Due to the Maxxlite’s very pliable casing, we settled on
tire pressures a few psi higher than we had been running in
our stiffer, larger-volume tires. On the trail, we found the
Maxxlite tires’ success to be very dependent on the conditions. With low knobs and a small casing, the Maxxlite is best suited for hardpack and smooth dirt. On hardpack
trails with no loose dirt on top, the Maxxlites absolutely fly.
Acceleration is noticeably quicker, and once up to speed, the
Maxxlites seem to maintain their momentum effortlessly.
While the Maxxlites excel in the right conditions, there
are many more trail conditions where their minimalist design is a big drawback. Once off the hardpack, the
Maxxlite’s low knobs don’t offer much traction for cornering, climbing or braking. Also, even with the Silkworm layer
under the tread, there is not much to the sidewalls, which
means that they wouldn’t get along very well with a rocky
The Maxxlite’s low-volume and super-supple casing also
has some quirks. To keep the soft casing from folding in
corners, we had to run a bit more pressure than we would
have liked. The alternative would be taking corners a bit
easier, but this is not always an option and certainly not
something we’d want to think about in the heat of a race.
With the higher air pressure and lower volume, this tire is
not very forgiving. Thankfully, our full-suspension Scalpel
helped offset this, but the Maxxlite would not be our first
choice on a hardtail, unless we were racing primarily on
smooth dirt roads.
Maxxis is very clear that the Maxxlite is designed to be an
incredibly fast tire for specific cross-country race conditions,
and within that scope, Maxxis hits the mark. If you are
racing on trail surfaces that play to the Maxxlites’ strengths,
they will make your bike feel supercharged off the starting