It's no secret that Maxxis make some incredible mountain bike tyres. After riding numerous makes and models of tyre there is a reason the FTR race team and staff all ride Maxxis rubber, we love grip. But, There are so many variables when buying a tyre; size, compound, sidewall etc. So let us clear up one critical aspect, your level of protection / sidewall choice.
What is the Sidewall?
The sidewall of your mountain bike tyre is exactly what it sounds like, the side of your tyre. Although we all get caught up thinking about the tread so we can rip those turns sidewalls play a critical role in performance. For example, if a sidewall is too thin and soft you'll find the tyre squirms underneath you and you loose predictability in the tyre. Your sidewall is also responsible for protecting you from many flat tyres as rocks and sharp objects tear at the sidewall on your way through thin sections of trail.
Maxxis MTB Sidewall Protection Types and Their Uses
Maxxis Silkworm refers to an exclusive butly insert developed by Maxxis that is incorporated into the the tyre. This form of protection is light and cost effective, popular for XC riders. Although this is a sidewall article it's worth noting the Slikworm protection actually goes from bead to bead unlike other Maxxis tyre protection technologies.
EXO protection is an additional layer of protection incorporated into the sidewall of the tyre designed to greatly increase the puncture and slash resistance without compromising the feel of the tyre. The EXO layer is exceptionally dense whilst still being light and flexible making it very versatile. A popular options for XC, trail, all mountian and even Enduro riders. For Enduro riders taking on rocky terrain and wanting to keep the weight down we recommend an EXO front tyre and Double Down rear tyre for balanced protection.
Exo + Protection
Maxxis EXO + protection is the result of EXO fabric combined with Silkshield technology. This new technology was initially brought on by the demands of E-bikes but due to its extra protection at a low weight penalty has become popular for trail, all mountain and Enduro riders as well.
A Maxxis Double Down tyre utilises two 120 TPI casing layers with an additional butyl insert. The Double Down offers significantly greater protection than the EXO options but does come with a more noticeable weight penalty. As a result this option is most popular with Enduro riders across Australia.
Dual Ply / DH
The big guys! These tyres offer the most resistance against punctures possible with a thick dual ply construction. Naturally this extra material does attract some extra weight. However, for DH riders or Enduro racers hard on their kit the protection these tyres offer is irreplaceable. Traditionally coming as a wire bead tyre we're now seeing these increasingly in a folding bead design.
That's A Wrap
There you have it, a brief guide to the Maxxis MTB tyre sidewall technologies. These can make a huge difference to your mountain bike riding so if you need further advice don't hesitate to contact us for more information or come in to our Brisbane MTB store. You can see the tyres in the flesh and feel the differences of the sidewalls for yourself!