“Bicycles may change, but cycling is timeless.” – Zapata Espinoza It is hard to step back sometimes and realize that no matter what new products a company releases, however unique, creative, and “WTF” you see it, biking will always be something we love – something that enriches our lives and makes people generally more awesome. Maxxis has been in the game of rubber for 48 years. They didn’t become one of the number one trusted tire manufacturers overnight. They have worked to build their reputation among automobile drivers, ATV enthusiasts, motorcyclists, and cyclists. They have earned their reputation too, with some of the most popular mountain bike tires on the market. We have all seen over the past few years how fat bikes have emerged into a more mainstream subsector of the sport. There are hundreds of companies, big and small, trying their hand at manufacturing fat bikes and fat bike specific accessories. Three years ago you may not have had much choice as far as brands and variations when shopping for fat bike gear, but that is not the story today. Maxxis released their ‘Fat’ and ‘Plus’ line of tires last September during Interbike 2014. They showcased their Mammoth 4.0 fat bike tire and their Chronicle 29+ tire. The Maxxis Mammoths come with two purchase options. You can choose between a 60 tpi or 120 tpi tire. The 120 comes with EXO protection. At first eye, these tires looked sharp, a little on the low profile end for the Mammoth, but as far as quality goes, they looked extremely well made. It wasn’t until this winter that we were able to put the Mammoths to the test on snow. We have had the opportunity to ride these is various winter conditions. As the tread on these tires is rather low profile, the traction varies greatly depending on track conditions. The Mammoth is missing the depth in their tread for hooking up to the snow that you would see on other fat bike tires on the market. The center line is particularly low with the mid center knobs being particularly shallow, making tracking on an incline extremely tough if the track isn’t at the perfect temp. That being said, these tires perform well on hard pack and groomed track – but as stated above, firmness is key. We tested these tires on various groomed track and had little to no issues with traction in that type of terrain. They stick alright on climbs, and are probably one of the fastest fat bike tires on flat groomers. In attempt to gain better traction on softer snow, we would deflate the tire to a relatively low psi from our standard 6-8 psi – running them down to around 3 or 4. While the tire held up fine with low pressure we noticed a very uncomfortable amount of self-steering on 80mm rims. An issue we have not experienced as much with the Husker Du’s. One element to mention is cornering. Although these tires were designed with larger side knobs, we noticed that the side tread would not hook up very well. We experienced this while cornering on groomed track, boot packed variable trail, or soft snow. When riding along side someone with Surly Bud and Lou’s, we were skidding out considerably more often, with less stability in general. This could be partially due to the 4.0 size, however, we did not always experience this on other 4.0 tires such as the Husker Du and Dillinger 4. The overall traction on the downhill was good, but watch out for the cornering and the considerable amount of auto steer. With the low profile, I found that even if you went into the smallest incline at a steady speed, on a typically firm snowmobile track, the tire had a difficult time holding, which led to spinning out and at times sinking in. This was a huge detractor for me. It is hard to deal with getting off and on your bike because of small obstacles when you would typically be cleaning everything just fine. The conditions need to be just right for these tires to perform at their best on snow. Cold and hard pack conditions were excellent, especially on more steady grades where you can really build up speed. Warmer conditions, or boot packed singletrack conditions (even while cold) can be very tough. The Mammoth also held a considerable amount of snow in 35+ degree conditions, which made the tread even worse. There were moments on a few rides where I felt I couldn’t even move and had to walk my bike. While we never tested the tire on a 100mm rim, there was very little difference between the tire width on the 100mm (slightly over 4”) and the 80mm (slightly under). Maybe the extra width would help with floatation. The real disappointment was the lack of big knobs that Maxxis is known for in their popular Ardents. The tires came in 5 grams shy of their specified weight at 1265 g. We have not had the opportunity to test these tires on dirt yet. We look forward to it as we think they will hook up much better in that type of terrain. Each tire in the Maxxis lineup has a particular use, it could be possible that Maxxis was attempting to create the perfect all season tire for fat bikes, and had dirt in mind during the design. This would certainly make sense with their choice to include the low profile, medium spaced knobs. Although the tire was not my favorite, and it sometimes had me frustrated and disappointed leaving me unable to ride terrain I would have been able to with other tires, it was still biking, and it was still a fun experience. We love Maxxis, and rock their tires in the summer for almost all occasions. We hope they re-design the tread of these tires for next year, as we do believe they have a lot of potential.