Last year, Teravail (distributor QBP's house brand) introduced two new XC/All-Mountain tires
to its line and this year, they've unveiled the Kessel, their take on a more aggressive Enduro/DH tread. The Kessel is made to give maximum traction in big, technical terrain, especially steep, loose, and rocky trails.
The Kessel is available for both 27.5" and 29" wheels in 2.4" and 2.6" widths. There are two different construction options, Durable and Ultra-Durable, and two sidewall colors, tan and black. The tan sidewalls are available only in the Durable construction.
Teravail Kessel Tire Details
• Teravail Grip rubber compound
• Tubeless ready
• 60 TPI casing with reinforcements
• Sizes: 29 x 2.4", 2.6"; 27.5 x 2.5"
• Weight: 1,040g - Durable, 1,190g - Ultra-Durable (29 x 2.4" - Actual, tested)
• MSRP: $85 USD - Durable, $90 USD - Ultra-Durable
I've been testing the 29 x 2.4” and 2.6" tires for several months, typically with an Ultra Durable construction rear tire and the Durable up front.Design Details
The Kessel's tread pattern is made up of two sets of tall and blocky knobs in the center and then two alternating side knobs. There are sipes in every other set on both the angular center knobs and the side knobs. There is an ample amount of clearance between the knobs and the tread profile is nicely rounded.
The tires use Teravail's own grippier compound for rubber. The Durable casing is 60 TPI and has a woven nylon composite reinforcement between the outer rubber and inner casing within the sidewalls to ward off tears and cuts, along with a fine nylon weave under the tread cap to further prevent punctures. The Ultra-Durable casing takes that and adds an additional half ply of 120 TPI on the sidewall, more puncture defense in the tread cap, and butyl inserts that strengthen the sidewalls of the tire.
These tires measured exactly on point for what is printed on the sidewall when mounted to a 28mm internal width rim, something that's welcome in a world full of seemingly mis-calibrated calipers. Performance
Multiple testers gave the Kessels a try, and there was a very unanimous verdict that the tires are extremely easy to mount up and seal with just a standard floor pump. Also, in several hundred miles of rugged terrain, there were no flats experienced.
I've been riding the Kessel on a good mix of terrain - rocky, rooty, and chunder filled ditches on the East Coast for the most part filled with high-speed sections of trail and then smooth hard-pack terrain as well. The Kessel was predictable in all of those conditions. It rolls quickly and transitions side-to-side as smoothly as one could hope for. The rubber compound offers up ample traction on roots and rocks, the sidewalls are plenty supportive, and I didn't find myself having to overinflate or underinflate the tire compared to the air pressures I typically ride. On loose trails there is plenty of bite and on hard-packed terrain the knobs are supportive and don't want to fold over when pushing into turns.
The Durable casing, the lighter of the two, offers up a great deal more trail feel than the Ultra-Durable casing. If we were to compare the two casings to Maxxis' offerings, I would say the Durable is similar to the EXO, and the Ultra-Durable is closer to the Double Down, but with a touch more trail feel.
Braking traction from the Kessel is superb in steep and technical terrain. There is a little more braking traction than what the Minion DHF offers - the knobs are a bit more aggressive on the Kessel, although that comes with a slight tax in the rolling efficiency department.
In wet terrain, I still have had no complaints with the Kessel. It offers up as good of traction as any comparable tire out there and just as much predictability. The tread pattern doesn't lend itself to caking up with dirt except in the stickiest red clay conditions and the sharp knobs give plenty of bite into the earth.
Excellent traction and control+
Relatively fast rolling
Limited 27.5" width options-
Price doesn't make it stand out over competition