Maxxis has a strong XC heritage with tires such as the Larsen TT, Crossmark, Aspen, and Ikon all holding a strong spot in their line-up throughout the years. There have been semi-slick variations, such as the Larsen Oriflamme and the Wormdrive as well. While those minimalistic versions did roll fast, according to Maxxis' racers and engineers, they didn't offer the traction needed, especially on modern and more technical XC courses. Teams were requesting a higher volume tire that had a low profile tread, was fast rolling, and offered decent cornering.
The solution is their new Rekon Race, the lowest profile tire in the XC line from Maxxis. Maxxis expect the tire to be used primarily as a rear tire and paired with an Ikon, Aspen, or something similar up front. Maxxis engineers went to the 2017 Mont-Sainte-Anne XC World Cup with tire samples for Nino Schurter to try out. Apparently, Schurter was confident enough in the design and performance that he decided to race on the tire after practicing on it. Schurter won the race on the prototype.
Nino Schurter on the Rekon Race Photo: Maxxis
The Rekon Race is based on the tread pattern of, you guessed it, the Rekon. All of the knobs are scaled down, and the leading edges are ramped to reduce rolling resistance while the back edges are flat for increased braking power. There are small transition knobs from the center to the cornering knobs, and all of the knobs are siped to give more surface area and traction.
The tire is available exclusively in a 29x2.25 size with the same 120tpi casing that the Aspen uses. The tread is a dual compound rubber, and all tires are tubeless ready. The Rekon Race is offered with and without the option of the Maxxis EXO sidewall protection, depending on how much you like living on the edge, or standing on the edge of the trail fixing a flat. With EXO, it weighs 670g and sells for $64 USD. Without the EXO protection, the tire weighs 610g and costs $60 USD.
The Rekon Race, Aspen, and Ikon (L-R) Photo: Maxxis
I spent a short amount of time riding the Rekon Race near Sun Valley, Idaho, this past week. While it was hardly enough to give more than a very initial impression, I made enough turns to get a feel for it. I had the Rekon Race as a rear tire paired with a Rekon on the front of the bike I was riding. The trails that I rode were smooth and fast singletrack... completely buff, with a few rocks and roots. It was still early season there, so the trails had a great deal of traction. I wouldn't call it hero dirt; it was still loose, but it wasn't typical late-summer moon dust, either.
The tire felt noticeably fast. It seemed to hold its speed both uphill and certainly downhill. Braking, it was substantially easier than Maxxis' other XC tires to break loose and slide into turns on top of the tread. Once I gained some confidence in it and leaned it over at speed and in off-camber terrain, I was impressed with how well it hooked up on the side knobs. I felt that the tire was very predictable and easy to push in turns when on the edge without fear of breaking it free.
Braking traction was decent for a semi-slick. Scrubbing the extra speed that the tire seemed to offer up on the descents took a little bit more planning and precision, but it's a semi-slick, so it should. I had no issues with punctures or flats and also didn't hear of anyone else riding the tire having problems, either.Pinkbike's Take