Panaracer’s Mach SS represent great value if you are looking for moderately paced, mixed terrain fun on a crosser, hybrid or beefier tourer and sticking these on an old bike might be a very cost effective way of sampling cross.
Designed and marketed by Panaracer as a 'semi urban' MTB tyre it is available in both 26in and 700c versions. Given that, it's no surprise that the Mach SS is best suited to light trail duties, when things get stickier the tread is prone to clogging, presenting potential clearance problems-especially on bikes sporting mini V brakes. Road orientated semi-slicks with puncture protection and reflective sidewalls are though well suited to the high street scramble.
Popping them out of the box, their wire beads feel pleasingly supple, shipping aboard ‘cross rims without popping thumbs or the need for tyre levers. In essence, the Mach resemble a cross tyre that’s been to the barbers. Shallow “shark fin” knobbles protrude from honeycomb centre ridges for fast passage and nominal drag while the shoulders sport aggressive, MTB inspired knobblies for traction when cornering hard on loose surfaces.
In use this concept works surprisingly well. Despite weighing a portly 528g each, their bulk is largely forgotten when inflated between 75 and 80psi, generous 35mm profiles insulating rider and machine from road or trail buzz, carving gracefully through green lane and farm track alike. However, they lack zip around town, introducing rain (especially of the biblical proportions we’ve had recently) and dung revealed a spiteful, skittish streak – particularly in the early test miles.
I was worried that the relatively soft casings would be vulnerable to sharps but the tread doesn’t trap glass and flints in the way some can and the sidewalls should entertain some lightly laden weekend touring. In fact, they’ve yet to succumb to the dreaded hiss and within a hundred miles service cornering improved on wet roads but there’s too much compromise for anything more challenging than dry roads and forest trails.
Stout and inexpensive rubber but best for dry conditions.
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Make and model: Panaracer Mach SS tyre
Size tested: 700x35c
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?
The Mach are 700C versions of the firm's 26in MTB semi slicks, Panaracer desciribe them as a "fast semi urban tyre" featuring "a semi slick central tread and full side tread to ensure good cornering. Great value for money".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
35mm wide, supple wire beads with a semi slick compound with a pressure range between 50 and 85 psi (3.5-6 bar)direction specific.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For mixed trail and road use in dry conditions they're really quite good and it's not that they're bad tyres so much as limited ones - wet, dung strewn lanes, roundabouts and around town they lack the sure-footedness of semi/slick road tyres but in fairness they have improved a little given 100 miles or so.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable, relatively inexpensive and frisky tyres on the trails.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Ponderous on asphalt and slightly unpredictable in the wet.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)