The Maxxis Rambler EXO TR in this huge 50mm width is aimed at gravel bikes that have large tyre clearance. It offers masses of grip and, perhaps unsurprisingly given the size, a very smooth ride. It is also decent on road with very few, if any, weaknesses – though there's a fair chance this largest width won't fit in your frame.
The EXO TR version of the Maxxis Rambler has an identical tread pattern to the Rambler SilkShield TR, with the difference being the casing and level of puncture protection. The EXO TR has a 120 threads per inch (tpi) casing for a more supple ride and sidewall protection.
Installation proved a breeze, slipping onto the two sets of test rims without levers but still pumping up tubeless with a basic track pump. On 21mm (internal) rims they inflate to exactly 50mm, while 24mm rims see them at 52mm.
You may assume tyres this big won't roll well. Logic suggests the extra surface area, lower pressures and extra frontal area will make it slow, but the Rambler defies that logic. Across an an 8km road section it was only around 2-3kph average slower than a road tyre.
At 615g it sounds heavy for a gravel tyre – and it does tell on big climbs – but for its size it's actually lighter than most, including the Rambler in SilkShield casing and the Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge.
Traction offroad is unbelievable, and I found myself acing climbs I'd thought were impossible on a gravel bike – in fact, I soon went looking to tricky tests, and it impressed on them all.
It's versatile, too – it copes well with everything form wet moorland to rock and loose gravel to muddy bridleways.
At speed on rough, rocky tracks, the huge air volume makes the biggest difference. Push the tyre into corners and there is no feeling of vagueness or transition between blocks, just a confident ride that encourages you to push the boundaries further. It's supple and comfortable too, which only adds to your confidence.
The EXO puncture protection covers only the sidewalls, which is arguably the most important area, and especially as its harder for sealant to pool there. All I can say is that, despite some tough use and provocation, I never punctured the Rambler EXO – there's no sign inside the tyre that one occurred and subsequently sealed, either.
Whether your frame has the necessary clearance to run this massive tyre is another matter, though it's also available in 38mm, 40mm and 45mm widths. You could run it solely on the front as fork clearance is general larger, though then of course you're missing out on that fantastic drive grip and cushioned comfort.
In this width, the Rambler EXO TR still doesn't have many competitors, though it has the beating of the 50mm WTB Venture for rolling speed, quietness and plus slippery-trail performance.
The Rene Hurst Fleece Ridge is even wider at 55mm and Mike drew nothing but praise from reviewer Mike, but at £89 you need even more clearance in your wallet than your frame.
Riders with the frame and fork clearances to take the 50mm Rambler EXO TR are getting huge comfort and a surprisingly quick ride, both on and off-road. Climbing traction is exceptional, it delivers superb grip downhill, and in general gives you the confidence to really push hard on rough, rocky trails.
Extremely impressive high volume gravel tyre that copes with all terrain
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Maxxis Rambler Folding EXO TR
Size tested: 700c x 50mm
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?
Maxxis says: 'The Rambler is a gravel and dirt road racing tyre. The Rambler is available in a range of tyre sizes for gravel and adventure bicycles.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-Designed with the volume you need for comfort
-Tread pattern for speed and control
-Spaced-out side knobs provide predictable cornering in varied terrain
No issues during testing.
Very good for a 50mm tyre.
High volume and high thread-count casing work wonders.
On par with most other performance gravel tyres, plus double the TPI of the SilkShield version for a £5 premium seems good value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Nothing to fault. Impressive grip and confidence.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light for its size and puncture protection level.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £54.99, it's at the upper end – the WTB Venture is £44.99, while the 45mm Hutchinson Touareg is £33 – though the latter in particular doesn't offer the same performance. The 43mm Panaracer GravelKing SK is also cheaper at £44.99.
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 overall score
This is a fantastic tyre, a solid nine and very close to a perfect 10 – if it was lighter, cheaper and magically fitted every bike then maybe it would score that...
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding