Maxxis Rambler 40mm Tires: At The Finish

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Maxxis Rambler
Rough, soft, torn up Spring roads are no match for the Rambler

Maxxis Rambler 40mm Tires: At The Finish

As predicted, the Maxxis Rambler’s final verdict had to wait until March, (see the last post here), but after a few changes and more miles, the end of this review has been reached. What was found out? How does this new tubeless tire entry stack up against the others hitting the shelves of your local bike shop this Spring? Read on for my final opinion on the Rambler 40’s from Maxxis Tires.

Maxxis Rambler
After a bit of learning and a switch in sealants, the Maxxis Ramblers were successfully mounted on my HED Ardennes + wheels.

Changes: With the difficulties in mounting the Ramblers well documented by us and by our readers, we were never really hopeful that they would be mounted to anything but the Velocity A-23’s for this test. However; after learning that the original sealant choice we made for these tires was possibly letting us down, and also after stumbling upon a different mounting technique, hope began to rise that a different wheel set might work. I was able to get them to mount and stay stable on the HED Ardennes+ test mule wheel set with little effort. Well, that is “little effort” if you know the trick. With that out of the way then…..

At The Finish: The Maxxis tires have the lightweight crown sewn up in the realm of big, gravel class tubeless tires. That is impressive enough, but the tires are also very fast and ride quite nicely. Maxxis didn’t skrimp on that casing size either, as it is a full 40mm wide on the “average width” Velocity A-23 rims and on the slightly wider HED Ardennes+, (same as Belgium +, for reference), they measured out slightly wider than 40mm with 40psi in them. If you use a quality sealant, they hold air very well and are easy to live with day to day tubeless.

Where I have to give a bad mark is when it comes to setting these tires up in the first place. While it is possible to accomplish the feat, it is not nearly as easily done as it is with anything else we’ve had come through here in this size range. Not even close. That’s an issue that has already frustrated some riders out there. In my experience, I found that by setting the valve at 6 o’clock, having the core removed, and then simultaneously hitting the valve with air from a compressed source, and bouncing the wheel downward, I could gain a momentary seal which would allow inflation. Most of the time, that worked after I figured it out. However; we’ve heard stories of mechanics with years of tubeless tire experience being stymied by the Ramblers when it comes to setting them up tubeless. So, take that cautionary mark into consideration with these tires.Maxxis Rambler

If it were not for the bad set up experiences I have had and others have reported, I would likely give the Rambler a very high recommendation. It does everything you would want, when it is set up, out on the gravel roads. However; I have to say that there are other tires without such set up issues that, while being a bit heavier, are every bit as good as this tire is in terms of ride feel and performance. If Maxxis can fix the fitment issues, they will have a top class gravel tire to offer riders.

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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16 thoughts on “Maxxis Rambler 40mm Tires: At The Finish

  1. I adore these tires. Just rode 103 miles of Kansas gravel on them over last weekend. Set up tubeless on Pacenti SL23’s, I ran them at 35psi (I’m 210lbs), had zero flats, and tons of grip. Even at that low of pressure, they rolled fast and stable on the pavement sections, and held speed not much worse than the 25mm tires I have on my road bike.

    If you don’t want your pair anymore, I’d gladly take them off of your hands GT!

  2. I adore these tires too! I ride North GA gravel/dirt/asphalt with these tires and love them. I switch back and forth between Maxxis 32mm Refuse’s and I have never had mounting problems in the many times in doing so on my Pacenti SL25’s. The Ramblers are the perfect tire for mixed surface or all out gravel/dirt riding. Plush as hell and fast, especially with TN titanium! I have tried 6 different similar tires and these are hands down superior!

  3. I’m another big fan of this tire. I just set one up on a Shimano WH-6700 rear wheel w/ 1.5 scoops of Stan’s last week, absolutely zero drama. Held air perfectly. Did Murhpy Mack’s Spring Classic ride this past Saturday (116 miles from Ft Hunter Ligget to Hollister via Indians Road), tire worked perfectly. Rode the 1st dirt section at around 40 psi, then added about 8 more for the remaining road section. These will replace my 120 TPI 40mm Clement MSO’s that I had set up tubeless (off label) for the Lost & Found. My new favorite “gravel” tire.

