Guest review on Maxxis Aspen tires by MTB Pro Ryan Ellis-
In the later months of 2009, Maxxis came to the market with a tire that they claimed to have developed with the help of Geoff Kabush. They called it the Maxxis Aspen, and said it was a fast, light and aggressive cross country tire.
Now, I obviously can’t say whether or not Geoff really sat there deciding which knobs to put where, or just did the usual ‘smile for the cameras’ type tire test for the media.
But I can quite easily say that I’ve had some time to put the Maxxis Aspen tires to the test, and here’s what I’ve found…
On first impression this tire makes a lot of sense.
It has small, ramped knobs down the center, and then some tremendously huge motocross-style knobs sticking out like the sideburns down either side of Geoff’s face.
What this means to you is that while you’re riding in a straight line sitting upright, you’ve got very little grip. And with low grip comes low rolling resistance…which is exactly what you want!
Then as you come screaming into a corner at twice the speed you should be, locking up the wheels and laying the bike right over, again…you get exactly what you want.
Those sideburns bite down like a pit bull and you’re overwhelmed by that awesome feeling you get when you come precariously close to crashing your brains out, and then escape unscathed.
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So it’s fast when you need it to be, and it’s grippy when you need it to be. It’s also cheap, which you always need it to be; I got mine for around $45 each. That’s about half the price of a similar Bontrager or Specialized, without any compromise in quality.
I pushed my training pair to more than 4000 km without a single puncture…but then the side walls started to fall apart.
A word of caution…if you’re buying the 2.1 tire, there are two almost identical versions.
One weighs 470g and the other 530g. Presumably the 530g version is slightly more robust, making it ideal for heavier riders, or for use as a training tire, if you’re a lightweight.
Don’t break your wallet out just yet though, the Aspen does have a few things going against it.
What I’ve noticed it that in almost every way, when this tire fails, it fails bad.
Because the ‘side burn’ side knobs have been laid out in such a straight line, there is a definite limit to how far you can lean the tire over before it loses grip. You can have all the grip in the world; but lean it over another inch and you’ll have none at all.
It gives in with no warning…no gradual slide, telling you that you’re leaning too far or turning too hard.
One second you’ll be railing smoothly through a fast flowing corner, the next second your face will be full of twigs and dirt, and you’ll have no idea what just happened.
How Does The Maxxis Aspen Tire Do With Mud And Rocks?
There are the two things that this tire is really terrible at. Mud and sharp rocks.
The mud problem isn’t too catastrophic. It feels very icy when you get on the brakes, and if the front tire starts to slide you’ll be eating twigs and dirt again. The problem is that the Aspen sits up on top of the mud instead of cutting through it like a cyclocross tire. When you lean it over though, those side burns will kick in and you’ll be fine.
But the rock problem can be quite catastrophic. In order to make the tire so light without taking off all of the knobs, Maxxis has made the side walls paper thin. This is fine when the riding’s smooth, or if you’re smart enough to be careful.
But you’re a mountain biker, so the riding isn’t smooth…and you’re not careful.
It doesn’t take too much of an impact to make an enormous gash in the tire, after which you might as well call it a day.
My conclusion then? This is an all out cross country tire. It’s very, very versatile, until you hit a rocky downhill, at which point you may find yourself walking home. If you’re under 130 pounds, and don’t have too many rocks where you live though, the Maxxis Aspen tires’ll be great.
===>Buy Maxxis Aspen Tires From Amazon Here<===
Ryan Ellis Bio
Having grown up in Zambia, a small country in central Africa that most people don’t know about, Ryan Ellis made the move to South Africa in 2008 to have a bash at professional cycling. Only 16 years old at the time, he had more ambition than talent; but got picked up by a small pro road team.
At the end of 2009 he moved back to the discipline he grew up on, mountain biking. He found success pretty quickly; soon getting on to Team Jeep South Africa, which is the team he races for currently; living the dream that he had of being a professional athlete.
In addition to his review on Maxxis Aspen tires, you can read about his adventures in pro cycling on his blog at http://ryanellismtb.blogspot.com/
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