The original Maxxis Shorty tire was released back in 2014, and in the years since it's developed a loyal following among riders whose typical riding conditions revolve between wet and wetter. Now it's time to welcome version 2.0 in the mix, a tire that first started showing up on the bike of World Cup DH racers over the summer.
The basics of the new model remain the same – it's essentially a cut down mud spike, with square blocks that are designed to penetrate and find traction in soft, loose conditions, whether that's mud or dust. The main difference between the new vs. the old design has to do with the center tread pattern. What used to be one rectangular knob has been split in two, and there's now a repeating pattern with three different spacings down the center of the tire.
Maxxis Shorty Gen 2 Details
• MaxxGrip or MaxxTerra rubber compounds
• EXO, DoubleDown, or DH casing
• Tubeless ready
• Sizes: 29 x 2.4" (tested), 27.5 x 2.4"
• Weight: 1217 grams (29" MaxxGrip, DoubleDown casing)
• MSRP: $83 - $100 USD
The side knobs were updated as well, with ribs added to the outside for more support during cornering. Additional siping was added in order to increase the level of traction even further, and there are now little raised ridges on the casing that are meant help prevent mud from sticking between the knobs.
Previously there were 2.3” and 2.5” options, but those have now been consolidated into one 2.4” option for either 29” or 27.5” wheels. At the moment there are three different casing / compound options – riders can chose from EXO / MaxxTerra, DoubleDown / MaxxGrip, or DH / MaxxGrip.
I tested the 29” DoubleDown MaxxGrip version, which retails for $100, and weighed 1217 grams. It's worth noting that the tires I was on were early samples that had a small additional vertical sipe on some of the center knobs – those won't be present on the versions that are hitting shops now, although if you had patience and an X-Acto knife it's wouldn’t be too hard to add them on. PerformanceSetup:
Getting the Shorty seated, sealed, and ready to roll was trouble free. I typically ran 21-23 psi, and inflated to those pressures on a 30mm rim the tire measured a true-to-size 2.4”. Overall grip:
Maxxis' MaxxGrip rubber compound is one of the best out there when it comes to sticking to slippery things, and that rubber paired with the new tread design delivered an impressive amount of traction. I did some rides with a dual Shorty setup, but my preferred configuration was to run it as a front tire with a DHR II in the rear. That improved my rolling speed slightly, although it's still obviously a setup that's aimed more at traction than efficiency.
The Shorty's happy place is when the ground is soft enough for those square blocks to dig in, which describes the typical fall and winter conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Where I live the mud is more like a pine needle soup compared to the sticky peanut butter that occurs in other locales, and while there were a few extra-soggy rides where a true mud spike might have found more traction, in most cases it the Shorty felt like exactly the right tool for the job.
For reference, my usual tire combo is an 2.5" Assegai paired with a 2.4" DHR II, or a Schwalbe Big Betty if I feel like mixing hot patches. The Shorty comes into play when the mud gets deep enough to overwhelm the Assegai - its square knobs and more open profile allow it to keep digging in after the Assegai would have tapped out.
The new Shorty is notably better at handling wet roots and rocks compared than the original. Where the previous version had a tendency to break free suddenly, typically during direction changes in those roots or rocks, the new tread pattern and siping gives it more predictable handling, and I was able to let my guard down when faced with sections of harder packed, wet trail. Cornering / braking:
The fairly tall knobs and make it easy to get the Shorty to hook up, and it's an easy tire to trust when you're pushing it in steep terrain. The DoubleDown casing provided plenty of sidewall support, which helped minimize any vague handling when conditions dried up a little. As a rear tire, it takes longer for it to pack up with mud than the DHR II, and it'll dig right in during hard braking. Like I mentioned, I still prefer the DHR II when conditions aren't so dire - it has a slightly rounder profile, and very predictable braking characteristics. When the mud levels rise, though, the Shorty has more bite and better overall grip.Durability:
The vast majority of my rides with this tire have been in wet, soft conditions, which is an easy way to extend a tire's lifespan. That said, that MaxxGrip compound does wear out relatively quickly, one of the sacrifices that comes from using that low durometer rubber. The wear has been fairly even, and although a few knobs have slices on the inside edge none of them have torn off. Overall the tires are in relatively good shape considering the number of miles and terrain they were ridden on. Weight:
The 1217 gram weight for the Double Down casing version of the Shorty is fairly reasonable - that's nearly 100 grams lighter than a 2.5" Double Down Assegai, and 146 grams lighter than Schwalbe's Super Gravity casing Big Betty. Price:
$100 is on the higher side of the scale, especially for a tire that's more of a specialist versus one that can be run all day, every day. That is, unless you're British, in which case I supposed this counts as a summer tire. Options:
Looking at the current lineup, I do wish there was a MaxxGrip EXO+ option in the mix. That'd be an ideal Pacific Northwest winter front tire, especially paired with a Double Down casing rear tire, and I'm not sure how many riders will be going for that MaxxTerra EXO option...
Tons of grip in wet and sloppy or dry and loose conditions+
More predictable on harder packed sections of trail than the original
Pricey, especially considering lifespan of softer MaxxGrip rubber-
There's no EXO+ MaxxGrip option yet