Mountain Bike Rider
A go-to UK-based magazine for mountain bike riders, MBR is a great source of reference for independent advice on aftermarket parts and accessories for your bike, and they were impressed with its resilience across various terrain:
“If you haven’t got along with regular Ardents in the past, the Race version is a different beast, and, with the supple, 3C casing version here using three blends of rubber, Maxxis seems to have nailed the perfect formula to roll well yet feel assured on just about everything from rock, roots and loam to trail-centre kitty litter.
The tread pattern differs crucially from the Ardent by not having off-set shoulder knobs. Cornering traction feels way more predictable and assured with the more continuous trough or ridge between the crown and edge blocks. It’s also a lighter tyre and faster to accelerate.
In the 650b size, there’s decent volume and cushioning without being too balloon-like, and also good puncture resistance when set up tubeless. I’ve also had zero issues with sidewall cuts to the EXO protection casing even on gnarly, rocky trails in the Lakes. The Ardent Race isn’t end-specific but it’s a great rear tyre, and, with a High Roller II up front, now forms my go-to summer tyre set-up, delivering just about the ultimate performance compromise outside of wintertime slop.
The only downside for this class-leading performance is the £50 price tag, but tyres are so crucial to ride quality that it’s worth saving up to get this one on your bike.”
Jamie Darlow, MBR.co.uk, September 2014
BikeRadar.com reviewed the Maxxis Ardent Race tyre:
“The Ardent Race tyre combines the ground-hugging security of the popular Ardent with the faster, racier Ikon. The result is a reasonably fast, yet very confident trail tyre that’s suitable for all but greasiest of terrain.
The Ardent Race brings many top-tier technical features together into one tyre. It has a tubeless-ready bead and a 120tpi sidewall with Maxxis’ EXO puncture protection. On top, the rubber is triple compound, offering greater speed and durability in the centre with softer, grippier knobs on the edges.
Traction in dry conditions was stellar – the Ardent Race handled sand, gravel over hardpack, hard pack and sandstone with confidence. In wet conditions, the softer edges adhered well before packing up with mud.
There was a small loss of traction when leaning the tyre edge over, but it was short and controlled as the larger side knobs soon took control. There is a slight gap getting to the tyre’s edge – after a few rides we started to trust that it would grab hard on the extreme edges.
The rounded knob pattern was quick-rolling for a tyre with such grip. The stiff EXO casing gave great support and aided stability when combined with the high air volume.
The bead was on the loose side for a tubeless tyre, but we had no problems inflating the Ardent Race tubeless with an air compressor, and experienced no hint of burping.
At 696g (26 x 2.2), the Ardent Race is no loop circuit race day tyre, but its weight is extremely competitive for a trail-worthy tyre. It’s perfect for use front and rear on a summer trail bike, or the front tyre of a cross-country speedster to give greater cornering control, or as a rear tyre on a burlier enduro race bike.”
David Rome, BikeRadar.com, November 2013
Worldwide Cyclery give the stage to their user reviews every once in a while, and this is the glowing review written by a rider of the Ardent Race:
“I was anxious to test the Ardent Race on two of my local staples, both loose over hard, fast-flowing XC speed racers, with steady climbs, switchbacks galore and plenty of high speed chases. The tyre immediately felt fast-rolling and I did take notice of the roughly 175 grams of weight savings over the Vittoria Morsa it had replaced.
There was no loss of traction on steep climbs, where it kept a solid footing beneath me. I knew that the moment of truth for me would come in two ways, the first was how it would connect while charging hard into the switchbacks, the second, how my times would stack up on Starve—considering I had devoured these trails many times over.
When hitting the switchbacks at high speed I quickly concluded that while the smaller knobs wouldn’t result in the same “traction” as some of my previous tyres, it was more than sufficient and the predictability of the “slide” earned very high marks in my book. The net result was plenty of confidence and no sense of compromise—a pleasant surprise for a lighter and faster tyre than most in its class. To remove any placebo effect, Strava helped to confirm that the tyre was fast, with several personal records and some encouraging times.
Conclusion: I’ve since ridden the tyre in quite a few hard pack conditions and can say that the tyre also performs very well on this terrain, perhaps even better than the loose over hard. How did she shape up as a rear tyre on loose conditions? Better than I would have thought, actually. While other tyres such as the Vittoria Morsa, Hans Dampf, and Maxxis Aggressor would provide more traction, I was again confident enough to conclude that the Ardent Race should not be relegated to the ranks of an “XC” tyre in any way, like the Ikon or other similar tyres.
While I cannot yet speak for wet conditions, the 2.35” width, decently sized side knobs and EXO sidewall have convinced me that the tyre will serve you well in DRY conditions of great variety. I’m not sure which tyre would dethrone it right now for me… I am very happy with the Ardent Race 2.35 for my conditions,”
Daniel Dorr, WorldwideCyclery.com, February 2017