Maxxis Forekaster Tire

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Tested: Maxxis Forekaster Tire

This tire helps you bring your A-game in less-than-ideal, muddy conditions.

Rating: Vital Review
Tested: Maxxis Forekaster Tire

With each passing year, more and more riders are looking to extend their riding season as long as possible. This usually means that trails are more muddy, loose and wet – leaving a lot of compromises to be made when it comes to picking the right tire for the conditions. Maxxis stepped up to the plate to provide trail riders with a tire that bridges the gap between a mud spike and a tire meant for dry conditions. The Forekaster is a tire that allows riders to ride with confidence when trail conditions start to deteriorate. We tested a new 27.5 x 2.6-inch Wide Trail version.

Strengths

  • Predictable cornering and excellent braking in most wet Read More »

With each passing year, more and more riders are looking to extend their riding season as long as possible. This usually means that trails are more muddy, loose and wet – leaving a lot of compromises to be made when it comes to picking the right tire for the conditions. Maxxis stepped up to the plate to provide trail riders with a tire that bridges the gap between a mud spike and a tire meant for dry conditions. The Forekaster is a tire that allows riders to ride with confidence when trail conditions start to deteriorate. We tested a new 27.5 x 2.6-inch Wide Trail version.

Strengths

  • Predictable cornering and excellent braking in most wet weather conditions
  • Better rolling resistance than full-on mud tires
  • Clears mud well
  • Offered in various compounds
  • Compatible with today's wider rims
  • Extra volume aids in wet weather traction
  • Durability

Weaknesses

  • Limited casing options
  • Ultra-muddy and loose conditions
  • Loose-over-hard conditions
  • Wide Trail version is a bit unsupported and squirmy with 30mm rim widths

Maxxis Forekaster Features

  • Loose or wet conditions tire
  • Intended for "aggressive XC" use
  • 27.5-inch x 2.2, 2.35, and 2.6-inch WT sizes
  • 29-inch x 2.2 and 2.35-inch sizes
  • Dual compound or 3C Maxx Speed rubber
  • Foldable bead
  • Tubeless Ready (TR)
  • EXO casing option
  • Wide Trail (WT) option optimized for 35mm inner width rims
  • Weight: 605-820g
  • MSRP: $66-90 USD

Initial Impressions

With winter lingering in the Pacific North West this past spring, Maxxis sent us a set of 27.5x2.6-inch Wide Trail tires to try out in the muddy conditions. Our 785-gram test tires featured triple-compound 3C MAXX SPEED rubber and an EXO casing. You can see the full range of Forekaster versions here. That's a whole lot of bike tire jargon, so let's let Maxxis break it down:


Wide Trail (WT) Design - This construction optimizes the tire's tread layout and profile on today's modern wider rims. WT tires are optimized for a 35mm inner width rim, but are proven to work over a range from 30-35mm inner rim widths depending on rider preference. On a 35mm inner width rim, the WT design maintains shorter sidewalls for steering precision, increases support at lower pressures, and provides correct knob spacing for hard cornering.

3C Triple Compound Mountain - Maxxis 3C Triple Compound mountain technology uses a harder, longer lasting base layer and two progressively softer top layers in order to optimize traction and stability. Maxxis offers three different configurations of our 3C Triple Compound mountain technology: Maxx Speed, Maxx Terra and Maxx Grip.

MAXX SPEED - Used primarily in cross country and enduro tires, the two compounds in the outer layer are specially formulated to reduce rolling resistance and optimize treadwear and traction.

EXO Protection - An extremely cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant material added to the sidewalls of select mountain tires. This densely woven fabric is also lightweight and highly flexible, ensuring that the performance of the tire remains unaffected.


The Forekaster will look like the offspring of the Ardent and Shorty tiresto many people with its open tread spacing and aggressive knobs. The tire has "mid-height tread blocks spaced evenly and openly to allow penetration through loose trail conditions and better mud-clearing," plus "wide-cupped braking knobs down the middle" to keep things in check.

Designed to be paired with a wider rim, a pair of Industry Nine Backcountry 360 wheels fit the Forekaster well with an internal width of 36mm. The tires mounted with ease and the tire profile came to life with a round silhouette and side knobs that remind you what this tire is capable of. While this setup isn't quite as husky as a plus-size tire, the extra volume is noticeable and welcome – if the rear triangle of your bike can accommodate a tire this wide, that is.

While this setup isn't quite as husky as a plus-size tire, the extra volume is noticeable and welcome – if the rear triangle of your bike can accommodate a tire this wide, that is.

If you're concerned about weight, don't worry because the 2.6-inch Forekaster paired with a high-end wheel like the Industry Nine Backcountry 360 weighed in at a comparable weight to a pair of 2.5-inch Minion DHF EXO WT tires on 26mm internal width rims we had mounted up previously. Gain a little here, lose a little there...

With rain in the forecast and slop on the trails, we were excited to hit the dirt and see what the Forekaster could do.

On The Trail

The Forekaster is designed for mud, wet and some loose conditions, but let’s be clear that this is not a full-on mud tire – this tire is designed to excel when your regular tires just aren't quite cutting it in the slop and you like to pedal your laps. Multiple evenly spaced tread gaps allow for predictable cornering without having to over-exaggerate turns when the trail is sloppy. Braking performance was excellent with the tire providing far less squirm and more predictability than most other tires, even in deep mud.

