Strengths: Fast, corners predictably and well, quiet, fast, good climbing traction on rear in reverse rotation, Exo sidewall protection, 120 tpi casing is light and absorbent.
Weaknesses: Holds on to mud, slippery when wet (at least on roots)
I got the 2.1 Exception EXO Crossmark to replace my old IRC Serac XC on the back of my bike which was losing knobs due to dry rot. The Crossmark corners significantly better than the old tire, though I wouldn't say "on rails" as the shorter (albeit continuous and blocky) sideknobs give it a slightly round profile. It transitions predictably and when the transition knobs slide the sideknobs catch well and fast giving it a pretty fun cornering pattern when you want to push it to its (intended) limits.
It's considerably less bouncy than my old tires and at 120 tpi it soaks up more vibration than I expected and retains a lot of traction through large swaths of roots and rocks. I run it in reverse in order to give the transition knobs a square connection to the trail rather than the ramps in order to optimize climbing traction over these rooty sections and while my old tires had more, I have yet to break these loose when I keep myself in an efficient climbing position.
This tire is fast. The first time I took it out I didn't even feel like I got a workout even when increasing my usual distance and lowering my usual time. They feel almost like slicks on asphalt, and on the trail the only way you know you've got knobs is that you aren't constantly spinning out. Just... fast.
They retain mud so I wouldn't suggest them to people in wet environments. Speaking of wet, I wouldn't trust these on wet roots or rocks as well. Off camber roots can kick them aside pretty easily, and without enough traction I can see that washing the rear.
Bottom line; These things are great for what I'm riding. Loose over hard, hardpack, dry to slightly damp, east coast trails. Roots, Rocks, (Reggae), some red clay, pine needles everywhere. Value 5 thanks to a sale on pricepoint, 5 Overall because these excel at their niche and include some extra sidewall protection if you are looking to expand its horizons and see what it can really do.
Bike Setup: 2004 Cannondale F400 All-Mountain 26 inch, V-brakes. 3x9
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: May 15, 2013
Strengths: Low rolling resistance.
Great dry and wet traction.
Great cornering traction.
Large volume = good flotation in soft/loose stuff.
Good tread life.
Equally good on the front or back of the bike.
Weaknesses: Sidewall weaker/more prone to damage than many of the competitors.
Overall this tire is fantastic for all mountain/cross country riders. There are 3 versions of it offering various degrees of sidewall armouring. So far I have used the most basic one, which unfortunately suffers from vulnerable sidewalls. I just ordered the more expensive version of this tire to replace one I damaged in Moab last year (cut sidewall). Even with somewhat vulnerable sidewalls, I still love these tires as they provide incredible level of traction in dry and more impressively in wet conditions. I am impressed how little spin you get with these tires on wet rocks and tree roots. Interestingly enough, despite relatively weak sidewall design, this tire provides excellent directional stability, more specifically the tire does not roll laterally in turns making it very stable.
Similar Products Used: Panaracer Fire XC, Kenda Nevegal StickE
Bike Setup: 2008 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 30, 2013
Strengths: super low rolling resistance, light weight, long tread life and very durable
Weaknesses: the ONLY weakness of this tire is that it isn't great in the mud
I have been using the Maxxis Crossmark tires for both front and rear on my xc trail bike for 6 years now. I am currently on my second set. I don't think I will ever use another tire ever again, these tires can do it all! They roll like they're a street slick on a road bike but on hard pack and even lose terrain they have amazing grip. The shoulder knobs give plenty of grip for cornering while the center tread is very fast rolling while giving great traction on climbs. The only weakness I have found in these tires is that they are not the best in the mud. They are by no means terrible or unridable but there are better tires in the mud but all of the pros for this tire heavily outweigh their one weakness in the mud. I will keep buying these tires until they are no longer being produced.
Strengths: Very fast, corners reasonable considering its made to be a fast straight line tyre.
Weaknesses: Braking, climbing traction, mud (definitely not marketed as a mud tyre though)
I have used a 2.1 folding bead on the rear only. Generally 26-30psi tubed.
This is a fast race tyre, good for hardpack and slightly loose/loamy, but not loose.
Is doesn't brake that well, doesn't have good traction so slips on climbs.
Fairly high volume, makes for a comfy ride and good headroom for playing with air pressure.
This pairs up well with an ignitor on the front.
I have now used a monorail, its seems just as fast if not faster, climbs WAY better, out brakes crossmark by a fair amount. But monorail feels a bit more slide-happy when pushed in damp conditions.
I would recommend the monorail over this.
Strengths: Very light and very fast on well groomed trails.
