Maxxis Aggressor Tire

Noah Bodman reviews the Maxxis Aggressor for Blister gear Review.
Maxxis Aggressor Tire

Maxxis Aggressor

Stated Width: 29” x 2.3”

Measured Dimensions:

• 56 mm (2.2”) knob width
• 55 mm (2.17”) casing width on a 26mm internal width rim

Stated Features:

  • EXO Casing
  • Dual Compound
  • Tubeless Ready

Blister’s Measured Weight: 900 grams

MSRP: $62

Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs

Mounted to: Evil Following, Enve M60 HV wheels

Intended Use: all-around performance

Test Duration: 20 rides

Test Locations: Whitefish, MT; Fernie, BC

The Aggressor is a new tire in Maxxis’ lineup, and I’ve been spending a decent amount of time on it this spring on my Evil Following. The Aggressor is a fairly knobby, trail-oriented tire, and I’ve been comparing it to some of my other favorite tires in the Maxxis lineup such as the High Roller II and the family of Minions (SS, DHF, DHR II). Here’s my take on how the Aggressor stacks up to those old standbys.

Design and Construction

For the time being, the Aggressor is only available in a 2.3” width for both 29” and 27.5” wheels. Maxxis offers it in both the Exo casing (which I rode) and their newer DoubleDown casing. For those unfamiliar, the Exo is a single-ply casing with extra material added to the sidewalls to help prevent cuts and tears, but the tire remains fairly compliant and is not as heavy. The DoubleDown casing is burlier all around, and is more like a light-duty downhill tire. The DoubleDown gains about 200 g over the Exo version, and I’d really only recommend it to riders that have trouble with punctures and sidewall tears.

All versions of the Aggressor come in Maxxis’ “dual compound,” and while Maxxis doesn’t specify a numerical durometer, it means there’s a firmer rubber in the middle that’ll last longer and roll a bit faster, and a softer rubber on the side knobs to help out with grip.

You can categorize tires by tread pattern in a few ways, but generally speaking, I divide knobby tires into two types: those that have transitional knobs, and those that don’t. By transitional knobs, I mean knobs between the center knobs and the side knobs.

The upside of transitional knobs is that they can provide some traction in mild corners, and they create a tire that doesn’t lose traction as the bike is tipped over from upright to leaned in on a corner. The downside of transitional knobs is that they effectively take pressure off of the side knobs, and thus decrease the total limit of the tire’s cornering traction. Since the transitional knobs bear some load, they prevent the side knobs from really digging in and gripping as hard as they could.

Back to the Aggressor — it doesn’t have any transitional knobs in the way that a Maxxis Ardent, Kenda Nevegal, or WTB Vigilante do. The Aggressor has a defined, knobless channel between the center row of knobs and the side knobs.

The center knobs on the Aggressor are blocky and squared off, and they’re spaced semi-tightly. All of the center knobs are siped, but not all of the sipes run in the same direction. The side knobs on the Aggressor bear a little bit of similarity to the High Roller II — they alternate between a fairly rectangular block and an “L” shaped block, all of which are siped. The “L” shaped block, which is found on a lot of Maxxis tires, creates a little pocket to help braking while the bike is leaned over.

Noah Bodman reviews the Maxxis Aggressor for Blister gear Review.
Noah Bodman on the Maxxis Aggressor.

I measure the Aggressor to be a bit narrower than other Maxxis 2.3” tires. While the Aggressors measure 56 mm at their widest point, a 2.3” Highroller II on the same rim measures 57 mm, and a 2.3” DHR II measure almost 59 mm. The casing measurement follows the same trend; the Aggressor is the narrowest of the three.

Mounting and Setup

All versions of the Aggressor are dubbed “TR” or “Tubeless Ready” by Maxxis. I mounted them up on the Enve M60 HV rims with about 2 oz of my homebrew sealant, and everything went together super easily. I didn’t need any tools to get them on the rim, and I was able to seat them with a standard floor pump. I also tried mounting them on the Reynolds Enduro 29 wheelset and had similar results.

I’ve been running them at 28 psi in the rear and 25 psi in the front, which is about what I run most 2.3” tires on my Evil. Since mounting them, I haven’t had any problems losing air or burping.

The Ride

To start, I mounted the Aggressors on both front and rear. For reference, the tires I had mounted immediately prior to the Aggressors were the 2.3″ DHF / DHR II, which is one of the better combinations of 2.3” tires if maximum traction is the goal.

Right off the bat, two things were pretty clear. First, the Aggressors roll noticeably faster than the DHF / DHR II combo, and second, the Aggressors don’t serve up quite as much traction overall. The Aggressors were a little quicker to break loose in a corner, they didn’t hook up on the climbs quite as well, and they didn’t dig in quite as well under hard braking.

But all that said, the Aggressors were never ill-behaved. When they broke loose in a corner, they telegraphed it nicely. The limit of the tire’s traction was entirely predictable, which meant I could push them into corners and know exactly what was going to happen.

The transition from the center knobs to the side knobs on the Aggressor is a little less abrupt than on the DHF or DHR II — on those tires, I find that there is a pretty distinct lean angle where the center knobs stop doing much, and there’s a similarly distinct point on the Aggressor where the side knobs all of a sudden catch and dig in, On the DHF and DHR II  and there’s a decent amount of the gap between those points, and the tire drifts a fair amount through that transition.

The Aggressor’s transition from center knobs to side knobs is a bit less distinct than the Minion; the lean angle where the center knobs stop hooking up and the angle where the side knobs start hooking up is a bit closer. This makes it a little easier to roll them into a turn gradually, but it also means that the maximum traction that the tire generates is a little less.

