Maxxis Rambler vs Maxxis Reaver test – which tire is Martin’s 1st choice?

Maxxis is the house brand of one of the world's largest tire manufacturers from Taiwan. Maxxis is totally well-known in the mountain bike sector and there are tire models that have a kind of cult status. The Maxxis MTB tire "Minion", for example, has been around for more than 20 years - it is one of THE tires in downhill mountain biking. What you can't deny Maxxis is a lot of experience in tire construction. And that's why I was very excited to be able to take a close look at two gravel tires from the Taiwanese company: Here is my Maxxis Rambler vs. Maxxis Reaver test.

Candidate 1: Maxxis Rambler in the test

The first in the bunch goes by the name of Rambler. Visually, it is a classic gravel tire. Its slim carcass is equipped with relatively long side lugs, while the tread has a rather flat, yet pronounced profile. The tire is available in a relatively wide range of versions from 38 C to 50 C as well as with an extra reinforced EXO carcass or in the somewhat lighter “SilkShield TR” version. I’m trying a set of Rambler tires in 45C and with EXO casing.

Tubeless setup in perfection: Maxxis Rambler holds tight!

I was pleasantly surprised as soon as I started fitting the tires: once again, I dared to try a tubeless setup and had already expected the worst. Instead, assembly is perfect and without complications. The tire sits firmly in the rim and doesn’t lose air initially – as I have experienced with many other tubeless tires. Better still, the tire keeps the air stable even after months of use. This is often one of my “annoying factors” par excellence with tubeless tires: you constantly have to pump them up. Not so with Maxxis tires. It’s really reliable!

I also really like the tire itself. 45 C is pretty wide by my standards, so it feels correspondingly comfortable. Thanks to the large volume and tubeless setup, I ride with relatively little air, which also improves grip. Of course, the tire is no rolling wonder on the road. Off-road, on the other hand, I find it absolutely convincing. I rode it all fall and winter 2023 – and it was really wet and muddy!

The pronounced profile is worth its weight in gold in such conditions – especially if, like me, you like to leave the grippy gravel and incorporate a few trails into your tour. The Rambler also has nothing to hide in terms of price (59.90 euros) and weight (495 g). A well-rounded thing for which I give it a “thumbs up”!

Candidate 2: The Maxxis Reaver Test

As described above, the Rambler profile is perfect for loose soil and winter conditions. If you are looking for an easy-running (summer) model, it may not be your first choice. This is exactly what the new Maxxis Reaver is designed for. Its tread has been fitted with a rather spartan mini profile, so I expect it to roll much faster. I’m curious about the grip off-road. And to see if the uncomplicated tubeless setup also works with this Maxxis gravel tire!

The installation of the Rambler with tubeless setup was praised by me above and emphasized as extremely simple and uncomplicated. I’m pleased to see that it works just as well when mounting the tire for the Maxxis Reaver test! The tire slips quickly into the rim bed and seals immediately on the first attempt with the tubeless booster. Tubeless is definitely fun! But how does this new Maxxis gravel tire perform on the road?

Maxxis Reaver test: Light and fast instead of bulky and grippy?

Compared to the Rambler, the profile of the Maxxis Reaver is obviously a little “tamer”. The side knobs are quite large, but also flat. Inside, a kind of diamond pattern is intended to provide traction. Compared to the Reaver, the Rambler certainly looks like a full-grown mountain bike tire. The look already gives it away: The Reaver is less intended for real terrain or winter mud battles. Its strengths are said to lie elsewhere: it is lighter than the Rambler and is said to be significantly faster. Compared to the Receptor, however, the traction should be noticeably better. The Reaver is available in 700C and 40 mm width. It is tubeless ready and costs 59.90 euros.

Mud, puddles, leaves: winter is a great time to test gravel tires!
Mud, puddles, leaves: winter is a great time to test gravel tires!

How does the new Maxxis Reaver perform on the road?

I immediately notice that I’m on a fast profile. And I have to say quite clearly: after weeks of constant rain, this feature is nice compared to the Maxxis Rambler on the road, but not necessarily an advantage off-road. This is where the tire naturally reaches its limits. Occasional excursions on loose trails or paths across a meadow quickly turn into a slide.

So my recommendation is clear: the Maxxis Reaver is a great tire for anyone looking for a fast all-round tire. It rolls well, but still offers good “all-round traction” for “classic” gravel use. The tire feels most comfortable in the drier season. Then you can mount it and forget about it, because it is perfectly suitable for all conditions. If you like riding on unpaved roads in winter, the grippier Maxxis Rambler is a good option.

Or you can do what I did: I found that a combination of both models works well for me: I fitted the new Reaver at the rear. Grip is not so crucial here (the rear wheel is known to follow the front wheel). But I save a few grams here and it rolls well. The thick rambler remains at the front for more grip. The best features of both tires on one bike!

You can find more information about Maxxis tires at

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