07 October 2008

bikefix Initial Review: Maxxis ADvantage UST tire

New for 2009, and continuing the trend of sponsored riders designing/endorsing tires is the Maxxis ADvantage- the tire that cross-country racer Allison Dunlap helped design and the reason for the emphasis on the "AD" in the tire's name. I try most new UST tires that come out and from the photos, this one looked like it had real potential. Maxxis makes the tubed version in 2.1, 2.25 and 2.4in widths but the UST version it is only as a 2.1. It weighed in at close to 780 grams (rather than the 640g advertised) - a bit high for a 2.1 UST. I did see a magazine review of this tire where their tire weighed in the high 600g range, and some literature claims 735 grams, so it is possible that individual tire weights vary quite a lot. If the tire lasts a long time, and the sidewalls are tough, I won’t be upset with the 780 grams.

The ADvantage uses Maxxis' LUST technology to keep the weight down and make the sidewalls a bit tougher. It is basically a lightweight fabric that is incorporated into the sidewalls and sealed with an airtight rubber compound in order to create a stronger sidewall (as opposed to just adding a bit more rubber to make it thicker). I have used other LUST tires from Maxxis and the system seems to work well. I would point-out that I have used a number of other manufacturers' tires that manage to have very durable sidewalls and equally light tires, so it is obvious that there is more than one way to make a good tire/sidewall. On another personal note: In general, I don’t seem to destroy sidewalls like some of my riding buddies (who are on the same tires). I must pick different lines than them, or maybe I am more of a sissy. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I may not be the best judge of the toughness of the ADvantage's sidewalls (or any tires', for that matter) for you folks that tend to really abuse your tires [like marc does].

Mounting the Advantage wasn’t too hard for a UST. It required a stronger hand than some tires but it put up the fight that Conti's tend to either. Unlike many tires that are nowhere near their rated size, this tire is an accurate 2.1. Maxxis warns against the use of latex sealants such as Stan's Notubes (which I generally like better than non-latex sealants) so I used True Goo instead, which seems to be working just fine. [For a while, we saw a lot of Maxxis tires developing goiters where small punctures had managed to allow air to get between the casing and tread. We haven't seen any of these growths in a while, but believe that might have been the result some sort of odd reaction involving latex sealants and the reason for their prohibition.]

I was cautiously hopeful when I set out on a very tough trail (Tunnel to Blue Ribbon and back for my Albuquerque locals) that has loads of loose rock. After a few minutes I was gaining courage and after an hour I was very happy and by the time I got back to the car I was delighted. The ADvantages seemed more than competent on everything I came across, which was mostly loose rock, some solid rock and a fair amount of packed dirt and clay.

Overall, the ADvantages have behaved predictably and capably on any surface. they've been exposed to. On some later rides they did quite well in damp conditions and on loose-over-hard terrain. They roll reasonably well and corner predictably (though can not be pushed nearly as hard as a more aggressive trail-oriented tire). Straight-ahead traction has been as good as most other all-around XC tires. I only have about ten hours on these tires so far but to sum it up I would say they are very competent and predictable- they're looking to be good solid all-around tires.

My only problem with the ADvantages (and the reason they haven't seen more riding time) is that the UST version is only available as a 2.1. I really prefer a 2.2 – 2.3 size for most of my trail-riding here in the Southwest. I did match them to a lighter weight 4 inch travel bike so they paired-up perfectly with the bike, but the whole time, I couldn’t help wishing that Maxxis would build 2.25’s for my 5.5 inch travel bike. If anyone from Maxxis reads this, please make this tire in 2.25 UST …and while I’m asking it would be even better as a dual-compound tire, with softer shoulder knobs. Thanks. The Maxxis Advantage tire sells for $65.00.

Note: When I bought these tires, I didn’t see anything on the packaging or on the website about them being dual-compound. However, as I fact checked some of my notes, I noticed that the 2009 Maxxis catalog lists two rubber durometers for the ADvantage. I am assuming that in 2009 it is a dual-compound. I may have a 2008 model or perhaps I have a 2009 tire and it just isn’t obvious that they are dual-compound. Heck, maybe it's been dual-compount all along and just doesn't feel like it. Anyway, I don’t have the durometer data for this review, but we will let you know when we find out.



1 comment:

Mosca SS said...

I have this tires and they are amazing. Excelent grip! I do recomend for any cross country trail! Thanks AD!