Geax Gato 2.3" 29"er Tire: Midterm Report

Editor’s Note: chris_geotec chimes in with his latest update on the Geax Gato 2.3″ 29″er tires.

Midterm report:

Meanwhile I have a decent testing period on my 29er GATOs 2,3 and I have had the chance to ride them for a fair amount of miles under varying conditions – much mud and soft ground but also occasions of slush and ice and now more and more of dry conditions (welcome summertime!!) and here comes my personal mid-term verdict: This tire rules!!

7_-tread1

In terms of grip and traction it performs perfect in almost all conditions. Here we have a tire which needs to fear no competition. Especially in soft conditions from medium to very soft the GATO is oh so gooooood. Only in loose over hardpack will you find limits but they do come in a very controlled manner.

Due to the decent weight, the flexible tread and supple casing it rolls surprisingly well. This tire has no intention to be a pure bread racer (that´s what the Barro Race is for) but it sure is no anchor. Considering its All Mountain genes it rolls very well. In comparison to its smaller 26er brother the 29er GATO 2.3 received a positively enlarged tread; the knobs got bigger (adding grip & traction) but so did the gaps in between knobs, giving a bit of “gnarly” rolling over hard, smooth surfaces – nothing bad but it is noticeable when compared directly and riding at slow speed.

Self-cleaning and mud shedding I have mentioned before but briefly put: very good.

Cornering is the one place I could found the GATO favouring a riding style actively leaning into corners BMX-style. Those of us who ride corners by simply staying balanced atop the bike might find the GATO to not be homogenous throughout varying angles. I am not the most aggressive rider in corners so I only found me reaching the limits but for some riders this might become an issue.

The reason: There is a wide gap between the central knobs and the lateral ones (much like the Ardents). When cornering hard there is a certain lean angle (near 45°) where the central knobs are only barely edging but the side knobs don´t touch the ground yet. In my opinion the side knobs are sitting just a tad too low on the casing to fullfill their duties for all riders. All this remains unnoticed in anything but hard and smooth surfaces – on softer or rough grounds (what the tire is made for after all) the tread will create enough imprint to disguise the transition or lack thereof. When running on lower psi (which I think really brings the TNT GATOs to shine), creating more flex to the casing this also becomes completely immaculate. So in the end it is something that everyone has to judge for himself if it is an issue or not. To me it was merely a minor flaw.

(I must admit that using a wider rim would also mediate to some extent, but unfortunately I had no such things while testing.)

Flat resistance or punctures has never been an issue. Despite many times hitting my rims at extremely low pressures I never even suffered from a single snake bite. Since I have always used some form of latex based sealant small punctures might have occurred but I never noticed anything. The durable jet flexible casing sure does a good job to make the tire not only feel stable but also keep away any objects protruding though the sidewalls. Therefore also no complaints in that area but on the other hand I have to say that since riding tubeless with sealant I hardly ever worry about flats anymore. When still riding tubed I had times of 4-7 flats during one ride – so to me tubeless feels so much better.

Wait for some more miles and dryer conditions (especially rocky grounds) until you get my final verdict on the GATOs.

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No Responses to “Geax Gato 2.3" 29"er Tire: Midterm Report”

  1. Martin H Says:

    Sounds like this tyre has a lot in common with the Ardent in the way that it corners and handles a multitude of surfaces well. Love to know your thoughts on a comparison

  2. UnitedWeRide Says:

    Cant wait to match it up to the Saguaro

  3. chris_geotec Says:

    Unfortunately I have never had the chance to ride the ARDENT myself so I cannot really comment on riding characteristic similiarities or differences. By pure looks (and these can be deceiving, as you know) I could imagine some parallels congerning the cornering. In terms of roling resistance and grip I wouldn´t dare to give my six pence.
    A friend of mine has used the Ardent up front and he really liked them. From what I read they are supposed to be very capable tires – I will try to get tehm for a true comparison.

    In general the GATO has a 120 tpi casing, (vs. the Ardent´s 60 tpi) which usually translates in a more supple and tear protected tire. I don´t have to measurements of the Ardent either – I have read it is voluminous but don´t have numbers to back this up. Do you?

    In particular keep in mind that the tested GATO is a specific TNT version (tGEAX´s special tubeless ready line), which has qualities and benefits in tubeless applications that no other tire has – for details see the prior posting about “The two souls of a tire”.

    When comparing weights, it is the same story wither the TNT GATOs; they weigh almost the same as the Ardent in folding – so when doing a real comparison “folding to folding” it should come out considerably lighter.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Hold in there UniteWeRide – you will get them (and you will like them)

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