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.
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.
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.