The Maxxis Minion DHF has long reigned supreme in front tyre grip for gravity focused riders in Australia and across the globe. But, a new player has come along threatening to take the crown, the Maxxis Assegai designed by Greg Minnarr. Does it have what it takes to knock the Minion DHF off the throne? We find out.
Straight up, this is not a modified Minion DHF with a new name and some marketing thrown behind it like ohhh so many tyres are. Although the Assegai draws on a few of Maxxis's most successful designs, including the DHF, you can be assured this is a totally new beast. The centre knobs feature some of the DHF design paired with a large ramped block in the middle, flanked by two smaller knobs that sit quite wide on the tyre profile. Lying in-between the centre knobs and side knobs these are designed to give riders consistent grip when leaning the bike over to the side knobs. The side knobs of the Assegai are extra large with every second knob featuring a slight diagonal profile. Hands down the biggest, most aggressive side knobs we've seen on a dry weather Maxxis tyre.
For the purpose of this test the Maxxis Assegai 3C EXO Maxx Terra was chosen. As the Assegai is designed primarily as a front tyre I rode it with a Maxxis Minion DHR II DD on the rear during the test. A tyre that I had a large amount of experience with on our Brisbane mountain bike tracks and a suitable match for the Assegai.
So has Maxxis's new design actually paid off? Rolling out of the car park on the new tyre I instinctively went into a few corners on the bitumen. Rolling from side to side I could hear the knobs tearing at the ground instantly, clinging on as if their life depended on it. As exciting as this grip was there was also a bit of added rolling resistance notable over the Minion DHF I normally use.
Hitting dirt on the climb up that small amount of added resistance was noted and then quickly forgotten about as I got into a rhythm slogging up the hill as per usual. Turn things down hill, life's good, really good. The tyre tracked straight and true, no uncomfortable squirming or folding like other big knob tyres I've experienced. Even under braking, the Assegai held impressive amounts of grip as it sucked itself to the ground, only cutting loose if I was overzealous with the brake force.
However, the real highlight of the Maxxis Assegai tyre would have to be the edge to edge control. When cornering the bike those small knobs between the centre and the outside gave the tyre more consistent grip and predictability. This allowed me to lean the bike over with new levels of confidence. Confidence I hadn't earned through an increase in skill or extra time on the bike, just an increase in grip.
After many rides in multiple different Brisbane and Australian mountain bike conditions; hard packed, loose on hard packed, loose on loose and even a bit of mud my belief in the Assegai remains steadfast.
Has the Maxxis Minion DHF been de-throned? Depends what you're after. The Minion DHF is still a highly capable tyre with a great ratio of grip to rolling resistance. For many riders that like to clock up the km's it will rightfully remain the tyre of choice. However, if you're after the most gripped up tyre around and can sacrifice a small amount of rolling speed the Maxxis Assegai is your new best friend.