aggressive lines on off-camber sections and finds traction on loads of surfaces from slime right through to bone dry.
This new version is way more comfortable and damped than previously, which is a big bonus, and there’s less of the spiny, hard feel that transmitted too many small bumps and vibrations into your hands and feet. This was particularly noticeable at the harder pressures required of lighter weight tyres. The new tyre is such an impressive all-rounder in fact, we’d be surprised if more brands don’t take advantage of its assets on 120-140mm bikes where it works perfectly, and we expect to see it more frequently on new bikes going forward.
As a year-round UK trail tyre, the Forekaster has enough hold in the slime but also rolls along rapidly to save energy compared to knobblier treads. It runs marginally faster and is lighter for climbing than the Dissector too, a tyre many riders have been using as a speedy trail option.
Check out the alternatives in our guide to the best mountain bike tyres: all-rounders and terrain-specific rubber. If you’re looking to update your bike, also take a look at the best mountain bike groupsets – save weight, boost performance.
This is an excellent reworking of an already good tyre that marries Maxxis’s trusted compounds and construction with a new design that adds next level comfort, damping and control. The Forekaster is now one of our go-to down-country choices that you can leave on all year long. There’s enough rubber and grip for the majority of UK riders in less gnarly areas too., the only caveat being that (typically for Maxxis) the price is very high.