We say: Well priced, robust tyres that grip well in all conditions
Highs: Grips well in all conditions particularly wet weather, good puncture resistance
Lows: Rolling resistance could be better
Maxxis first announced its new High Road flagship road racing clincher tyres at the Tour of Britain last year, a new premium tyre that replaces the Padrone TR at the top of its road range. It’s been available in Malaysia since late last year, essentially on the shelves of local bike stores for barely half a year. According to distributors GH Speedbikes, these babies have been getting pretty rave reviews, and it’s not hard to see why.
The High Road uses a new silica compound called HYPR, a new ultra grippy material. Maxxis says this new mix offers a 16% improvement in rolling resistance as well as a 23% grip improvement in wet conditions. Sounds pretty decent for use in a tropical country like Malaysia that gets a fair bit of rain annually, particularly with the freak weather that has been breaking seasonal norms. All cyclists in Malaysia pretty much know that the roads can get pretty slippery especially if you’re riding outside of the normal city limits.
For Cycling Plus Malaysia’s review we were given the tyres right before a two week tour in different weather conditions - both wet and dry, and rode them through both paved and rough roads in and outside city limits. Overall, we tested them over hundreds of kilometres both uphill and downhill too. The High Road held up well in both wet and dry conditions, though it really got top marks on slippery roads.
Parts of our route went through some mountain climbs that involved several wet descents, with gradients ranging between 5 - 10 degrees. The tyres had no issue navigating the twists and turns of the steep slopes with no slippage. Thanks to the High Road, the bike felt stable and planted at all times, even with the mild showers that left the road conditions treacherous for less than capable tyres.
In terms of rolling resistance the tyres didn’t really feel sluggish, but they’d probably not be your top choice if speed is your priority. You’d have to really want to go fast and in doing so sacrificing durability, as is often the case. If you’re a recreational cyclist we reckon that you wouldn’t feel the difference that much, but you would probably find more sprightly choices for race day. Interestingly enough, this is despite the fact that the tyres are sized 25mm, which is now the preference for cyclists who still want to go fast. But let's face it, if you were a pro or elite rider, you wouldn't be using a clincher tyre for racing now would you? Tubulars would be the way to go.
With the High Road what you get is better puncture resistance instead, thanks to a K2 puncture protection belt consisting a thin layer of Kevlar composite material developed by the company itself. No complaints there either, as we did not have a single flat throughout our tour. They’re pretty robust, for sure. At the price of the tyres, it’s pretty good value and somewhat well placed against others in the same category.
Maxxis’ Bicycle Tire Division Manager Andrew Bartek says they’re very excited to move seriously into the road tyre market in 2019. “Obviously we have a good history with mountain. We’ve always done road tyres, but this year we want to focus on getting to a higher level with our Roomport Charles Team, and Israel Cycling Academy - they’re doing races like Giro d’Italia and Paris Roubaix. It’s really important for tyre development to obviously not only have just normal testing, but also real world race testing at the higher level.”
Unfortunately for those who want more options, the tubeless-ready and tube-type versions of the High Road have yet to be launched, neither is the 28mm version. If the High Road is a hint of what we can expect from the company in the future, we reckon it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on what’s more to come for the road segment.
Price: From RM159