Twelve weeks is possibly the longest I've spent testing one product, but with a price of £131.99 each for these Maxxis Velocita MS Tubular tyres I wanted to check Maxxis' claims about impressive puncture proofing and reliability. We've seen the scenery change and the weather conditions get poorer, but we've both come through unscathed.
Maxxis says the Velocitas are 'born from the cobbles of Roubaix', the yearly one-day race that takes place across the roads and cobbled farm tracks of Northern France. Known as one of the Classics, it's a stunning spectacle and brutal, both on the riders and, above all else, the bikes and kit.
Punctures are commonplace from hitting the hard edged pavé and the amount of debris on the tracks, especially if conditions are wet and muddy. For the Velocita tyres to counteract this, Maxxis has installed its MaxxShield layer from edge to edge to protect both the tread and sidewalls from damage.
According to its website, Maxxis first used its SilkShield layer, a secret squirrel exclusive material, before adding a Kevlar layer over the top. It adds to the weight, with these being 133g heavier than the 27mm Zipp Tangente tubulars they replaced, but even riding over every thorn in hedge cutting season I could find, the Velocitas were barely marked let alone punctured.
I've smacked through potholes too and found the roughest back lanes I could, all to no avail: the puncture fairy stayed away.
The Velocitas have quite a low thread count of 120tpi (threads per inch), which means they are a little less supple than most other race tyres; those Zipps they replaced have 320tpi. It takes a little away from the ride feel but even when pumped up to their 130psi maximum they are still smoother than a clincher and innertube setup.
Grip is impressive in both the wet and dry. There are loads of dimples and grooves making up the tread, which to be honest are pretty much pointless on a road tyre as it all comes down to the compound. Here, the compound has a tacky sort of feel to it when it's warm and doesn't seem to lose that when things dip below freezing.
They are confidence inspiring in the corners and if they do happen to lose traction it's very progressive, even from the front wheel. There's enough of a warning that you can adjust your bodyweight to avoid decking it.
Fitting a tubular normally involves putting it on the wheel dry for a couple of days to stretch it, before glueing or taping it into position. This is a must for the Velocitas as they are as tight as hell – I had to employ the help of the good lady wife to stretch the last bit on.
Once on, though, they sit true – the sign of a well made tub in my experience; the cheaper and poorer quality they are, the more tweaking and adjusting they require to get them to run true. All while you're trying to beat the drying time of the glue.
Another cool thing about the Velocitas is the valve. Most wheels that people are using tubs on these days are deep section, but the majority of tyres don't have removable valve cores to add an extension. The Velocitas come supplied with a 60mm anodised extension that screws on directly to the tub and if you need to go longer for time trial wheels of 80-100mm deep, for instance, then you can buy longer ones separately.
Value? You knew it was coming and probably made your own mind up at the start of the review, but I don't think the price is quite as astronomical as you might think. Bear with me...
Back in my time trialling days I'd happily blow 70 or 80 quid on a tub and often I'd get through two or three of those a season because of punctures. So a tub that I knew I would definitely (within reason) finish the race on would be a sensible investment. Not only that, the Velocitas also give you the confidence to go out for a training ride on your best wheels knowing that a puncture is likely to be rare. I suggest that, if we're honest, punctures are the main reason most of us don't use tubs.
Saying all that, the growth in tubeless tyres takes away a lot of the puncture risk, and although prices are still pretty steep for most tubeless tyres they are no way as high as these.
A tubular is completely different to any clincher in terms of ride feel and comfort, though, so for some it's the only option. It's up to you whether you think the cost of the Velocitas is justifiable over a cheaper tub and a can of Vittoria's Pit Stop sealant.
If tubulars are a must for any condition then these are hard to knock – apart from the price
road.cc test report
Make and model: Maxxis Velocita MS Tubular Tyre
Size tested: 28mm
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?
Maxxis says: "Born from the cobbles of Roubaix, the Velocita is a high-volume endurance racing tubular tire. A center diamond tread turns into a file tread on the edges of the Velocita for increased cornering control, while the MaxxShield gives puncture protection under the sidewalls and tread."
As far as puncture resistance goes they are hard to knock, though that does add to the weight.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Conditions: Racing, Sport
Puncture Protection: Level 4
Ply Construction: Single
Max PSI: 130
Tech: Maxx Shield
Yes expensive, but...
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Velocita is designed as a race tyre that will take on whatever conditions it is faced with. Rolling resistance is pretty good and puncture resistance is near faultless.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Hmm... to guarantee I'd finish every race I'd consider them.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Massively expensive and massively impressive, but only you can decide whether they are worth the money. For me, as someone who has to run the gauntlet with tubular tyres on test bikes in the winter, I can certainly see the appeal.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.