Teravail already has a great reputation for gravel- and fat-bike comfort from a whole range of supple, fast-rolling tires including the Ehline Sports - a previously proven gravel tread. The Honcho is a whole new tire though and the 2.5 and 2.6in ‘light and supple’ carcasses are new to us as well. We’re also testing the chunkier Kessel tread in the much heavier ‘durable' casing so keep your eyes peeled for that future review.
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With its mid-sized, evenly spaced, sometimes siped block treads the Honcho is designed as an all-rounder but skewed towards drier, looser conditions and it certainly rolls quickly and quietly. The squarer profile means the more pronounced side blocks come into play when you lean and they’re well supported as long as the carcass is pumped up enough. The medium compound rubber keeps it predictable in intermediate conditions though and you can push pretty hard in the dry before things come unstuck. Unsurprisingly the closer spaced tread means it slides rather than bites in wetter situations and it clogs easily in mud but if you stick to kitty litter trail centers rather than off-piste in winter you’ll be fine.
At 899g for our high-volume 29 x 2.6in, the 'Light & Supple' casing really is light, so acceleration or popping the front end up is never an issue. While fitting and sealing are no problem it’s clear when handling the tire that the carcass is super thin. That means it needs a few more psi than normal to hold its shape so keep it in the mid-20s if you’re starting to push it hard through turns. There’s no puncture layers or sidewall reinforcement in the carcass either and while the Honcho has been fine on the front, we ripped the sidewall wide open in a rock field less than ten minutes into our first run on the Ehline. For those who ride rocky trails, Teravail has a 'Durable' version which adds an extra layer of puncture and sidewall protection.
Find the pressure sweet spot and watch out for sniper geology and the ride feel of the tires is great. Enough buoyancy and bounce to add float and forgiveness to the hardtail and short-travel bikes we ran them on, but still damped enough not to ping and ricochet distractingly when plowing a bigger travel bike through rocks and roots. That compliance and smoothness add a real premium feel to suspension and/or frames, too.
The closer spaced center tread and more rounded shape of the Ehline help make it faster rolling than the Honcho and even just running one on the rear was a definite gear gifter. Our 29 x 2.5in sample weighed in at just 775g so charging up through the gears was easy and added noticeable agility. The smaller center knobs mean you have to ease back on braking aggression though and the centreline clogs relatively fast in the mud. There’s a catch-your-breath traction gap as you tilt far enough to engage the shoulder knobs so it’ll need to be a dry-and-flowing trail situation for them to feel confident on the front.
The speed with which we ripped the sidewall (which is too thin to plug effectively) makes us nervous about recommending these tires for riders in rocky areas. The Blackwall versions might be tougher though and the 'Durable' versions are definitely a lot more armored in feel and initial impressions are of a really well-damped and super supportive ride albeit a little heavier.
If you’re looking for fast-rolling, large volume, lightweight intermediate conditions XC/trail rubber that also gives a real ride quality upgrade then Teravail’s Light and Supple tires should definitely be on your shortlist. More aggressive riders or those regularly hitting rocky trails hard should be looking at the ‘Durable’ versions. Those are heavier though and we can’t help feel there’s space for a mid-weight carcass version between the two extremes (just like there is with WTB and some Schwalbe tires). Pricing is also high for a single-compound tire.
Tech Specs: Teravail Honcho and Ehline tires
- Price: $70.00 / £65.00
- Weight: Honcho 29 x 2.6in 899g, Ehline 29 x 2.5in 775g
- Color: Green/gum (tested), black
- Sizes: Honcho 27.5 and 29in x 2.4 and 2.6in, Ehline 27.5 and 29in x 2.3 and 2.5in