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Review: Maxxis Aspen ST Team Spec Was Worth the Wait

Maxxis Aspen ST header
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The Maxxis Aspen ST Team Spec tires have been “spy shot” on the pro’s bikes for years, with non-pro-riders waiting for a trickle-down to the general public. After years of reporting on this tire, we’re happy to say, it will soon be available for purchase. 

Maxxis Aspen ST packaging
Photo: Jordan Villella

Now, you can ride the exact tire that helped Nino Schurter to countless World Cup wins, and you may get a few KOMS. But only briefly, as the “Team Spec” 170 TPI tire is scheduled for a limited run.

So get ready for the team treatment with the new Maxxis Aspen ST tires.

What is it? Maxxis Aspen ST Tires 

Maxxis Aspen ST packaging TS
Photo: Jordan Villella

The Aspen ST (or Fast-pen, as it’s sometimes known) is a “new” race-focused tire from Maxxis. We’ve reported that riders use this tire on courses like Snow Shoe WV, which has rocky terrain, and gravel races on the narrower 29×2.25 size. Maxxis athletes (and others) see it as a high-speed, versatile tire with low rolling resistance and volume to eat up trail chatter. 

Tread Low Down 

Maxxis Aspen ST new tread
Photo: Jordan Villella

It boasts an ultra-low profile. It takes the already fast Apsen tire and trades the chevrons for file tread. The tread is similar to the Maxxis Reaver gravel tire we covered last year, and it’s safe to say that the tire took cues from the Aspen ST. 

Maxxis Aspen ST full top
Photo: Jordan Villella

The center tread mixes three Aspen-style chevrons patterned with a diamond/file tread block. The side cornering knobs are the same as the Aspen, have a progressive height, and pair well with the minimal center tread. 

Limited Team Spec Casing

Maxxis Aspen ST side
Photo: Jordan Villella

Maxxis offers two versions of the new Aspen ST Tires: a 120TPI version, similar to the top-tier tires available for purchase through Maxxis retailers. 

Pro Bike Check- Keegan Swensons Santa Cruz Blur with Prototype RockShox SID close up
As seen on Keegan Swensons’ winning bike last Sea Otter Classic. Photo: Villella

The other is the Limited Edition Apsen ST tire, with 170TPI, which is the same as the pros’. This limited edition tire will also be available from your retailer and local bike shop but don’t expect it to always be in stock. 

Maxxis Aspen ST Offerings
Image: Maxxis

Why not run the 170TPI version all the time? 

First, it’s expensive to produce, and most racers aren’t keen on the rising price of tires. Plus, the tradeoff for the weight savings and low rolling resistance of the 170 TPI casing is its fast wear. This is a race tire, so much so that it has only been available to the pros until now. Maxxis standard 120 TPI casing (still very high for a mountain bike tire) is more robust and harder-wearing, better suited to the needs of the practical racer. 

Maxxis Aspen ST weight
Photo: Villella

The Team Spec Aspen and both versions of the Aspen ST will be available in 29×2.40 and 29×2.25 options. 

  • Price: 
  • Weight: 710g 29×2.40

Ride Impressions – Maxxis Aspen ST Team Spec

Maxxis Aspen ST full bike
Photo: Villella

I’ve been waiting for this tire for years. I’ve reported on it and watched it ride to World Cup victories. As fate would have it, the Maxxis Aspen ST tires hit my doorstep at the exact time that the East Coast was experiencing a nor’easter and terrible flooding. 

That didn’t stop me, however; I mounted the tire and waited for the trails to dry out, fingers crossed.

Maxxis Aspen ST – Setup 

Maxxis Aspen ST close up
The packaging is understated and ushers in a new “Team Spec” notation in the product listing. Photo: Villella

When setting up the Maxxis Aspen ST, the casing was slightly softer than the typical Maxxis tires I use. I inflated them to a set of DT-Swiss 1200 wheels (the most World Cup-like set I have). The setup was standard, and the tires inflated to an exact 2.40 width at 25PSI. 

