The next time you visit your local mountain bike event, be it Enduro, XC or even DH, ask riders and racers about their tires. They are bound to divulge an encyclopedia’s worth of information as to why they chose the tires on their bike. Among the bevy of answers we’ve heard ranging from, “I want to corner like my bikes on rails” to, “These tires are like butter baby” (yes we heard that at the 12-Hours of Temecula last year), the most common answers are always going to revolve around traction and speed.
The majority of every day riders are going to choose something beefier up front with a high traction profile and something with better rolling resistance in the rear. Regardless of the trail you are riding, cornering is more crucial up front and the rear we just want to stay in place without holding us back. There are of course exceptions to the “majority” rule and we’ll argue those exceptions are 95% due to terrain. Where you ride is often the determining factor of tire choice. Also, most of us don’t have a collection of tires at our disposal in the garage so choosing all-around tires is usually the direction we go.
Around the trails here in Southern California, you will find mostly desert like terrain. Loose over hard with the occasional rock garden here and there. During the winter (everyone on the East is laughing already) we usually get some rain and therefore, the mud and Hero dirt arises. Sure, we get snow in our mountains but lets be honest, nobody in SoCal rides in the snow. The reason I am covering all of this leading into our review of the Geax tires is, as I mentioned already, we look for good all-around tires that will take care of us on the fire roads, up in the mountains of Big Bear and even in our backyard.
Recently, we got our hands on two tires from Geax (pronounced G-Axe). The Geax Goma 29×2.25 TNT Sticky and Geax AKA 29×2.2 TNT. Even though these are two very different tires, all tire reviews should cover the major points of concern when purchasing new rubber.
- Cost – Is this tire within your price range?
- Sizing – Is the tire size you want available in this tire?
- Longevity – How long is the tire suppose to last?
- Profile – Are you looking for a specific discipline from this tire or all-around?
- Tubeless – Is this tire tubeless compatible?
- Weight – Is it competitive with other like tires or too heavy?
Let’s dive into the Goma first. Looking to give both tires a chance to show us their off road prowess, we loaded up the Goma both front and rear. Geax markets the Goma as, “The Ultimate Enduro Race Tire”. Our tires feature both the TNT (TUBENOTUBE) and Sticky technology. TNT adds an extra layer of sidewall protection without the weight penalty. If teamed up with Geax Pit Stop sealant, Geax claims you will save up to 100g of weight versus competitive tubeless setups. At 800g, this tire is right in line with other Enduro/AM tires so any weight savings you can get is worth it.
We setup our Goma tires on Stan’s Arch wheels using Stan’s sealant with zero problems. Once mounted, the first thing we noticed is that glorious grey sidewall. Taking us back to the 80’s with classic styling. It’s a nice touch that makes the tire standout on the trail. Some of you are probably wondering why we would load up an Enduro tire on a hard tail? Not only do we consider the HT the most true form of mountain bikes, they also offer the best testing platform for many cycling products. With no rear suspension to help, the tires have to do all the work soaking up the trail, carving us around corners and keeping our bike in line. We ride every type of trail with our HTs as well; up, down, rocks, forests, you name it. If you’re looking to hone your MTB skills, leave the full squish in the garage and jump on a HT.
The Goma will set you back around $55-$65 per tire depending on size. That puts them right in the middle of the Enduro tire market. Sizes are available from 26×2.25 to 29×4 in TNT, Foldable and Rigid casings. As with all reviews, we wanted to put some solid miles on the tires before talking about them. We ran the Goma’s front and rear for 3 weeks before switching to review the AKA’s. After over 100 dirt miles, we found the Goma to be a great front tire for the terrain we ride.
The multi-directional siping and wide spacing provided great confidence through every type of terrain we could throw at the Goma. We love the directional center knobs versus other square shaped knobs on competitive tires. Tires roll in one direction and tires need to take that into account. Even though its what most would consider a “beefy” tire, it rolls quick and never left us feeling like we were dragging along. The Goma also has a wide contact patch meaning, more of this tire is on the ground which is where you need it. Some tires sacrifice that width to achieve a great cornering profile. The problem is, a narrow tire with tall treads is going to rollover quickly and become spin happy when climbing. The Goma does all of this with success.
Whenever using tall tread tires, rollover is a concern. How far can you push a tire into a corner before the tread along the side of the tire folds over and down you go. Fortunately, our face has yet to meet the dirt running the Goma. The braking tread along the side of the tire and STICKY compound allowed us to find steering control even when pitched sideways trying to showoff. Go head and click on the tire picture above to get a closer look at what the tire looks like with 100 dirt miles and 30,000 feet of climbing on it. Even the centermost nipples are still there. That’s impressive.
“This is the most amount of traction we’ve had in a front tire, hands down.”
Mounting the Geax AKA’s after running the Goma’s for a few weeks was an interesting change of pace, literally. The AKA is a fast, reliable, cross country tire. We setup the tire the same as the Goma with zero problems. We can’t not mention that because several of our previous tires from other manufactures have presented tubeless setup issues and even tiny holes.
The AKA has the same grey sidewall we love and after a few weeks, still looks and grips wonderfully. At first glance, the AKA looks like a tire we don’t care for much around here. Another “small block” type of tire that left us slipping, sliding and flat-happy on more than one occasion. Fortunately, our time with the AKA has been the opposite.
The round profile and wide contact patch make the AKA a great all-around tire for XC racers and everyday trail use. It comes in all the popular sizes from 26×2.0 to 29×2.2 for $55-$60 depending on size. The 29×2.0 would make a great Gravel Grinder tire. The TNT technology gives us that great sidewall protection we love in the Goma though we lose the STICKY compound. At 750g, our 29×2.2 isn’t what we’d call a lightweight “race” tire. The 2.0 at 630g sounds more like it and if we were weight weenies, that would most likely get the call.
Unlike some other fast-rolling tires, the directional tread pattern is found throughout the entire tire, not just the sides. Though you can spin out any tire, we found standing and grinding on the AKA was better than average. Loose over hard pack is tough for any rear tire to stay put going uphill. What shocked us more than anything else was the tires ability to corner. For a tire that isn’t marketed as “aggressive”, it sure seemed to keep us well planted over roots, rocks and even wet pavement. The Gato-derived side knobs extend the width of the tire allowing for the same level contact patch still holding you to the ground at steep angles.
“Combined, these two tires together present the best of both worlds.”
So what didn’t we like about the tires? For the type of terrain we ride, we found the Goma was better suited as a front tire and the AKA as a rear. Both tires do what they are intended to do very well. We don’t ride enough chunk to justify a Goma in the rear. At the same time, we feel that even though the AKA is great at corners, we like a little more grip in the front when blazing through singletrack. This has become one of our favorite tire setups for everyday rides and adventures. Combined, these two tires together present the best of both worlds.
We recently gave our extra set of tires to a friend racing the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, Arizona coming up in a few weeks. The tires should be perfect for the terrain and we look forward to adding his thoughts to this review once the race is over. Be sure to check back in a few weeks for the update!
If you’re looking for a fast-rolling, low profile tire that doesn’t sacrifice traction, take a look at the AKA. If you ride the gnar and require more traction than most but don’t want to lag, give the Goma a look. Thanks for reading and be sure to share this review with your friends. Then go out and ride your bike!
Both tires hit the mark for intended purpose and value. Our time spent on both have been above par and we can safely recommend both as great buys. Depending on your discipline and terrain, both the Goma and AKA present stout protection and promising performance.