Strengths: Rolling resistance, transient cornering, predictability, weight.
Weaknesses: Ultimately won't hold like a larger knob tire. Not a mud tire, but not intended to be. Rather spendy.
My Santa Cruz came stock with CrossMarks. I never wrecked as often. This is a far better tire in every way other than strait line rolling resistance, where it isn't far behind. i'm using them both front and rear.
It has very good climbing and cornering traction, and is predictable the limit, unlike the CrossMark.
Cornering transient behavior is also very good. Traction at various lean angles is consistent, and there is no waiting/hoping for the tire to achieve bite with the side knobs.
Used at lowish pressure, the small/micro knob design puts a lot of rubber in contact when climbing on rocks and roots as well.
Strengths: Fast rolling, reasonable volume, reasonable durability for their weight, good traction for my riding conditions; easy to set up tubeless
Weaknesses: I was able to put put a hole through the center of the tread on the first ride on my hardtail
I have the Ikon set up on an Crest rim for my Specialized Epic and an Arch rim for my 29er hardtail - this is my go-to rear tire now. It sets up very easily tubeless and has proven to be impressively durable for a lightweight, mid-volume tire. Our local trails tend to be hardpack with larger embedded rock features - conditions that this tire excels at. By dropping the PSI a little bit, this tire really gets a lot of traction on the rocks, with little sacrifice of rolling resistance. IMO the microknob tires are a huge step up for normal aggressive XC riding. The two places where this tire might be found wanting would be on trails with lots of loose conditions because I don't think the knobs will penetrate well, and also I doubt this is going to be a great tire for riders with great cornering skills since the side knobs are pretty low profile. For me though this tire is about perfect on the back of my bike. I have been hesitant though to put it on the front - for the longest time I've had it paired with a Maxxis Ignitor, and I'm now looking at a couple higher-volume alternatives (Conti X-King 2.4 and WTB Weirwolf). I just want a slightly more aggressive tire on the front wheel.
As I noted in the weaknesses, my only disappointment with this tire occurred on my first ride with it mounted on the rear wheel of my hardtail. On the very first downhill I was able to punch a hole straight through the center of the tread. Granted that it sealed up relatively easily and it has been fine since, but this does serve as a reminder that it is a lightweight race-oriented tire, so it does have its limits.
In summary, I think many people would benefit from using this as a rear tire. If you pick your lines and don't bash every rock you see, the Ikon is a great compromise of low rolling resistance with good traction - I highly recommend it.
Strengths: Very fast rolling and light. The side knobs give just enough traction to lay into corners without giving up rolling speed. The EXO system is the real deal; it gives exceptional strength while at the same time keeping the weight of the tire light. I have been impressed with the tire's performance as a rear tire; it hooks up great on climbs no matter the terrain.
Weaknesses: I really have not found any. I was expecting it to slip more on wet terrain, but it really hooks up well.
I have now put about 200 mile of serious riding (Pisgah,NC ; Snake Gap, GA; Clemmer Mtn., TN) and this tire has held up great. I got it for 50 dollars through a sale, so that just made it even better. I initially got it for a race in Pisgah and was worried that it might be a bit light for the terrain. I was wrong: yes it is light, but it is also tough. I am going to keep it on until it wears out or fails, but to be honest, I don't think it will fail. This is a great fast rolling tire that hooks up better than expected and is suprisingly tough. Well worth the $.
Strengths: Very good grip, Fast!!, long lasting!!
Sets up tubeless very well!
Weaknesses: For the segment of durable race tire, very few.
Had one blister up, but Maxxis warrantied it.
There are better options when its really wet
I first used this tire as a loaner from a friend that was a tester with the prototypes back in July 2010 as a replacement for a torn tire. I was blown away, and couldn't wait for it to come out for retail!
I have been using this tire in combination as a front, rear or both all tubeless.
The tire has a really low rolling resistance, supple feel, durable sidewall, and tons of grip for such a tire!
I have used a lot of different XC tires, but this one is my favorite! It is the most predictable tire when transitioning the tire from the center of the tread transitioning onto its edge.
These tires have also lasted longer than most other tires that I have used while retaining its same grip and performance.
This tire isn't quite as supple as the Schwable Racing Ralph with a larger casting, but it does address the Racing Ralph's shortcomings: short life span, decayed performance, predictability while transitioning onto its edge. Some may argue this, but this is has just been my experience, and I never really got the performance out of the RR's that others have raved about. To me, the Ikon EXO is just the complete package for a high performance race tire!
