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Maxxis Shorty Tires

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Maxxis Gen 2 Shorty
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Long-Term Review - Maxxis Tires' All-New Shorty

The mid spike from Maxxis is back and it's even better!

Rating: Vital Review
 Long-Term Review - Maxxis Tires' All-New Shorty

For many years, Maxxis dominated the tire wars with their treads. Other brands tried to compete, but Maxxis seemed to have a stranglehold on the industry. The Minion DHF, Minion DHR, Wetscream, and High Roller pretty much had every gravity rider covered, with less common options such as the Ardent and Minion SS kicking around for more specific needs. After years of playing catch up, other brands such as Schwalbe, Kenda, e13, and a handful of others started to pull even with Maxxis. Not one to rest, Maxxis has been upping its game by introducing instant favorites like the Assegai, and updating old classics such as the Minion DHRII and High Roller 2. A few years back we spent some time on the original Shorty, and while we liked it, we noted a few areas where the Shorty could be improved. Fast forward a few years, lo and behold, Maxxis sent us their latest update: the Shorty Gen 2. The heritage is obvious, but there are a number of departures from the original. Straight out of the box we could tell that Maxxis had taken a step in the right direction, incorporating much of what we had hoped for back in 2014, plus some additions that take things even further.

Original Maxxis Shorty

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  • “Double wide” center knob
  • No siping on cornering knobs
  • Tall cornering knobs

Gen 2 Maxxis Shorty

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  • New knob layout based on feedback from World Cup DH and EWS riders
  • “Double wide” knob now split into two individual knobs
  • More supportive cornering knobs
  • Additional siping to enhance braking and cornering traction
  • Raised ridges on casing to promote mud clearing

Maxxis Shorty Gen 2 Highlights

  • 27.5- and 29-inch wheel options
  • 2.4-inch width only
  • 3C MaxxTerra (EXO) & 3C MaxxGrip (DoubleDown & DH) rubber compound
  • Tubeless ready
  • Supportive cornering knobs
  • Additional siping to enhance braking and cornering traction
  • Raised ridges on casing to promote mud clearing
  • Weight: 1209g (claimed - 29x2.4-inch DoubleDown)
  • MSRP: $95 USD // $135 CAD (As tested)

Strengths

  • Meaningful revisions
  • Sheds mud quickly
  • Unrelenting traction when it counts
  • Superior cornering
  • Wears well over time


Weaknesses

  • Not cheap
  • Still a conditions-specific tire
  • Slow rolling

Initial Impressions

The Shorty Gen 2 tread pattern differs significantly from the version we tested previously, but it retains many of the general details we have come to love about all Maxxis tires. First, the DoubleDown casing is plenty durable for aggressive riding without being too heavy, Additionally, the soft MaxxGrip rubber compound has always delivered heaps of traction in demanding terrain. This combination of casing and rubber is an ideal place to start when creating a tire aimed at finding traction. Taking a closer look at the new tread pattern, there are a myriad of minor revisions which ought to provide a better tire across the board.

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The loss of the “double wide” knob on the Shorty Gen 2 is the most obvious change. This provides more edges for digging in where the Shorty was designed to excel: extremely loose and wet conditions. Cornering knobs are shorter than the previous version, with added siping, both of which are meant to improve cornering traction, especially on firm ground where the original mid-spike became vague and even unpredictable at times. The ridges between the knobs are a subtle addition to the Gen 2, which are designed to improve mud clearance, although the first version shed mud quite well.

We had no trouble mounting the Shorty without a compressor, and at a width of 2.4-inches, they were perfectly matched to our Stans Flow rims, with an internal width of 29mm. The profile of the Shorty Gen 2 is somewhat square, a profile we have come to prefer compared to rounder tires. We tend to run Maxxis’ Double Down tires at 24psi/26psi, which is where we started off initially, before settling on slightly less.

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On The Trail

The Shorty mid spike is designed for wet or extreme dry conditions. Thankfully, when we received our set last fall the rain had yet to arrive, and the Squamish trail network was completely blown out. Initially, we made our way to steeper trails to test the Shorty’s braking qualities. With the loss of the double wide knob, we wanted to compare if braking power was reduced as well as get a sense of whether the individual knobs squirmed under heavy braking. The Shorty Gen 2 was among the best tires we’ve ridden on steep, loose trails. In sections where we generally drag our brakes, we had the confidence to let go a little bit more, knowing that when we needed to brake aggressively the Shorty would get the job done. While the knobs are tall enough to dig in, they aren’t so tall that they become vague or squirmy under sustained, heavy braking. A few months later, the same trails received several inches of rain per week, and our experience was much the same: this tire digs in extremely well in mud and loam. We didn’t find that mud clearance was an issue with the original version, and it certainly isn’t an issue with the Gen 2. Any debris was shed within a revolution or two.

