MXA TEAM TESTED: MAXXIS MAXXCROSS MX-ST FRONT TIRE
WHAT IS IT? Motocross racers know little about the Maxxis tire company, including the fact that they make car tires, truck tires, extreme offroad truck tires, bicycle tires (BMX, road and mountain bike), side-by-side tires, karting tires and scooter tires, in addition to off-road motorcycle tires. The Maxxcross MX-ST front tire is Maxxis’ first top-tier premium tire. Oh, don’t get us wrong; Maxxis has been making top-level tires for many other racing disciplines over the years and has the off-road championships to prove it. But, Maxxis wanted to build a tire that motocross racers would embrace, and, to that end, they hired Jeremy McGrath to help them develop the Maxxcross MX-ST tire. The MX-ST is the product of an all-new manufacturing process and is the beneficiary of a more flexible carcass that allows the tire to follow the ground better. It is also the lightest tire in the Maxxis lineup.
WHAT’S IT COST? $120.00 (80/100-21).
CONTACT? www.maxxis.com or your local dealer.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Maxxcross MX-ST front tire.
(1) Front tread. The Maxxcross MX-ST front tire has a directional tread pattern that is an alternating mix of bow-tie and scoop knobs down the centerline, with angled side knobs at the mid-line and robust side knobs. The result is a sleek race-look pattern that bears a slight resemblance to a Pirelli pattern.
(2) Mounting. The MX-ST front tire is the easiest Maxxis front tire we have changed. Maxxis tires are best known for their rugged sidewalls and stiff carcasses, neither of which are characteristics conducive to peeling a tire off the rim in a flash. When mounting the MX-ST tire, we noticed how soft and flexible the sidewall was.
(3) Performance. Maxxis tires have always been the tough, durable, reliable, off-road tires that cross-country, desert, woods and extreme enduro riders are looking for; however, motocross success hasn’t come as easily as off-road credibility. The Maxxcross MX-ST is an intermediate-to-soft-terrain tire that offers good absorption in braking bumps and a high trust factor when pushing the lean angle to the max. The large sidewall contact patch was especially beneficial at steep lean angles. The MX-ST tire worked best in soft conditions and tacky dirt. It struggled in the places where soft-to-intermediate tires are out of their element—hardpack, shiny corner exits and freshly watered shine spots. We accept this, because the soft-to-intermediate Dunlops and Bridgestones do the same thing.
(4) Durability. We tested the Maxxcross MX-ST front tire in the conditions it was designed for. It held up well, exhibited no side-knob roll and the knobs held their edge. When we pushed it out of its comfort zone onto hard-packed tracks, it worked well until we started to notice wear on the knobs. Unlike with the Dunlop MX3S front, there was no chunking when the tire was misused. We were pleased with the overall durability, but this wouldn’t be our first tire choice for hard dirt.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? If your local track starts out tacky but changes progressively to hardpack as the day progresses, you have to rein in your exuberance when running a soft-terrain tire on slick dirt.
MXA RATING: This is the best Maxxis front tire ever. Most MXA test riders are front-tire centric. They are more forgiving of subpar rear tires but hold front tires to a very high standard. This is the first Maxxis front tire to meet that standard.