MAXXIS REKON EXO 3C TR

Australian Mountain Bike - - Tested - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: MIKE BLEWITT

Tyre pref­er­ence is yet to reach the Holden vs Ford level, but once you find a brand and model that works, it can be hard to change. And fair enough! If your tyres grip and roll how you want, seal up eas­ily when you set it up tube­less, and don't leave you trail side fix­ing flats, why change? Moun­tain bik­ing, trail de­sign, wheels and there­fore tyres have con­tin­ued to de­velop. One of the big­gest changes re­cently has been up­dates to the in­ter­nal width of rims. We've writ­ten a lot about this over the past 6 months and even back in 2015 when talk­ing to Kap­pius Com­po­nents about their XC rims with 26mm in­ter­nal widths and their trail rims with 40mm in­ter­nal widths. As a quick re­fresher, in­ter­nal rim widths are get­ting wider, as a lit­tle more width al­lows a moun­tain bike tyre to be bet­ter sup­ported and more sta­ble at lower pres­sures. Each rid­ing dis­ci­pline tends to have a sweet spot, or range of sweet spots. Some rim en­gi­neers even be­lieve the great­est ad­van­tages can be made for light­weight cross-coun­try wheels with 30mm in­ter­nal rims, given a cross-coun­try rider doesn't have to run pres­sures to safe­guard for the same sort of im­pacts as say, a down­hill racer. Higher pres­sures negate the ben­e­fits of wider rim pro­files be­yond 25-27mm some en­gi­neers be­lieve. Throw your favourite tyres on a wider rim and there is a chance the tyre won't feel the same. On some mod­els, the tread doesn't sit where it should, mov­ing edge knobs too far in­wards, and leav­ing the side­walls ex­posed. So you end up with less grip when tip­ping into cor­ners and more risk of punc­tures, which is ex­actly what you don't want. And that's why Maxxis have their WT range of tyres and they've changed from 2.2” to 2.25” for their new XC treads. KWT Aus­tralia sent out a pair of the new Maxxis Rekon 29 x 2.25” for us to test, along with the Rekon in a 29 x 2.6” width. We mounted the 2.25” Rekons up on some XC wheels with a 25mm in­ter­nal width, and the 2.6” ver­sion went on trail wheels with a 30mm in­ter­nal width. Maxxis rec­om­mend their WT tyres for rims with a 3035mm in­ter­nal width. The 2.25” tyres weight about 670g each with the EXO cas­ing, and the 2.6” mod­els came in at 780g. Both mod­els have a 120 TPI (threads per inch) cas­ing which means they feel quite sup­ple. This was es­pe­cially no­tice­able for the 2.6” mod­els which would be re­plac­ing a stock 2.3” Min­ion DHF/DHR combo. The 60 TPI cas­ing of the Min­nions on the 30mm in­ter­nal rims meant the edge knobs were barely in­line with the side­wall. Both tyres popped into their bead with a track pump and some Joes No Flats sealant in­side, which is al­ways a good sign! When it's hard to get a tyre to seat prop­erly I tend to won­der how well it will hold when it fi­nally does in­flate and gets rid­den hard. The Rekon is de­signed for any­thing from be­ing ok on hard­pack through to loose con­di­tions, but not quite ex­celling in wet slop. It is based on the Ikon XC tread and by all ac­counts should be viewed as an XC/trail tyre. Given most trail con­di­tions I ride in are loose over hard­pack when it's dry in Queens­land, I fig­ured these would be spot on. The 2.25” set re­placed a Maxxis Ar­dent Race/ Ikon com­bi­na­tion, and the 2.6” set re­placed the Min­ions as noted. Be­yond size, the com­pound is a bit dif­fer­ent be­tween both pairs. The 2.25” uses the MaxxSpeed firmer 3C triple com­pound than the MaxxTerra 3C triple com­pound on the 2.6”. The idea be­ing in a 2.25” size you're prob­a­bly after some­thing that rolls a lit­tle faster, and with a 2.6” you're most likely con­cerned more with grip than rolling ef­fi­ciency.