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Cornering traction is also excellent in both loose and muddy conditions. The cornering knobs are shorter than the previous version, which makes them less prone to squirming or folding suddenly, and the added siping provides further grip. The relatively square profile means that the Shorty Gen 2 prefers to be ridden aggressively, and we never found the limits of the Shorty on soft trails where we had the bike leaned over. In firmer and loose-over-hard conditions the Shorty wouldn’t be our first choice, but they’re a significant improvement over the older version. We never rolled the knobs on the front tire, and the only time that we cut the rear tire loose was when we did it deliberately. On trails with a variety of conditions, including rocks and roots, the Assegai may be a better choice, but the Shorty Gen 2 strikes an excellent balance between a condition-specific tire and generalist. It performs well across a variety of conditions and surfaces, in spite of its “soft conditions only” appearance. Maxxis’ MaxxGrip rubber is largely responsible for this, but the DoubleDown casing also helps as it isn’t so stiff that it can’t deform around rocks and roots to improve grip. We found that the Shorty Gen 2 performed best at 23psi/25psi without a tire insert, and that higher pressures resulted in reduced traction and more deflection in mixed terrain.

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Because we mounted the Shorty Gen 2 on our trail bike, we also got a strong sense of the tire’s rolling resistance. In a word, these tires are slow. Compared to the Assegai, they roll noticeably slower, and we wouldn't recommend these tires to riders who aren’t willing to put in some extra effort on the climbs or for those who aren’t riding steep terrain that requires sustained braking.

Long Term Durability

We rode these tires exclusively for over four months, and even though they were quite worn, the Shorty Gen 2 still got the job done. The knobs wore evenly, and resisted tearing off completely. Not a single knob tore off suddenly, and in the end, the cornering knobs had worn to the point where they began to tear off from the inside edge. The braking knobs still did their job in spite of the siping being long gone too. Overall, we were pleased with how well they lasted. We rode our Shortys to the point where the cornering knobs were rolling over and we were cornering using the casing as much as the knobs themselves. Riding Squamish granite wears down tires faster than most conditions, and we still managed to get four months from our rear tire, which is on par with what we’ve experienced from other tires.

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No flats, no plugs, and no additional sealant were required. We also managed to put a few solid dings in our rim throughout the test, which further contributed to our faith in the Shorty Gen 2’s reliability.

Things That Could Be Improved

Maxxis has done a great job with the Shorty Gen 2. Not only does this tire excel in the conditions where it was designed to be ridden most, it performs admirably across a variety of trails, which can’t be said for the previous version. Rolling speed was slow, but this tire wasn’t meant to win cross country races. We expect that riders concerned with rolling speed might choose a different rear tire, but Maxxis has plenty of options there too.

What's The Bottom Line?

With the addition of the Shorty Gen 2, Maxxis has arguably created the most compelling lineup in the industry. The updated tread pattern and slightly narrower width does an outstanding job in soft and loose conditions, yet it remains more composed than one might expect in variable scenarios. Riders who set-and-forget might be better served by the Minion or Assegai, but those who demand the right tool for the job will want a set of these for blown out or sloppy conditions. Take a closer look at tire choices from DH World Champs and you might recognize the tread pattern. Don’t be surprised to see the Shorty Gen 2 quite frequently when racing gets underway this spring.

For more on the Maxxis Shorty be sure to check out maxxis.com

Maxxis Shorty Offerings


About The Reviewer

Joel Harwood – Age: 37 // Years Riding MTB: 20+ // Height: 5’11” (1.80m) // Weight: 185-pounds (83.9kg)

Joel’s unique coachingbackground and willingness to tinker with products bring an objective perspective to testing. He dabbles in all types of racing, but is happiest simply exploring the limitless trail networks surrounding his home of Squamish, BC. Attention to detail, time in the saddle, and an aggressive riding style make Joel a rider that demands the most from his products while exposing any shortcomings.

Specifications

Product Maxxis Shorty Tires
Riding Type Downhill, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b), 29"
Tire Width 2.4 inches
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Bead
Durometer

3C MaxxTerra Compound
An intermediate compound configuration that is softer and offers more traction yet provides better treadwear and less rolling resistance.

3C MaxxGrip Compound
Uses the softest rubber compounds to offer more grip and slow rebound properties for improved traction in downhill applications.

Sidewall

EXO Casing
A cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant material added to 60 TPI sidewalls. Good for trail riding on rocky trails where there’s a chance of sidewall cuts and abrasion is high.

Double Down (DD) Casing
Dual-ply tire casing good for enduro riding. Two 120 TPI casing layers reinforced with a butyl insert provides support and protection.

DH Butyl Insert Protection
An extra piece of butyl rubber extending from the bead up into the sidewall helping to prevent pinch flats, protects the rim from hard hits, and adds sidewall stability. Good for downhill riding.

Weight
  • 2 lb 2.1 oz (966 g)
  • 2 lb 3.1 oz (994 g)
  • 2 lb 8.1 oz (1,136 g)
  • 2 lb 10.6 oz (1,209 g)
  • 2 lb 10.6 oz (1,208 g)
  • 2 lb 13.4 oz (1,286 g)
Miscellaneous • 2nd generation, 2021 release
• Ideal for wet or extremely dusty conditions
• “Double wide” knob now split into two individual knobs
• More supportive cornering knobs
• Additional siping to enhance braking and cornering traction
• Raised ridges on casing to promote mud clearing
Price
  • $83
  • $100
  • $100
More Info

For more info, visit the Maxxis website.

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