High Roller II Tyre Test Results

A fast-rolling favourite, the High Roller II has been reviewed by many a discerning tyre tester.

The High Roller II is a flagship favourite tyre in the Maxxis off-road cycle tyre lineup. So buckle your seatbelts, because once tyre reviewers get their hands on the High Roller II, they like to write. A lot.

Mountain Bike Rider

A UK-based magazine, MBR loved the High Roller II:

“Maxxis’ reputation is built on fantastic rubber and tread patterns, and the Maxxis High Roller II 3C MaxxTerra tyre is no exception.

Maxxis has offered a High Roller for what feels like forever, and this second-generation model beefs up and tweaks the tread for more versatility. Slightly better in wet, looser dirt than the popular Minion DHF, it’s great on both ends, although choosing the 3C compound on the front provides way better confidence and edge grip on wet roots and rocks.

The EXO model balances weight and durability well for aggressive trail riding, and is noticeably lighter than most thicker, 1kg or so, dual layer tyres with this much grip. Maxxis offers its own tougher, even better damped, 2x120tpi Double Down casing for extremely rocky terrain or enduro racing too, which is around 200g heavier. With both models, deformation and compliance is excellent with good comfort.”  – Mick Kirkman, MBR.co.uk, October 2017

Singletrack World

After reviewing ten pairs of top-end tubeless trail tyres, the Maxxis High Roller II was the winner of the Best All Rounder Tyre award.

“A stone-cold classic of the modern era, the Maxxis High Roller II has a solid reputation as a go-to tyre for most conditions, offering a great balance of grip, control, braking, and rolling resistance. Weighing in at 906g (pretty much bang on the claimed weight of 915g), the tyres feature a 60tpi tubeless ready EXO casing and folding Aramid bead, with three progressively softer rubber compounds making up the tread. There’s a harder 70a compound at the base, 50a in the centre for traction and braking, and a soft 42a compound on the edges for enhanced cornering grip. The aggressive and square tread is a subtle but effective revision of the old High Roller (a classic in its own right) – carefully shaped and siped centre knobs give way to big chunky side knobs designed to offer exceptional cornering traction in looser conditions and a smoother transition onto the tyre shoulder than the original.

Cornering on the front is amazing when leant over onto that edge, especially in looser and sloppier conditions, and it only got squirrely when combined with steep upright braking or cornering. Otherwise it holds its line well, and that edge is great when you’re on it. If you don’t lean the tyre over assertively while riding on harder trail surfaces, there is the risk it’ll just go straight instead of making the turn. Push the tyre down onto those cornering blocks, however, and the High Roller II hooks in well. Braking control on the front was good, only giving up in steep slop when most tyres that aren’t a dedicated mud spike would struggle.

As a rear tyre it’s fantastic, offering lots of grip, while the good tread pattern claws up and over most surfaces without causing too much drag. What drag there is becomes only really noticeable on tarmac, and is not an issue at all when you’re having fun. There is more resistance than a Hans Dampf for example, but the High Roller II is a more confidence-inspiring tyre both front and rear.

Riding in the north Lakes, we ran higher pressures (more so than normal) throughout the test (27 psi at the front, 32 at the back), to compensate for the relatively unsupportive sidewalls and to prevent burping. On our third ride, we managed to put a significant hole in the rear tyre, and although it went back up with an anchovy and stayed sealed for the remainder of the test, if you are particularly hard on tyres, we would recommend that you consider the new Double Down version for extra protection. It might weigh more but it is a lot more durable, and for this tester at least the whole point of tubeless is less faff and more riding time, though unless you’re pummelling hard rocky trails or schralping in the Alps, for most riders and UK trail conditions, the EXO version is more than durable enough.

The tyres popped up tubeless first time, using just a track pump on both Stan’s Flow EX and DT EX471 rims, and other than putting a hole in the rear sidewall, they didn’t burp or lose pressure throughout the duration of the test. Finally, wear was slightly higher than average, but then again we were running the softer of the 3C compounds available and this is a small price to pay for the grip on offer.

