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Maxxis bills the Ikon as a lightweight race tire that excels in all trail conditions, though that’s not what initially drew me to the Ikon. This is a fast-roller, AND it’s offered in a 29×2.35in configuration, which makes it one of the beefier XC tires on the market. Here’s what I found through testing the Ikon this fall.

Maxxis produces four versions of the 29×2.35 Ikon: the plain 3C, the 3C with EXO Protection, a tubeless 3C version, and the deluxe tubeless 3C with EXO. All four 29×2.35 flavors feature 3C technology, which is basically Maxxis’s dual compound technology (longer-lasting rubber in the center, grippier rubber on the cornering knobs). The third compound in the 3C trifecta is actually found underneath the two outer compounds.

EXO Protection gives the tire some extra resistance against cuts and abrasion, which users of certain tires with the word “racing” in the name will no doubt appreciate. Maxxis uses a woven material that’s integrated into the sidewall of EXO models.

I tested the 3C with EXO, and at a claimed weight of 760g, I personally wouldn’t call this a lightweight tire at all. (In fairness, this is the heaviest of all the Ikon tires–the lightest 26er version weighs just 480g.) Add in a tube, and this setup is pushing a kilo per wheel.

But here’s the thing: it’s worth the weight penalty over many of the skinnier 29er tires I’ve run in the past. As a high volume tire, the Ikon 29er does its job absorbing trail chatter and smoothing out rough patches. And at the risk of sounding clichรฉ, the additional width really does inspire more confidence on the trail.

Now, let’s talk tread pattern. Maxxis describes the tread as “fast rolling” but to me, that isn’t obvious from looking at the tire. Most fast rolling tires either a) have knobs spaced really close together or b) they have no knobs (or really short knobs) down the center line. On the road, there isn’t a lot of tire buzz from the Ikon which is usually a good sign: no serious resistance is noticeable.

I think a better description for the Ikon (and one that Maxxis even uses themselves) is “all-rounder.” The knobs are long enough and spaced far enough apart to give good bite in the straights and the corners. I’ve experienced excellent results in both wet and dry conditions, and find myself able to push the envelope a bit more in the turns on these tires compared to others I’ve tested.

Maxxis offers the Ikon in all three diameters (26, 27.5, and 29) and 2.20in/2.35in widths for a total of 24 possible combinations with 3C, EVO, and tubeless features.

The Maxxis Ikon is a great tire for XC racers who prefer trading off a couple seconds on the climb for several more seconds in the corners and on the descents. Besides, everyone knows that’s the fun part of mountain biking anyway.

Thanks to Maxxis for providing the Ikon for review.

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# Comments

  • dgaddis

    Jeff – I’m super excited about the new 2.3″ Ikon. I’m using a 2.2″ on the rear, and look at your 2.3″ and comparing it to the 2.2″, there’ some differences. The 2.2″ knobs are closer together and shorter, and it is a very fast and light rolling tire – mine is a plain 3C 29er version and is only 520g. Maxxis tires, even the standard non-tubeless ones, generally work great tubeless – it’s how I’m running mine. It’s also a true 2.2″ tire, it’s phhhhaaaat and awesome.

    So why am I super pumped about the 2.3″? I think it’ll work great on the front end of the bike when paired with the lighter and faster rolling 2.2″ on the rear. Right now I’m using a 2.4″ Ardent up front, which is a lot more aggressive than the Ikon, but works great in the leaves and mud commonly found on the trails in the fall/winter. Once spring rolls arround and things start drying and firming up I’ll be swapping the Ardent for the bigger 2.3″ Ikon.

  • herlsy

    This tire excels in the dry hard pack and hero dirt. I run the 2.2 as a rear tire most of the year and it does the job well without the weight penalty. Last year i decided to keep it on through the winter and the results varied. It wasn’t good in loose corners (winter leaf mulch) and anything that may have contained a bit of slick mud was guaranteed to slide out. The 2.2 3c/EXO (non TR) claimed weight is around 590 which puts it pretty close to the weight of the 26″. I’d definitely recommend this tire but i have a hard time putting the ‘all rounder’ tag on it.

    • dgaddis

      Take a close look at the thread on the 2.3″ and 2.3″, they’re quite a bit different.

    • herlsy

      Go home dgaddis, you’re drunk. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • dgaddis

      Touche…. hahaha I type good.

    • chamaaron

      Herlsy – dgaddis is right about the differences between the two sizes of tires. To account for the larger volume of the 2.35 casing, the knobs grew in proportion. The knobs on the 2.35 are larger and taller when compared to the 2.20. The 2.35 really is a proper trail tire. Jared Graves ran the 2.35 on the back for several enduros last year, just to give you an idea of how capable this tire is.

      *Full disclosure, I work for Maxxis.

    • herlsy

      chamaaron, it was just a joke about comparing 2.3 to 2.3 ๐Ÿ˜›

    • chamaaron

      Oh, I got it, I was just sharing some additional info. Cheers!

  • delphinide

    Tires a tricky thing to review, so I appreciate the review. I am looking for a better set, but I have been running Scwalbe Nobby Nics, Hans Dampf, and Conti Mountain Kings for the past 2 season. Have you tried these, and if so, what are your side-by-side thoughts?

    • Jeff Barber

      I have tried none of those. ๐Ÿ™

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