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Tested: Maxxis' Revised EXO+ Tire Casing 46

The updated casing uses a more durable construction to withstand hard-charging riders, positioning the offering evenly between Maxxis' EXO and DoubleDown options.

Tested: Maxxis' Revised EXO+ Tire Casing

By now, most riders are familiar with the Maxxis Minion DHF tire. Furthermore, most of us understand (or think we understand) the myriad of casing and compound combinations available from Maxxis. Existing in Maxxis’ lineup for some time now, their EXO+ tire casing has been the ‘do everything’ casing solution that creates a light tire with decent flat and puncture resistance. However, survey some of your friends next time you hit the trails, and you’ll find many have cataloged EXO+ as not protective or supportive enough for aggressive riding. To better fill the gap between their EXO and DoubleDown offerings, Maxxis announced a rolling change to EXO+ at the beginning of the year. The revised EXO+ now uses a burlier casing with sidewall updates, intended to make the medium-duty casing option more durable and applicable to hard-charging, all-mountain riders.

Highlights 

  • 60 TPI casing
  • EXO puncture protection sidewall layer 
  • Small butyl insert around the bead to prevent pinch flats and rim damage
  • Tire model options: Minion DHF (tested) // Minion DHR II // Dissector // Assegai // Rekon
  • Compound options: 3C MaxxTerra, 3C MaxxGrip
  • 1-year warranty
  • Intended for trail, enduro, and light-weight e-bike riding

Overview

Threads per inch (TPI) generally means that as the thread count goes up in a tire, the threads become thinner, and a tire can be constructed with less rubber, making it lighter. However, tires with higher thread counts may be more prone to punctures and are less stable. Lower thread count tires generally use thicker threads, are heavier but provide more protection and support. The first generation of EXO+ used two 120 TPI layers with EXO sidewall protection and SilkShield from bead to bead. New EXO+ uses a single 60 TPI layer with EXO sidewall protection and a small butyl insert around the bead. The butyl insert is a trickle-down feature from Maxxis’ DoubleDown and Downhill casings and extends a short way up the sidewall to improve pinch flat protection and stability. Previously, EXO+ leaned more towards EXO but now sits evenly between EXO and DoubleDown thanks to these protection updates. Maxxis says that the new layup and additional butyl insert increase weight by 1-5% compared to the past EXO+ casing, depending on the tread pattern. Since the end of 2021, all new Maxxis tires labeled with EXO+ are produced with the updated casing layup. 

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On The Trail

We tested the new EXO+ casing with Maxxis’ very popular Minion DHF tread design in a 29x2.5-inch wide trail, mounted to Syncros Revelstoke 2.5 wheels. Our riding took place on various trails in Southern California that were dry, loose, and hard-packed. With tire pressure set to our usual 26 PSI in the front tire and 27 PSI in the rear tire on our Scott Genius 930, we logged a few months of proper trashing to see what differences, if any, we could feel with the new casing.

The wind up...
...the swing...
...and the hit.

The most noticeable improvement the new EXO+ casing provided was an increase in sidewall support that allowed us to ride harder without worrying about rim damage or tire stability. Typically, we reach for Maxxis’ DoubleDown casing to achieve stability in corners and at speed. We expected the new casing to feel less stable and be more susceptible to folding or rolling over in corners. However, to our surprise, the new casing felt very similar to a DoubleDown casing, minus some support in exceptionally rough and fast sections. 

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We did our best to slap corners and flat-land some drops but could not get the tires to fold our squirm beneath us. On high-speed trails with rough, square-edge compressions and sharp rock gardens, we never experienced any rim impacts or damage to the tires themselves. This was a pleasant surprise because we are used to EXO+ tires feeling fragile and light-duty compared to DoubleDown casing tires. The weight difference between the original and updated EXO+ tire was negligible on the trail. A less-than-5% weight increase is comparable to an extra ounce or two of sealant, and we are simply not that picky about weight.  

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As for traction, we did not feel the new casing layup changed the amount of traction we received from the Minion DHF tire. If anything, it felt like we could get away with less pressure due to the increased sidewall support and plan to play around with lower pressures in the future. 

Things That Could Be Improved

The new EXO+ casing is a clear improvement over the previous iteration. We enjoyed riding as hard as we liked without questioning the ability of the tires to manage our abuse. Performance aside, we would love to see Maxxis make it a bit easier to find explanations of their casing and compound lineup. Maxxis is known for making high-quality, top-tier tires. However, if you’re new to mountain biking or simply not in tune with their product line, it can be very easy to buy the wrong tire for your needs without a bit of research about the specifics of the Maxxis lexicon. 

EXO Casing
New EXO+ Casing
DoubleDown Casing

Long Term Durability

The tread wear time with the new EXO+ casing tires is the same as any Maxxis tire with their 3C MaxxTerra compound. However, the sidewall durability of the new casing has felt much better and more consistent throughout testing than the previous EXO+ casing. In the past, we have found that EXO or EXO+ tires become malleable and less supportive as time goes on and they experience flex from everyday riding. The addition of the butyl insert in the new casing keeps the sidewalls from collapsing as often when corning or hammering through rock gardens. For aggressive or larger riders, expect improved sidewall stability for the duration of your tire's life.  

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What's The Bottom Line?

Maxxis’ revamped EXO+ casing is a step forward from the previous iteration. With minimal weight gains and more heavy-duty performance, the new casing splits the difference between Maxxis’ other casing options to offer trail and enduro riders a highly capable choice. The addition of a butyl insert is a game-changer and increases tire support while keeping air from burping out of the tire during hard impacts. We expect to see new EXO+ casing tires gracing more trail and enduro bikes moving forward and wouldn’t be surprised to see some EWS racers rocking the new casing as a front tire to save some weight.

For more information on Maxxis’ revised EXO+ casing, please visit www.maxxis.com

Photos by Sean Galusha


About The Tester

Tanner Stephens - Age: 28 // Years Riding MTB: 16 // Height: 5’10” (178 cm) // Weight: 145-pounds (65.8kg)

Most known for winning a Pro US Downhill National on an old spray-painted bike, Tanner chased the dream of racing at the World Cup level for several years. Now working within corporate America, he keeps his hands in the bike industry through various creative outlets. He has developed a strong affection for suffering on long road and mixed terrain rides and getting sketchy on an XC bike; however, he hasn’t lost his love for smashing rocks, railing corners, and flowing jumps. A true student of mountain biking, Tanner has a strong love for downhill history and can be heard chatting about racing on Vital’s B Practice Podcast. 

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