The Geax Barro Race 29″er tires come in three versions. What we have here is the final word on the “TNT” version, which essentially is a tubeless ready tire with a UST bead interface. For previous posts on the Barro Race, check out these posts: #1, #2 , #3, and this comparison post.
The Barro Race tires were mounted up tubeless to Mavic Cr29ssmax wheels and were run on a fully rigid bike and the Fisher HiFi pictured above. Trail conditions for the latter part of the test period dried out nicely and were ideal to check out this race oriented shoe. The pressures were kept on the lower side of the 20′s since the Geax TNT casing tends to be a stiffer casing than most tires out there.
Rolling Resistance- Knobby Vibrations: The one constant with the Geax Barro Race is the feeling on smoother sections you get from the knobs. They vibrate the bike in such a way that you feel it in the seat of the pants and on the grips. It is subtle to be sure, but odd as well, since the Barro Race has such low knobs. Again, I attribute this to the stiffer TNT casing. Once in the rough stuff, the sensation is gone, of course. Is it higher rolling resistance? I couldn’t tell by my times, but that sensation is there. I suppose I should mention here that the Barro Race showed significant wear to the point that the first millimeter of tread height in the middle of the tire had worn off during the test period. Of all the tires we are testing here this year, the Barro Race appears to be the fastest wearing one. It is a race tire after all!
Climbing: Climbing traction is very good with the Barro Race tires, but it is also very pressure sensitive. Lower pressures will reveal better climbing performance. Probably significantly lower than you would run with other tires in the class of this one. The Barro Race was very good in this way on the full suspension rig.
Braking Performance: Given the narrowness of this tire and the lack of volume, I would rate it as excellent in braking performance for this class of tire. I could break it loose if I wanted to, but it was very predictable in how it would react to braking.
Cornering Performance: The Barro Race tires do well at cornering with the excellent edge knobs it has. For a race tire, it may well be one of the best in that regard. Of course, as I have stated, it is narrow and doesn’t have a ton of volume, and with its stiffer TNT casing, you can get your pressure too high and the tire will be miserable. Play with the pressures to find the sweet spot and you will be rewarded with much better results. I found it also worked best if you use a more aggressive lean angle, as it doesn’t have much for transitional cornering knobs.
The Geax TNT construction gives the Barro Race a great platform for tubeless use, although it may be a tough fit on some Stan’s rims and will be nigh unto impossible to mount on a Bontrager rim with a TLR plastic rim strip installed. This tire will work swimmingly with the UST type rims on Mavic, Fulcrum, and Shimano offerings though.
Conclusions: The Geax Barro Race tires are excellent cornering and climbing tires with the caveat that you have to use the correct pressures, (read “lower”) and really lean the bike over in the corner. The TNT casing promises lower probability of getting torn up by rocks or thorns and rolls pretty well even though it may feel like it is robbing you of momentum in smoother, hard packed sections. Choose your tubeless system wisely, and the Barro Race will perform excellently in that state. This tire should be on your radar if you are looking for a sturdy, fast, trail worthy racing tire. Just keep in mind that it is indeed a racing tire, and the softer rubber compound will wear accordingly. For the right rider, this tire is an excellent choice.