GEAX Barro Race 29″er Tires: First Impressions

Editor’s Note: Captain Bob and I both have a set of these tires, so we will be doing a tag-team review.

The Geax Barro Race tires have been mounted up and ridden by both Captain Bob and myself, Guitar Ted. There are some things we think you should know about our setups, so we’ll cover that first.

The GEAX Barro Race tires on the Fargo

The GEAX Barro Race tires on the Fargo

 

Guitar Ted: I chose to mount the Barro Race tires on the Fargo we are testing. The wheels are Mavic Cr29max, and I did set these up tubeless. The process to air these up with sealant inside went very smoothly. The interface of tire and rim, with this combination, was perfect. Probably one of the easier tires to set up tubeless that I have done. The beads set at 30-35 psi! No leak down either after 24 hours.

Captain Bob: Captain Bob mounted his set of Barro Race tires on his Alex TD-17 rims/Paul hubs and will be using tubes on a single speed rigid front 29″er hardtail. The install went super smooth with just a bit of a tight fit. The tires aired up and seated properly with no issues.

Measurements: Here’s where we were a bit surprised. Captain Bob’s measurement of the Barro race on the Alex TD-17 rims was definitely under two inches.  My measurement after 24 hours with 38psi in the tires was 49.7mm. (Two inches is 50.8mm) This falls somewhat short of our expectations, especially when the Saguaro tires have always been spot on width-wise for us. Still, the width is close, and after riding some we will re-measure to see if they stretched up any at all. <strong>Update: </strong> The tires have stretched some more and are now measuring 50.9mm. This is getting to be an acceptable width for the claimed width on the tire. An actual 2 inches now, but it took several rides for that to happen. Don’t expect the Barro Race tires to be at two inches out of the box.

First Impressions- Guitar Ted: My first little spin on Barro Race tires was actually on Captain Bob’s bike. I thought that the grip and cornering precision on packed gravel and sand was really impressive. I am hopeful that once we get some dry trails this will play out there, but indications are it will be a good cornering tire. For my bikes first run, I decided to hit some mud right away. The Barro Race is developed from Geax’s Barro Mud tire, so I figured maybe some of the lineage caried over to the Barro Race. Wet mud showed the Barro Race performance was average, but my foray into the sticky stuff showed that the Barro Race is best kept on dry turf.

 

GEAX Barro Race tires don't get along with mud!

GEAX Barro Race tires don't get along with mud!

 

So I decided to run some packed earth, packed gravel, some pavement, and gravel roads on an adventure ride. The various surfaces showed me that the harder the surface, the more you feel the resistance of the Barro Race’s tread blocks. They don’t slow you down terribly, but especially on pavement, you can feel the vibrations, hear the buzz, and feel a bit more resistance on the pedals. Tacky dirt, loose rock and loamy stuff was better. Much better. Gravel was okay. The cornering on gravel was excellent for me, as long as you didn’t get into the marbles, where it would ping off the bigger rocks due to the narrower size. I’ll have to get on some real single track before any of this makes much sense, but indications are that the Barro Race will be a great tire there.

First Impressions- Captain Bob: Here is my Out of the Box and First Impressions post on the Geax Barro Race 29″er tire.  I received them a while back but have not had much time at all to ride them so I decided to hold off on posting my initial thoughts until now.  On Guitar Ted’s scale they weighed in at 630 grams.  This may seem a little overweight for a race tire for some but when you feel the sidewalls you know why.  They are beefy so I wouldn’t think the sidewalls would tear very easy.  In fact, I have just placed an order for some tubeless rims.  That’s how excited I am to go tubeless.  For now, I have the Barro’s mounted up to my old Alex TD17 rims and I am running them with tubes.  They measured up a little on the narrow side.  One being 48.10mm and the other 47.92.  Remember that these rims are really narrow.  They did grow over a weeks time to 49.75 and 49.69. 

The GEAX Barro Race on Captain Bob's rig.

The GEAX Barro Race on Captain Bob's rig.

 
Mounting was quite a struggle.  They are tight.  But it didn’t take too long to complete as the bead stretched enough after about 10 minutes of waiting and regaining my strength.  I aired the tires up to about 40 psi and them dropped it down to about 28 psi.  I have kept them at 28 psi since.  Like Guitar Ted wrote earlier these tires seem to hook up really well in the driveway test.  My lane is long and is raised up from the ground level about three feet.  Riding along the side of it was a breeze as the side knobs are pretty big for such a narrow, racey tire. 
 
I have not had the option to get on any good trails yet but I was able to get out a few times on some gravel and paved trails.  One of those gravel roads led me to a nature preserve area that is home to quite a bit of birds.  It’s a backwater for the river down the road from my house.  They have a nice doubletrack trail that follows the levies.  Great place to ride this time of year while the other trails are drying up.  Some of the trails are deep from the vehicle traffic.  I made a point of trying to drift from one lane to the other so I could judge the bite of the side knobs.  So far they are getting a passing grade.  There are no climbs or any technical sections so my thoughts on that will have to wait for now.  The Barro’s seem to roll pretty good on gravel too.  Cornering seems smooth and predictable. 

 

GEAX Barro Race tires on the Soul Cycles Dillinger

GEAX Barro Race tires on the Soul Cycles Dillinger

They feel and ride like they are made with a softer compound than the Geax Saguaro’s which make them roll a tad slower on smoother gravel sections.  Rolling on the paved surfaces is where you really notice the softer compound of the rubber and the widely spaced center knobs.  They feel a bit sluggish, but, they are a mountain bike tire afterall.  There is another thing I noticed too.  I am not sure what’s going on here but they give off a muted feeling.  They seem to soak up the smallest rocks and trail debree.  Even little tiny twigs seem to go unnoticed.  You feel them but just barely.  It’s wierd and I will have to report back on that as the trails get a little harder to see if I still notice it.  Whatever it is that I am feeling I like it. 
But I do need to stress that I don’t have many miles on them yet so this is just a first impressions post. 
 
Captain Bob

The good news is our trails are firming up and we will have some more substantial posts coming in the near future. Stay tuned!

We’ll both report back with more as the trails open up and we get more time on these.

Advertisements

One Response to “GEAX Barro Race 29″er Tires: First Impressions”

  1. wunnspeed Says:

    Funny that we’ve seemingly had almost exact opposite experiences in terms of mounting and rolling resistance. Mine went on surprisingly easy (WTB rims), pumped up easily and roll faster than any tire I’ve ever run. I also run my tires between 35 & 40 psi. I find that 28 psi is just far below acceptable in terms of handling and speed, that’s all.

    Anyway, so far, this is my favorite tire ever!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: