In Issue #114 of Singletrack Magazine, we gave James Vincent ten pairs of high-tech tubeless trail tyres to test and review
To keep testing consistent, we tested all tyres in a 27.5in size, and in a width between 2.3-2.4in. As part of that group test, we rated all ten tyres according to several key performance characteristics including wet weather traction, dry condition grip, predictability, speed, long term wear, durability, and ease of setup. And because some tyres are best suited for use on the front or on the rear, we gave our evaluation for each tyre to let you know where each one performs best. At the end of the test period, we then presented four separate awards; Best Winter Tyre, Best Summer Tyre, Most Durable Tyre, and Best All Rounder Tyre.
Winner Of Best All Rounder: Maxxis High Roller II 3C Maxx Terra Tyre
A stone-cold classic of the modern era, the Maxxis High Roller II has a solid reputation as a go-to tyre for most conditions, offering a great balance of grip, control, braking, and rolling resistance. Weighing in at 906g (pretty much bang on the claimed weight of 915g), the tyres feature a 60tpi tubeless ready EXO casing and folding Kevlar bead, with three progressively softer rubber compounds making up the tread. There’s a harder 70a compound at the base, 50a in the centre for traction and braking, and a soft 42a compound on the edges for enhanced cornering grip. The aggressive and square tread is a subtle but effective revision of the old High Roller (a classic in its own right) – carefully shaped and siped centre knobs give way to big chunky side knobs designed to offer exceptional cornering traction in looser conditions and a smoother transition onto the tyre shoulder than the original.
Cornering on the front is amazing when leant over onto that edge, especially in looser and sloppier conditions, and it only got squirrely when combined with steep upright braking or cornering. Otherwise it holds its line well, and that edge is great when you’re on it. If you don’t lean the tyre over assertively while riding on harder trail surfaces, there is the risk it’ll just go straight instead of making the turn. Push the tyre down onto those cornering blocks, however, and the High Roller II hooks in well. Braking control on the front was good, only giving up in steep slop when most tyres that aren’t a dedicated mud spike would struggle.
As a rear tyre it’s fantastic, offering lots of grip, while the good tread pattern claws up and over most surfaces without causing too much drag. What drag there is becomes only really noticeable on tarmac, and is not an issue at all when you’re having fun. There is more resistance than a Hans Dampf for example, but the High Roller II is a more confidence-inspiring tyre both front and rear.
Riding in the north Lakes, we ran higher pressures (more so than normal) throughout the test (27 psi at the front, 32 at the back), to compensate for the relatively unsupportive sidewalls and to prevent burping. On our third ride, we managed to put a significant hole in the rear tyre, and although it went back up with an anchovy and stayed sealed for the remainder of the test, if you are particularly hard on tyres, we would recommend that you consider the new Double Down version for extra protection. It might weigh more but it is a lot more durable, and for this tester at least the whole point of tubeless is less faff and more riding time, though unless you’re pummelling hard rocky trails or schralping in the Alps, for most riders and UK trail conditions, the EXO version is more than durable enough.
The tyres popped up tubeless first time, using just a track pump on both Stan’s Flow EX and DT EX471 rims, and other than putting a hole in the rear sidewall, they didn’t burp or lose pressure throughout the duration of the test. Finally, wear was slightly higher than average, but then again we were running the softer of the 3C compounds available and this is a small price to pay for the grip on offer.
There’s a reason why these tyres are so prevalent, and that’s because they offer a near perfect balance of traction, cornering confidence and flexibility. They’ll do a near enough brilliant job of keeping you upright in all but the worst conditions, and with the extensive Maxxis range there’s guaranteed to be a casing and compound to suit your local trails.
|Product:||High Roller II EXO 3C Maxx Terra 27.5x2.4in Tyre|
|Tested:||by James Vincent for 4 months|