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Ritchey Z-Max Evolution Tire

4.8/5 (10 Reviews)
Weight : 430 grams MSRP : $53.99


  • Store Price

Product Description

  • Classic design
  • Dual Compound
  • Softer sides enhance cornering
  • Tread lugs are spaced wider and shortened


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Reviews 1 - 10 (10 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by suprteck a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: April 12, 2012

Strengths:    Lightweight, great traction, fast tire.

Weaknesses:    None

Bottom Line:   
I run the Z-max evolutions tubeless with stans at 20psi. These tires are great. They are lightweight and grip everything. Great cornering and climbing in loose conditions. If your are looking for a lightweight fast tire get these you wont be disappointed

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Camp Tamancho


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ecogeek a Cross Country Rider from Rockies

Date Reviewed: July 7, 2011

Strengths:    Fast, light and grippy.

Weaknesses:    No larger size in WCS dual-compound, ultra-lightweight casing.

Bottom Line:   
V V impressed by this tire.
First, for info, at 40psi (my std pressure for measureing tire size), the 2.1" tire casing is 46mm and 50.3mm inc knobs (digital caliper). So just under 2" real width at tubed-pressures.
Caveat. The outer knobs are not symetrical between sides of tire. Obviously the knobs are the same on both sides, but they're offset so a knob on one side will correspond to a gap on the other and then then knob on the other side will correspond to a gap opposite. So to measure width inc knobs you have to take this into account and imagine the knobs are lined up to get accurate width inc knobs.

OK. I run this on the back, reversed tread. Tubed. At about 37psi. Full suspension bike. 190lb loaded. Don't have many rides on it yet, but have been totally impressed and am sure enough of the performance to write revew. Seems to grip anything. Can climb the steepest stuff whatever the surface. Despite small foot-print.
I think it slid sideways on one smooth v steep diagonal root, that was immediately after a mud-hole so tire absolutely covered in fresh liquid mud. Nothing would grip that. And I only failed there due to lazyiness letting technique slip, along w tire. It could have made it even in that circ if I'd tried harder.
On dry loose small rocks over dusty hard-pack it never missed a beat. Made it through every mud-hole with no problem. It does get covered, but low tread helps it clear fast, whilst (in reversed tread direction) the paddle-like pattern and narrow casing allowed it to dig v effectively.
I shredded way too fast over loads of jagged rock-gardens and lots of forest roots with no problems at all.
V light weight and low rolling resistance, plus dual compound rubber on the WCS version make this the best light rear tire for all around riding I've found yet.
I wish this came in a 2.25.
There is a 2.35 Comp version if the Z-max, and it's also light. Has higher knobs. I will be trying one reversed on the back of the 6" bike.
I have not tried this tire the right way around. Looking at tread it just looked like it would be good reversed on back. So it proved. Not tempted to swap it around. Although it still brakes well in reversed direction so may climb well that way too. Future reviewers, please state.
Most expensive tire I've bought as couldn't find a great deal on it like I normally do with tires. But still worth it IMO so I'll still give it 5 for value despite high price.

One of these reversed on the back and a Rocket Ron Evo 2.2 on the front and that's about as light/fast as it gets.
This tire outshone my Rocket Ron IMO. The outer knobs on the Ron felt too soft to handle what I was able to do with the traction from the Z-max. Specifically, in dried out dusty ruts, the Z-max could climb out without a thought regardless of how shallow the angle of attack, but the Ron would scrabble and make me have to bother to use a little thought/technique. But w the Z-max, just pick a line, pedal smooth + strong and it just does it.
This tire even seemed to impress other riders on the trail when I was climbing and they descending on singletrack and rather than stop, the Z-max let me ascend the line that they wouldn't ride down! Leaving the noobs space to descend on the smooth line. Lol. One guy actually said "Wow, you blasted through that!". And it felt easy too.
2.25" WCS version please! Or even a 2.3 which will likely be a 2.2. Yum.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $45.00

Purchased At:   Pricepoint

Similar Products Used:   Many tires. Mythos, Serac, NBX, Motoraptor, ADvantage, Cinder, Fire, Rocket Ron Evo.

Bike Setup:   Various. Use these on rear of light 5" travel full-sus 'climber' trailbike.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by JHARTLEY a Weekend Warrior from England

Date Reviewed: June 9, 2011

Strengths:    Reverse the tread patter to achieve simply sublime climbing grip in all weather and all terrain, even Mud...so long as its not to bad! Quick and good on corners, the complete tire!

Weaknesses:    Need to use slime in rear to avoid pinchflats!