Gravel Shake Out 

Maxxis Aspen ST side top
Photo: Villella

I couldn’t wait to try the tires, so my initial spin was on the double track. Some gravel trails were untouched by the recent deluge, so I started my rides at a slightly overinflated 20PSI rear and 19PSI front. I could tell immediately that these tires would roll fast, making them a favorite for hard-pack and gravel. 

Maxxis Aspen ST measured width
The Aspen ST Team Spec tires measured 2.40, on the dot. Photo: Villella

The feeling is like a supple road tire; it lacks tread but feels fast rolling and conforms to the surroundings. Plus – the 2.40 stood out on the gravel, eating up the small bumps without losing its grip on the punchy uphills. 

In the Forest 

Maxxis Aspen ST mud shedding

When the trails finally dried, I took the Aspen ST through a gauntlet of my local hot spots. The riding conditions included hardpack dirt, baby head style rocks, roots, and muddy sections that didn’t fully dry out from the storms. 

I bumped the pressure down from the previous 19/20PSI to a 17/18PSI for the trail riding. This was the near-perfect pressure for the conditions and my riding style. 

The Aspen ST delivers absolute speed on the dry trails but with control. Going hot into a corner, I never felt I would lose traction. The ample casing paired with the slight side knobs makes it feel like a dry course cyclocross tire.

Maxxis Aspen ST tread side

On the roots and rocks, the Aspen ST performed well; I never found myself slipping or drifting. The minimal tread is effective and sharp, especially when out of the box. The high volume of the tire helps plant the tread and deliver a solid contact patch. 

Maxxis Aspen ST in the mud

After a few hours on the Maxxis Aspen ST Team Spec, I felt very much at home, and when I hit the muddy, soggy sections of the trail, I wasn’t scared. I know this is a dry or dry-mix tire, not mud, but the performance still left me with a nice feeling. 

The Aspen OG’s larger chevron tread gives more grip than expected and acts like a paddle boat (slightly) when you sink into the mud. The mud clearing, however, isn’t the best in the file section of the tire, but it does clear everywhere else. It offers a solid grip until you hit the pavement or drier trails to release it. 

Final Impressions 

Maxxis Aspen ST header

I hope to have more time on the Aspen ST tires this Spring and Summer. Currently, they have me smitten as a full-blown dry-mix race tire. The performance is outstanding, the weight is excellent, and the price… well, the performance isn’t cheap. 

We’ll report back with a long-term review, but keep your eyes on your local Maxxis dealer for stock of the Aspen ST; you’ll be happy you did. 

Maxxis.com

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13 Comments
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Jason DW
Jason DW
1 month ago

When can we expect these be ready to purchase? Are they on Maxxis’s website only or at all major stores?

Jason DW
Jason DW
1 month ago

I ended up picking up a set from Maxxis. Im guessing ready to ship. You’re right, they’re not cheap..

nooner
nooner
1 month ago

I remember when this was called the Ritchey Speedmax.

Sevo
Sevo
1 month ago
Reply to  nooner

Ditto. Or the Corratec tire. Or countless others from the 90s.

Sevo
Sevo
1 month ago

Kinda a let down. Was expecting the 170tpi version. 170tpi shouldn’t wear any quicker than a 120. the 170 must use a different rubber compound. So I bet the ones the pros get is far lighter vs this run of the mill weight. new Hutchinson Race makes more sense.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
1 month ago
Reply to  Sevo

It’s super common for higher TPI tires to get less actual rubber and softer rubber

Raiko
Raiko
1 month ago
Reply to  Sevo

170tpi is also available.

Rasmus
Rasmus
1 month ago

If the Price is High i Will keep riding my kenda booster pro 29×2.6 sct they are really fast and the grip are really good…happy trails

Oliver
Oliver
1 month ago

Wonder if these will be any better than the Reaver, which is slow as treacle, or the Aspen which is just slow. Maxxis haven’t produced a fast road, gravel or XC tire in years now sadly.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

Please take my money!

pasta
pasta
22 days ago

how much do you weigh?

Jordan Villella
Jordan Villella
21 days ago
Reply to  pasta

Around 160 with gear. Loving the tires so far, looks like they are gonna wear fast but….its a fast design haha

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