Maxxis Rekon+ 27.5 x 2.8 Skinwall Tire Review
The Rekon+ is a 27.5 x 2.8” tire from Maxxis available with an eye-catching skinwall design. Spencer J Harding tested a pair of them to see how they stand up to the rigors of shred-sledding and loaded touring…
Words and photos by Spencer J Harding (@spencerjharding)
Today, I’m here to review Maxxis’ new Rekon+ tire. I know what you’re probably thinking, “The Rekon has been out for years, why even bother?” Well, up until now, if you wanted to make your modern plus-tire bike remotely fit in with the Jan Heine worshipping, suppler-than-thou crowd, you had to spend an arm and a leg on some fancy German Onza tires.
Thankfully, this offering from Maxxis, along with those from Terravail, brings that dream to a more reasonable price point. I’m very happy that the industry finally heard me and my friends ranting about the need for a 27.5+ tire with tan sidewalls.
Before we get to how they ride, let’s just take a moment to appreciate those beautiful sidewalls. I hadn’t gotten a single compliment on my bike before mounting these tires, but when I debuted my new setup on opening weekend in Downieville, I was getting stopped by all sorts of weekend warriors commenting on my sweet tan sidewalls. I can’t quite seem to put my finger on why the small infusion of beige on the sidewall sets off a bike’s build, but it does. It could be the nostalgia, or maybe it’s the color juxtaposition. Whatever it is, they don’t think it be like it is but it do.
The beautiful sidewall on the Rekon+ is only interrupted by a hooplah of letters and logos (c’mon Maxxis, do we really need all that?) advertising all the fancy technology Maxxis has put into this tire. Specifically, they note two technologies. Directly from Maxxis:
3C Maxx Terra
“Maxxis 3C Triple Compound mountain technology uses a harder, longer lasting base layer and two progressively softer top layers in order to optimize traction and stability. MaxxTerra is an intermediate compound configuration used in select mountain tires. 3C MaxxTerra is softer and offers more traction than 3C MaxxSpeed, yet provides better treadwear and less rolling resistance than MaxxGrip.”
“An extremely cut-resistant and abrasion-resistant material added to the sidewalls of select mountain tires. This densely woven fabric is also lightweight and highly flexible, ensuring that the performance of the tire remains unaffected. Choose EXO Protection for exceptionally rocky, treacherous trails where the chance of sidewall cuts and abrasions is high.”
I was able to get the tires set up tubeless with little difficulty using a compressor, barring the dent in my rear rim that made for some trouble. On a Sun Ringlé Duroc 40 (36mm inner width), these tires measured a hair over 2.6”, slightly slimmer than claimed. But, I assume they would plump up a little on a full 45/50mm internal rim. It’s worth noting that the tan sidewall transitions to a black tubeless-ready strip just before the bead. This is barely noticeable on a black rim, but if you have a silver or other color rim this may be more apparent.
Alright, alright, but how the heck do they ride? My first impressions riding this tire came on a shuttle run in Downieville, California, a route famous for its rocky and fast trails through a rugged and remote stretch of the Northern California.
Straight out of the gate, this tire was fasssssst. Having previously ridden 3” tires, the slimmer Rekon+ felt instantly faster, and the lower profile tread flew down the trail. I was able to keep up with friends on full-suspension rigs more easily than in the past. The Rekon+ hit that hardtail sweet spot where larger tires give you just enough squish to offset the lack of rear suspension without feeling like you’re pushing a massive amount of rubber. Normally, I would expect a tire with shorter lug depth to slide around on the trail, but the additional width of the plus-sized casing kept the tire sticking to the trail in all but the loosest situations. The only time I was able to slide the front tire out was on a dry downhill trail in Park City, Utah. Between singletrack in Downieville and all over Utah, on slick rock and dirt alike, I was impressed with the aggressive trail capabilities of the Rekon+.
Alas, this is not a downhill gear review site. We’re here to talk about bikepacking. After a month of trail use, I swapped my suspension fork and dropper out for rigid bits and set out for a weeklong trip in Colorado. The trip mostly focused on the doubletrack fire roads of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, interspersed with some road and singletrack sections.
The tire had noticeably less plump than the 3” tires I was accustomed to touring on, and after a few rim shots on the first descent, I decided to increase my pressure just a little bit higher than I was accustomed to with larger tires. That higher pressure caused some hand-numbing vibrations on road sections, but on dirt I had no issue at all. The tire gripped steadily on the rocky climbs and descents, and it also easily soaked up the chatter on the area’s many washboard fire roads. When I did lower the pressure, the tire was able to handle the added weight of fully loaded touring with no issue. The sidewall also seemed relatively unscathed by the X-shaped wear pattern that plagues many sidewalls when run at lower pressures, showing with only minimal sidewall weeping. The only condition I didn’t get to test was extended, super-low-psi travel in sand, à la the Baja Divide. All that said, I’ve had zero punctures or flats after almost 500 miles of riding.
I have been pleasantly surprised with this new 2.6” – 2.8” zone of plus tires. And with this new tanwall version, the Rekon+ is easily the best looking in the lot. I have been striving to build my hardtail as a reasonable “do everything” off-road bike, one that can alternate between full-on singletrack machine and touring rig. Adding the Rekon+ Skinwall to my build complemented that idea with style and toughness. These tires may have drawn me in with their classy look, but I’ll be keeping them for how shred-worthy they’ve proven to be.
- Looks really really really good.
- Aggressive enough tread for singletrack riding.
- Fancy Maxxis technology (3C and EXO casing).
- People will stop you to remark how good your bikes looks.
- Less floatation than a proper 3” tire.
- Sidewalls will likely fail before the tread does.
- TPI 60 TPI
- Weight 885g
- Width (claimed) 2.8″
- Price $106/tire
- Manufacturer’s Details Maxxis.com
700 Mile Check-in
After moving to Tucson at the end of summer, I’ve been able to get out for several rides and trips with the Rekon+ tires down yonder. I’m finding that they’re less than ideal for the general trail conditions down in this part of the Southwest, with their loose over hard trails and countless sharp rocks. I found the tire lacking grip on the trails, and the increased wear on the sidewalls has caused more sealant weeping, resulting in discoloration of the sidewalls. That said, I really believe this is a wonderful tire for almost all conditions, except the most southern Southwest. But through it all, this tire has still never gone flat on me!
About Spencer J Harding
Spencer J Harding was raised in southern California and is currently nesting in Tucson, Arizona. Ever since someone informed him it was possible strap camping gear to a mountain bike, he never looked back. Besides photographing bikes, Spencer works on personal photography projects involving the societal construct of Wilderness and aging microwave communication infrastructure. He also plans to finally learn to play the banjo one of these days. Follow him on Instagram @spencerjharding.