Michelin's Protek Max tyre is a good option for people racking up big mileage who want the reassurance of ultra-tough puncture protection. It's fairly comfortable, too, but you'll find yourself sacrificing grip and ride enjoyment for that extra security.
I tested the Michelin Protek Urban tyres recently and was blown away by their all-round performance – especially grip – which didn't seem to be diminished at all by their proclaimed puncture protection. However, for £1 less you could forgo all that urban nonsense and go straight to 'Max' with these super-enhanced, ultra-puncture-shielded Proteks.
So what's the difference between these and the Urbans? Essentially, it's all down to a strip of 5mm reinforcement under the rubber, which should keep you rolling happier for longer. There's also a slightly different tread design, which will handle asphalt and easy trails rather than the Urban's road-only outlook.
That said, the bigger difference in terms of ride experience comes in what that tread is made from. The Urban uses Michelin's fantastic Pro4 Grip Service Course rubber for superb on-road performance, whereas the Max here doesn't. And it's far less fun or compliant when you want to throw your bike around a bit.
At 730g a pop for this 32mm option, it's not too light either, which also affects general rider enjoyment. And by Michelin's own measures the Max is also a little less efficient when it comes to rolling resistance.
Like the Urban, though, the Max features a nice bright reflective sidewall and is particularly suitable for e-bike use. Indeed, you should be able to rack up huge mileage using this tyre without much worry. It's also fairly comfortable to use, helping to deaden the worst hits and smooth out rougher surfaces, although it does feel just a tad less cosseting than the Urban.
Most tyre manufacturers have options that promise ultimate toughness with a bit of mixed-surface ability. For example, Panaracer's GravelKing Plus TLC is a very effective wide road slick with a bit of trail performance and enhanced puncture protection. It's a lot lighter than the Michelin Protek Max, but at £49.99 it's also a lot pricier too.
Far nearer the budget is Goodyear's Transit Speed S3, which comes in at £29, although we weren't super impressed with the ride quality. And as I've mentioned, for £1 more you could have the excellent Michelin Protek Urban tyre with aramid puncture protection and fab on-road performance.
If I was in the business of hiring out bikes or – even better – hiring out e-bikes, fitting the whole fleet with Michelin Protek Maxes would be a no-brainer. They're decent value and they promise superb longevity. Even individual e-bikers who want simple, trouble-free performance for seemingly unlimited mileage might want to consider the Protek Max as well. But with noticeably less grip, significantly more mass and, to my mind, just a little less comfort than its stablemate, anyone wanting to enjoy urban cycling adventures would be far better served by going for the Protek Urban rather than this option.
The Protek Max is a worthy tyre – and of course you might have a different opinion if you ever end up at the side of a road fixing a puncture – but it seems just a tad joyless.
Decent reinforced urban and light trail tyre that will roll and roll, but it's not a whole lot of fun
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Michelin Protek Max
Size tested: 700x32
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?
This is an urban and light trail tyre with enhanced puncture protection and longevity. Michelin says: "Ride on asphalt and trails with a much stronger, versatile tyre."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
700 x 28mm, 32mm, 35mm, 38mm or 40mm
Also available for 20in, 24in or 26in wheels
Sidewall reflective stripe
Well made tyres, especially at this price.
Grip is missing. Comfort is decent.
These are made to last and last.
At more than 700g each, they're not light.
Comfort levels are very decent.
Considering their potential longevity, they are decent value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very solid tyre with decent performance. Not the most exciting ingredient for your ride experience, though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and forget longevity.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Slightly dead feeling on the road, especially when compared directly to their Protek Urban sibling product.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
That excellent Michelin Protek Urban costs £1 more at £29.99. Goodyear's Transit Speed S3 comes in at £29. If you can afford a bit more, Panaracer's GravelKing Plus TLC is a very effective wide road slick with a bit of trail performance and enhanced puncture protection at £49.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? So-so.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly, depending on their requirements.
Use this box to explain your overall score
While Michelin has done a great job producing an ultra-hardy tyre at a budget price point, the Protek Max is somewhat undermined by its own range mates. On the road, tested in isolation, performance is decent if hardly sparkling. But when you compare it to the Protek Urban its lack of dynamism is all too obvious.
About the tester
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Leisure