The Maxxcross IT rear tire surprised us with its ability to get increasingly better after the first several uses. Wearing off the sharp edges improved the grip on hard terrain without sacrificing much in the soft stuff.
There’s nothing better than a fresh rubber to really perk up your ride, except maybe for a pair of them! Our performance was really slacking off when it came time to get down and dirty, so we decided to get a better grip on things and ordered up a set of Maxxis tires. Pulling duty on the trails systems of the Northwest and then a brief stint at the Las Vegas EnduroCross guided our selection to the new Maxxcross IT rear and Maxxcross SX front.
Maxxcross IT Rear Tire
With only limited experience with the Maxxis lineup, we weren’t sure exactly what kind of meat to select for our 2007 Honda CRF450X Project Bike. Who better to walk us through the options than Maxxis Sales Representative Scott Newby? A few conversations about our favorite riding spots and the mixed terrain found on the AMA EnduroX courses dictated an intermediate terrain tire. The Maxxcross IT is the most recent design which was given a new knob design and different rubber compound than its predecessor.
Remembering how stiff the sidewalls were on the IT Desert Terrains we used a couple years ago, we were very happy to find that spooning this tire was much easier during mounting. The carcass felt good on absorbing sharp impacts which we discovered on our initial ride through our local trails. However, traction wasn’t the immediate success we were expecting. It actually took us longer than usual to get used to the handling characteristics. The level of hook-up was incredible when the ground was moist, and our clutch hand got a workout trying to reign in the bucking front end. However, performance on the drier end of the spectrum, or on smooth rock or de-barked logs was a little disappointing – but only at first. We slipped around quite a bit for the introductory outings, but once the edges wore down a bit the performance was much better during accelerating and braking, and kept improving! We were blown away with how this tire got better with age, but the improvements were mostly in straight-line performance. We never got quite as much traction as we were looking for with a decent amount of lean. The wear factor was very good as well which allowed us several hard rides that regularly smoke some of our favorite intermediate Dunlop and Bridgestone.
Maxxcross SX Front Tire
The SX front did just what we hoped on the rocky sections and it held up well to general riding use despite its bias towards hard terrain.
We’re fairly accustomed to using hard-terrain front tires where we ride, so choosing the Maxxcross SX didn’t worry us in the slightest. Plenty of our trails incorporate decomposed granite or are connected by gravel roads so a lower-profile, wider set of lugs is plenty competent. But, one of the real swaying factors over the recommended IT front was the fact that we wanted to try EnduroCross. Knowing that the rock pile and rock gardens would likely be some of the most challenging terrain, we wanted to ensure as much traction in those areas as possible – and the SX delivered.
The tire was designed for Supercross and Arenacross applications, but it was right at home during trail rides and was capable enough even when the soil turned mushy in a few spots. Cornering was good, though our Honda was never the most precise machine to begin with, cornering was good and the bite stayed pretty firm even when squirming through ruts or around flat turns. One particular area where the hard-terrain bias showed its weakness was on diagonal logs. Other than a tendency to slip on those we were confident with front end traction.
When Maxxis comes to mind it generally is associated in our brains with affordability, but both of the tires we tested retail for over $80. They aren’t exactly cheap, but the MSRP is right in the ballpark with the rest of the market. Also, in the long run they might wind up saving a few bucks thanks to their longevity. A bit of break-in time and some extra getting used to were our only negative comments, if you can even call them that. Maxxis has been expanding its support in off-road racing and the product line is growing as well. These meats aren’t the Holy Grail of tire performance, but they do a really solid job at a wide variety of tasks, the price is right and they’ll last a long time. That’s a winning formula for most riders.
Product: Maxxis Maxxcross IT Rear and SX Front Tire
Sizes: IT Rear: 12-19″ rim, SX Front: 21″ rim
MSRP: IT Rear: $85.95; SX Front: $80.99