Bottom Line:   
So lucky to stumble upon these tires! How had I never heard of them before? (bad advertising I think!). A complete tire, fellow races look at them on my bike and stare having not seen these retro tires before... those in the know give a resounding look of approval! THEY ARE THAT GOOD!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Lake District

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Purchased At:   Found on Dads old Pr

Similar Products Used:   Paneracer Fire xc, countless versions of Continentals and specialized tires.

Bike Setup:   Marin Hawkhill 2009 (hardtail) + countless upgrades

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by ngoshawk a Cross Country Rider from Warrensburg, MO

Date Reviewed: July 8, 2010

Strengths:    Traction, familiarity, cornering. Good all-arounder, like a Tour de France winner.

Weaknesses:    Expensive, knobs wear quickly, in rocks.

Bottom Line:   
This is the best tire I have ever used. It is like a Decathalete. Maybe not the best at everything, but when the end comes, definitely this tire is on top. I've used variations of this tire for close to 25 years (as long as it has been manufactured...). I will always have a pair, even if I have another set of tires, on my other wheels. Cornering is neutral, grip is excellent, even in mud (I used to run the 1.7's in mud, and they were fantastic). I will run a 2.35 up front, and a 2.1 in back in the future.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $40.00

Purchased At:   Freeride Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Panaracer Smoke/Dart, original Richey Z-Maxs, Michelin Wildgrippers, Onza Porcupine, Specialized blah-blah.

Bike Setup:   2006 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert, stock, except tires, soon upgrade discs, and wheels.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mikes8590 a Cross Country Rider from Romanshorn, Switzerland

Date Reviewed: August 6, 2009

Strengths:    Grip Grip Grip. These tyres are right up there with the best i've ever ridden if not THE best. Sure they hold a bit of mud but it's no big deal. You just gotta ride fast so that it spins off!! :- )

Weaknesses:    A tad narrow? For CC or marathon events they're great!

Bottom Line:   
I'm going to replace the Nobby Nics on my Ghost with these. I raced these tyres on my hard tail with Michelin Latex tubes in the 09 Swiss Bike Masters. They performed flawlessly and I saved a heap of weight from my old Continental Vapours (which aren't a patch on these tyres for grip!).

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   The Gäbris

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $55.00

Purchased At:   bike-parts.ch

Similar Products Used:   panaracer, schwalbe nobby nic, continental

Bike Setup:   Cannondale M800 Hardtail (old), Ghost AMR Lector 9500 (new)

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by richsto a Cross Country Rider from reno, nv

Date Reviewed: May 5, 2009

Strengths:    Great tread pattern (see all the great reviews on the Z-max Millenium)

Weaknesses:    -Soooooooo Small (doesn't stretch much)....
-Did not work well tubeless (lots of pinholes, didn't hold air, old Milleniums were great tubeless)


Bottom Line:   
Great tire if you don't mind the small size (maybe try a 2.35 Z-Max classic?) and run tubes. These things are so, so much smaller than a 2.1, I don't understand what Ritchey is thinking. Amazing. They did not stretch much at all for me - just too small. I think Ritchey has changed manufacturers or something, these tires simply are not up to the quality I'm used to from them. I ran them for a bit, then off they came. Very dissapointing. Three Chilis, perhaps four if you like skinny and want to run with tubes.

Running Maxxis Ignitor UST and am happy. Still the Z-max design has some advantages and so much potential, seemed wasted here though. Perhaps I just got a bad batch.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $69.00

Purchased At:   Online

Similar Products Used:   -Ritchey Z-Max Pro Millenium
-WTB Velociraptors
-Panaracer Smoke, Dart
-Maxxis Ignitor UST


Bike Setup:   Diamond Back Ascent, XT Drivetrain, Mavic 717 Non Disc Rims, SD7 Brakes

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by SinneSpinner a Racer from NW WA

Date Reviewed: November 27, 2008

Strengths:    THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE Z-MAX "EVOLUTION" 2.1
round profile, widely-spaced knobs, low mass, mud, mud, mud.


Weaknesses:    marketing. Ritchey still has the best XC tread/semi-slick designs. Too bad their marketing $ go toward supporting their extremely average cockpit components.

Bottom Line:   
The casing stretches! These 2.1's measure 1.8 out of the box (literally). 70psi overnight brings them up to full size. If you prefer the high-end(WCS) ZMax offerings, than this is your current option. The "Millenium" version is no longer available in WCS. While this newer "Evolution" series is a better mud tire than previous ZMax's, it is a bit less of a "big loose rock" tire. Still the best "no-brakes" cornering tire. 4 Stars for value due to price/wear ratio.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   Z-max Millenium WCS over and over...

