The Maxxis Rekon tread has morphed from a Plus model to a fast trail tyre and aggressive racing tread. Where does its strength lie?
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 30-35mm 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” Minnion DHF/DHR combo. The 60 TPI casing of the Minions 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.