I must also add that I have used the eXC model, and I recommend that one over this for lighter riders..probably 145lb. or less. The thicker sidewall of the EXO just gives a lot more performance at a small weight expense (about 50g)
For an all around setup, I want to add that the Ignitor 29 EXO 2.1 plays very well with this tire especially if experience a lot of loose rock or loose over hardpack.
Similar Products Used: Maxxis Crossmark 2.1(The Ikon is better in every aspect except for price)
Maxxis Ignitor (plays great with the Ikon)
Maxxis Ardent (great tire for another purpose)
Schwable Racing Ralph SS 2.25
Schwable Racing Ralph Performance 2.25 (like it better than the SS, even with more weight)
Continental Race King
Continental Mountain King
WTB Weirwolf (great tire, great traction for loose over hard, and rocks, but weak bead)
Specialized Fast Track S-Works LK 2.0
Specialized Fast Tracks Control 2.0 (currently my second favorite tire on the market for SS or XC racing)
Specialized Renegade (great grip, does not last, race day only tire)
Stan's Raven 29 2.2 ( touchy PSI setup, great grip, does not last, race day only tire)
Bike Setup: I have the Maxxis Ikon 2.2 EXO on 3 different bikes:
Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon: Setup for trail with American Classic AM wheels (Maxxis Ardent front, Ikon EXO back)
Lynskey Pro29 SL Singlespeed: Race setup, Maxxis Ikon EXO front and rear
Salsa Selma: 1x10: Maxxis Ikon EXO 2.2 front, Specialized Fast Track Control 2.0 rear (Selma has a limited tire clearance, and the Ikon 2.2 fits, but likes to shoot rocks through the seat stays)
This is the best XC tire I've used yet, for SoCal dry desert hardpack. Their traction continues to impress me. On hardpack, they have more climbing and level ground traction than any other tire I've used, which includes knobbier ties like Ardent 2.4, Nevegal DTC 2.35, Rampage 2.35, and in 26" versions Bronson 2.3, Fat Albert F/R, High Roller 2.35, etc. On top of their speed and weight, it totally made XC trails even more fun. Try it and then believe it!
When the trail turns downwards and is steep, the poor braking performance can really cause you to screw up, if you're used to late and hard braking and a bit of sideways sliding. If I didn't have an ABP rear end, brake jack (locking up the rear susp) would make it even worse. It skids fairly easily, though not as badly as the Captain or SB8. Combine steep with loose and loamy (usually loose from people dragging their brakes), it becomes kind of sketchy, but that goes for most tires. These are just worse than other tires, such as the Nevegals, in these particular conditions.
I'm definitely riding these until they're bald and will likely keep reodering them to keep a pair of them on my XC wheels for good. For my Stans Flow wheelset, I'm going to go with slightly beefier tires (Panaracer CG XCs ATM) for those times I decide to hit the steep loose downhills such as at Big Bear.
1 chili off for value. I'm not accustomed to paying $60 for quality rubber, but considering your tires are your biggest contact point on your bike (vs pedals, grips, saddle), you definitely don't want to skimp here. You should have tires for each trail type, IMO, or at least the trail you ride a majority of the time. I feel getting the slightly beefier tire is a waste, since the Ikons actually do better in 90% of the riding I do.
Similar Products Used: Small Block Eight DTC, S-Works Captain 2.2
Bike Setup: '10 GFisher Superfly 100, Stan's Flow/Edge XC rims
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 20, 2011
Strengths: Light, strong sidewalls, roll fast, track well, work well tubeless.
Weaknesses: Rear might slip out a little more than the Ignitors, not much more.
The Ignitors where my favorite tire of all time. Then I tried the Ikons. Slightly lighter, faster rolling, both have strong sidewalls, corner just as well. Slightly less traction in the rear, but the ignitors did wear out faster and then felt very similar.
a Cross Country Rider
from munising, Mi. USA
Date Reviewed: May 31, 2011
Strengths: Rolls fast. Good grip so far. light weight. Don't know about washout in the front yet.
Weaknesses: None so far
The tire feels great on dirt, gravel, and singletrack. I took it up some steep slopes to try to make it spin out and it started to spin out but I leaned back and it grabbed again. It does have heavier sidewalls and I like that. Don't know about mud yet but it probably is only fair there. It's a little squirrelly in sand but that's probably me. The knobs are pretty small but the tradeoff is more speed. Give it a 4.5.