I HAVE tried both the Maxxis High Roller and Maxxis Ardent tyres on my new shiny full suspension Marin Attack Trail and can say that both work in different ways.
They are two good tyres, thatís the first thing to notice. They have high air volume and large casing that amplify the suspension of your bike and allow them to flex and grip when needed.
My bike came with Maxxis Ardents front and rear and I really enjoyed running them. The instructions say 35psi + but I found that I could run at 30-35psi comfortably without any pinch flats. I also found any harder than this and the grip started to decrease dramatically.
The knobs are aggressive on the Ardents and on the edges are spaced apart to give good grip leaning over. They do give good grip to a level. Running at 30psi they dug in on most occasions and gave me great confidence through corners.
They did come undone on one particularly sandy corner at high speed but then the slide was progressive and I caught it before a crash. The second time they let go was when the front washed after a big drop and that ended in a big crash. But I think perhaps given my speed nothing could have clung on to that corner.
They roll fast and are a great all-round tyre the Ardent. The High Roller on the other hand has much more pronounced knobs and deeper wedges all over the tyre. This suggests more weight and grip and while I cannot tell the weight difference when riding, you can feel a grip difference for sure.
On the same sandy corner where the Ardent let go, the High Roller (deliberately at the same speed) squirmed and gripped. There was a noticeable difference in the grip level.
The same can be said on steep technical roots. Not a section I do often as it is dangerous, I rode it on the Ardents in the wet and made it to the bottom in tact. However, I was going faster than normal and it was a bit sketchy. With the High Rollers I nearly came to a full stop (could have) before the final drop and had much more control.
As for rolling, I am sure the Ardent is faster, so for normal trail centre stuff it is ideal. The High Roller is slower but allows you more confidence on black or off piste runs.
Put simply for less extreme terrain and speed go for the Ardent. For extreme terrain and maximum grip go for the High Roller.
Now I run a High Roller on the front for grip and an Ardent on the rear to balance the bike and roll. It feels spot on and so far is gripping and rolling with an admirable balance and poise.