The Geax Gato 29er 2.3in is one of a growing range of large volume 29er tyres, the choice until very recently restricted to narrower treads, but with the rise of long travel big wheelers, we’re seeing most manufacturers release 29er versions of their bigger all-mountain tyres.
Testing it over the past few weeks, in conditions ranging from wet and slippy to dry and dusty, has shown the Gato to be an excellent all-rounder tyre, giving a high level of traction no matter the trail type or conditions. From the roots of the Surrey Hills to the rocks of the Peak District, it’s taken it all in its stride.
Despite its large size, it isn’t all that heavy - 738g on my scales - and produces very good rolling speed. Indeed, I was shocked at just how fast the tyre felt compared to my regular bi 29er tyres, the Schwalbe Hans Dampf, reviewed on Bikemagic a while ago. That weight, and its size, won’t suit everyone but if you’re riding a 100mm+ full-susser, and appreciate bigger tyres, you’ll like the Gato.
The paddle-type tread pattern works well in the dry on rocks, roots and dirt, and finds reasonable grip on muddier trails. It’s not an out-and-out mud tyre, but Geax describe it as offering “maximum grip and control in wet and loose conditions". I’m sure not I’d go that far but it’s certainly a good tyre for all-round use. It’s on loose dry-ish trails that the Gato feels most at home.
Push it into corners and there’s a reliable bite as you lean onto the shoulder knobs, but it is prone to breaking away quite suddenly when the limit of adhesion on whatever terrain you’re riding across is breached. Once familiar with it, it’s easy enough to rein in when you get to that point, and it’s happy to slew sideways through corners.
The Gato rolls well despite the weight, which means it will appeal to anyone wanting to cover a reasonable amount of ground with pace. I’d like to see them shed a bit of weight, but they’re lighter than the similarly chunky Hans Dampf. They don’t have the same height or width as those tyres, but they’re noticeably faster rolling and cope better in the mud, so for that reason they’re a better fit-and-forget choice.
Durability has proven excellent, even shrugging off a trip to the rocky Peak District with no signs of cuts or tears. The tread blocks are reinforced at their bases so the shoulders don’t deform excessively when leaning hard on them in the corners.
There are three versions to choose from, a tubeless-ready model (TNT), a steel bead and the folding Kevlar type here. On the scales these are 738g each which is a good deal heavier than Geax’s claimed 690g.
A very good large volume 29er tyre that excels in a range of conditions and offers good durability. And at £30 they’re a decent price too.
Decent amount of grip
Can breakaway suddenly near the limits
Heavier than claimed weight
More information: Geax Gato 29er tyre
What Geax says:
The Gato was designed for maximum grip and control in wet and loose conditions. The larger volume version features the same aggressive tread pattern, but with size specific, tall, widely spaced, siped knobs that ensure excellent shedding characteristics and increased traction through a range of elements. Reinforcements at the base of the central ridge reduce rolling resistance while similar reinforcements on the side knobs ensures knob stiffness and penetration when cornering. The new Gato, despite its infancy, is a sure choice for adverse All Mountain applications.