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Maxxis Tyres - Everything you need to know

March 22, 2016

Like most tyre brands, Maxxis use a lot of technologies that all have their own special names. It can be a bit confusing for the uninitiated, so let's dig in and figure this out!


The Makeup Of A Tyre

There are 4 main elements that form a tyre:

  • The bead
  • The casing
  • The tread compound
  • The tread pattern.

Let's look a bit deeper at each of these.


The Bead

This is the part that locks into the rim when inflated. The different versions of bead that Maxxis make are:

  • Wire Bead – This is the cheapest and heaviest, but also the most robust. While technically not a Tubeless Ready bead, because the wire inside is quite stiff they are actually very easy to make tubeless.
  • Kevlar Folding – Also known as a folding bead, as the tyre is foldable. Kevlar beads are more expensive to manufacture, but save a good chunk of weight and are still very tough. This is not a tubeless ready bead and we don't recommend trying.
  • TR Kevlar Folding – TR stands for Tubeless Ready. This is the same as the kevlar folding, but the rubber around the Kevlar is shaped in such a way that it creates a seal against the rim when inflated. TR tyres need to run a liquid sealant to ensure they remain tubeless.



This is the carcass of the tyre and refers to everything from bead to bead, except the tread. There are quite a few different versions of casing available from Maxxis, as it is largely responsible for how much a tyre weighs and how tough it is.

Before we get into the different types of casings, we should talk about another technical term called TPI (Threads Per Inch). Most Maxxis Tyres are either 60 TPI or 120 TPI. The higher 120 TPI casing is lighter, thinner and will be able to better conform to the shape of the terrain. However, the 60 TPI casing is more resistant to puncture, abrasions and cuts. The different types of casings are (in order from lightest to heaviest):

  • eXCeption Series – This is a casing that is specifically designed for Cross Country racers, with a single 120 TPI layer making it super light. It's largely been superseeded by the EXO casing though as it's not very tough.
  • Single Ply – This is the basic casing, with one 60 TPI layer.
  • EXOEXO is most popular with cross country, trail riders and light duty all mountain riders. It's a single 60 TPI (generally) layer mated with an additional layer of abrasion and cut resistant material. The additional layer is extremely light, and remains very flexible, so the comfort and flexibility of the casing remains extremely good.

  • EXO Plus + – Combines two of the Maxxis puncture protection materials: SilkShield and EXO. The SilkShield layer runs from bead-to-bead with a layer of EXO along the sidewalls. Combined, these two materials create EXO+ which gives a 27% increase in puncture protection under the tread, a 51% increase in sidewall durability and a 28% increase in resistance to pinch flats when compared to the regular EXO protection. There is a small weight penalty of around 70g per tyre.

  • Double Down (DD) - The newest casing in the Maxxis range. Double Down is designed specifically for enduro and heavy duty all mountain riders. It features 2 x 120TPI layers to give both great strength and puncture/abrasion resistance, but the casing still conforms to the terrain very well. This also has a Butyl rubber insert that stretches from the bead up the sidewall to offer ultimate pinch flat resistance.

  • Dual Ply – Also known as Downhill casing, this is 2 x 60TPI layers. It also has a Butyl insert stretching from the bead up the sidewall. This makes a huge difference in pinch flat protection, while also supporting the sidewall of the tyre.

  • Silkworm – While this isn't a casing type in its own right, it can be added into a casing. Silkworm is an additional layer that is only located under the tread of the tyre. It is there to stop spikes, thorns or sharp rocks from penetrating through the tread.


Tread Compound

Tread compound refers to the durometer (softness) of the tyre. Durometer is symbolised with an "a"; the lower the number, the softer the rubber compound. Maxxis make a lot of different tread compounds, and they use either single, dual and triple compounds of rubber:

  • Single Compound – The same compound the whole way over the tyre tread.
  • Dual Compound – This is when the side knobs are made of a softer rubber for better cornering grip, and the centre knobs are a harder compound for better wear life and lower rolling resistance.
  • Triple Compound – Also known as 3C, this is when the base of the knobs are a firm rubber so the knobs hold their shape better, then the side knobs are covered in a soft compound for ultimate cornering grip, and a medium compound is used over the centre tread to lower rolling resistance and improve longevity. Maxxis make 3 different 3C compounds (outlined below).


From hardest to softest tread compound, Maxxis produce:

  • Single Compound - 70a Durometer the firmest compound for maximum tread life, and super low rolling resistance.
  • eXCeption – A 62a Rubber compound perfect for cross-country race bikes.
  • MaxxPro – A 60a rubber predominately used as a long life gravity bike tyre.
  • Dual Compound– 51a/60a - A 51a rubber compound on the side knobs with a 60a rubber on the centre knobs.
  • 3C Maxx Speed- 72a/60a/62a - These feature 72a rubber at the base of the knobs with 60a on the side knobs and 62a on the centre tread. This offers the lowest rolling resistance for cross-country bikes.

  • 3C Maxx Terra- 70a/42a/50a – 70a as the base for all the knobs, with 42a rubber on the tops of the side knobs and 50a rubber on the tops of the centre knobs. Designed for trail and all mountain.

  • 3C Maxx Grip- 70a/40a/42a – 70a rubber makes up the base of all the knobs with 40a rubber on the side knobs and 42a rubber on the centre tread. Ultimate grip on gravity-focused bikes.

  • Super Tacky – 42a rubber all over – largely found on Downhill and gravity focused bikes. This is a very soft, slow rebounding rubber. While it doesn't provide the precise feel of the 3C Maxx Grip, it is still a very grippy tyre.


Tread Pattern

The different tread patterns are what give Maxxis tyres their names. Maxxis make a huge range of tread patterns to suit just about everything!

Maxxis have also just released a new range of tyres that are specifically designed to fit on to rims with a width of 35mm or more, designated Wide Trail or WT. These are not replacing any of the current range, but are simply to run in conjunction with the rest of the range. The benefits of these Wide Trail tyres on 35mm+ width rims is that the cornering knobs are better supported and sit slightly closer to the centre line.

To view the different range of Maxxis tread patterns, click here.

For more info on choosing the correct tyre for your mountain bike, click here.

If you have any questions, hit us up in the comments! We'd love to hear from you.

Meet Tim!

After a brief hiatus living in Canada, Tim is back on our sunny shores and loving it! Tim loves anything on two wheels but favours steep, gravity fed technical trails. He has spent almost his entire working life in the industry, as former owner of an iconic MTB store in Brisbane and now stock manager for Mountain Bikes Direct.