Well, they have finally arrived! The rumored TNT and UST Saguaro tires are here at Twenty Nine Inches and ready for testing. Let’s take a quick look at what we have here.
These are in addition to the much loved Saguaro folder tires which will remain in Geax’s line. The tread is identical on these new versions. All that is different are the casings. To review, a UST casing that requires no sealant has not been offered before in a 29″er size until this version of the Saguaro. This tire should air up and stay inflated without sealant due to its extra butyl rubber coating on the carcass. This will affect weight, as we will see in a bit.
The TNT (Tube, No Tube) version is a tire with a specially designed bead and casing that can be run tubeless with the use of sealant. It doesn’t require the extra layer of butyl rubber that a full on UST casing does, so it is significantly lighter.
The graphics on all Geax tires are new for 2009 and are a lot bolder looking than before. There is one other visual cue that is specific to the TNT version. It has grey sidewalls. Geax is known for their sidewall colorings throughout their history in mountain bike tires and now it comes to the 29″er side. The UST tire has a typical black sidewall and is indistinguishable from the folder tire with the exception of the little “UST” seal on the hot patch.
I have said all along that we would not likely see a “true” UST tire in 29″er form due to the extra weight that would be added to a tire casing to do that. Well, I like my crow medium rare, please! However, it is true that the UST Saguaro is significantly heavier than the other versions. Example: Folding bead Saguaro- 660 grams, TNT Saguaro- 770 grams, UST Saguaro- 930 grams. That makes the folder version 270 grams lighter than the UST version. Is that worth it?
I think where we will see the UST version gain some footing is in areas where rocks and thorns are giving 29″er riders fits. The UST casing is obviously thicker, and will be much less prone to damage, it is hoped. That will be a huge benefit to 29″er riders who have been having rocks and thorns ruin rides on a regular basis. Although riders might be wishing for this sort of casing in a wider tire, I think it is painfully obvious where the weight would end up being at for such a beast. Time will tell if that will be accepted or not.
Stay tuned for a First Impressions post coming soon!