Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nokian Gazza Extreme 294 review and test, studded tire 29er

got these nice tires today, slapped them on and went to play in the snow.

first impression before riding is wow, there is alot of studs on this tire. they are made well and really smell like a tire shop. the casing is of medium thickness and the top is a bit thicker. the knobbys are stout, stiff and burly. the studs are firmly implanted and non were missing. by the way these tires are as heavy as downhill tires. they are close to my endomorphs on my pugsley. i didn't expect that much weight.

so lets go ride them....

the writing is a bit off, who cares cept for them. small note here. i usually ride a 2.4 in front and a large 2.2 in back. these look small to me and floatation will be down. i am hoping that in the ice and hardpack that bite will be up.
right tire for the right job is what i say.

they look like all busness on the bike. look at all those studs....

front looks good as well.

they did a nice job of not loading up on snow between the knobs. i would have expected alot more stickage with all those bumps.
todays conditions were a bit soft and thick loose 5" snow with hardpack underneath.
the tires did a good job of cutting thru the mush and finding the harder snow and biting down. the few times i ended off the trail and in the 1 to 2 feet of soft snow the bike came to a halt and no traction.
i had a tuff time personally in the softer snow(a good workout), but these tires gripped about 50% better than my regular, bigger dirt tires.
compared to the 4" edomorphs they do not float even close on softer stuff, but on hard and ice they out perform the fatties. even with the endos down to 10 psi the studded tires were grippier.
the lower i went in pressure of course the better the bite and smoother the ride. got them down to about 14 psi before the rim began to touch. i like them about 16 psi for todays ride.

all in all i really liked the tires and the grip was better than expected, even uphill. i am told that the wear is fabulous and the studs stay put. the weight is another story. i did feel a bit heavy in the wheel. felt more like the endos. good rolling momentum when riding slow though. a 29er is like that anyways so its a trade off.
specificly i am looking for a hard snow race tire or at worst a good training tire for hard snow and maybe icy streets.
i can race on the pug if its deep and try these(so far) for harder snow conditions. i would still defer to the pug for in between or changing conditions as it handles ruts and looser snow better than this tire.
if you need a good hard condition tire or to commute to work, this is your tire the nokian extreme 294.

now get out in the snow and have some fun!!!