While we spotted the reversed Fox 32 fork on the cross-country bikes, the DH riders were rolling on what appeared to be a new Maxxis DH tire aimed at mixed conditions.
Details are under wraps, but teams are riding them. The Norco DH team rode them all week, and for the finals, The Santa Cruz Syndicate used them for the beginning of the week but not at the final because course conditions had improved.
Photos were hard to come by, hence the weird angles and cropping, but here’s what we can tell so far…
At first, we thought it might be a more aggressive High Roller II, but after some more thought, this could be a new design altogether. We’ll have to keep an eye out on the pros’ bikes and see where it goes. This prototype’s center blocks are more square, whereas the HRII has wider, rectangular knobs. Here it is for reference:
The other big difference is the leading edge. The Maxxis High Roller II’s center treads are ramped with a long slope, helping it roll quickly. The side knobs are tall and angular, which makes this one a great rear tire when paired with something more aggressive in the front.
Both have flat backs on the knobs for good braking traction. This new DH prototype’s side knobs are straighter, with edges running parallel to the rolling direction rather than at slight and alternating angles.
The center blocks also stay in line, suggesting it could be a new Shorty with each other rather than the High Rollers II alternating wide/small pattern. Both have wide open spacing between the knobs, suggesting this DH prototype is also intended for loose conditions.
There’s no word on specs yet, but we suspect it’ll have the same DoubleDown and Downhill casing options as others in the Maxxis DH line. It’ll likely also get various single, double, 3C MaxxTerra, MaxxGrip, and SuperTacky compound options. Why? Because we could see this pairing really well with the High Roller II as a front/rear combo. That said, the Minion DHR II tire has a similar tread pattern to the High Roller II, so perhaps this one’s intentionally different to help give it its own personality and position in its lineup.