The Maxxis Re-Fuse is an excellent choice for mixing road with gravel or dry-ish off-road riding. Tubeless-ready, with oodles of volume, it means you really can choose fast, grippy and puncture-proof.
I can see the time we are living through being marked by cycling historians a century hence as The Rise Of Practical. There is now a plethora of bike, tyre and kit options to facilitate riding on any surface, in any condition, without significant compromise. This began at the humble chainstay yoke, when frame designers began to make more space available – first for 25 then 28mm road tyres. Now the floodgates have opened and I, personally, wouldn't recommend purchasing a new bike that takes less than 35mm rubber on a 19mm internal-width rim, lest you narrow your options for future use or resale.
The science is in, and Fat Is Fast. Thanks to the likes of Bicycling Magazine and their endless measurements we know that lower pressures and wider tyres are faster than hard, narrow tyres in real-world, non-Swiss road environments – and the benefits of tubeless puncture resistance and lower overall weight are well proven.
So if you have a frame with tons of tyre clearance and a desire to get dusty, what rubber? It's hard to go past the Maxxis Re-Fuse as an excellent choice if you like your trails dry-ish.
Another benefit of practical frames is the ability to swap between different wheel sizes. With disc brakes now the norm rather than the exception for any bike going off-road, the position of a brake calliper in relation to a rim is no longer a limiting factor. I tested the Maxxis Re-Fuse on the rather excellent Bombtrack Hook EXT – a bike designed to take either 650B rims with huge tyres or 700C rims with more traditionally sized rubber.
In the case of the Re-Fuse, the tested 650B/27.5in size is a hefty 632g per tyre – so over 1.2kg for a set before adding sealant if you're going tubeless. Compare this with the comparably-excellent Schwalbe S-One in 700C 30mm guise at half the weight and you can see there's a price to pay for more rubber.
Of course the smaller-diameter 650B rim and shorter spokes have less mass (there's typically around 60g between the smallest 26in and largest 700C rims), but generally, weight-wise, volume costs. That's if you care, mind – the Hook EXT is a steel frame and over 11kg all-up. Maxxis does the Re-Fuse in a 700 x 32mm (390g) or 700 x 40mm (520g) – so if you can fit 'em, go fat.
Installing the Re-Fuses onto the Hook's WTB Tubeless-Ready rims was a cinch – fingers-only to get both beads in place, and a test inflate had the beads popping into the rim channels without any sealant and holding air, first time. This is the beauty of product evolution and system-orientated thinking – tubeless has grown up, and there's simply no reason to think that if you're using tubeless-ready components that it's any more of a faff than using an inner tube.
The Re-Fuse measured 47mm wide on a 19mm internal-width rim – this is on the decidedly claret-coloured side of Sheldon Brown's Bible Of Tyre-Rim Width Compatibility – but, as St Sheldon caveats, you can go larger if the system works. In the case of Re-Fuse on WTB 19mm rim it worked well indeed – I had to push very hard into corners to get any feedback the tyre was unduly deforming, and even then the sensation was not a panicked one where the tyre wall collapsed in a cliff-edge manner, more a 'This is as far as we go, chum' friendly warning.
Off the 37mm end of the tyre-pressure-science chart we are into uncharted waters, and the evolution of wider rims and tubeless tyres with ever-more-supple sidewalls means you need to experiment. For my first outing the Thumb Test (Press. Suck teeth. Hum. Say something like 'I believe that is satisfactory') led me to think 25psi in the back and 21.5 in the front would do for our all-up 87kg rider-bike weight – and not to blow my own trumpet, but that was spot on.
On a two-hour blast on dry-ish bridleways and roads, the Re-Fuse were fast and dead quiet. They let go in deep mud, but this was never tackled at speed anyway, and the predominant off-road dewy-grassed 'damp' was no problem. On the road there was no sensation of pedal-induced bouncing, while over grass and chalk I could change lines easily and confidently at speed.
On the Bombtrack Hook, thanks to its long wheelbase slips at the front or rear were recoverable, and the Re-Fuses always found something to bite. They stayed connected when powering up technical sections seated, helped by the low pressure and supple sidewalls.
Over the rest of the test period, rambling all over Hampshire's bridleways, byways and lanes, the Re-Fuses consistently impressed. No, you won't be taking these to a cyclo-cross race or into deep winter's mud, but that's the beauty of modern system-based products – the process of swapping out for a more aggressive tread pattern is the work of minutes, with tubeless sealant easily recycled from one tyre to the next using a simple syringe.
We're big fans of Schwalbe's G-One tyres, and the Maxxis Re-Fuse 27.5 x 2in sits nicely between its 1.5in and 2.8in offerrings, at comparable weight and cost. I'd say you'd be hard-pushed to tell the difference between the Schwalbes and Maxxis, and that's high praise for the latter.
Grippy, predictable and easy to fit, with acceptable weight and cost, these are a great choice for going fat
road.cc test report
Make and model: Maxxis Re-Fuse 27.5 x 2.0 gravel tyre
Size tested: 27.5 x 2.0
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's large-volume tyre for tubeless shenanigans, on or off-road.
Our most popular training tyre, modernized with tubeless technology and higher volumes for even more reliability and comfort. The familiar diamond tread pattern keeps things rolling smoothly even as the pavement crumbles into gravel and hardpack dirt.
Our most popular training tyre - providing excellent traction, durability and plenty of road miles in any condition. Maxx Shield helps provide a tire that Re-Fuses to puncture.
MaxxShield offers bead-to-bead protection
Available in a choice of colours
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
1. RIM SIZE 27.5
2. WIDTH 2.00
3. TPI 60
4. BEAD Folding
5. PLY Single Ply
6. COMPOUND MaxxShield
Can't fault it.
Predictable, fast, as grippy as can be expected given the pattern.
The compound is unscarred – and that's some doing for a tyre this grippy, and the speed and surfaces I've run it at.
I'm calling these sufficient, not amazing.
Lots of air. Super-comfy.
At £50 the value is good, at the oft-available £36 it's fabulous.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well indeed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Predictability. No surprises.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
These are great tyres. Really great. The consistently 4.5-star Schwalbe equivalents are also great. Seeing as that's the benchmark, I'm going with 4 stars, as compared with its peers the Re-Fuse isn't 'exceptional', it's very good, and up there with the best.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling