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Product Reviews - Bikeman's Product Testing



Looks can be deceiving. At first glance the photos of the CrossMark provided by Maxxis make it look like an aggressive all mountain tire. In person, when a CrossMark is seen on a bike, it may look like it was meant for strictly racing on a tame course. Although Maxxis implies that it is a racing tire, after racing and riding the CrossMark for over a year, I have learned that you can’t always judge a book by its cover…

So, how does it actually perform? At a decent weight of 530 grams, the CrossMark flies on fire roads, trails and pavement with little rolling resistance. The knobs bite into loam and heavy sand / gravel exceptionally well, and acceleration on these surfaces is outstanding. Traction is superb on dry surfaces, as the tire effortlessly grips roots on climbs and sticks to all types of rock. In very loose areas, the tire may spin out a bit, but I generally run my tires a little firmer than they have to be, so experiences will vary.

Because I have only used the CrossMark as a rear tire, I cannot comment too much on its braking or downhill capabilities as these are generally taken care of by the front tire with the rear just rolling along behind. But, from my experience I can say that the CrossMark does okay coming down.

I ran the Ignitor / CrossMark combination for the 2007 Mt. Snow Vermont XC race, which was essentially straight up a muddy, root laden mountain and straight down on similar trails that greeted racers with several inches of soupy mud. There was certainly quite a bit of slipping and sliding action going on for me during that race. The CrossMark shed the mud moderately well, quickly loosing most mud on the dry fire roads. On the way down, the CrossMark from time to time would glide in an unwanted direction.

In another race, a downpour the night before made roots slippery, but little mud was present to clog up the tires. I experienced a similar “slip and slide” feel as the CrossMark would be sliding to the left or to the right on a root while I was trying to move forward. Simply, I feel as though mud and moisture is where the CrossMark does not excel, but it certainly does better than other tires I have tried in similar conditions.

The CrossMark rear tire had to be replaced about once every six months, not necessarily due to tread wear, but because of rips in the sidewalls. Most of the wear on the sidewalls was probably inflicted while riding a particular trail system (that I ride once a week) that is notorious for having an endless supply of sharp, pointy rocks. Quite often, while leaning into a turn, one of these rocks would bite into my tire or rim. Tears did not develop immediately, but after about six months the tube did begin pointing out of the tire in various places.

The last notable concern for me is that all Maxxis mountain bike tires seem to have a very tight bead. I have weak fingers, but even experienced riders and mechanics seem to struggle getting the tire on the rim. I have used Maxxis tires on Bontrager and Mavic rims and had equal trouble. Luckily, Maxxis tires seem to be very pinch flat resistant as I have yet to change a tube after simultaneously using four different Maxxis tires over the course of a year and a half.

Although the tire has a few drawbacks, I feel that for the weight, low rolling resistance and great grip in dry conditions, the Maxxis CrossMark is worthy of praise. In general, one needs to stay a bit more focused on the trail with the CrossMark, but the added concentration will result in increased speed. As you can see below, I gave it a four out of five.

Maxxis offers the CrossMark in a few different combinations. There is one 29’er version and five 26 inch versions. A 2.25 inch wide, 26 inch CrossMark is offered in a 60a compound along with a 2.10 inch wide, 26 inch version in a 70a compound. I tested the 2.10 by 26 inch “eXCeption” CrossMark with a 62a durometer. The 2.10 by 29 version only comes in 70a. Two tubeless / UST versions are available in 2.10 and 2.25 26 inch versions. Weights range from 530-690 grams. The Ignitor that I used as a front tire is offered in similar flavors. Prices range from $42 to $59 (msrp) and can be found at Bikeman.com for less.
 
More info on the Crossmark and the entire Maxxis lineup can be found on the Maxxis website.

Nathaniel

Rated:
Maxxis CrossMark
 $41.95


Maxxis CrossMark: 26x2.1, eXCeption, Black, Folding. The CrossMark is the dramatic evolution of the cross country racing tire. The nearly continuous center ridge flies on hardpack, yet has enough spacing to grab wet roots and rocks. The slightly raised ridge of side knobs offers cornering precision never before seen on a tire this fast. Fast...
Maxxis CrossMark
 $36.95


Maxxis CrossMark: 26x2.1, 70a, Black, Folding. The CrossMark is the dramatic evolution of the cross country racing tire. The nearly continuous center ridge flies on hardpack, yet has enough spacing to grab wet roots and rocks. The slightly raised ridge of side knobs offers cornering precision never before seen on a tire this fast. Fast...
Maxxis CrossMark
 $41.95


Maxxis CrossMark: 26x2.25, 60a, 1ply, Folding, Black. . The CrossMark is the dramatic evolution of the cross country racing tire. The nearly continuous center ridge flies on hardpack, yet has enough spacing to grab wet roots and rocks. The slightly raised ridge of side knobs offers cornering precision never before seen on a tire this fast...
Maxxis CrossMark
 $51.95


Maxxis CrossMark UST: 26x2.25, LUST, Folding, Black. The CrossMark is the dramatic evolution of the cross country racing tire. The nearly continuous center ridge flies on hardpack, yet has enough spacing to grab wet roots and rocks. The slightly raised ridge of side knobs offers cornering precision never before seen on a tire this fast. Fast...
Maxxis CrossMark
 $51.95


Maxxis CrossMark UST: 26x2.1, LUST, Black, Folding. Designed with World Champion Christoph Sauser, the CrossMark is the dramatic evolution of the Cross Country racing tire. The nearly continuous center ridge flies on hardpack, yet has enough spacing to grab wet roots and rocks. The slightly raised ridge of side knobs offers cornering...
Maxxis CrossMark
 $36.95


Maxxis CrossMark: 29x2.1, 70a, Black, Folding. The CrossMark is the dramatic evolution of the cross country racing tire. The nearly continuous center ridge flies on hardpack, yet has enough spacing to grab wet roots and rocks. The slightly raised ridge of side knobs offers cornering precision never before seen on a tire this fast. Features...
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