Like most tire brands, Maxxis makes several different tread patterns for each discipline and cyclocross is no exception. They offer the Mud Wrestler (for mud, natch), the Mimo CX for soft, wet conditions and in between them is the all purpose Raze.
The Raze has a nearly continuous center tread block section that makes it extremely smooth and fast on harder surfaces, including pavement. That’s surrounded by extremely widely spaced side knobs, all with siping inside the block to help them grip the terrain. The compound is a bit softer to help it remain pliable in very cold weather.
I’ve put quite a few miles on my set, both on road and off, tubeless and with tubes, and have been generally pretty pleased. Jump the barriers for weights, measurements and full review…
Claimed weight for the folding version is 355g, and mine weighed in at 342g and 362g. These weights are with many miles on them, but also with a bit of remnant sealant inside, which likely balances any weight loss from wear. All knobs are still perfectly intact.
The 700×33 tires measured at 33.79mm wide mounted to ENVE 29er XC mountain bike rims. My ‘cross bike is disc only, so I’m simply running a pair of MTB wheels. This is with tubes at about 38-40psi.
For much of the year, my cyclocross bike doubles as a commuter and helps me haul the kids to school on the Trail-a-Bike. On the road, the almost full center tread block is much appreciated. Not only does it roll smoothly and quickly, but it’s quiet.
These tires have seen action at cross races that’ve been both cold and not-quite-so-cold, and conditions that were dry and muddy. No snow yet. I’ve run them mainly with tubes (see below) and generally at about 38-40psi under my 180lb body. That air pressure seems to provide a good balance of compliance and comfort and pinch flat protection for my weight.
On the dry courses, they’re phenomenal. Whether it’s grass, hardpack dirt or pavement, I can take corners at full speed, even the somewhat off camber ones, and they hook up very well. Once you get used to how far you can lean these things, it’s quite confidence inspiring and lets you maintain more speed through the tightly taped corners and u-turns.
When things got really wet, though, the performance level was much more dependent on the substrate. On thick wet grass, they still did OK. Handling was manageable. In the mud, though, they slid around pretty good. I suspect the large gaps between side knobs are to blame, though they did prevent any mud or muck from accumulating on the tread.
For a good all ’rounder, the Maxxis Raze has held up exceptionally well and does really good on a wide variety of surfaces. For all but the muddiest races, I’d recommend it pretty highly.
Now, about the tubeless set up. I used the Gorilla Tape that comes with ENVE’s tubeless rims and tried Zero Flats sealant…but couldn’t get them to hold air reliably for more than a couple hours, particularly on the rear. Whether it was the sealant, or the tape, or the fact that Maxxis doesn’t promote (read: recommend) their tires as being tubeless ready, I don’t know. But it didn’t work out too well. I haven’t had a chance to try that brand of sealant on any other tires, but I have had success using the Gorilla Tape in other situations and we’ve had friends set up Maxxis’ standard mountain bike tires tubeless to great effect. All that said, until Maxxis makes tubeless ready ‘cross tires, you’re probably a bit safer running tubes.