Bike Setup:   5'10" 145 lbs.
C-top collar: 18"
C-top of saddle: 72cm
nose-c/bar: 57cm
axle-c/bar: 53.5cm
cranks: 175mm 29/42
cassette: 11-32

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by kavevey a Cross Country Rider from Vevey Suisse

Date Reviewed: August 31, 2008

Strengths:    Price, all condition, weight. Surprisingly good on asphalt as well.

Weaknesses:    Not clear mud quickly. Give strange feeling on asphalt but still hold like a pro. I am not sure how it will work on wet asphalt personally i don't feel confidence on asphalt but maybe it is personal.

Bottom Line:   
Superb for all condition. Excellent for fire roads, single track with roots, confidence in forest trail.
I was using these tires after a recommendation of a friend who is a bicycle technician who hate the showoff with bikes equipments.
I was using it on several bikes i have some for 2 years period without any problem.
I am using the Z-Max 1.9 classic rear and the 2.1 pro front. Simply amazing.
I will recommend it for anyone who likes riding bikes.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Similar Products Used:   Python, Enduro pro, velocity raptore

Bike Setup:   Hard tail, double XT/LX

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Barkleyfan a Cross Country Rider from Iowa

Date Reviewed: August 11, 2008

Strengths:    Everything

Weaknesses:    Price

Bottom Line:   
Great tire. Mud, hardpack, gravel, singletrack, fire road, this tire eats it all up. It did have some problems with slick roots as a rear tire. Best combo I tried was a 2.0 Smoke on the rear and a 2.325 Z Max on the front.

First ran the Z Max in 1993 on the trails behind Buffalo Park in flagstaff. I liked this tire better than anything I've tried since. Price is the only reason I'm not still running it. I can buy a pair of good CC tires for the same price as 1 Z Max.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Shirley Meadows

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $20.00

Purchased At:   www.cosmiccycles.com

Similar Products Used:   Hutchinson Mosquitos, IRC Mythos, Panaracer Smoke/Dart, Panaracer Fire XC, some old grey Kendas

Bike Setup:   Gary Fisher HK2, LX/XT drivetrain, Zac19 rims, topline cranks, rigid

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by muzza a Weekend Warrior from dallas busharagua

Date Reviewed: November 4, 2007

Strengths:    Light weight, fast rolling, flickable, predictable breakaway points

Weaknesses:    None yet.

Bottom Line:   
Avoided getting these because other posts said some Ritchey products weren't so great in mud. Mud happens here in Oregon. Local experts 'round here also say real men ride 2.1 (or preferably WAY bigger), because size matters in the great Northwest. Well, I like light and finally flung a 1.9 Ritchey on the rear and stayed with a 2.1 Panaracer on the front for a few months. The combo worked a lot better than the 2.0 GEAXs (front and rear) which were slipperier than a jellied french man creek crawlin thru the horsie poo, especially in the slick kind of poo & urine hoof bowl soup you find at Tranquility Base the soppin wet day after a rainy two day equestrian event. A fall there has certain consequences. Anyway the lightweight bug bit again and I slapped a 1.9 Ritchey on the front to match the rear and I still love this thin full Ritchey combo. Size does matter. Bigger than you need is stupider. I'm no expert but the shallow treads & relatively wide spacing of them seems to throw the mud OFF easier. More agressive tread patterns seem to HOLD the mud tightly and quickly turn themselves into slicks. This is my experience, anyway. This is not to say these tires don't slide around some in mud, but when they do they're wholly predictable. You have to think about how much stomp to put thru the crank and calculate when to do it. This is a thing called skill, or alternately finesse. And the front end on the Ritchey seems far easier to flick about. The precise steering available from these lightweight tires can be your friend in muddy conditions. Often I've slogged thru mud that clogs the fork & rear triangle braces....but oddly the actual treads on the Ritcheys were still clean and grabby. In drier conditions these thinnies corner flawlessy, float over the babyheads (ocassionally spitting one out sideways, which is trippie) and they generally go like hell... because size matters.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   tranquility base

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $23.00

Purchased At:   front at LBS rear on eBay

Similar Products Used:   Panaracers & GEAX & some others

Bike Setup:   06 Santa Cruz Superlight. Rockshox Reba Race. Thompson post & stem. XTR crank. Deore XT googly bits. Monkeylite bars.Tioga Spyder seat.Danger Boy brake levers. Customized "Hoon Racing" kangaroo stickers. 1.9 Ritchey tires front & back

Reviews 1 - 10 (10 Reviews Total)

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