The Maxxis Wetscream was originally designed for one of the muddiest downhill race tracks in the world – Les Gets in France. Back when it was first designed, DH bikes ( and all bikes!) were running on 26” wheels, but with times and wheel sizes changing, the wet weather specialist is now available for 29” wheels.
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Ross: “The Maxxis Wetscream was originally designed for one of the muddiest downhill race tracks in the world – Les Gets in France. Back then, downhill bikes (and all bikes!) were running on 26in wheels, and while wheel sizes and other bike tech has moved on, one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for proper shitty weather tyres.
“The Wetscream is designed for finding grip in the worst of conditions, when other tyres just clog or slide around, the tall narrow spikes of the Wetscream are designed to dig in, finding traction in properly crap conditions, but also shedding excess mud to keep them going. And they do.
“They’re definitely not for everyone and for every trail. If your trails are generally rocky then you want to look elsewhere. Likewise, if you ride perfectly groomed trails then again, look elsewhere. The builders won’t thank you for ripping them to bits.
“But, in the right conditions – when it’s properly wet, muddy and greasy – they excel. The majority of my local riding is pretty steep, and in the winter is greasy and slidey at the best of times, and the Wetscream does more than just make trails tolerable, it makes them fun. Drop in, weight the front, and it’s amazing what it gets you down and around. It might be pushing it a bit far to say it makes wet trails feel like they’re dry… but it’s not far off!”
Maxxis Wetscream review
Designed for maximum grip in the worst weather and trail conditions, Maxxis states the Wetscream is designed for race tracks and properly maintained tracks rather than your local trail centre. And to back this up, the Wetscream is only available in one variant – 29×2.5 3C MAXX GRIP DH casing.
MAXX GRIP is Maxxis’ grippiest compound combination, while the three 3C refers to the use of three different rubber compounds in the tyre. The MAXX GRIP compound uses a higher proportion of the softest rubber compound across the tyre to offer slower rebound properties and continued grip for gravity applications.
The DH casing is the toughest option offered by Maxxis and features a dual ply 60 tpi casing with a butyl insert for added protection. Lightweight cross country tyres these are not.
Coming in at just under 1200g, the Wetscream features widely spaced, tall and sharp square knobs or spikes, designed to dig into wet and sloppy ground offering up grip on the steepest of tracks. The knobs don’t feature any siping and the central and shoulder knobs are alternately spaced. The shoulder knobs benefit from big buttresses for added stability when cornering, with plenty of space in between to allow the knobs to dig deep and shed mud quickly.
While the size of the tyre is stated as 29 x 2.5, it certainly comes up smaller than Maxxis’ other 2.5 offerings such as the DHF or Assegai. Mounted to the same internal width rim the Wetscream comes up quite a bit narrower, but this is no bad thing considering its intended use.
During the test I’ve had the Wetscream set up on a couple of different wheels – a Newmen Advanced 30 and a Stan’s Flow S1 – and both on the front. Both have similar internal rim widths (Newmen – 30mm, Stan’s 29mm) and given the super tough casing, I ended up using a tyre lever on both rims just to get the final portion of the tyre on, but it was by no means difficult or a pain.
When fitting to both rims I used Stan’s sealant, and once seated on the rim, the tyre went up nice and easy with just a standard track pump and has stayed inflated and kept pressure well. For the duration of the test the tyre has been run around 23psi and once up to pressure the tyre has a good profile, with the knobs being really prominent.
Jumping on the bike for the first ride and looking down at the front tyre, the Wetscream certainly looks the business. The tall slim spikes look like they’ll dig through the filthiest and sloppiest of tracks to find grip.
And that grip is immediately noticeable. Pedalling to trails you can immediately feel that the Wetscream isn’t the fastest rolling tyre. Riding along tarmac and gravel roads and paths you can hear as much as feel the sticky compound gripping the surface. On one of the wheels that it was tested on the Wetscream was replaced by a Schwalbe Magic Mary and the difference in rolling resistance was apparent straight away.
But, and this is a key point, the Wetscream isn’t designed for pedalling miles and miles around cross country loops. Yes, you can do that, and it’s not that bad, but that’s not what it’s for. It’s for riding down the steepest, slipperiest, filthiest tracks you can find, and at that it’s not just good.. It’s really good.
Most of the riding I’ve done with the Maxxis Wetscream has been on steep hand cut trails – that’s what I have locally and with all the restrictions over the last couple of months I haven’t really been able to travel so have literally lapped my local tracks – a lot.
On these sort of properly steep, slick trails the Wetscream excels. The sharp, tall knobs dig through greasy mud offering grip in proper northern winter conditions, allowing you to actually pick braking points and control speed rather than just slithering and hoping. The wide spaced tread does a good job of clearing and shedding mud meaning that you trust the front to grip no matter how filthy things are getting.
The trails range from slick black mud, to clay, to wet loam and the Maxxis Wetscream has handled it all. You can pick a line across off camber sections or load the front and tip it into a corner like you would in the dry and it pretty much sticks..
OK, there’ll be times when you push it too far but 9 times out of 10 the tyre will grip and track, letting you get away with way more than you should in the slop. But just remember that you may not have that same ‘dry trail’ grip on the rear, as I found out on more than one occasion when getting over confident.
During the recent ‘proper winter’ conditions that we’ve had it’s also proved itself in both fresh snow and compacted snow. The slightly narrower profile that helps it dig into the mud also helps with the snow letting the Wetscream cut through searching for grip, and the widely spaced, sharp knobs do a good job of digging into compacted snow.
While it may not be designed for rocks, the Wetscream has offered up a decent amount of grip on the rockier trails that I’ve ridden it on. The super sticky compound does a good job of adding grip on fast chunky rock and the thick, heavy carcass adds a damped feeling to the front end. The performance on roots is also pretty good, with the wide spaced knobs and sticky rubber doing a decent job of clawing for traction.
In the right conditions the Maxxis Wetscream is my new favourite tyre. Yes, it’s draggy on anything that’s not pointing down and I certainly wouldn’t bother with it if I rode rocks or hard pack all the time – but I don’t.
For the trails it’s designed for though – properly steep and muddy – the Wetscream performs amazingly. It offers masses of grip and clears well letting you ride the steepest, greasiest, slitheriest trails in awful conditions, and actually ride them rather than just surviving.
|Product:||Wetscream 29x2.5 3C MAXX GRIP|
|Tested:||by Ross for 2|
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