14 October 2009

bikefix Initial Review: Geax Saguaro 29x2.2 TNT tire

I decided to install Geax's Saguaro tires on my 29er singlespeed after discarding a pair of Continental Race King 2.0’s I wanted to use, but couldn’t, because they had trouble sealing as a tubeless conversion. I ran the Conti’s with tubes for two rides, got two pinch flats on the second ride, cursed the tubes and grabbed these Geax Saguaros (the Conti’s are good tires but just wouldn’t seal- look for a review of the UST 26er version soon). The Saguaros are what Geax calls TNT (Tube, No Tube) which is basically a standard tire casing built with a tubeless bead. This type of tire used to “burp” air fairly easy but manufacturers seem to have fixed that problem and most of these “tubeless ready” tires seem to work fine- with sealant, always use some sealant. 29er tubeless conversions tend to have more problems and incompatibilities than 26ers, but that gap is closing there too. These Saguaro 29ers sealed-up in no time and I was out the door for my first test ride.

My first thought? These feel like some big-ass 2.2’s! The Saguaro's weigh in at about 850 grams each which isn’t bad for a tire this size, but they are heavier than the Conti’s they replaced (even with the tubes included). The tread is fast and efficient and plenty “grippy” on hard-pack or loamy conditions. The Saguaro tends to skid around a bit on loose-over-hard trails but is very predictable, and the large tire size is forgiving of some poor line choices if you find yourself off-course. They give-way a fair amount in hard corners, but it’s controlled and predictable. The generous volume of this tire, which I measured at 2.23 on my digital calipers, smooths out any trail with aplomb, and can really be of help on technical sections. The Saguaros have never even hinted that they might “burp” some air. This trait, matched with their volume, has given me great confidence in their downhill capabilities. I can “walk away” on the downhills from other guys riding the exact same hardtail frame with different tires (and wheels, for the record).

The weight of these tires is noticeable, however. It is considerably harder to finish steep, longer climbs than with the lighter Continentals. It is a very worthwhile tradeoff for a training tire, or for someone like me, who mostly rides for fun and only races occasionally. When I do race this bike, these tires will be switched with something else. If Geax is reading this, I would love to try this tire in a lighter, smaller version like a 2.0.

I will continue to ride these through the winter, which I consider singlespeed season, and will give you an update in the spring. They seem very tough though and I don’t expect any wear issues to spring-up. They retail for about $46 per tire.



Find our first review, of the tubed Saguaro, here.


GenghisKhan said...

Nice review and smooth use of "aplomb". ;o)

The Bikeworks Crew said...

I think it's worth mentioning that these tires will be basically impossible to mount onto a few different rims, in particular anything from Stans. They have an extremely tight bead, and any rim erring on the large side of the diameter range, will be a serious struggle (probably wont ever burp though).
I've had tires returned for this reason a few times.

kippsters said...

Mounted one up on a CrossMax wheel, a little tight but not bad, nice tire, and it made me more sexy, which is difficult to believe.