Semi-slick tires aren't a new concept in mountain biking, but they've experienced a resurgence over the past year or so, with Schwalbe's Rock Razor and Specialized's Slaughter tires being the two most prominent examples, and now it looks like Maxxis is getting ready to join the fray. The growth of enduro racing is certainly part of the reason this style of tread patten is gaining in popularity, along with the fact that companies are now using much taller outer knobs compared to what was done in the past, which improves cornering and expands the range of conditions the tire is usable in, especially when matched with a wide, aggressive tire in the front.
We recently spotted a prototype 27.5” tire from Maxxis being tested in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, and were able to
snap a few shots of the new tread patten. The pronounced side knobs are identical to those found on Maxxis' Minion, using an alternating pattern of a rectangular knob that's siped down its center, followed by an L-shaped lug around the tire's perimeter. Miniature versions of those L-shaped lugs are found on the borders of the tire's low-profile center portion, along with a row of ramped knobs running down the very middle.
So far Maxxis is keeping quiet about the tire's specifics, but with the Andes Pacifico and the first round of the Enduro World Series fast approaching, it wouldn't be surprising to see the new tire start appearing on the bikes of Maxxis' sponsored riders.