As far as conditions, most of my time on the Aggressors has been in forgiving, loamy dirt. I’ve also had them on a decent amount of hardpack, gravel and some mud. Thus far, the only condition where I wasn’t a fan of them was in the mud — the tighter spacing on the knobs tended to pack up a bit.

A Note on Front vs. Rear

I spent time on the Aggressor mounted front and rear, and also as a rear only mated to a knobbier tire in the front like the DHF. While the Aggressor worked okay in the front, I preferred it on the rear, paired with a meatier front tire. The Aggressor breaks loose just a little bit easier than the DHF, which gives the bike a bit of understeer that’s kind of nice to have in loose soils. I like it when my rear tire breaks loose a little before the front, because when the front breaks loose first, I crash.

NEXT: Comparisons, Durability, Etc.

16 comments on “Maxxis Aggressor Tire”

  1. Perfect Review – the comparisons are very good…I know most of the tires.
    My “tire dream team” since this year is Bontrager SE5 29 front and Michelin Wildrock R2 back 29. (both with latextubes against burping on EX471 rims) You should try this combo…..

    • Noah, I love your tire reviews. They’re detailed, and the paragraph-long comparisons to other tires really add the most value of any tire review out there. Thanks!

      KL, how do you like the Rok’r2 on the rear with the SE5 front? I’m running an SE5 front and just ordered a Rok’R2, assuming it would go on the front and the SE5 on the rear.

  2. @Aaron C: Compared to the SE5…..
    +Wildrock R2 GumX rolls faster
    +solider tire (2ply) with solid Side Knobs for the rear wheel…….the knobs of the SE5 are perfect in soft or wet conditions, but show more wear (chunking knobs) when it is dry and rocky

    + cheaper
    -under 50 F the compound of the GumX amd MagX gets too slow for my tast… feels like loosing air…..under 50F I prefer the SE 5.

  3. Have you spent any time on a Maxxis Tomahawk as a rear tire? I’d be curious how it compares to the Minion SS and Aggressor as a rear. I imagine the Tomahawk is the fastest rolling but least traction, but still curious.

  4. Noah,

    You say the DHRII is heavier, but the numbers I’ve seen suggest otherwise, 823g for the DHR2 vs 900g for the Aggressor. Seems the only penalty in going DHR2 is a bit higher rolling resistance.

    I do find that the DHR2 sidewalls are somewhat sensitive to air pressure, when I get them around 24 psi in the rear, they start to fold on me. Would you say the Aggressor sidewalls are a bit stouter given the higher weight?

    • Hey Bob,

      Yup, you’re right – that’s a mistake on my part. The dual compound / Exo / TR DHR II (which would be comparable to the Aggressor I rode) is listed at 855g, so about 45g lighter than the Aggressor.

      I’d say the sidewalls on the Aggressor feel pretty similar – I think you’d still run into problems running them much below 24psi. I think if you want to go that low, you’d have to bump up to the double down casing, which is definitely more stout (but also heavier).


  5. I wish Maxxis would come out with a 29x 2.5 DHR2 or Aggressor. I need a high volume casing tire with a decent tread and casing, specifically for rear use on my Honzo. Something to take the edge off.

    I liked the casing size on the 2.4 Trail Boss, grip wasn’t great, but the casing is WAY too thin. Tire lasted all of 3 or 4 rides before getting sliced open by a rock.

    • Maxxis is doing a DHF in 29 x 2.5″ – I think that’d work well for you. And I wouldn’t be too surprised if they came out with a DHR II in a 29 x 2.5″ in the future.

      And yeah, for the Trail Boss, I’ve heard of a lot of people slicing the regular version. I think the “tough” version is needed if you’re riding rocky terrain, but it’s pretty heavy.

      It’s not my favorite tread design, but the 2.4″ Ardent is a pretty high volume tire, and it comes in the normal assortment of Maxxis casings.

      • I have a DHF 2.5 on order, sounds like you think it rolls better than the DHRII?

        For front tires, you should check out the Surly Dirt Wizard 29×3.0 in the 60 tpi casing. I’m running this beast on my Honzo.

        It weighs over 1200g but rolls surprisingly well, has a durable casing, and tread pattern similar to a DHR/DHR. It fits (barely) inside my non-boost Pike.

        Amazing grip at around 16-17 psi, has yet to let me down.

        It does have a bit of self steer, but you learn to apply more muscle in corners.

        In a straight line, it monster trucks over chunk like no other, floats through sand. Good times!!

    • I’ve run it on a 30 mm i.d. rim – I think it’s a little better on a slightly narrower rim, but it’s certainly not bad on the wider rim.


  6. This is the third review I’ve read from your site. I like the way you review, and I like your verdict on the Aggressors. I have the classic DHF/DHR II combo, and I’ll be replacing the DHR II with the Aggressors. The SS sounds scary (Scared Shitless), and the Ardent Race (which I have as a spare) doesn’t really feel like a fast rolling tire from my experience (the Panaracer Razer on the other hand was blistering fast but had nearly zero braking usefulness).

    Looking forward to more reviews and articles from you dude.

  7. Noah,

    Thank you for the thorough review, especially the cross tire comparisons!!

    I remember reading your Santa Cruz 5010 review that helped me decide which bike to buy… now I’m back looking at different tires and your name pops up again with another killer gear review.

    Blister Gear Review needs to give you a raise :P

  8. Great review, very helpful.

    By “understeer”, I think you mean oversteer as the word is used with cars. And I agree, I prefer that.

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