Editor’s Note: Grannygear has tested the Geax AKA on SoCal trails and files this report on his impressions here for you. You can read my test/review on the AKA here, here, and finally, here. Now on to Grannygear’s impressions of the Geax AKA…
Geax AKA Tires: SoCal Review: by Grannygear:
When Guitar Ted found out I was getting a set of Geax AKAs to try out, he was pretty sure that I would like them and was eagerly anticipating my thoughts. He was right…I do like them a lot and this is why.
First off, I mounted them onto the Giant XTC 29er 1 with the Easton EA-90 XCs hoops, a narrower and lighter wheelset then the Havens I had test mounted them on during the Tubeless Tire Re-do article. The 19mm inner rim width of the EA90s can make a narrow tire even stingier with its tread patch. The last few sets of tires on the XTC1 have been pretty slim tires, so when I saw the AKAs on there, it was like, “AHHHHH….THAT is much better!” Besides mounting on the UST Easton rims like every tubeless tire should mount on EVERY rim, that being a slightly difficult install, a great seal to the rim/bead combo, and a very solid *POP-PING* when they seated over the UST bead seat, the AKAs showed a very round and plump profile covered with lots of sharp edged, tiny knobs. Sweetness.
I set the air pressure at 30psi as a start, but after a bit of trail time, I stopped and dropped that a few pounds. Why? Well, because I could, and that is important. Here is why. On the skinnys I had been running as tires before these AKAs, I really could not drop the pressure much as there simply was not enough tire volume to risk it on the rocks. But with a fatter tire, and these are still not huge tires, you gain some wiggle room to shed some air and live to tell about it. The casing on the TNT version of the AKAs I have is pretty stiff compared to some other rubber and gives the impression of a tough-ish sidewall.
On the trail I found the AKAs to roll like crazy and they are very smooth on hard surfaces. They sound like a ‘zipper’ when all the tiny triangular knobs are working on a hard corner or gripping on a climb. With the air pressure closer to 25PSI, I really enjoyed the smoother ride that they gave to the XTC1 hardtail. They allowed higher cornering speeds and greater control through the rocks, increasing my confidence and fun factor. Are wider tires really faster? Yes. Yes they are, if they allow you to maintain higher speeds with grace and comfort.
So what about other areas of performance? I already said they roll well on hard surfaces. Over sand, they float quite nicely. I got them just a bit wet, but we have no mud right now. I doubt they would be all that effective in muddy soil as they do not give you much knob separation or penetration. I found two areas that they are so-so performers. One is when climbing out of a parallel rut where sometimes the rear tire will slide down into it…not a lot of aggressive side knobs to grab there. They don’t break away suddenly, but rather feel like a cheese grater going “brrrrrriiipppp” as they search for traction. On very loose, rocky surfaces, the rear can spin easily when you are standing and climbing and as a front tire, they can get a bit iffy on loose and fast turns. They are not an AM tire and if the ground is very rubbly or chopped up, maybe a different tire is in order. On pure sandstone they were fine as the small knobs and round profile never squirmed or felt vague.
Still and all, as an XC application they are a super tire on the hard packed, sandy covered clay in So Cal and I bet they would be a great performer on loamy soil as well. I have heard rumors that they are not very long wearing and that may be true as those are some tiny knobs. I have not had enough time on them to say either way and I have a lot of tires to test right now, so that may not be something I get a chance to discover for some time.
However, with the super snug fit on the UST rims, the nice casing, the overall smooth and stable manners and the higher volume I give them a big thumbs up (but if you have a Stan’s rim or a Stan’s BST design rim that others use…fuggit about it…the TNT versions will not fit). Guitar Ted nailed that one. I liked the AKAs right away and still do.
Next are the Saguaros which will be mounted on the FSR Project Long Legs and then on to some Bonty tires and the new tubeless ready Schwalbe Rocket Rons. So many tires, so little time!
Note: Geax submitted these tires for test/review at no charge. We are not paid, nor bribed for this review. We strive to give our honest opinions and thoughts throughout this post.