Maxxis Ravager 40: At The Finish- by Guitar Ted
Winter has put its icy grip on the Mid-west, and so it is time to wrap up this review on a new tire from Maxxis that takes a bit of a different direction than many tires in the gravel category. My previous thoughts can be found by clicking this link. Now let’s dig in for the final verdict on the Ravager.
The Ravagers are a different beast than most tires I have tested here at RidingGravel.com. As I stated in the previous post on these, they are more akin to the WTB Nano 40 tires than anything else. However; the Ravagers are probably more adept at doing single track than a Nano 40 is, and have a bit smoother ride as well. If going off the beaten path and doing more “mountain-bike-ish” things on your gravel rig is your MO, then these tires are right up your alley. I know that many bikes on the cutting edge of this genre are touting the ability to run 650B XC mountain bike tires, but keep in mind that diameter is king. The Maxxis Ravager 40’s will roll over stuff with more smoothness and still roll swiftly on the open gravel roads. You may not need two sets of wheels after all.
There is one fault these tires have and that is that they do not have the fastest roll on hard surfaces. There you could do better. If your riding is split up pretty evenly between paved and gravel/dirt, there might be a faster, smoother rolling tire than the Ravager which you could employ. However; I think it bears mentioning that these are not terrible pavement tires. I have ridden tires meant for paved riding that were worse rolling and had poor ride feel. So, don’t discount these tires completely based on how they ride on pavement. That said, these err on the side of dirt, and the more the merrier.
Tubeless performance has been excellent. I should point out that the Ravager, (and the Rambler 40 as well), use a carbon fiber, foldable bead which Maxxis claims will allow you to get consistent tubeless set up throughout the life of the tire. Wheel swaps should not be any different, in terms of set up, as long as the rim dimensions are consistent. Maxxis claims the beads will not stretch, and this seems to be the case based upon my experiences with Ramblers and now with the Ravagers. Air retention is very good. There is only one thing that is perhaps an issue and that would be setting the beads on these tires. It can be tricky, but it isn’t impossible. Maxxis claims they have tried several different rims with good results, and in my experience, I have found they do set up if you know the correct technique for these tires. In this area, I will give a nod to the difficulty factor compared to other tires. I would say that the Rambler and Ravager could be a bit of a frustrating tire to get set up. However; once you do, the tubeless performance is very good and worth the effort.
The bottom line from my perspective is that the Ravager is a good foil to Maxxis’ other gravel tire, the Rambler. Where the Rambler doesn’t shine as well, the Ravager does and vice versa. Gravel roads with looser, chunkier gravel are where the Ravager seems to have better attributes. The Ravager’s tread blocks help to grip the rock and keep your bike more stable. There are a few tires with better stability, but the Ravagers are pretty good in this area and they ride smoothly on chunky gravel. That’s a good combination and few tires have this characteristic.
At The Finish: So, if you are looking for a tire that has an aggressive tread, is reasonable in weight, and is true to width, this should be a tire you consider. They are excellent in regards to air retention and ride very smoothly, especially on rough, chunky gravel. Rolling resistance, considering the tread design, is good, but there are faster tires for smooth, hard surfaces. Cornering prowess seems very good on dirt and gravel. Off road, this tire acts like it is a mountain bike tire. This is the tire for the gravel road/off road adventurer that will give you very good performance from gravel to smooth single track in a light weight, nice riding casing that has excellent tubeless characteristics.
Note: Maxxis sent over the Ravager 40mm tires to RidingGravel.com at no charge for test/review. We will always strive to give you our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.