Last year saw the arrival of the 2nd generation Maxxis Forekaster tyre. Featuring a revamped tread pattern and a burlier construction, the latest Forekaster sits squarely in the ‘aggressive XC’ category. We first tested the 2.4in wide version and came away impressed with its blend of rolling speed and cornering grip across loose and dusty trail surfaces. No doubt about it, the new Forekaster is significant improvement over the first generation model.
Alongside the 2.4in Forekaster, Maxxis has also introduced a bigger 2.6in size. Given our prior experience, we decided to get a pair in to try out on Wil’s custom Tor Mullock hardtail to see if this would be the ultimate high volume all-round trail tyre.
Maxxis Forekaster EXO 3C Maxx Terra Tyre
- Size: 29×2.6in
- Weight: 1,017g (confirmed)
- RRP: $114.95 AUD
Previously a wet weather XC tyre, the new Maxxis Forekaster is designed as more of an all-rounder that aims to fill the gap between the fast-rolling Rekon and the heavier-duty Dissector.
Compared to the original version, the centre portion of the Forekaster’s tread isn’t hugely different. The staggered array is relatively tight and uses generous ramping to reduce rolling resistance, though each block is a little bigger and taller to increase overall bite on softer trail surfaces. It’s the shoulder blocks that receive the biggest update, with the offset design of the previous tyre having been ditched in favour of chunkier and more consistent edging blocks that provide better cornering grip and stability.
The more aggressive tread design has added some weight. Our 29×2.6in EXO test tyres weigh in at 1,017-1,022g each, which is on the portly side for an aggressive trail tyre.
We’ve currently got the Maxxis Forekaster tyres set up on a Stan’s NoTubes Arch MK4 wheelset. The alloy rims feature a 28mm inner width that’s perhaps on the narrower side for a 2.6in wide tyre, though the stubby BST sidewalls on the Arch MK4 don’t seem to pinch the tyre casing as much as a conventional tubeless rim. Either way, the tyre has a nicely round profile that offers a good amount of spring to it that suits the intended application on a hardtail.
Installation was easy and the tyres aired up tubeless without hassle. Having relaxed after a few rides, the widest part of the tread measures in at 2.55in, though the casing is a touch narrower. You could expect the tyre to fill out a bit more when fitted to a 30-35mm rim.
Paired to the low-profile alloy rims, a CushCore Trail insert in the rear wheel and with pressures set around 17-19psi, the Maxxis Forekasters offer a nicely damped ride quality. The 60tpi casing incorporates EXO protection through the sidewalls, which provides an added degree of cut resistance without deadening the ride too much. This allows the tyres to conform to the terrain and deliver a supple ride quality that enhances overall grip.
They still roll quite well thanks to the 3C Maxx Terra rubber that utilises a firmer compound for the centre tread and softer rubber for the shoulder blocks. They’re not quite as quick as a Rekon, but they’re surprisingly agile given they weigh over a kilo each. And what the Forekasters lose in rolling speed they more than make up for it when cornering across loose and dusty trail conditions, offering more traction and stability.
It’s worth noting that Maxxis offer the Forekaster in a cheaper dual compound option, though for the $15 difference we reckon the fancier 3C Maxx Terra rubber is worth paying for. You can also get an E-50 version with the heavier EXO+ casing, which will be worth considering if you frequent rockier terrain.