ON THE TRAIL WITH THE REKON 29X2.25”

From the look of it, the Rekon was go­ing to de­liver as a half­way house be­tween the racey Maxxis Ikon and the slightly more trail ori­ented Ar­dent Race. Ev­ery sin­gle edge knob is ramped, which helps for rolling re­sis­tance, and there is no chan­nel through the tread in line with your di­rec­tion of travel – so the Rekon looked like it would re­ally dig in un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing. While a 2.25” tyre is hardly mas­sive, it is still worth play­ing with tyre pres­sures to get them just right. Big­ger tyres have more vol­ume and less pres­sure is needed for the ride you're after. I sur­prised my­self and ran down to 19psi in the front and 19.5psi in the back at the end of my first ride. I had no burp­ing, and didn't hit the rim when test­ing the tyres on my hard­tail. The Rekon rolled re­ally well – feel­ing just like an Ikon and it's scantly heav­ier than an Ikon EXO in 2.2”. On the front, it doesn't feel too dif­fer­ent to an Ar­dent Race ex­cept some­times un­der heavy brak­ing the Rekon was more likely to slide than an Ar­dent Race, es­pe­cially if brak­ing too late. The 3C rub­ber uses three com­pounds op­ti­mised for re­duced rolling re­sis­tance in the cen­tre and the low cen­tre tread height meant this tyre felt fast, but thanks to the full com­ple­ment of tread once you had your en­try speed sorted for a cor­ner it also en­cour­aged you to get on the gas on the exit. It is prob­a­bly best to think of the Rekon as a bol­stered Ikon as op­posed to a heavy duty trail tyre. In looser or wet con­di­tions I would still opt for a Maxxis Ar­dent Race or Forekaster on the front, but oth­er­wise I think the Rekon 29x2.25” is an ideal up­grade to a pure XC tyre like the Ikon if you're after an XC tyre with a slightly larger per­for­mance win­dow.

ON THE TRAIL WITH THE REKON 29X2.6”

The same tyre – but big­ger, right? Well yes and no. The Rekon started life as a 27 Plus tyre (27.5 x 2.8”) and as trail tyres have mostly filled out to 2.6” in both 27.5” and 29”, it was the per­fect model to ex­pand – or shrink – into for Maxxis. Mounted up to some light car­bon trail wheels, the Rekons com­pletely trans­formed my trail bike. While the wheels dropped about 600g the tyres also dropped about another 400g from the pre­vi­ous set up, while also bump­ing up the size from 2.3” to 2.6”, and re­duc­ing rolling re­sis­tance too. As stated with the 2.25” inch model, the Rekon re­ally is a light duty trail tyre, es­pe­cially when you com­pare it to other 2.5-2.6” tyres on the mar­ket, in­clud­ing pop­u­lar WT mod­els in the Maxxis range. While the width might make you think it's the model for send­ing it into rock gar­dens, that's best left for the Min­ions, High Rollers or the Ag­gres­sor in their 2.3” - 2.5” mod­els, es­pe­cially with the heavy duty Dou­ble Down cas­ing avail­able on those mod­els. The same traits from the 2.25” model were still a bonus on the 2.6” model. It's light for the bag size, it rolls well, and hooks up un­der ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing. The tread depth is not nearly the same as a more ag­gres­sive tyre, so push­ing hard and brak­ing late in loose con­di­tions re­ally puts the tyre at its limit. But pump­ing and jump­ing along dry trails with loose sections, and hold­ing speed in open cor­ners and ac­cel­er­at­ing out of slow cor­ners was a blast. The Rekon is well-suited to trail cen­tres, less so for send­ing new lines in hard­core lo­ca­tions. The Rekons pick up speed so well, and once you have found the pres­sure you want to match grip with sta­bil­ity they are a lot of fun and just keep rolling. I set­tled on 18psi front and 18.5psi on the back. Only a lit­tle lower than on the 2.25” as I tend to ride my trail bike dif­fer­ently to my hard­tail! The Rekons in 2.6” do break into a fairly pre­dictable slide when pushed in loose ter­rain, but as they are de­signed for wide rims their tread is very rounded and it's fur­ther over than some other tyres where the tread knobs sit too high and in­board. The con­tact patch is so big that there is a lot of grip there, but the tread depth and side­wall sta­bil­ity doesn't match the Rekon's burlier broth­ers. This isn't the tyre for hard all­moun­tain rid­ing or en­duro rac­ing. But it is spot on for fast trail rid­ing and big days in big hills, where grip on a va­ri­ety of ter­rain and over­all weight is paramount. If you're after a su­per ag­gres­sive tyre then Maxxis al­ready have op­tions in spades with the Min­ions, High Rollers and Ag­gres­sor. If you want some­thing in­be­tween that has been de­signed around wider rim widths, then I highly sug­gest the Maxxis Rekon.

HITS

- Fast rolling, wide

per­for­mance win­dow - Seals up so eas­ily! - Re­li­able EXO side­wall

pro­tec­tion - Light for the tread and vol­ume

MISSES

- The 2.25” firmer rub­ber may re­duce it’s per­for­mance in the wet. - The 2.6” could use more sup­port­ive side­walls for a larger range of use. RRP: $84.95 (29x2.25”) and $109.95 (29x2.6”) FROM: kwtim­ports.com.au

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