When I got my Cannondale Scalpel, it came with Maxxis Monorail UST tires with LUST (lightweight ultimate sidewall technology.)

At first glance, they look like superlight racing tires made for hardpack dirt only. But after reading some reviews and talking to other racers, they are supposed to be a good tire for any dry conditions, and they even have good cornering grip. You just wouldn’t want to run them in deep mud or over wet roots, etc.

I put a few miles on these tires between 2008-2010, and here’s what I found:

Lifespan and Durability

The tires were used for a few months in 2008, a mix of early season racing and training. Then I ran them for my relatively sparse 2009 race season. I still have the tires mounted this year (2010,) since they’re still usable.

I’m really not sure on the mileage, but they certainly have a decent lifespan. The tread is wearing, but it’s still there. There are lots of pinholes in the tire, but no loss of air (I see the wet spots where the Stan’s is sealing the holes.)

Weight

The tubeless version, size 2.1, weighs 690g. That seems a bit heavy, considering the minimal tread.

Price

The Maxxis Monorail LUST UST tires are listed at JensonUSA for $59 each.

Speed and Rolling Resistance

This is a very fast rolling tire, thanks to the smooth, minimalist tread pattern. It feels fast on pavement and hardpack dirt compared to tires with big, aggressive knobs.

Wet Terrain and Mud

This isn’t a mud tire, so I rarely used it in mud. But a few races had mud pits and some were soaking wet…

It seemed to do just fine in mud, as long as I was going in a straight line.

On wet roots and rocks, it did a little better than I expected. You certainly have to be careful and not push it too hard, but it will hold its own when you ask it.

Cornering

I’ve only used a few different types of minimalist tread racing tires, but these are by far the best for cornering. If you’re on dry hardpack, these tires corner magnificently. On loose dirt and gravel, they’re not as sure-footed, but they’re predictable and do surprisingly well.

Now, if you’re cornering on slick dirt or wet leaves or whatever, it can get crazy! If it’s muddy, or just a little slick, this tire will slide out pretty fast.

Overall handling

According to one online review, this tire rewards good technique, smooth skill, properly using momentum, etc. You can’t just lob your way around an XC race course and expect these tires to make up for your lack of technical skills. That’s a very good way to look at it!

I’ve ridden some tires that provide no sense of security on anything besides riding a straight line on hard pack. Well, these Maxxis Monorails are much better than that!

Just don’t expect them to be forgiving if you hit a corner too fast or try to start spinning through an uphill mud pit that you didn’t see coming.

One idea is to use a Monorail as a rear tire and something more aggressive up front (as proven by Aaron Snyder’s bike setup.)

My final verdict is…

I’d say this is a fast rolling tire that does a good job as an XC racing tire. But if you want just one all-around tire, there are better ones out there. For example, the Maxxis Crossmark has better handling with no weight penalty, and is still fast rolling. (If you have any doubts that the Monorail isn’t knobby enough for your needs, go with the Crossmark.)

I can’t see myself buying these again, but they do the job.

Official website: www.Maxxis.com

Product Review Details
Company: Maxxis
Product: Maxxis Monorail LUST UST Tire
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2010-08-12
Obtained Product: Purchased from private seller.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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