Weaknesses: Extremely prone to pinch flats when run at a pressure that makes them grip.
Side walls are paper thin.
Poor grip when leaning over in damp to wet conditions.
This tyre is fast in dry and well groomed trail conditions. I have found it works well at high pressure but does not grip well. For the optimum grip it needs to be run at less than 30 psi......but this means pinch flats a-go-go!! I would not recommend this as a front tyre it is for the rear but only on reasonably smooth, trail centre type trails. I have had to ditch mine as it is just a bit too fragile and unpredictable.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: June 18, 2012
Strengths: FAST ... Soooo Fast. Light too.
Weaknesses: Not many. Doesn't handle greasy, technical downhill as well as others, but they make up for that in climbing and speed.
Just finished the 70km Test of Metal in British Columbia, Canada. It’s a grueling race with 1200m of elevation gain and 40km of technical singletrack. Oh, and I should also mention that this year was the wettest Test of Metal on record. I ordered the 2.1 Crossmarks last minute because I knew my Ardent front and High Roller rear were going to be too slow for the amount of uphill on the course. I was a bit concerned when they arrived the day before the race and I didn’t have time to test them out before I was committed. However, the minute I rolled out of the starting chute I knew I had made the right choice. These tires are FAST! They fly on hardpack, handle in the mud and climb like champs. Admittedly, they don’t inspire the same confidence as my Ardent or High Roller on the real greasy, technical downhill, but that was a small price to pay for their speed and agility on the climbs. As most of my riding is really technical and aggressive singletrack, I will be hanging these tires up until the next big event. Nevertheless, these are my new racing tires … hands down!!!
Similar Products Used: Maxxis Ardent, Maxxis High Roller, Maxxis Minion, Kenda Nevegal
Bike Setup: 2011 Rocky Mountain Altitude. Spec'd out with Awesomeness!!!!
Date Reviewed: June 12, 2012
Strengths: very fast and light
Weaknesses: Fragile sidewalls
I like these as a summer tyre but so far I have gashed the sidewall on two of these and have now become wary of them. Never happened to me before - luckily I saw the inner tube bubbling out before it blew but I could easily have missed it. Tyre maybe OK generally but possibly the lightness has a penalty where there is a risk of sharp stones ( eg UK south downs flint ) scraping the sidewalls and maybe best avoided where sharp stone cuts are possible. Pity as I like 'em!
Strengths: fast on dry, hard/medium pack sections but still acceptable traction over roots and most sand washouts
Weaknesses: if those aforementioned roots are wet WATCH OUT
They're probably not the optimum tire for the trails I ride but they came with my bike. My previous 26" bike had Velociraptors and they were nearly excellent all around. These Crossmarks would blow them away in fast sections. In the future I'd consider using a Crossmark up front with something a little more grippy in the back.
Strengths: Very fast with preditcable slip in turns.
Weaknesses: Very poor quality. Absolutely no warranty if used with Stans. Slips when wet. Poor mud performance.
First let me say that I used to LOVE these tires. They were the only tires I would buy for years. Then 2 things happened. They jumped in price from around $50 to about $75 per tire AND I started having problems with them such as huge bubbles in the tire tread that would appear. This has happened 3 times to 3 different tires. The first tire I figured was a fluke. This huge bubble appeared in the outer tire (tread side) and got so big that it ripped while riding. The tire had a couple of seasons on it so I just got rid of it and bought another.
Then the new tire that I had purchased after about a year of riding it, and I am a weekend warrior riding on dry hard pack trails with minimal rocks, did the same thing. I decided to try for warranty since it was likely under a year old. The LBS contacted Maxxis and they asked if Stans was used.. Well, of course, doesn't everyone with tubeless use Stans?? Warranty was void because of using Stans.
So stupid me, I bought another tire. Guess what! SAME dang thing happened to this one too. Tire develops an outer bulge from the air slipping past the belts in the inner tire and filling a cavity between the outer tire and the inner tire. Popped it with a toothpick and had to put a tube in it to finish my ride.
Listen, I really love the way this tire performs but at near $80 per tire and 3 that have done this with no warranty from Maxxis.. I have to give this a thumbs down. I can find a cheaper tire that performs well and doesn't have any problems with Stans...
Strengths: Review for EXC 2.1: Strong sidewall. Low Rolling Resistance compare to Rocket Rons and Nobby Nic (2.2). Lightweight.
Weaknesses: Tire blew off the rim bead at 40 psi while letting it sit for TL setup. It also blew off the rim at 30 psi while rolling 12% grade at 3 mph. I use 2 types of tire gauges: digital and analog.
