Maxxis Ardent 29"er Tires: First Impressions

I have gotten a few rides in on the Maxxis Ardent tires and am now ready to give my impressions on the tire. I also have a few measurements to pass along as well.

Ardents on the HiFi Deluxe

I mounted the Ardents with tubes on a set of Salsa Delagado Disc rims laced to DT Swiss 340 hubs. I pumped up the tires to 40psi and let them sit a couple of days. Here are the measurements with the casing width first and the outer knob to outer knob width given second for the front and rear tire.

52.8mm/54.7mm front
54.5mm/54.9mm rear

I then set the air pressures at 20 psi front and 25 psi rear for my off road rides. The terrain I rode consisted of the following: some gravel road, hard pack, loose sand over hardpack, sand, buff tacky single track, and several sections of rooty “stair steps”. Some short sections of rock embedded trail were also encountered. Another ride was done on wet to slightly muddy soil that was a mix of black dirt and sand.

The Ardents immediately impressed me on an opening section of off camber trail with a couple of switchbacks that occurs right off the bat on the loop I did. Great grip here which was a confidence booster. After some down hill, I encountered a section of extended climbing littered with rooty “stair steps” and steep ups that tested the tractability of the Ardent as a rear tire. It did very well here. Nary a slip.

The top o the hill!

On several occaisions I was impressed by how the Ardent gripped as a climbing tire on this terrain. Then there is a section that is littered with fine sand, especially in the corners. This had been really tossed up by an equestrian event held over the weekend. The sand was loose like hour glass sand. In these situations the Ardent sought to cut down to harder ground. If I attempted to lean a bit, the tire exhibited a tendency to wash out suddenly. Keeping it upright was the ticket there.

In all the corners after this, the tire simply did its job. On braking, the tires felt controlled and calm. Good braking traction overall. The tires didn’t skid unless I wanted them to. I thought that the Ardents felt a bit harsher than the tubeless set that came off before the Ardents went on, but I suppose that is to be expected running tubes. If I had been running rigid, these would have felt much more harsh than tubeless tires at the same pressure.

In softer, slightly muddy conditions the Ardents didn’t fare so well. The soil was a mix of black dirt and sand. I ran the tires through the trails two days after a heavy rainfall. Here is the result of that experience.

Ardent packed with mud

The above picture was after I had run through about 50 yards of grass and a water puddle, so the mud was actually worse than this out on the trail. The packing in with mud made the Ardent practically useless for anything other than slow plunking along on this day. Clay type soil would pack this tire in a similar manner. I’m thinking wetter mud type soil may show the Ardent to be an okay tire choice, but I’m thinking this is a dry conditions tire based upon my experience. Here’s a shot after running a mile on a gravel road to clear out the tread as a comparison to the above shot.

Ardent cleared of packed in soil

So far, great grip, confidence inspiring on the off cambers, and good braking traits. Not so good for wet, sticky soils or mud. I’ll keep on putting them through varying conditions and report back later.

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No Responses to “Maxxis Ardent 29"er Tires: First Impressions”

  1. bruce brown Says:

    Sounds like a nice tire for some folks. I don’t think the Ardent will be my cup of tea, though.

    I’m waiting on your report for the tubeless ready XR’s. When is that coming? Or did I miss it and simply can’t find it on the site?

    BB

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    BB: The XR report is coming yet this week. Stay tuned! 🙂

  3. SS Says:

    The standard Ardent’s seal up well tubeless with Stan’s goop on Stan’s rims. I couldn’t even get a burp off a few 3-4′ drops over the weekend. I have found that the tire works best around he 28-29psi mark. Any lower and it seems to flex a bit too much in the corners.

  4. Guitar Ted Says:

    ss: Yeah, I’ve heard similar things for tubeless Ardents. Regardless, the tread pattern isn’t very good for sticky soil/mud. I still would label it a dry conditions tire. Interesting that you need to run the pressure up that high when I get great performance at a substantially lower pressure with tubes. Hmm………and I thought tubeless was all about running lower pressures. 😉

  5. SSinGA Says:

    GT – You’re right, It’s not a mud tire. Maybe Maxxis will make it in a LUST version sometime in the future so we can really test the lower PSI on a tubeless theory.

  6. mg Says:

    i’m a fan of the Ardent, though i have to admit i’ve only run it on the front thus far, in combination with a crossmark on the rear on my dos niner. i’ve found it to be a great cornering, versatile performing tire overall. no, it’s definitely not a mud tire, but it’s got a pretty darn wide acceptable performance range, and the ‘sweet spot’ is very, very nice. luckily, the dry, hard conditions i often ride fall right into the ardent’s sweet spot.

    unlike SS, i’ve found that, when running tubeless, 25-26 psi works best for me. 28-29psi typically feels a bit stiff in the casing, and this is one of those tires where a few psi makes a big difference in the tire’s feel on the trail.

    when i build up my big mama, i’ll likely put ardents on it front and rear. test the dual set-up.

  7. Clint Says:

    Ted, how do you see these shaping up for us out west in the desert? I currently run the a CrossMax set and love them in all the conditions out here and love the hook up they give through the corners and here in AZ the corners mean a lot. Do they match up in this respect?

  8. Guitar Ted Says:

    Clint: I think in rocky to granular sand it’ll do okay. Deep sand, not so much. Moon dust, hardpack and loose over hard should be great.

    I would love to try them in El Paso next time I go there!

  9. rockhop Says:

    I too have similarly good experiences with the Ardents after replacing the horrid ACXs that came with my HiFi. Not too concerned in the mud since here in the NE it’s frowned upon for eco reasons. But I’m running 31 / 35 psi fr / rr respectively, weighing over 245 lb with gear. May drop the air down a bit, see how it feels.

  10. Jason Says:

    This has become a favorite of mine, I felt much more comfortable taking the ardent a little faster and lower in the turns then what I am used too. It really performed excellent in all the conditions I took it through. My last ride was in pisgah and I was able to give it a really good ride and it came out unscathed. I settled in at 25 psi frt &back and felt that was just about the sweet spot. The constrction of the ardent feels very well made, with a solid bead and tough sidewall. I would really like to see this tire in a 2.4 someday as it seems like the perfect all mountain 29er tire.

  11. GreenLightGo Says:

    GT – I had a really wet ride up in DC earlier this summer /w the prototype and as long as the soil wasn’t clay or peanut butter in texture – it cleared the soupy stuff well.

    I’m mid-20s tubeless on the front w/ a Flow and enjoy the performance so far. I think you’re right though – leans mostly towards the dry.

  12. GreenLightGo Says:

    GT – any update on the Ardents?

  13. Guitar Ted Says:

    Interbike interuptions aside, I now am getting things rounded up again. I’ve had two more rides on them since the last post, but I need to fiddle a bit more before I post up again. Hope the weather holds out!

  14. GreenLightGo Says:

    Thanks!

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