The Maxxis Ikon 2.2 with EXO sidewall is my rubber of choice! This tire has it all: excellent grip in all but the most extreme conditions, low rolling resistance for maximum speed, large volume for control, cush, and the ability to run low pressure, and tough casing and sidewalls for complete confidence – all in a decently lightweight package.
I used the Ikon for about 90% of my racing and riding this season. I love it, because it’s absolutely reliable. I never have to worry about puncturing when I take a wrong line. It is a little heavier than the super lightweight Maxxis Exception Series casing (in which the fabulous Ikon tread is also available), but for me the security of knowing I can make a mistake and not pay for it with a flat is worth the extra grams of EXO.
Having a higher volume tire gives me more confidence and control and the Ikon’s great tread design lets me absolutely rail corners at high speed, gain traction on loose climbs, and navigate slick roots.
From looking at it, you can tell it’s not exactly the optimal mud tire – for that I really enjoyed the Ardent 2.25 for training (a little hefty for racing, but I did win Canada Cup #2 in Baie-St-Paul on Ardent EXO 2.25’s!) or the lighter weight Beaver for racing in sloppy conditions. That said, the Ikon does surprisingly well when things get a little greasy and it can sure hold its own as long as the mud’s not too deep.
Even though I was running the 26″ model in 2013, I know the new 27.5″ version will be just as awesome and it will be my go-to tread once again in 2014.