Maxxis is a name in MTB tires that needs no introduction. The company has been around for over 40 years producing high quality tires for almost everything that rolls, especially mountain bikes. This time around I tested the Maxxis Ardent 2.4 (MSRP about $50) which is one of the newer, large volume tires for the freerider / trail rider.
The Ardent is categorized for aggressive trails and medium to wet conditions with an emphasis on cornering control. If you look carefully at the photo below you can see two rows of very sharp and aggressive side knobs which will really grab and hold your line through the corners. Featuring a 60 TPI casing and 60a rubber compound, these tires will take rocky abuse and should last a long time.
Installing the Ardents along with a set of the Maxxis Freeride tubes (26x 2.20- 2.50, 1.2mm thick) on my Mavic Crossmax SX rims (removing the tubeless valve stems), took very little time at all. In fact I spent more time gathering the talcum powder and necessary tools to remove the valve stem than actually installing the tires and I didn’t even need a tire iron. The job took about 5 minutes per tire to dust up the tubes with powder and slip the Ardents on the rim (minding direction). Inflated the tires to 40psi and I was off.
I decided to take the tires to the 3-stages trail which is right next door to two great spots – Blue Mountain and Kolapore. 3-stages features a run that’s about 1km of just winding downhill with tight and twisty turns, lots of rooted sections and rock gardens plus tight singletrack which provides a great cardio workout. Basically 3-stages is the perfect place to put these tires through their paces!
Climbing with the Ardent tires was pretty awesome, especially considering this is meant to be an all-purpose tire. The aggressive multifaceted center tread really keeps this tire going in almost any type of terrain, grappling at everything and propelling the rider forward. Even getting caught up on rooted sections going up or down didn’t sway this tire’s progress. Likewise, the stable casing and tread really kept this tire pointing in the desired direction without any hints of wandering. The tough casing also helped absorb the abuse of step descents without a hint of trouble even when barreling through rock gardens and rooted terrain. This tire is like a laser with exacting tire placement on demand.
The Ardents really made me feel comfortable in the corners and I quickly learned to trust them when hitting the turns hard. With tons of grip and absolutely no squirm, I never even felt the tire roll when I was threading my way through tough rock gardens.
While the Ardent tires will run comfortably on nearly any trail surface, they really shine on terrain that is slightly on the softer side of things. I found that the great traction the Ardents offer drops off a bit when hitting dry hardpack or dust over hardpack. The tire basically seems to push more when it encounters hardpack and in these conditions it gets just good traction – not great. Hitting rivers and muddy spots was a no-brainer as these tires shed the gunk and kept moving along, ready for more.
Overall I gotta say the Ardent is one of my favorite tires in this size category. They are not uber-expensive, they wear well, they’re super stable, and most of all they offer tons of traction. These tires are like the stability control system on a Porsche Turbo: they make anyone look like they are as good as an F1 driver. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending these to anyone who loves to ride.
My overall impressions:
9 out of 10 for climbing
9 out of 10 for rolling and efficiency
9 out of 10 for loose conditions
9 out of 10 for cornering
9 out of 10 for stopping in a straight line
Specs from Maxxis:
Durometer 60a rubber compound
Usage: All Mountain / Freeride
Conditions: medium to wet
Size: 26 x 2.4
Weight: 855 grams