Because of the increase in tire size and rim width, we found that we were able to lower tire pressure by about six or seven PSI to gain a little bit of traction, which is always welcome when the rocks and roots are wet and slick. With the wider Backcountry 360 wheels, the increase in rim width helped support the sidewall and give a solid feel to the tire through hard corners, effectively eliminating that flat tire feeling when the tire starts to roll out from under the rim.

Multiple evenly spaced tread gaps allow for predictable cornering without having to over-exaggerate turns when the trail is sloppy.

The 2.6-inch WT tire is also available in a dual compound version with a 60 TPI (threads per inch) casing. The lower TPI gives better puncture, cut, and abrasion resistance, but it's a tad heavier. Provided your trails aren't overly rocky, though, the 3C 120 TPI version is what we recommend as the tire conforms to the ground a little better – a key factor for traction in the wet.

Braking performance was excellent with the tire providing far less squirm and more predictability than most other tires, even in deep mud.

Despite being designed for an ideal internal rim width of 35mm, we mounted the tires up to some 30mm rims to see how they would feel. The Forekaster still performed quite well in a straight line, but it felt a bit unsupported and squirmy through hard corners. The tire profile was also a bit too round for our liking. That being said, the Forekaster still out-performed our typical tires in the slop. We would recommend picking a smaller width Forekaster from the Maxxis lineup if you keep your narrower rims, or use this as excuse to upgrade your wheels and get the 2.6-inch tires. Either way you will be happy.

Things That Could Be Improved

We took advantage of a few nice days this past spring byvisiting the local bike park to see how the tires would deal with conditions there. The tires did very well overall on the cross country loops, but they finally showed a bit of weakness in hard-pack berms with a bit of loose material on top. We can't ding the tires too hard for not performing perfectly on loose-over-hard conditions though, because they simply aren't intended for those conditions.Most tires wouldn't have done much better in the same situation.

Long Term Durability

The Forekaster has held up quite well over many miles during the late winter, spring, and fall 2017 riding seasons. While this is probably due to the majority of miles being on muddy, loamy, and soft trails, we expect these tires to hold up quite well over time.

So far we have not experienced any flats, tire burps, excessive sidewall wear, or tears while riding the Forekaster.

Although the casing is not as thick as a Double Down casing it still holds up very well, easily fending off all of the roots, rocks, and berms we could find – quite impressive for an "aggressive XC" tire. So far we have not experienced any flats, tire burps, excessive sidewall wear, or tears while riding the Forekaster.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you are riding in incredibly sloppy and loose conditions there are better tires out there, but the Forekaster will suit riders looking for a solid wet weather option without the penalty that full-on mud tires bring. Pair the 2.6-inch Forekaster with a set of high-quality rims with close to a 35mm internal width to take your riding to the next level when the weather turns against you. These tires performed so well that we will definitely be using them a lot this winter.

Visit www.maxxis.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

David Howell has been riding bikes for the last 16 years, with the majority of that being downhill and trail riding. He raced some downhill in Colorado, but now prefers dirt jumping, trail riding or downhilling with his friends. Working in shops for six years fueled his passion for riding all styles of bikes and has provided an in-depth knowledge of current parts and trends in the industry. His favorite trails are fast and have a good mixture of rough, rocky sections mixed with smoother flowy sections – natural jumps and berms just add to the fun. With a plow riding style and tipping the scales at 225-pounds, he puts the hurt on even the beefiest components.

Photos by Kristen and David Howell

Rate review: +4 Up Down
Vital MTB member AceHouston
2058 AceHouston https://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/2058/avatar/c50_73933_10100336831359119_2949514_n_1372187932.jpg?1372187380 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/AceHouston,2058/all 02/25/10 4 https://www.vitalmtb.com/community/AceHouston,2058/setup 20 5 6

Specifications

Product Maxxis Forekaster Tire
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29"
Tire Width
  • 2.60 inches
  • 2.35 inches
  • 2.20 inches
  • 2.35 inches
  • 2.20 inches
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Bead Folding
Durometer Dual Compound or 3C Maxx Speed
Sidewall 60 or 120 TPI // EXO and Tubeless Ready (TR) Casings
Weight
  • 1 lb 12.9 oz (820 g)
  • 1 lb 11.7 oz (785 g)
  • 1 lb 8.3 oz (690 g)
  • 1 lb 7.1 oz (655 g)
  • 1 lb 5.3 oz (605 g)
  • 1 lb 9.9 oz (735 g)
  • 1 lb 8.3 oz (690 g)
  • 1 lb 6.6 oz (640 g)
Miscellaneous ​Aggressive XC / Trail tire
Optimized for loose or wet conditions
Mid-height tread blocks spaced evenly to allow penetration through loose trail conditions and openly for better mud-clearing
Wide cupped braking knobs down the middle
Wide Trail (WT) casing is optimized for 30-35mm inner width rims
Price
  • $80
  • $90
  • $69
  • $67
  • $66
  • $69
  • $67
  • $67
More Info

www.maxxis.com

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