Like the 26in version, the Aspen uses a low-profile tread pattern on a lightweight carcass with a high volume. It’s a XC-orientated tyre with a shallow tread pattern. It’s available in several guises, but we’ve been testing the 2.1in version.
The round profile tyre features a shallow tread pattern with small evenly spaced knobs with aggressive side knobs. The round profile makes for a predictable slide but the side knobs provide a decent level of control, allowing you to really push the tyres hard into corners with a lot of confidence.
On the trail and in various conditions from gloopy to tacky, the tyres show a surprising tendency to hook up. While they don’t look like they’ll manage in any variety of mud, they actually startled us with their tenacity to find grip, from steep slippery inclines to root infested sections of trail. Still, push really hard and the limits will be explored frequently, but for a tyre designed for drier conditions they coped well.
Of course for a tyre better suited to summer riding there were occasions when the tyre lost grip and broke free, but such moments were rare, and after a couple more pedal strokes traction was regained. Under braking is where the tyre does suffer, a trade-off for the fast rolling speed; under braking conditions into corners the tyre will break grip and skitter over braking bumps, but never alarmingly.
All in, based on early rides in less than favourable conditions, I’ve been impressed with the Aspen’s. There’s increasingly more tyre choice for 29er bikes and it’s good to see Maxxis making its popular range available in the larger size. We’ll be revisiting this review once we’ve ridden some drier trails.