Following on from last time when we looked at the puncture protection options available across the Maxxis tyre range, in this final post we’ll look at the various rubber compounds used, the differences between them and why you might want to pick one over another.
Perhaps the most important element of any good tyre is the rubber used to construct it. The tread pattern could be the absolute best, but if the rubber is too hard, the tyre won’t be able to provide the grip needed or if the compound is too soft, will cause the tyre to wear out too quickly. By altering the formula for their rubber, Maxxis can create two tyres which look identical but perform very differently. Maxxis tyres come in three compound options; single compound, dual compound and triple compound.
Single compound tyres are constructed using the same compound of rubber throughout the whole tyre. Depending on the compound used, the tyre can be optimized for longevity – such as in a road training tyre that will cover thousands of miles in a season, or performance – as used in their single compound, super tacky downhill tyres which use a slow rebound rubber to give the best traction possible but at the expense of durability.
It’ll be no surprise then that dual compound tyres are created using two different rubber compounds. By layering different types of rubber across the tyre tread, Maxxis are able to build a tyre with firmer rubber in the centre knobs to improve rolling resistance and softer rubber in the cornering knobs to give better grip when carving through turns.
Lastly, triple compound tyres are the ultimate, no compromise option for those looking to get the very best from their tyres. On the road side, this translates into a tyre costructed from three individual silica compounds placed strategically in different areas across the tyre. At the centre, a firmer rubber provides exceptional tread wear and low rolling resistance. As you move towards the edges, zones of progressively softer rubber provides increasing levels of grip as the tyre is leaned over more aggressively. This make up provides the ultimate tyre for those seeking the highest levels of performance from their tyres.
For MTB tyres, Maxxis has created three unique versions of their triple compound tyres. It’s similar to the 3C used on the road side, but this time the layers are arranged directly on top of one another across the whole tread area. At the base is a harder, longer lasting rubber with two layers of successively softer rubber placed on top. To denote the varying amounts of rubber in each area, Maxxis have branded their triple compound MTB tyres as MaxxGrip, MaxxTerra and MaxxSpeed.
MaxxGrip is as the name suggests, Maxxis’ grippiest rubber. When it comes to making a tyre as grippy as possible, durability and rolling resistance sit in the back seat and absolute performance sits in the front seat. For this reason, MaxxGrip is only found on a select number of tyres – typically DH specific casings. Don’t expect a MaxxGrip tyre to last long, all that grip comes at the expense of durability.
At the opposite end of the scale is MaxxSpeed. The focus here switches from out and out traction and instead rates a lower rolling resistance over sheer grip – but thanks to the 3C lay up, a MaxxSpeed tyre still provides sufficient grip from the softer shoulder knobs. With lower rolling resistance, MaxxSpeed is commonly found on more XC orientated tyres.
Lastly MaxxTerra is perhaps the goldilocks compound in the 3C line up. It represents the best compromise between the grip of MaxxGrip and the lower rolling resistance of MaxxSpeed. MaxxTerra offers more grip than MaxxSpeed and better durability than MaxxGrip. It’s available across the majority of Maxxis’ MTB tyre range. It’s an ideal compound for a wide range of riding styles and trail conditions.
Not all tread patterns are manufactured in all sizes, compounds and casings. So once you’ve determined your rim width, then decide which of the the other features which are most important to you and you’ll find a tyre, but accept that the perfect tyre will always be the tyre with the smallest compromise!
And that’s all there is…!