Maxxis' Roamer tyres are a 42mm-wide semi-slick, designed to cope with everything from commuting to weekend touring. If you're seeking fast-rolling, road-going rubber for your adventure tourer/gravel bike, you won't be disappointed – as long as your frameset has sufficient clearance, particularly at the rear triangle.
Horizontal frame ends will provide a little more breathing space but the Roamers were tickling the chainstay bridge on my cross-inspired test-machine, a bike that will comfortably entertain 700x35s with full length mudguards...
Other vital statistics include 60tpi casings, Kevlar puncture protection strips, 'leaf pattern' shoulders for improved cornering prowess, and they weigh 740g apiece.
First, how easy are they to mount? The first 65 per cent lulled me into a false sense of security, before peeling away from the rim as I tackled the remaining 35 per cent, and this didn't improve with use. "Tease!" was the most polite of my exclamations... and in the name of good neighbourly relations, I fetched my magic tyre wand. (A big zip tie will do – something I relied on when fixing my only flat some 10 miles from home.) Pinning the bead in place, I simply scooped the remainder in place with a tyre lever.
You'd need to be going some to pinch a tube here, but having recently suffered a bit of a puncture plague, I introduced 30psi and double checked everything was properly seated before blasting home the final 40.
I've found 55-60psi strikes just the right balance between comfort and efficiency. They're seriously plush, gliding over speed humps, manhole covers, impacted dung and rutted bridlepaths. They're surprisingly perky too: getting away at the lights, weaving around obstructions, or catching friends unaware on the climbs requires surprisingly little effort.
Greater contact with the road's surface improves traction full-stop, but at 55-60psi, pushing hard on greasy descents hasn't taxed them, the shoulders just biting that little bit deeper.
The Kevlar strip does run to the shoulders but is slightly thinner here, so purge accumulated mud, soggy leaves and similar debris using a stick or stiff bristled brush to make sure shards of glass and other sharps can't get embedded and create mischief later on. My only flat in 300 mixed terrain miles was caused by a flint embedded in some horse dung, which caused the inner tube to rupture irreparably along the seam.
My testing has included a good 100 miles or so of dirt roads, towpaths and less challenging forest trails – as long as you're not going too mad, well within their capabilities. Dropping their pressure to 55psi for these sort of surfaces, their ride is compliant and generally well mannered. Although the shoulders quickly become clogged along wet trails, handling remains surprisingly predictable up to around 18mph.
Back in the concrete jungle, there's been the odd pregnant pause when tackling wet manhole covers, railway crossings and similar ironworks, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Ultimately, they've done exactly what Maxxis says they should in its blurb. I would gladly put the 26x1.65s on my Univega, but I'd also pay a few quid extra for a more comprehensive puncture-repelling strip.
Very capable big section tyres for commuting, touring and general riding
road.cc test report
Make and model: Maxxis Roamer 2ply
Size tested: 700x42C, Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
According to Maxxis, "The Roamer is ready for anything from your daily commute, a trip to the store, or a long weekend of touring the back roads."
No quibble here – it's very competent in these contexts – just make sure your frame clearances are sufficiently generous.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
700X42C 44-622 60 WIRE 1.155 DUAL 75 Kevlar® Inside Black
Decent spec for the price; I would prefer a uniformly thick puncture repelling belt but it's hardly a deal breaker.
Surprisingly sprightly yet durable big volume tyre with a really plush ride.
Seems very good to date. A consistently thick belt extending to the shoulders would be welcomed.
Quite portly at 740g but surprisingly responsive.
Very compliant, "magic carpet" ride across all surfaces.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Roamer is a surprisingly competent big section semi slick that performs well in all situations. Supple and relatively rugged casings hug the tarmac, offering excellent grip in all weathers. While not a trail tyre by any stretch of the imagination, along less challenging forest/towpath/forest sections, they offer decent tenure and a compliant ride.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Smooth ride, surprisingly swift and even capable of a little light off-roading.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular, though a uniformly thick puncture repelling belt would be welcomed.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but double check frame clearances – especially at the rear triangle.
Use this box to explain your score
They're surprisingly capable big section semi-slicks with a favourable price tag. A 700x35/38 size would widen their appeal.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)