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Buttressed side knobs.

The Honcho is a new mountain bike tire from Teravail that’s designed to be versatile enough for most trail riding conditions. I’ve been testing the Light and Supple version on my hardtail trail bike over the past several weeks, and here’s what I’ve learned.

  • 29er or 27.5″ diameter
  • 2.4″ or 2.6″ width
  • Durable or Light and Supple casing
  • Black or tan sidewall
  • 60 TPI
  • Designed for 29mm internal rim width
  • Weight: 895g for 29×2.6, 865g for 29×2.4 (Light and Supple casing, tan sidewall)
  • $65 MSRP (compare prices and options)

Installation

The Honcho tires feature a folding bead and I found the Light and Supple version mounted up without a hitch. Paired with a set of Reynolds TR 309 S carbon wheels, the tires went on with just a floor pump and I didn’t even need to use a lever. There was a bit of sealant leakage around the bead initially, but nothing through the tire itself.

In fact, the Honchos have remained perfectly sealed after more than a hundred miles of riding. Perhaps what’s most shocking is that I haven’t added air or sealant yet.

Teravail says the ideal internal rim width for the 2.6-inch Honcho is 29mm, and my rims are 30mm. I tested a 2.6-inch tire up front and a 2.4-incher in the rear. My rim width is less than ideal for the 2.4-inch tire according to Teravail; they recommend a 24mm rim for the narrower Honcho.

With 30mm rims, the 2.6-inch tire just squeaks under the Cane Creek Helm Works fork I’m running, so double check with your fork manufacturer to make sure the larger tires will fit.

On the trail

In my experience, “all-rounder” tires can be pretty underwhelming and I tend to lump them in the same category as hybrid bikes. That’s harsh, and I don’t mean to knock brands for trying, but it’s a tall order to design a tire that’s good at everything without making significant tradeoffs.

The Teravail Honcho is perhaps the first all-rounder I’ve tested that actually lives up to its name.

On hardpacked surfaces, the Honcho is incredibly fast rolling and quick to accelerate. The 4mm-tall center lugs are spaced closely together, providing a fairly continuous rolling surface. Perpendicular siping provides consistent traction in straightline acceleration and braking.

I’ve found the center knobs also offer excellent technical climbing performance, especially over uneven terrain. The tall, siped center knobs dig in and hug roots, and I found my legs rather than the tire were usually the limiting factor in cleaning the steepest slopes.

In wet conditions, the tires tend to do a good job gripping rocky and rooty surfaces. The single rubber compound seems to strike a good balance between stickiness and durability.

Where most all-around tires can be disappointing is in cornering traction. Mountain bikers need a tire that transitions well from straight to leaning, and a tire that won’t slip when it’s pitched far to the side. For me, this is where the Honcho shines the brightest, and I found it offers similar cornering performance to much slower-rolling tires.

Teravail says the transition knobs are designed to shed mud, and having ridden in some truly muddy conditions with them, I can confirm the tread stays fairly clean. Leaning into corners feels smooth and consistent so clearly the transition knobs do the job.

I’ve surprised myself on a number of occasions with just how far I’m able to lean the Honchos into corners. Teravail added buttresses to the shoulder knobs, reinforcing them against extreme cornering forces, while the parallel siping allows the tread to dig in and conform to the terrain. The cornering performance is confidence-inspiring for sure, and because the traction is so consistent I feel like it’s allowed me to progress as a rider.

With taller and wider tires, sidewall stability tends to suffer, which is one of the many reasons there are so many tire insert solutions on the market. I had a hard time deciding whether to go with the Light and Supple Honchos, or the durable sidewall option. In the end the “Light” part of the Light and Supple version won out for me, and at 24psi front and rear, I don’t feel a bit of squirm. It would be interesting to compare the “durable” version to see if it is any less supple since both flavors utilize a 60tpi carcass.

Speaking of durability, I haven’t run into any issues with punctures or, heaven forbid, sidewall tears. This is despite riding some truly janky trails hard and fast on a stiff bike.

The verdict

Overall I’m incredibly pleased with the Teravail Honcho trail tires. I usually expect an all-around tire to be a “Jack of all trades, master of none” but the Honcho surprised me by mastering pretty much everything I threw at it. This is a tire I can see myself running for a long time based on its durability and consistent performance.

Thanks to Teravail for providing the Honcho tires for testing.

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# Comments

  • R Treb

    Would you say the 2.4 is a true 2.4 with a good amount of volume? For instance the Ardent from maxxis is but there Rekon and Forcaster in 2.4 is not.

  • Jeff Barber

    Yes, I would say the volume seems pretty true to size. Of course rim width will affect the actual width to some degree.

  • williedillon

    Sweet! Always nice to see more lesser-known tire brands coming out with great tires.

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