Now for our second of the Geax tires we have on test, the off road specific Gato 2.3″ tires. We introduced this tire to you readers last year with a sneak peek review by our European correspondent, c_g. (Read the posts here, here, and here) Like c_g, I have the TNT version of the tire.

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Geax lists this tire as having excellent wet and loose conditions performance. (See site here) The Gato features the by now well known “TNT” casing, which is a form of tire that has a tubeless bead structure, but requires sealant to become air tight. The TNT casing technology is pretty elaborate, and it may be a surprise to some to learn of its particulars.

The casing on these Gato tires is specifically the “TNT AM Casing”, which is a 60TPI casing with an additional sidewall protection layer of nylon and abrasion resistant rubber. The bead, or as Geax refers to it, the “talon”, is tubeless specific and designed to UST spec. (Yes, actual UST specs) The bead is therefore a very, very tight fit on any Stan’s rim design, and that due to the fact that Stan’s rim bead seats are incrementally larger in diameter than average rims, and definitely a bit more than a UST spec rim. We don’t recommend trying to put on a Geax tire if you use Stan’s rims, or rims that license that design for the bead socket. UST spec rims like Cr29ssmax, Shimano, Easton, and Fulcrum rims/wheels are a perfect match for running the Geax tires tubeless. Most non-tubeless rims will work as well with a tube. I mounted the Gato tires on Salsa Gordo rims, and I’ll get back to my set up in a bit.

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The Geax Gato also features their “Aramid Racing 3D Compound” which has a 60 Shore A rating. Geax claims it lends speed to the casing, yet retains grip and durability while shaving a bit of weight. Geax claims a weight for the TNT 29″er Gato of 790 gm. While c_g’s examples weighed out to this, I found that my examples actually weighed in at 850 grams each. This is quite a bit more than spec, but if I see sidewall protection that works, and a decent volume/width, I am willing to forgive Geax for the 60 gram per tire overage. We’ll see on that point.

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I mounted these to Salsa Cycles Gordo rims, which have an outer rim width of 35mm. As far as I am aware, Salsa did not use a UST spec to develop this rim, but the Gato was an excruciatingly tight fit on these rims. We’re talking metal DH tire lever tight here. I had to lever on the first and second beads, but it went on. Now, before I got that far, it was obvious that this was going to be a very tight interface, and I know Salsa Cycles doesn’t claim the Gordo as being capable of running tubeless, but…….. A little Velocity Velotape later and whadda ya know! Tubeless with a bad floor pump that aired up the Geax Gato tires with no problem at all. I used Geax sealant inside of these, just for the record. Well, there they are, tubeless, but I sure hope I don’t have to fix these in the field! I doubt the tires will come off easily, but maybe not as bad as the initial set up if they stretch a bit.

As can be seen in the image above, the resulting profile of the Gato is very rounded. I like to call these sorts of tread arrangements “Mohawk tread patterns”, since they feature the central row of tread blocks and then a groove/negative space followed by outer knobs arranged for cornering grip. This is reminiscent of the Saguaro, and Maxxis Ardent to a degree. We’ll see if the Gato also will like the “slam” in corners better than incremental lean angles. The tread blocks are mostly trapezoidal in shape with the central knobs having sipes for additional traction. There are tie bars and supports around all the knobs here which Geax claims helps the Gato roll better and grip better in corners.

After being mounted for 24 hours at a pressure of 30psi, I took the following measurements on the Gato: 59.6mm/2.35″ casing, and 58.4mm/2.3″ outer knob to knob width. This, on the surface, seems good. However; keep in mind that the Gato here is on a rim about 7mm wider than most people run, (28mm outer widths), and that extra rim width is spreading out the Gato just a bit more than it would on narrower rims. (Something c_g also noted as his Gato examples were slightly under width at first)

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Now that they are mounted up and ready to go, I’ll be putting them through a few rides, then coming back with a First Impressions post with my initial thoughts on the Gato’s performance.

Geax submitted these tires for test and review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. we are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to offer our honest views and opinions throughout.