This tire runs perfect at 27 and below psi but at 30 psi, the tire comes off the rim and mind you, this is during a slow uphill climb on a crest wheelset. SCARY!! I never had problems with it at 25 psi and below setup even after doing 4' drops. Btw, I'm only 153 lbs geared.
I got a pair of these from a teammate around January 2011. I initially tried them on both wheels, but I felt like it was a sketchy tire on the front wheel. I've been pretty happy with the one on the rear wheel. It rolls fast, it's light, and it corners surprisingly well for something with that little tread. I bought it planning to use it as a dry-season-only tire, but I ended up using one on a pretty muddy day and was pleasantly surprised. While I had to be pretty conscious of my weight placement, I was able to get over wet roots and climb in some pretty sloppy conditions. I thought it might just spin, like a slick.
I did damage a sidewall riding in a particularly rocky place, although not badly enough to flat the tire - I caught it later.
Strengths: Excellent low rolling resistance, long tread wear, excellent grip on road and hard packed dirt
Weaknesses: do not use on mud.
I bought this tire July 2011 and have been very satisfied with the performance ever since. I am a weekend cyclist, biking around the trails of Sta rosa Silang in Luzon Philippines. I do a mix of road, single tracks, fire roads. I once tried this tire during the rainy season and found that it did not do well on mud tracks. My Crossmarks logged 3000kms, the front tire still has 75% tread wear while my rear has more than 50% tread. Maxxis crossmark's strength is in hard packed dirt. Overall, I am very contented with this tire, in fact, I bought another set in time for replacement sometime next month.
Weaknesses: Oddly shaped to use on the front, loses it quickly when leaned
Really like it on the rear of my hard tail -- fast rolling but with adequate traction when climbing, and on the rear that's what's most important. Don't like it on the front -- seems tall in the center and when leaned even a bit the transition is abrupt and the front can slide. I only get to ride in the dry stuff, so loose for me is dusty and gravely and it does well for me in the back.
Strengths: Roll fast, good cornering traction on hardpack
Weaknesses: Less than a month and blew out the sidewall on the rear. Difficult under breaking.
a Cross Country Rider
from Jasper Alberta Canada
Date Reviewed: April 10, 2012
Strengths: Very light, long lasting tread, good grip on pavement and packed dirt trails, and very fast!
Weaknesses: Not too good in deep mud, but this tire was never designed for deep mud riding.
I've had these Maxxis crossmarks for a year now and I can truthfully state that they are fantastic tires, one of the best I've experienced. These tires were never meant for extreme off roading and it puzzles my why some freaks out there give this tire a poor rating because of this. Thats like giving a Lamborghini a poor rating because its not as fuel effecient as a Honda Civic. What I like best about these tires is how fast they are. Smooth rolling tire, long lasting tread, I've got over 3000km on them and still a good amount of rubber left. I got the 26X 2.1 size which is 2 sizes bigger than what my bike originally came with. It cushions out the harshness of the terrain while still being able to give perfect feed back as to the condition of the terrain. Its surprisingly good at cornering fast on gravel surfaces, most tires I've experienced felt loose on gravel. Over all its great, looks good, lasts long, what more could you ask for. Get a set, and if you don't like them, you'll probably need to get your head examined.
I ride in central Texas and I'm looking for the perfect set of tires for my HT. Trails are only open when it's bone dry. I do about 50% road and 50% trail riding so I've narrowed it down to these two fast rolling tires. Should I get Ikon for F & R? Or Crossmark F & R with a modification to the front ... Read More »
Like the Crossmark as a rear tire, both 26 and 650b. Tubeless with zero issues at 165 pound rider weight. I like the eXC's weight and the sidewalls are durable enough for my trails on a Pacenti TL28 rim. Considering using it as a front, but wanted to ask if the mod I read about (somewhere, can't fin ... Read More »
Apologies if this has been posted, but ebikestop.com has the 510gram (claimed) Crossmark 650b for $41.45. I ordered two and used the coupon "spring" for free FedEx ground shipping.
[url=http://www.ebikestop.com/maxxis_crossmark_275_x_2_1_exception_single_compound_folding_tire-TR6117.php]Maxxis Cr ... Read More »
I see they are pretty light and want to try one on the front to loose some weight. Have the normal crossmark on the rear no troubles but it weighed 630. I'm seeing the exc is in the low 500sRead More »
Currently run a Neo Moto 2.1 on a FS and with the trails becoming more hardpack was looking for lighter and faster rolling. Did a search and found the Crossmark at Artscyclery for a good price, but on this forum the sidewalls are thin according to users. I don't ride a lot of rocks.
Is the NM 2.1 ... Read More »