Maxxis Rambler 40mm Tires: Checkpoint

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Maxxis Rambler
The Maxxis Ramblers on Velocity A-23’s have been a smooth ride…..mostly!

Maxxis Rambler 40mm Tires: Checkpoint-

Once again, the extended great weather, (as far as late Fall/early Winter go), has allowed for enough mileage on the Ramblers for me to post this mid-term report. I don’t think we will get many more great gravel road riding days coming up in January or February, so this may be the last post on this review until well into next year. That said, take a look at the last post HERE and in this post I will give my latest impressions on this new tire for gravel riding from Maxxis.

Maxxis Rambler
You just never know what you’ll find when riding Maxxis Ramblers!

Tubeless Performance: The Maxxis Rambler 40 was a conundrum when it came to mounting it up tubeless and finally was mounted up on to these Velocity A-23’s as seen in the images here. I mentioned in the last update that WTB TCS rims were found to work well with these tires, and there should be an opportunity to check that out coming up within a few weeks as a new wheel set will be coming into the rotation here which will feature a set of WTB’s KOM TCS rims. If that happens I will come back and update this post with how that went.

I did have an unfortunate experience with a sealant we have on test here that was in these tires. Since then, I have had to run a tube in the front wheel until recently, when I finally had to move on, and I reset the front tire up with my own mix of sealant which I have had great results with in the past. The rear tire has been no problem so far. I was a bit concerned that these tires may be fragile, but those concerns seem to be unfounded up to this point. Perhaps it was just an unlucky circumstance and nothing more.

Otherwise the Ramblers hold air well and don’t seem to have any real issues from day to day. There may be a hint of sealant seepage with the sidewalls, but again, this may be the sealant I am testing. When the new wheels come in I will be switching sealants in the rear tire to see if that is indeed the case. Since there are a few things still up in the air here concerning the tubeless performance, I will be withholding judgement until I close out this review.

Maxxis Rambler
The blocky tread pattern is surprisingly fast.

Ride Performance:
The Ramblers are the lightest tires rated tubeless that we have tested so far in this size class, (370/380 grams for 35mm-40mm tires), and so it may not come as a surprise to anyone that they spin up well and feel fast. These tires also do not seem to be hindered at all by the blocky tread pattern nor by the EXO sidewall protection as the Ramblers easily out rolled the Teravail and just nipped the Clement MSO 36 in my roll down tests. The ride feel is almost identical to the MSO 36’s as the tire is very well damped and smooth feeling. By the way, I have been running this tire as low as the upper 30’s psi and as high as close to 50psi, but remember- you’ll need to find out what is right for your weight and riding style, which may yield a radically different pressure than I found right for me.

The Ramblers measure out at the full 40mm width despite being on the slightly narrow Velocity A-23’s. The KOM TCS rims are going to be wider, so how that may affect overall width will be determined later, but the point is that the Rambler is a voluminous tire and as such, handles coarse gravel and rough surfaces with aplomb. Actually, for the weight, the Rambler is quite a surprisingly good tire in many aspects. Not only do you get the size, volume, and the traction and stability that come with that, but the tire is fast and not a burden to spin up. Sounds almost too good to be true.

There are a couple of things that I noticed with regard to this tire’s performance that are not quite top notch. They both have to do with mud. I found that the Rambler seemed to be tougher to keep going in a straight line in greasy mud and also had a tendency to pack up with dirt and mud more quickly than the Clement tire did. That said, it was happy to shed the packed up earth as soon as you hit harder ground, so I was impressed by that.

So Far….. The Rambler is a difficult tire, in comparison to the other gravel class tubeless offerings, to get set up tubeless. It is a light, fast, supple tire with decent grip. The Rambler has good volume and size for its weight and once set up tubeless, seems to do okay. The next, and final, installment on this review will hopefully ferret out a few questions I still have, but as of now, this is one impressive tire. Stay tuned……

Note: Maxxis sent over the Rambler 40mm tires to at no charge for test/review. We will always strive to give you our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

Discuss and share your questions or thoughts about gravel bikes, gear, events and anything else on the Riding Gravel Forum.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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6 thoughts on “Maxxis Rambler 40mm Tires: Checkpoint

  1. About the mud performance… Are you comparing this to something like the Nano 40 or the MSO 36 or what? With the more aggressive tread blocks of the Maxxis, I’m surprised it is more squirrelly the mud than the MSO 36. I could however see this with the Nano 40C or Rock and Road.

    What psi did the Ramblers measure 40mm at? Other reviews have suggested they might be slightly undersized, measuring 38mm on a 21mm internal rim.

    1. Mike, they measure right at 40mm at 40psi. Just checked to make sure. A-23 rims are 18mm internal width. Tires vary as much as 10% in some cases in weight for any specific model, and I suspect can vary in width as well. A wide sample rate would be the only way to verify, so take all the data you can get, average it out, and there you may find something closer to the truth. is one data point, and here we are getting 40mm width right on the nose. Tire width/weight claims by manufacturers are notoriously off in the real world, so one should take those with a grain of salt at all times.

      I think the MSO, at 36mm, (really 38mm), and with its different shape to the carcass, cuts down into the mud instead of floating on top, which is what the Maxxis tire does, which causes it to get squirrelly. The Teravail tires tracked straight through the mud, but packed up badly and wouldn’t let go of it easily. Once they packed up they were pretty hard to keep under you.

      As I recall, Nano40’s track well, but pick up a lot of mud in the tread lugs, essentially making them slicks, then its game over. Much like the Teravail. By the way, ALL the tires I test end up that way sooner or later. Some resist it longer than others do. I am assuming folks will be riding shorter muddy stretches, not a mile long section, in which case it would be unreasonable to expect good performance from any tire on a bicycle. At least where I’ve been on gravel, this is the case.

      Hope that helps clear things up somewhat…….

  2. FYI, these appear to really be difficult to mount with some rims. My bike shop just called to tell me they cannot get my Maxxis Rambler mounted on my WTB KOM i23 rim. I have not spoken to them yet, but I’ll update when I know why.

  3. The Maxxis Rambler mounted easily on my NOX Composite carbon wheelset. The Rambler bead seemed to have a slippery silicon like substance on them out of the box and I dry mounted them using a 16 gm CO2 without removing the valve core or applying any additional lubricant to the bead. After putting in 2 oz. of Stans, I reinflated the tires with a floor pump. They did not loose any air overnight.

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