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Maxxis Re-Fuse Tire Review

August 30th, 2010 [print] Go to comments

I bought the Maxxis Re-Fuse after my p.o.s. Kenda Kalientes kept getting punctured on almost every ride by road debris.  Few things suck worse than having to repair (or replace) a tube mid-ride, so I was really hoping the Re-Fuses lived up to their name (as in, Re-Fuse to puncture).  That, they did.

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With a trip to Manhattan scheduled, the last thing I wanted was a tire I couldn’t depend on to resist flats.  I pictured myself alongside a busy NY street, surrounded by shady characters (and I don’t just mean the cops), buses flying buy, and me trying to pop a new innertube in, all the while dodging bullets, prostitutes and guys selling genuine fake Rolex watches.  As it turns out, NYC isn’t as bad as I had pictured it, although there was some crazy shit going on at the 2010 Auto Show only hours after I had attended.

Not that any of that mattered, anyway, since the Re-Fuses never once let me down.  Even after my turn home to boring mid-Missouri, I accumulated another 450mi before a large screw went all the way through my rear tire.  Not even a car tire would have stood up to it, so I wasn’t too disappointed.  With a hole in the tire itself, I was still able to ride my first century, plus another 200mi or more before it was time for a replacement.  In the three months since, neither tire has punctured even once.  I feel confident enough to routinely take my bike on a gravel rail-trail, and it’s even seen some mild singletrack.

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So, with an A+ for durability, next comes ride quality and wear:

Being 25c, the Maxxis’ offer a little more comfort than the 23c Kendas.  I run them around 85psi, whereas the Kendas were usually 100-105psi.  Amazingly, they seem to roll just as fast, despite their extra ~75g of weight, each.  I have little else to compare them to at this point, but if I don’t feel like a tire is sluggish underneath me, then I’m generally happy with it.

As far as wear goes, I’m less enthusiastic.  At 140lbs, I’m not exactly a heavyweight, so you’d think a tire would last me quite a long time.  After 5 months of riding 400-550mi a month, the front tire has done reasonable well, although the very center section has almost zero tread left.  At the time I replaced the rear tire (early June), the old one was already treadless, and showed severe wear.  It’s replacement is no better, and I finally swapped front/rear last week to try to get a little more tread life out of it.  The only thing I can come up with, is that perhaps my large(ish) 82.4 gear-inch gearing is forcing me to do far more uphill sprints, which may wear on the rear tire a lot more than if I was pedaling easier on a geared bike.

I also noticed that on 100°+ days, the tires become very soft, enough so that they often get rocks embedded in them.  I’m sure the gravel rail-trail also isn’t the best surface for longevity.

Overall, though, I’ve been very happy with them.  I can see slices in the carcasses from road debris that would have ripped right through the Kalientes, but the Re-Fuses shrug them off like no big deal.  They have decent wet-weather grip, and just enough compliance on gravel to keep the bike from getting overly skittish.  Corning grip is tremendous; 23mph right-hand turns don’t elicit any reaction.  In fact, the only thing holding me back from taking even faster turns is me.

And one other plus is, I can actually get them on my just-slightly-oversized SUNRingle Assault rims.  The Kendas were pretty rough on my thumbs due to all the effort it took to install them, and I recently had to give up on a set of Vittorias that plain wouldn’t get over the edge of the rims.  In contrast. the Maxxis’ go on with my bare hands.

I have another brand/model of tires on the way, so I’ll have a better idea of how well the Maxxis tires stood up once I compare them to others.  I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to others.

Pros:

—  Very puncture resistant
—  Decent price ($30-35 most places)
—  Also available in 23c
—  Comfortable and fast rolling
—  Ridiculous cornering and braking grip
—  Not too heavy for their size and puncture resistance

Cons:

—  Still heavier than I like
—  Fast-wearing
—  Gooey in the heat (pick up tiny rocks and won’t let go)

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