Maxxis Assegai Gravity Tire Review

Throw this tire down and at whatever you like, and it will grab traction with the best of them.
maxxis assegai front tire review
Alternating center knobs provide powerful braking grip and transition to the shoulder tread smoothly in flat turns.

When Maxxis introduced their new Assegai downhill tread in 2018, backed by testing and research with legendary South African DH champ Greg Minnaar, I immediately added my name to the list to test a set.

After a few months of riding with the Maxxis Assegai tire up front, paired with a Maxxis Aggressor on the rudder end, I am happy to report that the tire set performs up to its touted reputation.

Maxxis Assegai Front Tire Review

I rode the 29×2.5″, Wide Trail, Maxxis Assegai tire with a hulking 1,305g Double Down casing, and 3C MaxGrip compound. The tread was originally designed for downhill racing, but the tire is now available in four casing configurations optimized for trail to DH riding. The Double Down casing version I tested is one step below the full DH casing, making it ideal for enduro.

I mounted these tires on a spare set of wheels, each with a 30mm internal rim measurement. The tubeless installation took all of a few minutes, and the tires went on with a regular plastic lever and a floor pump. The Assegai has yet to weep or burp any fluid and holds air well, needing just a few pumps of fresh basement-breath about once per week. I recently checked the latex level inside, and it has plenty to keep plugging along for another month or two.

The Maxxis Assegai tire is named after the iron-tipped spear used by the Zulu people of South Africa. Greg Minnaar, a native of South Africa, thought it was a fitting name for a tire ready to do battle on the mountain. -Maxxis

Riding steep and loose summer dust has been a blast with the Assegai directing the bow of my long travel gravity boat. The tire’s fortress-like sidewalls help it to stand tall through rough turns, even with a scant 20-22psi inside. Additional material near the bead makes it nearly impossible to pinch-flat in that unrepairable space where the tire interacts with the rim. This added protection eliminated the need for a front foam insert, further justifying the Assegai’s overall heft.

Throw this tire down and at whatever you like, and it will grab traction with the best of them. The taller shoulder knobs dig deep into mud, sand, and dust to find the grip you need. I suspected that the hard casing wouldn’t mingle well with roots and rocks, but I was pleasantly surprised to find traction on all but a few saturated rock gardens. The slow rebounding properties of the MaxGrip compound help the Assegai track the trail admirably, giving me a confidence boost in rough corners. If you have ever felt like you want a little more grip than a Minion DHF for the loose stuff, the Assegai offers precisely that.

The tread and casing of this tire are entirely designed to improve your overall downhill traction and control, and they do so very well, though the rubber also rolls reasonably well without gravity. Given the riding position of modern long-travel bikes, we place very little weight on the front tire while climbing, and the Assegai’s added tread isn’t super noticeable on the way up. I have a friend in Scotland who rides with an Assegai front and rear for added protection and grip on their consistently wet rocks. While he swears by their rock-steady reliability, I would bet that the 2,610 grams of rotational weight is forcing his overall fatigue level up a bit.

maxxis assegai mtb tire tread
The Maxxis Assegai is slightly more round than its competition, providing ample transition grip between the center and shoulder lugs. If you set this tire alongside a WTB Verdict of the same size, the verdict looks as angular as a Rubix Cube in comparison.


The Maxxis Assegai’s well-spaced, deep lugs grip hard, making the tire a good choice for all manner of gravity riding, in nearly any weather conditions. Paired with the appropriate rear tire for your local tracks, this front rubber lives up to its Zulu name.