The Maxxis Receptor is a new gravel tyre that's light, has minimal tread and delivers an incredibly fast ride. It has a supple design and some puncture resistance that are brilliant on hardpack and roads – it could be a great race tyre if you know the conditions will suit.
Take a look at the Receptor you could be forgiven for thinking it's just a wide road tyre, as the tread is practically non-existent. Maxxis says it's suitable for a mix of tarmac and gravel and quote a ratio of 70 road, 30 off-road, but it is is also for hardpack and dirt roads.
The Receptor is among the lighter gravel tyres you will find at this width. Our pair weighed in at 432g and 433g, which is not far off the claimed weight of 429g. That's impressive for a tyre that is tubeless ready and has a puncture-resistant layer.
The tyre is available in 700c x 40mm and 650b x47mm sizes, and tan wall versions will appear soon. Inflated on 21mm ID rims the 40mm version measured 40.7mm, so the sizing is accurate.
Installation proved very easy, and after a little bit of help to pull the tyre wall out they pumped up with a track pump. The 700c version has a suggested range of 35-65psi, and I used the tyres at the lowest end front and rear.
Maxxis says the Receptor is purely for roads, hard packed dirt trails and light gravel, which is a little challenging in Wales after a very wet winter, but I did what I could to avoid mud – and you should too. They're as out of their depth as they look.
Road sections really highlight how fast this tyre is. It gives a incredibly smooth and quiet ride and an average speed that's almost the same as a pure road bike. The 120tpi carcass is thin and supple, and really delivers lots of feel and feedback – especially at low pressures.
Off-road on firm trails the speed remains excellent, with a communicative, supple ride on both small and large bumps. On the climbs and under acceleration the low weight noticeable, and the Receptor feels quick to get back up to speed.
The tread has three sections. The centre is a tiny diamond pattern that leads to a very slightly deeper pyramid tread and, beyond that, a series of small side knobs. Stick to firmer, hardpacked trails and traction is absolutely fine – it surprised me as a rear tyre, in fact, only spinning or slipping out in mud or leaf litter.
As a front tyre it’s less surefooted. Off-road I found it gives little grip or confidence under braking with even the slightest bit of loose gravel around. Through the corners and any loose stuff results in some drifting, the one positive being that the it’s so supple you can feel it instantly and get a little chance to recover it.
The EXO puncture protection layer involves a densely woven fabric that reinforces the sidewalls, which helps fend off cuts and abrasions there, but the tread area has no protection. This is contributes to the supple ride and low weight, but means care is needed on rough, rocky tracks.
Given this you might think the Receptor is poor, but I think Maxxis deserve some praise for releasing a tyre that pushes the boundaries. It is incredibly fast, it’s responsive and gives a huge amount of feedback that help you keep within its limits – you just need to make sure the conditions are right for it.
At £50 the Receptor is well priced given its high threads-per-inch carcass and its puncture protection layer. The Panaracer GravelKing SS Plus is one of the biggest competitors and is also £50, though it’s slightly heavier even in its 38mm guise at 450g.
Continental has some very fast tyres, such as the Terra Trail, which is around 45g heavier at 478g but offers a little more grip and feels almost as fast. On the downside it’s £60.
If you want cheaper, Vittoria has the Terreno Dry and Slick options, and although both are heavier in 38mm widths than the 40mm Maxxis, they retail for £45.
The majority of the Receptor’s struggles are as a front tyre, and just like in road riding almost every gravel rider runs matching pairs for no particular reason. Take a leaf from mountain biking’s book and consider the Receptor an excellent option for the rear.
If you are after an extremely fast tyre and either don't have to worry about mud or are prepared to swap to something else on a ride-by-ride basis, the Receptor may well reward you with PBs on every climb and long ride. It’s fast, supple and a pleasure to ride.
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