About six months ago Brad reviewed the Geax Goma, concluding that its fast rolling, rounded profile and outstanding climbing and braking traction made for an excellent rear tire. As a front tire, however, Brad found that the Goma broke free too early in corners to inspire confidence. At the same time I was also testing the Goma 2.2 as a rear tire, and concluded that the unpredictable, abrupt, and near total loss of grip when cornering at the limits of traction made it unridable for me. This was incredibly disappointing because I loved everything else about the tire. The tubeless TNT two-ply casing (1 60tpi and 1 120tpi) is impressively supple, yet tough. As Brad noted, I found the climbing and braking grip outstanding, yet it didn’t come at the expense of rolling speed. At 883 grams, weight is right on target, especially as the Goma offers puncture protection on par with tires that run 100 grams heavier. Throw in the affordable price and I had a huge list of reasons to love the Goma, save for it’s one weakness; cornering.
Enter the Roval Fattie Carbon 29 wheelset. At 30mm wide internally, this wheelset held the potential to be a game changer for round profile tires like the Goma. Not only does the wider rim help to square off the tire to some degree, it also offers better support for the tire’s sidewall, resulting in more predictable cornering. That’s exactly what was missing when I tested the Goma the first time. Inspired by this possibility, I installed another Goma 2.2 TNT on the rear wheel of my Intense Carbine 29 and crossed my fingers.
Out on the trail I was elated to discover that the Goma finally offered the predictable cornering I craved. Rather than abruptly letting go in corners, it instead offered smooth, predictable drifting. Rounder profiles like the Goma’s begin to drift sooner than square profiled tires will, and I agree with Brad’s assessment that this is desirable for a rear tire. Steering with the rear wheel allows the bike to rotate, or “carve,” more effectively in corners, especially on bikes sporting long wheelbases like mine, while upping the fun factor a bit. The only downside is that the inner edges of the cornering knobs tend to round off rather quickly. While the Goma starts off with an impressively high limit of cornering grip compared to just about any tire, including square profiled tires, it only takes about 10 rides before those cornering knob edges are rounded off and that limit of corning grip rapidly falls off. But, even with the edges gone, this tire still offers plenty of cornering grip and a predictable drift for a rear tire.
While I still wouldn’t recommend it in front for loose, rocky terrain like we have here in San Luis Obispo, it works great as a rear tire. I suspect that it would be a great front tire choice for hardpacked and loamy conditions, but alas, we have precious little hardpack and no loam to speak of, so I am unable to test my hypothesis. The only other caveat to my recommendation of the Goma is that to reach it’s full potential; it requires a wide rim (28mm+) to really excel.
With the price of high-end tires climbing higher while the new sticky compounds employed wear quicker, it’s great to have an option like the Goma. Its quality and performance is on par or exceeds that of its competitors, yet it is priced like a mid-range tire. Add in the fact that rims keep getting wider (with some even reaching 35mm+ wide internally), that these rims require tires that are very rounded on narrow conventional rims, and the Goma is a perfect match for this new crop of wheels.
Shop the 27.5 and 29er Goma by clicking on the highlighted link.