(Last Updated On: September 6, 2012)
After a summer’s worth of riding, but still with the fall color and desert seasons to look forward to, it is time for some reviews. First up, the tires.
With any tire review, the first thing to consider is what you’re looking for. Me? Well, I like to go for long rides, so I’m looking for XC oriented attributes like light weight and low rolling resistance. On the other hand, most people who ride with me would also describe me as a pretty darn aggressive downhiller. So I’m looking for some DH attributes as well. Oh, and the thought of paying as much or more than I did in high school putting rubber on my first car (’82 VW Rabbit) is pretty unacceptable to me, too. Local conditions tend to run towards dry trails with occasional rocky sections, and both tires were rear tires.
For most of this season, I’ve been running a 2.3 WTB Weirwolf, which you may also find called the Wolverine this season. It’s a good tire, and not the first time I’ve used it- but with some definite caveats. It is exceptional at 2 things- low rolling resistance and cornering in soft dirt. In fact, it’s almost scary how well this tire can corner in the right conditions if you really throw your weight into a corner. That said, its climbing abilities, especially in loose conditions, left something to be desired, and its braking capabilities are even more suspect. In the end, my least favorite thing about this tire is that it’s a WTB- which means that it is unbelievably fragile. At 128 pounds, and someone who has the ability to “float” over the rough stuff, I can get away with it, even though I was running this tire tubeless. But for most people, this tire wouldn’t last one rock garden and even for me, I never fully trusted it and tended to “pussy-foot” the tire through the rough stuff. Even so, it rolls and corners so well I could consider getting this tire again.
Lately, I have been on the Geax Barro Mountain, also in a 2.3. Based off an old roomate who swore by Geax tires, and liking what I was able to glean off the internet, I decided to give these a try. So far I have been very impressed, though I should stress that after only about 100 miles, this review is still just a “first look”. They beaded up better than any tire I think I’ve ever had, and they feel both burly and pliable despite a relatively low weight for their size. Like the WTB’s, they roll very well, but unlike the WTB’s the Barro Mountain’s also climb and brake as well as any tire I’ve used. Cornering? Well, I haven’t quite gotten into the “trust tree” with this tire, though they’re certainly not bad and I just need some more time figuring them out. Overall, if these prove to be durable, I will buy them again and may even try them on the front as well.
Finally, there is Lezyne’s pump. I’ve been through more pumps than I’d like to think about- starting with a neon green Zefal frame pump way back in the day. The problem with literally all of these pumps is that eventually the flip-lock would fail and the pump would then be worthless. Lezyne solves this problem by the innovative use of a hose attachment rather than flipping a lever to seal around the valve. I have a feeling that this pump will last me a very very long time. When I set out to buy a new pump this summer, people whose opinion I trust unanimously suggested the Lezyne. Add me to the list of fans.