Maxxis mountain bike tires come in single compounds (1C), dual compounds (2C) and a variation of triple compounds (3C) for their tire treads.
The 3C compounds are MaxxSpeed, MaxxTerra, and MaxxGrip. Most Maxxis tires are only available in certain compounds since they have specific uses they are designed for.
The rubber of a tire tread is called a tire compound. Dual and triple compounds are most common in mountain bike tires.
It’s where two or three rubbers with different firmness are layered to provide specific characteristics like rolling speed, traction, and durability.
Depending on the type of riding you do, one compound is more favorable than another.
MaxxTerra vs MaxxGrip
As you can see from the infographics below, the compound layering is the same: hard base, medium center tread and soft side knobs.
The difference is in the overall firmness of each layer. MaxxTerra is harder than MaxxGrip. Both are designed for Enduro and Downhill.
2C Dual Compound vs 3C Triple Compound
There are two main differences between Maxxis 2C and 3C: Only 3C has a firm base layer and three levels of firmness to choose from (Speed, Terra and Grip).
Like 3C, Maxxis Dual Compound tires use softer, grippier rubber on the side knobs and harder, durable rubber on the center tread.
This 2C design provides a good compromise between cornering traction and fast rolling speeds for a grippy, but long-lasting tire profile.
Maxxis’ dual compounds perform better than single compounds and last longer than triple compounds.
Overall, they make a great choice for rear tires that need low rolling resistance and wear slowly.
However, they don’t provide the most grip possible as a compromise, making them not ideal for front wheel use.
Single Compound: 1C Super Tacky
Maxxis “Super Tacky” single-compound tires use only one rubber compound throughout the tread.
It’s characterized by a low-rebound compound, which is unusually soft for single compounds to still provide the necessary grip for aggressive riding.
The rubber has to balance longevity with traction but isn’t optimized for either. Their easier production process makes them the cheapest option.
They can be found on Cross Country, Slopestyle, Pumptrack and Gravel mountain bikes, but are far more common on road bikes, or urban commuters where rolling speed and longevity is far more important than cornering grip.
Choosing the best Maxxis compound for you
Before getting into the details like compounds, find out the tire profile suitable for your riding discipline first. This will already limit the available compounds.
|MaxxSpeed, 2C, 1C
|Trail & All Mountain
|MaxxSpeed, MaxxTerra, 2C
|MaxxTerra, MaxxGrip, 2C
|MaxxTerra, MaxxGrip, 2C
3C MaxxSpeed is Maxxis’ hardest triple compound designed for Cross Country (XC) mainly and also All-Mountain Trail.
These tires roll fast, last long but don’t offer as much grip as the other 3C rubbers. It is ideal for XC races or gravel biking on hard-pack surfaces.
3C MaxxTerra is Maxxis’ most versatile triple compound used for Cross Country (XC), Trail riding, Enduro and Downhill. This intermediate compound provides more grip than MaxxSpeed and more durability than MaxxGrip for a good all-round compound.
Because of its characteristics, it’s a popular choice for front tires in XC and rear tires in DH and Enduro.
3C MaxxGrip is the overall softest triple compound used for Enduro and Downhill mountain biking.
Exceptional grip at the expense of rolling speed makes it popular for technical terrain. It’s often used as a front tire or in soft conditions.
Due to the grip and durability, it’s a great choice for E-Mountain Bikes, that don’t need a low rolling resistance.
Even in colder temperatures, this compound is working well all year round.
Is Maxxis 3C worth the premium?
If you’re struggling with traction, trust in your tires or predictability, Maxxis 3C is worth the extra cost. Especially on a front tire because it offers the most grip due to the softer compounds on top.
Beginners likely won’t notice a difference between 3C and 2C.
Durability will always be opposite to traction when deciding on which kind of tire to go with.