Rubena Scylla & Kratos 29″er Tires: Final Review- by Guitar Ted

It is now time to give my final review on these Czech Republic made tires. The Rubena Scylla and Kratos tires were last reported on here. Now let’s dive right in and recap all the characteristics of these new to North America tires. First up, I’ll cover my final thoughts on the Scylla.

The Scylla is definitely a tire that prefers to be used on dry terrain with loamy to hard pack conditions. Rocks, gravel, and any deeper, rougher grounds do not suit this tire at all. That also goes for mud, which the Scylla tends to slide out on. That said, if you do put the Scylla in a situation where a buff, tacky, fast looking tail exists, it will shine quite brightly.

As I have stated in my previous reports, the Scylla is a great tubeless tire, mounting to UST, Bontrager, and Stan’s rims all without any issue. This seems to put Rubena tires in a unique position of fitting most tubeless standards out now, and not just one or the other. I must say that the UST fit was slightly loose, and the Stan’s fit was also. However; the Stan’s fitting took place after I had the tires for some time. Perhaps a bit of stretch going on here? Possibly, but I can not return the tire to “as new status” to find out now, can I? 🙂 Suffice it to say that Rubena seems to have a tire here that works on either UST or Stan’s rims, given a bit of stretching time for the Stan’s fit.

As a front tire, the Scylla gives a faster turn in feel due to the very rounded crown profile the tire takes on when mounted to a narrower, XC type rim. Mounting to a Stan’s Flow rim mitigated this characteristic to a degree, but it still has a rounded profile, low-ish tread, and not much side knob bite to speak of. In this it reminded me very much of a Continental Race King tire, but without the high volume the Conti tire exhibits.

The Kratos, with its unique “negative” center groove, slightly more open tread pattern, and deeper tread blocks is in direct contrast to the Scylla. Here we have a great all round tire for most any trail type. While the Kratos still has a rounded profile, similar to the Scylla, it has aggressive side tread blocks that grip very nicely in corners. Climbing and braking traction is also top notch.

What most impressed me about the Kratos was the ride feel. It was smooth, well damped, and felt like a much larger tire than it is. After spending much of the testing time on the Trek Sawyer, I mounted these on the Breezer Lightning Pro, (review seen here), and the steel hard tail became even smoother than before. Riders looking for a tire with great feel and traction need not look much further than the Rubena Kratos.

Interestingly, just before the testing concluded on these two Rubena tires, I received a pair of folding bead, non-tubeless Kratos with the dual compound race tread. Weight for these tires is 700/710 gm. Not all that impressive when considering the weight of the tubeless Kratos was 710/760gm and that the folder tires are stubbornly refusing to seal up as tubeless tires. In my opinion, the tubeless, “1 for 3” Kratos is the better value here, but I will try to get an update on the actual ride performance of the folders later. There simply was no time before the Final Review here.

Tubeless performance on the “1 for 3” Kratos was perfect, however, and no issues were ever experienced in regard to set up or air retention afterward. I tried the Kratos on the WTB rims with their TCS design and they set up just fine, albeit a tad on the loose side. The WTB rims are based upon a UST spec, so much like the Rubena Scylla, the Kratos may have stretched a little bit while mounted to the Bontrager wheels I initially had them on. I suspect the Kratos would also mount up on a Stan’s rim as well as the Scylla has for me. That said, I have not actually tried that yet.

Conclusions: Rubena has made a strong impression with the introduction of their tires in North America. These are well made, high performance tires with well thought out features that many riders will appreciate. However; I did note a few things I would like to se Rubena work on, like their weight and volume for these models.

The Scylla and Kratos both fell well short of their stated sizes while weighing more than some of their high end competitors tires. Still, you have to give Rubena credit where it is due, and I will say that I was extremely surprised to be able to mount these tires on Stan’s and UST spec rims with no real issues to speak of. The tubeless performance and ease of set up for these two models that Rubena sent over is definitely something to take note of.

The Scylla was definitely more of a one trick pony here as it preferred dry, buff trails and didn’t really shine anywhere else. I think it makes a good candidate for rear tire duty paired with a bit more aggressive front tire, (like the Kratos), if you are into all-around mountain biking. Traction on everything but loose, scrabbly rocks, gravel, or mud was fine. The other notable thing about the Scylla was its rounded profile which gave it a faster turn in when mounted as a front tire. Finally, I give this model high marks for durability in severe conditions, so it is perhaps a marathon/endurance tire choice for faster trails.

The Kratos was the tire that really impressed me out of these two models. While it didn’t quite measure as wide as specified by Rubena, it rode much larger than that. The smooth, damped feel of this tire was very nice, while traction was never an issue. Cornering, climbing, or descending, the Kratos showed me no reason to doubt its grip. While not necessarily the fastest rolling tire, it was not bad in this regard. Finally, the Kratos also has similar tubeless performance characteristics to the Scylla, so it should work for a wide range of wheels out there as a great front or rear tire.

Note: Rubena sent these tires for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.