I'm a big fan of the maximum control Kessel tire from Teravail so I was excited to hear about the Warwick. It’s designed as a faster, lighter ‘progressive trail’ all-rounder to compete with the best mountain bike tires on everything from ‘aggressive XC to enduro' courses. So that’s exactly the riding I’ve been doing on my 29 x 2.3in Durable carcass, Grip compound samples. Unfortunately whilst it’s easy to fit and impressively tough so far, the undersized carcass and high weight make it underwhelming for the premium price.
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Design and aesthetics
While the Kessel looks a lot like the evergreen Maxxis Minion DHF, the Warwick has an alternating two small, one big, then two medium sized block ‘crowded Maxxis Assegai' vibe. Except that Teravail has done more sloping of the tread blocks on all sides not just the front and put square ‘pockets’ rather than deep sipe splits into the top of the bigger blocks. The smaller side knobs get pockets too, while the bigger split top shoulder knobs are straight out of the Minion/Kessel playbook.
The Warwick comes in a selection of options. Sizing is 27.5 x 2.5in or 29in with 2.3 or 2.5in width. These all come in Light and Supple, Durable or Ultra Durable carcass in either black or gumwall colours. There’s no mix and match with compounds though. The L&S tires use a ‘Fast’ rubber compound while Durable and Ultra Durable tires get the ‘Grip’ compound. I tested the 29 x 2.3in in the Durable carcass which underlines the 60tpi (threads per inch) body casing with nylon sidewall reinforcing and another nylon anti puncture layer under the tread. The Ultra Durable uses a 120tpi carcass with further butyl reinforcement but, given that my 29 x 2.3in sample was already nearly 1100g and the 2.5s are 1360g, that seemed like more than enough tire to be dragging around for ‘aggressive XC’.
These weights became even more significant when I measured my samples on a 30mm internal rim and the caliper clocked them at just 55mm or 2.16in. Despite being ridden aggressively and repressurized to try and stretch they’ve remained solidly mid 90s in their girth too.
The stout, rubbery carcass also means they need more wrangling than normal to get them onto a rim (they love to peel themselves off again while you reach for the sealant). Once you’ve got them on though they inflate progressively and with minimal sealant spaff before clicking into place at just over 20psi. While I got some radial sealant leak at low pressure (I tried them as low as 16psi) they refused to fully burp air or spill their guts even when ragged super hard through rough turns. Running them at a ultra low pressures also confirmed the sidewall reinforcement works well. While the Light and Supple Teravails I’ve ridden split very easily and terminally when slammed between rock and rim, the Warwicks can take regular sickening rim hits all the way down the hill without showing any signs of damage.
But why was I running them so soft? Simply put, it was to try and get some kind of life or suppleness out of the heavily damped small volume carcass. Whatever I did with the pressures though – high or low – there wasn’t a bit of spring or pop to justify their labeling as a tire that would be enjoyable for ‘aggressive XC’. All I got was a dead, shoulder jarring, arm pumping battering from either a wooden feel at higher pressures or the rims themselves at lower pressures.
The way the narrow carcass made the tread perch on the rim does the Warwicks no favors either. Despite all the ramping and stepping on the front faces there’s a noticeable growl on smoother surfaces and, while they’re not slow, they’re certainly not fast. That’s literally compounded by the soft, slow rebound grip rubber mix and the very high weight for volume which means they don’t pop through the pedals either.
The sloped sides and back on the center knobs means the stickiness of the ‘Grip’ compound doesn’t translate to obvious traction gains. In fact I span and slid when I wasn’t expecting on loose and rocky surfaces which is where the Warwick is meant to excel. The knob top pockets tend to hold onto any damp surfaces and increase the chance of a spin under power even just crossing short wet surfaces. While the front of the larger side knobs are well buttressed, the rear of the knobs are free to splay outwards a long way. That means cornering grip tends to be smeared and stretched rather than cutting in hard.
To be honest it was hard to fully investigate the traction abilities of the tire in the sample size I had though, simply because the tiny volume and thumping ride dramatically undermined overall confidence for aggressive riding.
After riding Teravail’s Kessel tire and seeing positive reviews of the 2.5in Warwick from other testers, I was expecting really good things from my 2.3in test samples – especially as that volume would have seemed to suit the ‘fast trail’ targeting of the tire by Teravail.
Once I’d chased them on though, the seriously undersized carcass became the dominant part of ride impressions. Damped became dead and skinny shaping undermined a sloped, mixed support tread pattern that was already less grippy than I expected. Grumbling knobs and very high weight for volume killed any pop under power too. While it seems that the bigger version turns in a more positive performance it’s worth noting that it’s even heavier than a DH casing Maxxis Assegai in the same size at nearly 1350g. Pricing is very high too.
Tech Specs: Teravail Warwick Mountain Bike Tire
- Price: $85 / €85
- Width: 55mm / 2.16in
- Weight: 1080g (29 x 2.3in, Grip / Durable)