Teravail debuted in 2015 as Quality Bike Product’s go-to mountain bike tire brand, and at first, their focus seemed to be on gravel riding, bikepacking, and lightweight trail riding, with an emphasis on plus-size tires. Over the past few years though, Teravail has widened its selection and keeps a sharp focus on exploratory riding with fat bike tires, some plus tires, and four different gravel tires.
Their mountain bike tire line has also grown a bit. This spring, Teravail launched the Kessel, which they say is an “aggressive trail, all-mountain, and enduro tire.” The Teravail Kessel tire uses a dual-compound rubber. Down the middle, Teravail designed the mtb tire with tall center knobs that are ramped in the front for rolling speed. Two knobs sit closely together to assist with rolling speed, and on every other set of knobs, they are placed farther apart with siping down the middle for traction.
The side knobs are angled in or out on every other knob for cornering traction and every other side knob is siped to add even more traction. For the tire’s profile, they spaced the lugs with mud-shedding ability and wet weather performance.
The Teravail Kessel mountain bike tires come in a few different options: tan wall or black, 2.4″ or 2.6″ widths in the 29er size, and one 2.5″ width for 27.5″.
There are two different casings. Tan walls and black tires are available in the Durable casing and Ultra Durable is only available in black. The Durable casing tires weigh a claimed 1,180g (1,066g for a 2.4″ and 1,203g for a 2.6″ on our scale). They are optimized for rims with an internal width of 29mm and are tubeless-ready. The Ultra Durables have a claimed weight of 1,215g/1,400g for the 2.4/2.6″ widths. These weights are for the 29″ diameter.
Teravail Kessel First Impressions
I tried out the tan walls first, because who doesn’t want that 50s classic car look on their carbon fiber, complex full-suspension mountain bike, where every engineering detail has been obsessed over and perfected? I digress, as everyone has their tastes even if the eras that the products signify clash a little.
I installed a 2.4″ wide Teravail Kessel in the rear and a 2.6″ up front, which has been my preferred combination lately. The tan wall tires mounted up fine, but it wasn’t long before I ran into issues. Despite adding more sealant and re-checking my sealable areas, my tan wall Teravail Kessels would not hold air.
The sidewalls were visibly losing sealant and air through their casings and I had to air them up before and during every ride. This happened so much, that I would lose enough air on a short ride to end up back at the trailhead bouncing off my rim.
I asked Teravail if they have had any issues at large with the tan wall tires, and they said they haven’t. They sent a set of black tires, in Durable, and the same widths to try instead. I mounted them on the same wheels, with the same sealant and they have been holding air like a kid diving to the bottom of a swimming pool.
Teravail Kessel Tires On the Trail
Without air retention issues, I could finally get a feel for the Teravail Kessel tire’s performance. For the lighter Durable casing, they still aren’t the lightest option out there, but they also don’t have the ride feel of a heavier casing while pedaling. The Teravail Kessel knobs seem to be efficient in design and the compound isn’t too sticky.
The design, compound, and weight seem to make them a good all-around aggressive trail tire. They are reasonably light, efficient, and aggressive but are certainly not a downhill tire. Enduro racers might want to opt for the Ultra Durable casing, or a stickier tire altogether. The Teravail Kessel suited most of my trail needs, but on really dry and dusty trails, which have been most of Colorado’s trails this year, there are better choices out there.
They have a sharp brake bite that’s most noticeable on buffed out dirt. They will drift but feel predictable under the slide and it’s easy to reel them back in. Transitioning from the center knobs to the side knobs comes without fright. The tire lets you know exactly where it’s at, and when the side knobs have hooked up.
Teravail Kessel Tire Review Closing thoughts
The Teravail Kessel mountain bike tires (in black) have been a trusty all-mountain tire. They roll with enough speed to satisfy those who aren’t chasing uphill Strava segments and don’t want the burden of climbing with downhill tires. On descents, the Teravail Kessel tires lock into the dirt with enough confidence to make them a competitive choice in the tire market.