The Geax AKA has been a great performer in everything from dry hard pack, sand, tacky dirt, to loamy conditions. I even ran it on some crusty, hard packed snow this past winter, where it held its own. The key to its success in these conditions is the hard, tiny tread blocks. They do not fold over easily, and because of this, they pierce into the dirt, instead of scrubbing over it. This also helps break through finer loose stuff over hard pack, but I do not have various sizes of “kitty litter” to test my theories about possible lack of grip when things get somewhat marbley.
The second attribute that seems to be working for me here is the rounded casing with the full compliment of knobs that leaves no lean angle wanting for grip. Yes- the casing is typical Geax, meaning stiffer than your average. So, you lower your pressures by at least 5psi, and you are then getting that nice tire performance you are getting with the softer, more supple treads. Geax casings tend not to pinch too easily, so bottoming out on a rim isn’t a big concern unless you start to get radical with low pressures. Finally, keep in mind that these impressions are on a 28mm rim and 24mm-ish wide rims. So the AKA works well with wider and narrower rims for 29″ers.
Conclusions: These have fast become some of my favorite dry conditions trail tires. I have been consistently amazed at how well those small blocks can grip the terrain. As long as things don’t get too loose, or too moist, the Geax AKA can be counted on for more than their looks would let on. The Geax tubeless ready type casing, or “TNT”, as they dub it, is a fairly tough, stiff casing that will demand a lower pressure than other tires to eek out the best from them. Tubeless set up with Geax’s own latex sealant is excellent, by the way. (Similar to Stan’s)
All is not roses in the AKA world though. These are not wet weather tires, and they do not do well on loose rocks, or marbley gravel. They are not terrible there, but there are far better tires for this. The AKA is also not a racing weight tire. At 700 grams for the folder, these seem to be a bit portly, but there is a lot of rubber in those knobs, and added up, I can perhaps see where the weight is coming from. The real head scratcher for me was that a TNT AKA is only 30 grams heavier. That seems to make the folder a tougher choice, but the good news is both set up tubeless and perform similarly, at least for me. Finally, some folks with Stan’s rims may experience a tougher time mounting these in the TNT version, or find it impossible to do so. Geax seems to use a tighter standard for the bead diameter, which tends not to play well with Stan’s slightly bigger than normal bead seat diameters.
The AKA is a great addition to anyone’s tire arsenal that wants exceptional dry weather traction in various conditions. This tire seems suited best to trail riders with hard tails or full suspension rigs that want great traction, but faster rolling tires that won’t wilt at the sight of a rock or two. I wouldn’t recommend them for all out XC racing, but I could definitely see these as a good endurance racer’s tire. Want one tire for everything from riding to the trail head, commuting, and dirt? Look no further. The AKA has all that covered quite well. Looser trails and wetter trails are not friendly to the AKA, but if your trails are buff, flowy, and feature some great twisties, you won’t find a funner tire to ride on than the AKA.
Twenty Nine Inches received these tires for testing and review at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review. We will give our honest thoughts throughout.