Thursday, June 11, 2009

Product Experience: Maxxis Road Tires

I'll give you the bottom line first: Maxxis tires are among the most underrated road clinchers currently on the market. After more than 3 years using these and with a good number of us riding them this year I feel confident that they should be considered on par, or better in some cases, than Michelin, Continental and other leading tires.

We've been using 3 models from Maxxis this year:

The Re-Fuse is an inexpensive and durable training tire . We've had very good luck with the 700x25 size tire which has held up extremely well over hundreds of miles in all conditions including many training miles on dirt roads such as on the Rapha Gentlemen's Race and the Battenkill pre-ride. This tire uses a very grippy tread pattern and the wider profile of the 25mm tire is perfect for the less-than-stellar roads in the Boston area. I've logged almost 2000 miles on one set of these tires so far this season with zero flats. In fact, I can't even locate any cuts or gouges in the tire's exterior. If there's a downside to this tire I would say that it doesn't inspire total confidence in the corners, nor does it feel particularly fast. Given that these are training tires, not race tires, these drawbacks are practically not worth mentioning. With their proven ability to go long miles and they're relatively low cost (about $35 apiece at retail) these are a worthwhile investment for any rider doing lots of miles on variable road surfaces.

The Xenith Hors Categorie is probably the best all-round tire we've tried from Maxxis. We've been using this dual compound clincher for training and racing with good success. The first noticable characteristic of this tire is how sticky they are in the corners. The very soft grey compound on the sides grabs hold of the road as well as any other pure race tire we've tried. The ride quality on these tires is also good. In most respects I would compare this tire to the Michelin Pro3 race. It's similarly constructed, has a familiar ride quality and performs in an equally high performance manner. The big advantage of this tire versus the Pro3 is how long it lasts. While Pro3's wear out within a few hundred miles, we've ridden the Xenith well in excess of 1000 miles, including many winter miles. Our most used Xeniths suffer many small cuts and slices, especially in the softer grey compound, yet none of this damage penetraged the casing or resulted in flats. Price on the Xenith is slightly less than the Pro3 Race. They can be had a bike stores for about $45 apiece.

The Courchevel is a race-specific clincher. It's similar in ride quality to the Xenith but is slightly lighter and uses a triple compound for great cornering. It's more of a pure race tire than the Xenith but has held up well over a few hundred miles so far. It's not as smooth rolling as the Xenith but does feel a bit faster and corners with equal or greater confidence. This is one of the best criterium tires I've used. Price is basically the same as the going rate for Pro3 Race.

While the Maxxis mountain and cyclocross tires are widely used and well-accepted the road tires don't seem to have broken onto the scene quite so well. That's really too bad because from what we've experienced they are as good or better than many of the alpha dogs of the road tire world.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home