The Maxxis Ravager is designed for aggressive gravel riding. The model tested is specced as a 700c x 40c tread, with a claimed weight of 485g. This tire is a bit heavier than some 40c gravel tires on the market, but the cornering knobs are massive which takes the Ravager to another level that most gravel tires aren’t on. With Maxxis expanding its gravel tire offerings, the Ravager is the most aggressive one yet. The oversized cornering knobs are bigger than any 40c tread I have seen. Two casing options are available: EXO/TR (tested) and a SS/TR, which has a stronger casing for more puncture resistance and sidewall support. It goes without saying that the SS/TR model comes in about 45g more per tire. While the EXO casing is almost always enough protection for me and my riding, it’s nice to know there is a heavier duty option if needed.
Comparing the Maxxis Ravager tread to other gravel treads, like its little brother the Maxxis Rambler, and other popular tires like the Schwalbe G-One, the Ravager looks more like a thin mountain bike tire than a traditional gravel tire. The most comparable tires would be the WTB Nano 40c or the WTB Resolute. The Nano has a more spread out tread design while the Ravager reduces the amount of space between each cornering knob. Coming from racing XC and riding mountain bikes, this is an eye opener for me. It allows me to take my gravel riding abilities and adventure rides to the next level. The side knobs on the Ravager are so large in fact, that they the dwarf the cornering knobs on true mountain bike tires like the Maxxis Ikon and Maxxis Pace. With an almost semi-slick center tread, the square center knobs are both efficient and great for traction across the board. Climbing traction, cornering traction, and braking traction are all fantastic on the Ravager, which is not an experience I get often when riding a 40c tire on drop bars down a sketchy fire road. The Ravagers are seriously impressive!
Mounting the tires was simple. They blasted on with ease to my Reynolds ATR wheels using my tubeless booster pump and some Orange Seal. On my 21mm internal width wheels, the tires measured 39.5mm at 50 PSI, looking solid for a Maxxis tire.
First ride on the road, I could immediately tell I wasn't on a WTB Rambler anymore. A bit slower and squishier, it took a little extra energy to keep moving. At first, I ran the tires at the claimed min PSI of 50 in the front and about 53 in the rear and was ready to roll. They felt OK on the road, and I didn’t feel any tire roll when hitting corners once on the dirt. That being said, I was all over the place. Although this was what Maxxis recommended, I was not a fan of the initial set up. Dropping them down to a more typical pressure for large volume gravel tires, I experimented with the 35-45 PSI range. When going lower than 35 PSI, I felt tons of tire roll and even managed a small burp going down a single track. Settling in around 38 PSI in the front and 42 PSI in the rear was a good combo for the most traction while not hitting the rim on sudden ruts or cattle gates. Again, the cornering knobs are massive and provide great traction. Doing a bit of everything from fire roads and some rough single track, not once did I think this tire could have more speed or traction.
So where does this aggressive tire fall on the gravel tire spectrum? I think the Ravager is definitely a tire you want for an all dirt ride, or any ride with some rough dirt sections in the forecast. For rough fire roads or single tracks, I will pick the Ravager every time. If you are doing a very mixed terrain ride and nothing is too gnarly, maybe pick the faster rolling Maxxis Rambler. I love the riding I have done so far and the future looks controlled with this rubber mounted under the gravel bike!