Maxxis Ardent EXO 26 x 2.25″ Tyre Review

The not-so-minor details


Maxxis Ardent EXO 2.25"


KWT Nominees





Size Tested:



Great all-rounder.
Well priced.
Tough casing but not too heavy.


A bit vague between centre tread and side knobs corners.

The Ardent has been part of the Maxxis lineup for years. It’s a trail tyre, through and through, sitting somewhere between the Crossmark and legendary Minion in terms of rolling speed/grip stakes. As an all-weather, all-rounder, we rate the Ardents very highly.

In a 2.25″ size, the Ardent has a good, tall bag to it, offering plenty of cushion and encouraging lower pressures. It’s also available in a 2.4″ which we’d consider as a great front tyre option for looser or sandier conditions; 2.25″ out back, 2.4″ up front = aggressive trail riding perfection.

The EXO Protection sidewalls are tough, giving us the confidence to run the Ardents tubeless.

Our test tyres featured Maxxis’s EXO Protection sidewalls, which is basically reinforcement for increased abrasion/cut resistance. Even with the slightly heavier sidewalls, the Ardents weigh in at just 708g each, which is right in the ball park. These aren’t a tubeless tyre per se, but with the EXO sidewalls we had the confidence to set them up without tubes with great success. They sealed up straight away on our Shimano XT UST wheels and we haven’t had any cuts, holes or punctures to date. Of course, for extra certainty, you can go the LUST tubeless but there’s a weight penalty of around 180g per tyre.

Ramped centre tread for speed. The intermediate ‘shoulder’ area is very open meaning it’s quite a transition from centre tread to the side knobs.

The tread pattern is pretty unique. It’s a fast rolling pattern, thanks to the sloped centre tread, and the side knobs offer good support whilst still retaining enough sensitivity for grip on wet roots thanks to extensive siping. The intermediate zone, between upright and full leant over, is a little vague – the knobs in this space are sparse and fairly flexible. We noticed this most on hardpack or sand, while in loose conditions it didn’t seem to affect the tyre greatly. In a nut shell, this tyre works best if you’re fully committed to a corner and tip it in!

As usual with Maxxis tyres, the durability has been fantastic. The rubber compound mightn’t be as soft as some of its competitors (especially Schwalbe), but the Ardent hangs on well in damp conditions nonetheless. We’ll continue to run these treads through the winter and beyond.


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