Cyclocross Tire Review: Ritchey Speedmax Pro Cyclocross 700x32c Clincher
Riding and Racing Impressions:The Ritchey Speedmax is a time-tested design that has been around longer than any other clincher tire in the massive round-up of cyclocross tires we tested in Issue 3. There’s a good reason for that, as it’s a fine choice for fast, dry courses, especially as a rear tire.
The low profile center tread grips grass, dirt, and pavement well. Cornering traction is very good thanks to the raised knobs. While it works well on grass, it shines on tacky courses filled with fast dirt turns and peppered with off-cambers. The double rows of side knobs and flat-ish profile keep you upright and moving forward while others slide down the fall-line.
The Speedmax does better as a rear tire, as the horizontal ridges don’t provide great bite on moderate angle turns as a front tire, especially when conditions get a loose. Got some speed and leaning into the turn? Enjoy great traction front and rear. Turn the handlebar at a sharp angle and try to muscle your way around a loose hairpin? Be prepared for a little front wheel movement.
When things get pretty muddy or loose, reach for a different tire. Lower pressures help, as the side knobs dig in, but the moderate volume makes low pressure riding without flats challenging. The Speedmax is also available in 35 and 40c widths, but the tread changes slightly. There was also a 30c version that has been discontinued, but was an attractive option for road bike conversions with limited brake, tire and mud clearance.
Width (listed / measured): 32mm / 31mm
Weight (listed / measured): 320g / 340g
Tubeless compatibility: Not officially supported, unknown for this exact tire, although success with other Ritchey tires has been reported.