Geax Gato 2.3″ 29″er Tire: Two Souls Of A Tire

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles on the Geax Gato 29″er tire by chris_geotec. Part I can be found here, and Part II is here.

A word about the two souls of a tire:


Here are a few words on what the GEAX TNT tires have taught me.You all know that a tire consists mostly of casing and tread (I know this is a bit simplistic). The tread meets the eye and in most cases a tire is liked or rejected because of this. In my ~20 years of mountain biking, and before going tubeless, it usually was enough for me knowing I liked the tread and size (As long as I could afford it, I would always go with folding – mostly due to weight reasons). Than I went tubeless and soon realized the other soul of a tire that I had been neglecting – the casing.

5_amwheel

When mounting any tire tubed and riding standard to high pressures (> 2 bar)you can get away with much. Wide tires on narrow rims – not much of a problem. But when you go tubeless and want all of its benefits (better traction & comfort, plus lower rolling resistance) you will soon be riding lower pressures. That´s where the casing (and the rim)becomes key factors that decide between fun and disaster. Riding stability, folding over tires, burping, and blow offs are just a few keywords…I guess you all know the story in one way or the other . Like most, I settled with a compromise somewhere within the interdependent variables: (a), rim (width & type), ( b),  tire (size, tubed/tubeless); (c) , riding pressure -and all these influence rotational weight, comfort, and traction (be it objective or subjective, but that can be another discussion). After many years of much trial and error with tubeless it has not been a question of whether I wanted to go tubeless, but what combination I would have to compromise the least. To me this is (or better said: was) lightweight tubeless rims (Notubes, FRM and such) and tight fitting folding tires. (To my defense: Tubeless ready tires are mostly unknown here in Europe and UST were simply too heavy and stiff to my liking)…. end of story (…so I thought).

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Then came the one day I got my hands on GEAX´s TNT tires and for the first time I had the perfect casing in my hands – that is to my style of riding. Can you believe they were offering this tubeless ready version for years – fully unnoticed by all of Europe? Not only did the tight and strong bead allow easy inflation and safe riding with no risk of burping under any pressure (like all tubeless and tubeless ready tires) but also the trick reinforced sidewalls were allowing for stable riding at pressures I had thought impossible before. Believe it or not but I rode the 29er 2.2 Saguaro (and the 29er 2.3 GATO) down to 1.2bar and that on 19 mm inside width rims! (… and yes I am not the lean racer type rider). In the end I found the tires´ sweet spot to be about 1.5 bar in the rear and 1.4 up front. Believe me when I say that comfort is top notch, traction is increased to new levels and the overall rotational weight isn´t bad at all with the ZTR 355 rims either. So with GEAX´s TNT tires we have the positive synergy of two souls – casing and tread working together, be it for 26 or 29er…. and now we have a new kid on the block: The 29er GATO 2.3.

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