Review: Maxxis Supermaxx Diamond (Video)

MF goes fast around Portimao on a Maxxis tyre-fitted Z1000 and catches a BSB star by surprise

Just finished our track time here at Portimao circuit. We've been testing the new Maxxis Supermaxx Diamond sports touring tyre so it's a bit odd to come to a race circuit but, as it happens, the mix of torrential rain and bone dry tarmac (in the afternoon) has been a tough but positive test for this new tyre from young upstarts, Maxxis.

They lined up a range of bikes from 600 Supersport to the 1250 Bandit for us to try this new tyre. And the track? Oh my life, if ever you get the chance to do a track day at this fantastic roller-coaster of a circuit, do it. It's amazing.

In the wet (and boy, was it wet) the diamond pattern on the shoulders of the tyre are there to sniff out extra grip. We didn't have comparison tyres on the test but considering how wet it was and how hard the compound is (for extra road mileage) I was pretty impressed by the wet grip on offer. The tyres even managed to get warm to the touch despite scything their way through deep, standing water.

By lunchtime it had pretty much dried out, bar for a few rivers across the track, and things got a bit giddier. My chosen tool for the afternoon was Kawasaki's rip-snorting Z1000 (does anyone actually need a supersport bike for the road when nakeds are this potent?). The performance of the Maxxis Sport Radial took some getting used to but this is my verdict:

For a tyre that aims to be at least 20% cheaper than its European competitors, its behaviour even in these extreme circumstances was impressive.

It's not outright edge grip - other softer compound sports touring tyres have a slight advantage here but the difference is only measurable on a gnat's pubic hair. No, it's the way the tyre communicates before it loses grip that is it's strong point. Those weird feathered edges are a great way to get extra edge grip for what is actually a hard compound, high mileage sports touring tyre but they do create a sensation of movement when you're approaching the sorts of angle of lean that sees footrest tips colliding with tarmac.

No worries.

The rear tyre moves around (not the front, thankfully which plots a stable and neutral path) and lets you know things are about to get lairy. I followed two or three really, really quick riders and they were leaving black lines and powersliding through corners that I'm sure they wouldn't have dared to do on more conventional, sports focused rubber. These tyres don't so much communicate as shout at you to ease off the gas. At the end of a very taxing, hard riding day all the bikes were unmarked and undamaged. Trust me, that's not always the case when you let a load of journos and dealers loose on the trickiest track in Europe in bouncing rain and perfectly dry conditions.

We've got a day of riding on the road tomorrow, this tyre's real habitat. I'll report back tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, enjoy the video. And in Gary Mason's defence (that's him on the ZX-6R), he was testing a new prototype tyre that didn't leave him with much confidence... sorry for the supermoto style block pass Gazza. The other guy in the shot is mad Bob from London tyre dealers FWR. Fast lad.

Continue here for the road test of the Maxxis Supermaxx Diamond

Drift HD170 video camera supplied by