Maxxis Aggressor Tire


Aside from the DHF and DHR II comparisons, I’ve also been spending a lot of time on the Maxxis High Roller II, and compared to that tire, the Aggressor is less drifty. The High Roller really requires a lot of lean angle to corner, and it’s a pretty ‘loose’ tire until you hit that lean angle. The Aggressor’s limits of traction are lower than the High Roller II, but it’s much easier to ride, and it rolls similarly quickly, if not a touch faster.

Compared to the Minion SS (29” x 2.3”), the Aggressor doesn’t roll nearly as quickly, but I prefer the Aggressor in all other respects. I find that the Minion SS’s side knobs are a bit squirmy, and they only really work well if the dirt is pretty soft. In most situations, I find that the Minion SS’s cornering traction would give out a little before I wanted it to, and when hacking into a corner, the side knobs didn’t always feel supportive enough to hook up and catch. The Aggressor is more predictable in this regard, and it also works better in a wider variety of conditions. It should also go without saying that the taller, blockier knobs on the Aggressor fare much better when climbing or braking.

Compared to a WTB Vigilante (29” x 2.3”), the Aggressor rolls a bit faster, and also hooks up a bit harder in corners. The Vigilante is a little better while climbing and under hard braking, but not by a huge margin. The Vigilante maintains traction a little more consistently as the bike is leaned over due to its transitional knobs, but it won’t corner quite as hard as the Aggressor at the limits of its traction.

Compared to a WTB Trail Boss (29” x 2.25”), the Aggressor rolls a bit slower, but corners a bit harder. The Aggressor corners more like a toned-down version of a traditional, channeled tire like a DHF, whereas the Trail Boss behaves more like a tire with transitional knobs. In terms of climbing and braking, I’d say they’re roughly comparable. The Trail Boss has more, smaller knobs, and they seem to wear a little faster than the Aggressor’s knobs.

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

Compared to a Continental Trail King (27.5” x 2.4”), the Aggressor rolls faster. I’d say that the Trail King corners a little harder, but more than anything, they corner differently. The Trail King locks in early and holds its line. The Aggressor drifts a bit, and doesn’t really lock into until you lean the bike over a bit. The Trail King’s paddle-y knob shape does a bit better on climbs and on the brakes, and it’s a far better tire for the mud. The Trail King’s supple casing provides a smooth ride and great grip on techier climbs. The flip side is that the Trail King’s casing takes the cake for the least durable tire I’ve ridden in long time – the Aggressor (and pretty much any other tire on the market) is the clear winner in that regard.

Compared to the Schwalbe Hans Dampf (27.5” x 2.35”), the Aggressor rolls faster, and can corner a little harder at its limits. The Hans Dampf has lots of transitional knobs, so it grips better in mild corners, but gives out a little earlier in hard corners at high lean angles. The Hans Dampf climbs a little better than the Aggressor, and is about on par with the Aggressor in terms of braking. The knobs on the Hans Dampf, like most Schwalbe tires, seem to wear out a bit faster than the Maxxis options.


The Aggressor’s dual compound is holding up similarly, or maybe a hair better than other Maxxis tires I’ve ridden recently, most of which have been the 3C compound. In other words, after 20 or so rides, the corners of the knobs are less crisp, particularly on the braking edge. Nothing dramatic is happening though — the knobs aren’t chunking out or ripping off, and I haven’t had any issues with the casing.

Generally speaking, the Aggressor seems to be holding up similarly to most Maxxis Exo / 3C tires. In my experience, in terms of durability, that puts them ahead of comparable Schwalbe and Continental tires, and about on par with comparable WTB, Specialized, and Bontrager tires.

Bottom Line

The Maxxis Aggressor is not the best tire at anything, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great — it’s not my favorite tire in any specific scenario, but it’s a very good tire in almost every scenario. Put another way, it offers exactly what Maxxis says: “excellent all-around performance.”

If you want the most grip you can possibly get out of a tire, get the DHR II, but you’ll have to put up with a lot of rolling resistance and slightly more weight. If you want an all-around fast rolling tire, get the Ardent, but it doesn’t bite nearly as hard as the Aggressor in corners. If you want a super-fast-rolling tire that still corners pretty well, get the Minion SS, but god help you if you actually need some braking traction on steep, loose terrain.

If none of those above trade-offs sound particularly appealing, then get the Aggressor. Mated with a 2.3” DHF in the front, it makes for a great all-around combination. It’s not the best at any one thing, but as an all-arounder, the Aggressor is one of the best I’ve ridden.

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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