The WetScream is an old tyre that’s been recently reissued in 29in size with a few tweaks to differentiate it from the existing 27.5/26in ‘Screams. The tweaks: a folding bead, tubeless ready, and the rubber is now 3C Maxx Grip.
You used to see Maxxis WetScream tyres more frequently than you do in recent times. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, World Cup downhill tracks are different these days. There’s less fresh-cut and/or open grassy sections. Tracks are much firmer and more established. Secondly, Maxxis and other brands have come out with newer, more all-round capable wet weather tyres. Is there still a place for the WetScream? The answer is: arguably not.
Don’t get me wrong, the WetScream still does exactly what it was designed to do; slice through utter filth and scream across grassy off-piste open cambers. The thing is, I’m not sure many mountain bikers ride that sort of stuff much these days. Mainly because we don’t have to. And where that sort of terrain is unavoidable, we don’t really want to be stuck with a mud spike for the rest of the day’s riding. As well as a spike being a leg-killing drag, they are infamously unpredictable on firmer surfaces as well as roots and rocks. The WetScream will always remain a cult tyre. Particularly in provincial and national level downhill races (that still feature more than their fair share of fresh-cut filth).
Perhaps the final nail in the World Cup coffin for the WetScream is the recent announcement of the Maxxis Shorty 2. Unlike the first generation Shorty, the new Shorty does actually resemble a cut down mud spike. A cut down WetScream was always something that World Cup racers had in their last resort tyre pile for when things turned biblically rainy. Now that the Shorty appears to do that job, is the writing on the wall for the WetScream? Maybe not for the cheaper 27.5in version, but I can’t think of many riders/ racers who’ll be up for spending £75 on such a niche tyre.