Geax Goma 27.5″ Tire Review

Pros: All around performance, cheaper and more durable than Schwalbe’s Evo line.

Cons: Rear Application – none, Front Application – wouldn’t hurt to have more grip.

Verdict: A balanced tire that punches above its weight.

Scores:

Weight 7
Casing/Ride 10
Rolling Resistance & Acceleration 8
Braking 8
Cornering Grip 7
Setup/Installation 9
Durability 9
Overall Score 8.3

Geax has been a bit off the back when it comes to good tread design for a while now, but the Geax Goma changes all that, giving the company a real winner in the all-around trail tire market. I put these tires to the test for 2 months (and actually am still on the rear) in the mountains of San Luis Obispo, California. Running the 27.5 TNT 2.4 in the front and a TNT 2.25 in the rear, here’s what I found:

Weight: 7  As a durable trail tire, the Goma’s weight is on the high side. Even so these tires feel lighter than they are because of the rolling resistance. The 2.4-inch 27.5 front weighed in at 992 grams, and the 2.25 in the rear at 842. This is actually slightly lighter than the actual weights noted on our product listing page but is still within the normal variance we typically see. I got lucky I guess.

Casing/Ride: 10  The Goma uses a well-thought-out casing design that allows the tire to be supple under the tread and stiffer in the sidewalls. Geax calls it their TNT AM casing. Its foundation is a 120tpi main carcass, to which Geax then places a butyl insert next to the bead to help protect the rim bed and tire from pinching. Lastly a protective and supportive layer of less supple 60tpi casing is placed along the sidewall, running from the bead to up underneath the cornering knobs. The tire has a round profile, and is also true to size. The 2.25 measures out to 2.24 inches and the 2.4 measured out to 2.36 inches, so the Gomas actually measure up as claimed.

GXGAT-r3 The best way to describe the ride is supple and supportive. I found that I could run a higher pressure in the rear tire and seemingly never lose that under-the-tread suppleness. I started out at 27 psi for the rear, but eventually upped it to 29/30 to completely eliminate rim dings (which are awfully common around our rocky San Luis Obispo test grounds). The nice thing about the 120tpi casing is that when pounding through rock gardens you really do notice how supple it is, but the sidewall reinforcement eliminates any wallow in hard corners.

As for the front tire, it’s so big and offers so much air volume that you can run lower pressure than you might normally. I ran it down to 24 psi without noticing any tire squirm—and I weigh about 170 lbs kitted out. Anything lower than that and the tire would wallow a little for me. Another nice part about running such a big front tire is the suspension it adds. I found I could dial up the low-speed compression a few clicks on my BOS Deville and not lose any overall front-end sensitivity. I give it a 10 because while there are more supple tires out there, they tend to wallow more as well, which I don’t like. As far as supportive sidewalls go the Goma’s offers plenty of support, but unlike some other tires, still manages to remain extremely supple.

Acceleration/Rolling Resistance: 8  They don’t look like fast rollers, but don’t be fooled. In spite of having big, chunky knobs, these tires roll as well as Maxxis Ardents and Continental Mountain Kings. They roll much better than the Schwalbe Hans Dampf, Continental Trail King, and the Michelin Grip’R2. They also hook-up on climbs extremely well. The combination of a single-compound 50a rubber and the aforementioned 120tpi give this tire great grip while climbing, even in loose, gravelly soil, yet they still mainain speed surprisingly well.

Braking: 8  Another strong point of this tire, the Goma brakes exceedingly well. It’s controlled and predictable, yet still breaks loose when asked to. I believe the aforementioned supple casing has something to do with that. By looking at the tread alone, it doesn’t jump out as a tire that would brake well. But remarkably, it does.

GXGAT-r2Cornering Grip: 7  This is the one area that the Goma could improve on if it wants to be my go-to front tire. While it has more than enough grip in damp and loamy trail situations, the dusty, gravelly conditions around San Luis Obispo aren’t its strong point. I believe that the tire’s round profile is the culprit. Even while running really low pressure up front, the bike has to be leaned over too far to get the majority of those big shoulder knobs in contact with the ground. By the time you do, you better have your foot out.

That said, those same characteristics make it an excellent rear tire. On my long wheelbase, it’s easier to get the back end of the bike around with a tire that’ll break loose in a consistent manner. I gave it a 7 because I like these characteristics as a rear tire, but around here the front is lacking. With different trail conditions I could see the tire rating higher.

Setup/Installation/Fit: 9  Setup was simple. The excellent QC from Vittoria tires carries over to Geax so these tires went on quickly and as far as tubeless installations go, mess free. I am running WTB KOM rims, with Orange Seal Tubeless Tape. The only way this could have been simpler would be to install a tube.

Durability: 9  Since we’re not professional racers piling up free tires, this is an important metric. I am pleased to say that after two months of tough, rocky riding, the Gomas have held up well. The tread is showing average wear on the rear tire. I would expect to get another two months before it needs to be replaced. More impressively, I haven’t punctured the Gomas yet. Though I’ve taken a few spills, and added a few dents to my rims, the Gomas have shrugged off everything I could throw at them. After two months of pounding this tire is still asking for more. It’s done everything I’ve asked it to. The only thing potentially more durable would be a full-on DH tire with a 60a compound—which I don’t feel like pedaling to the top of any mountains.

Bottom Line: I really like this tire. It has become my new favorite rear tire. It has a great balance of speed, durability, and grip; and its weight is on the lighter side of what I consider a trustworthy tire for the local trail conditions. If I lived in Ashland, or maybe Pisgah, I would be more likely to run the Goma on the front. Here in SLO, it’s just too gravelly and dry. I would recommend this tire to anyone riding a bike with travel between 5 and 7 inches as a rear application, regardless of the trail conditions. For a front tire I prefer a little more grip, even though that means a slightly slower tire, but that’s fine with me. But if you want a well-balanced tire that does everything well without giving up too much in any area, the Goma should be at the top of your list.

2014-04-22T12:15:39-08:00