  4. I’ve also had a very positive experience with these tires. Tubeless set up was very easy on a pair of Velocity Aileron rims. Roll great on both pavement and gravel/dirt roads in the southwest region.

  5. Copied from the original post, to this more relevant one.

    I have been running a set of the 40c 120tpi Ramblers since release. They are mounted on Velocity Blunt SS rims, and seated with a floor pump with removed valve core. They, in fact, held air for days with no sealant. Since adding sealant, and clocking on nearly 1k early season miles, I have not had an instance of burping, flatting or any other issues that plague tubeless tires. They are fast, ride wonderfully at 30psi, rugged (holding up to the rocky chunder outside of Belfry, MT), and light for the size. I will continue to ride these tires the remainder of the season, and when they pop back up in stock, I will pick up another set!

    Now where is the review on the 40c Refuse!?

  6. I read this review before purchasing the ramblers. I was concerned about being able to mount them but I didn’t have any issues at all mounting them on some Grail rims. They were actually probably the easiest tires I’ve ever mounted on a rim (sometimes the bead is so tight that it is hard to get the tire on). They inflated right away with some stans and the bead popped in immediately. It was seriously that simple. No more difficult than setting a tire up with a tube.

    I haven’t tried them out yet on the gravel but I don’t have any doubts that they will be great because, IMO, maxxis tires are the best.

  7. No surprise there, Amanda, as Stan’s BSD design is actually a slightly larger diameter than most all other rims, so your Ramblers fit snug and aired up easily, which would have been my guess as well. The troubles many are having are when other tubeless ready rim designs are tried with these tires.

  8. I’ve had a pair rolling for not very long and I’d add that the size (40c, 120 tpi, set up tubeless) suggests it would be ok for rough gravel or light duty mountain bike tracks, but they are just too thin and light. It didn’t take too long for me to put a non sealable hole through one on a embedded rock in a 4×4 road.

    This tire has a great suppleness for standard gravel track and for buffing out the occasional hardback dirt potholes. They are not super grippy but they really do roll smoothly. Where I live (utah) there are a lot of embedded rocks in the dirt roads, and its really not acceptable to kill a tire as fast as I did the Ramblers. I think for places with more uniform gravel these would be dreamy. I have some WTB Riddler 45s that are basically mtb tires and they do fine for rough track but don’t roll as fast. I think I’ll try the WTB Nano tubeless 40mms next…

    I also had a hell of a time getting the Ramblers set up tubeless (on some Easton sl 70 rims).
    My trick to set up without a compressor or co2 cartridges:
    (1) put a tube in and inflate and set the bead.
    (2) carefully lever off only one side of the tire, leave the other side on the bead, and carefully remove the tube.
    (3) put on valve stem without core to increase air flow.
    (4) put a little soapy water on the loose bead and pump like hell.

  9. Just picked up a pair of 38mm Ramblers and haven’t been able to mount them on my easiest to mount wheel set. I’m familiar with most of the tricks in these comments but wondering what the original “little effort” trick is that’s referenced in the review.

    “”Well, that is “little effort” if you know the trick. With that out of the way then…..””


        1. Could be that it would work with the plastic TLR rim strip. Or it could be that this is a bad combination. Unfortunately standards are not fine enough across all manufacturers for every combination to be successful.

          1. Thanks for the quick and knowledgeable advice.

            Started having problems mounting Schwalbe Pro One 30mm, which are always insanely easy to mount the past few days as well.

            Had been running both the 38mm Ramblers and the Schwalbe Pro Ones with tubes for a couple days and then took them all to the shop, which is heated!

            My garage is not, tends to be 40-50 degrees in there this time of year and the space header doesn’t do much for ambient temperature.

            Everything mounted as expected, had not realized temperature had such an effect.

            Great to have this resource here! Thanks again.

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