There’s a reason why these tyres are so prevalent, and that’s because they offer a near perfect balance of traction, cornering confidence and flexibility. They’ll do a near enough brilliant job of keeping you upright in all but the worst conditions, and with the extensive Maxxis range there’s guaranteed to be a casing and compound to suit your local trails.” – James Vincent, SingletrackWorld.com, 2018

Bike Radar

BikeRadar.com reviewed the Maxxis High Roller II and were impressed with what they experienced:

“Running High Rollers has always been a sign that you’re a rider who wants to rip as much grip out of the trail as possible. This bells and whistles triple-compound version is a proper control- and confidence-booster if you can afford it.

The tubeless-ready carcass is our benchmark of easy sealing even on rims that we struggle to inflate other tyres on and is impressively stable even at low pressures. In fact, it matches most much heavier enduro specced tyres in the way it stays on track through random rock and root trouble and it handles impacts very well even when tubed.

While it’s undeniably hefty, here with a comparatively soft-compound 55 duro centre, very obvious ramping of the one-two-one-split knob arrangement means it rolls fine. It doesn’t squirm or shimmy however much brake you give it either, and if you decide to use it at both ends you also won’t be wanting for climbing grip.

There’s a trustworthy transition onto the massive rank of super-soft 45-duro shoulder knobs too and once you’re on them it feels like you’re more likely to grind your bars on the ground than lose traction through corners. While wear is relatively rapid they rarely rip but for value and increased velocity with very similar control the cheaper dual compound Exo TR is the way to go.” – Guy Kesteven, BikeRadar.com, April 2016

Pink Bike

Pink Bike wrote a decent review of the High Roller II tyre in comparison to its predecessor:

“I tested the High Rollers IIs on a 2011 Intense M9, mounted on an MTX 31 rim in the back and a Mavic 521 rim up front. After some experimenting I settled on running 25psi in the front, paired with 29psi out back with XC weight tubes. One of the first things I noticed on the High Roller II was how much more I had to lean the bike into corners compared to the original High Roller. The old High Roller had a fast, almost harsh transition when going from the centre to the corning knobs, where the High Roller II takes a bit more energy to get on the side knobs, but provides a much smoother and predictable setup into corners. Once I got used to leaning the bike more I was blown away by how far I could push and lean the new tyre’s shoulder knobs and my confidence in them quickly skyrocketed. When the knobs did start to break loose, it was a lot more predictable than the original High Roller. Overall, the High Roller II provides a smoother and more predictable feel throughout the corner. One thing to note was that on some of the harder packed corners in the Whistler Bike Park I could feel the longer, angular corner knobs of the High Roller II starting to fold over, causing the tire to lose traction. Do keep in mind that it’s not designated as a hard pack tire, and those same long cornering knobs are what enables the tire to find its impressive traction in the slop and loam…

Given that conditions can vary so much on the same trail, rolling speed can be hard to gauge, but the High Roller II does feel like it rolls a touch slower than the old version. This is probably due to the increased contact patch from the centre knobs being flattened out, along with the fact that the tyre is slightly wider and has increased spacing between the knobs. That increased spacing may slow the tyre down a bit, but it created great mud-clearing performance that I was impressed by. One race in particular was under horrendous conditions that saw the usually fast rolling course transformed into a series of swamps and muddy ruts. Many riders made the switch to full-on mud tires, but I decided to stick with the High Roller II’s to see how they would handle the nasty weather. Every time I would stop during practice I was blown away by how there was next to no mud packed into my knobs, while other riders around me had Minions that resembled semi-slicks. The High Roller II cleared great in the sloppy conditions and found tons of traction where I thought that they may struggle…

We loved the improved predictability during cornering and were impressed by how well the tire performed in the sloppiest of conditions. The new High Roller II is a step away from a comprehensive dry tire, and a step towards a true all-conditions option that can be used in more settings. It slots in between the Minion, a dry tire, and the Wet Scream. The original High Roller was, and still is, a great tire… I’d still use the first generation High Roller, but the new version is an improvement in nearly every regard.” – Adam Mantle, PinkBike.com, August 2011