Review: Teravail's New Kessel Tire is a Worthy Contender

Mar 26, 2020
by Daniel Sapp  


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
www.teravail.com

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.


A 2.4" tire that measures 2.4"? Hang on, I'm headed to buy a lottery ticket.
Black or tan for sidewall options in the Durable casing.


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 Terravail Kessel (left) and Maxxis Minion DHF (right) share a lot of similarities and are equally excellent tires.

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.




Pros

+ Excellent traction and control
+ Relatively fast rolling
Cons

- Limited 27.5" width options
- Price doesn't make it stand out over competition



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesTeravail have made a tire that directly competes with other best in class tires with the Kessel. The tire's performance is top-notch in a variety of terrain and it is a great option for an aggressive trail or enduro tire. The price of the tire is a little on the high side, which makes it a harder sell when it's put up against the classic Maxxis Minion DHF.Daniel Sapp








136 Comments

  • 176 3
 If it looks like a minion and costs like a minion, wouldn't I buy a Minion?
  • 42 2
 I see it a little differently. The more minion clones are floating around the more likely it is i can pick one up on discount.
  • 23 1
 IDK, if looks aren't deceiving, you'd get this tire if you want a touch better mud clearing and braking traction than a DHF, as well as a bit of a smoother transition to the side knob. Having said that, I have 0 complaints about my DHF on the front.
  • 31 0
 just goes to show how good the minion design is...
  • 25 0
 @RyanShreds: especially when you consider it was winning dh races nearly 2 decades ago now...
  • 15 12
 @Leethal-1 Because on your bikepacking / wall hanger, the sidewall logos MAXXIS do not look good.
  • 11 4
 Maybe Minions are too cheap, and you'd rather pay more?

Really, what's the game plan here? Minion clone, that performs like a Minion, from a house brand nobody has ever heard of, and an admittedly the MSRP is not the street price, but with an MSRP that's nearly double the street price of a Minion, why would somebody try to track these down? Just stick with a tried and true Minion.
  • 7 3
 Because the tan sidewall and classic styling is sexy. That's the only reason I can think of.
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: Thought exactly the same. Shedding would be more than a hair better I think. And yes to the side knob transition section.
  • 7 9
 DHR2 beats the DHF front or back... I prefer Assguy up front to both and/or DHR2 or HR2 in the rear.
  • 13 5
 Dhf is overrated know loads of people love it but don’t get the hype
  • 2 0
 @Willybennett171:

what's your preferred poison Willy?

I'm on an e13 A/T front this year (2.4) which is also 'inspired' by a minion, albeit a dhr2.

almost went with a kenda hellkat which is similar to a schwalbe MM.

semi-slick rear.
  • 3 0
 For the tan sidewall !! I'm not sure I would like to pay double the price but anyway, super durable not available in tan so no thanks.
  • 5 2
 Because Maxxis cant get their shit together and offer a skinwall hardly at all. Super limited with options, esp in 29er.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: hell yeah assegai is the best
  • 1 1
 @WasatchEnduro: Careful, I ran E*13 only to find in a few months before the center knobs are worn flat haha
  • 6 0
 @RyanShreds: in the rear? I’m on the E13 Gen 3 MOPO tire and admittedly it wears out fast in the rear but the grip is unreal. It lasted as long as my last Maxxis MaxxGrip. Will try the slightly harder Race compound next. I stopped using Maxxis because of 3 straight tires with wobbly casings. I welcome new tires to the market. Maxxis quality control has dropped a lot in the last few years. I’m done with them.
  • 2 0
 @covekid: Yes it wore out fast but while it lasted the grip was fantastic and the side knobs were so good. Also, I have heard that the new casing is much more durable. I'm about to try an assegai dissector combo and see how it stacks up to the E*13 ones. Plus the lower price makes the quicker wear more bearable because it's not like you have to replace a 90$ tire
  • 2 0
 @Connerv6: Exactly!! Don't know why, a lot of people are talking about them but still super limited... Frown
  • 1 0
 @WasatchEnduro: I ran a Hellkat 2.4 rear tire for a few months. Fast rolling, but the sidewall doesn't feel up to snuff after a few hundred miles. Pinched, with cush core even!
Teravail are great tires too! I liked the Kennebec 2.6
  • 2 0
 @RyanShreds:
E13s are only to be ridden in the PNW. They only perform on dirt (horrible on loose corners) and wear out fast on rock. Can’t believe people even buy them elsewhere. They are fantastic in the right conditions though.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: I agree. DHR2 corners the same as DHF with added bonus of much better braking traction. DHF feels like you're on ice if you hit the brakes too hard in dry and loose conditions. I usually run DHR2 front, plus something faster rolling in the rear.

@maxyedor Teravail has already made a name for themselves in the gravel and XC markets, so only makes sense they'd try to break into more aggressive trail riding.
  • 1 0
 love the dhf dhr combo but blown out casings on relative brand ew tire for me also. had same issues with specialized and continental to be fair. covekid:
  • 1 0
 @WasatchEnduro:

Lots of people do the DHR front and rear due to DHF's tendency to wash out in hard cornering. Now that Assegai is here, I am seeing that replace the DHF as well. As soon as the Dissector becomes more widely available, the new norm will be the Assegai/Dissector combo.
  • 1 0
 @Maxxis needs more MaxxTerra tire combinations in the DD and DH varieties. I can only find the HR2 MaxxTerra in the DD compound. Running MaxxGrip in the the rear gets expensive.
  • 2 0
 @gafoto: I agree for the last 2nd generation of e13, but the new Gen 3 tires are fantastic everywhere (loose corners included). They have a rounder profile and are faster rolling but still have that crazy grip on dirt.
  • 1 0
 @Thustlewhumber:

yeah i think that's becoming a popular setup, i'm a little worried about the rolling resistance of the Assegai but could see myself trying it in 2.5 eventually. Also kinda curious about the dhr2 2.6 as a front.... maybe next winter. Lotsa choices.
  • 1 0
 @covekid:

that's what i'm hoping for. limited time on the A/T front so far (trail casing, race compound, verified weight about 50g over advertised) but i ran the old tire a while ago, it was okay. last spring i tried their semi-slick and had casing issues. trying it again now and am hoping the supplier change a year ago means a better tire overall. on paper the 2.4 A/T, 2.35 S/S combo should be about perfect for me with the exception of loose, steep terrain in late summer..... no surprise that the S/S can get scary in those situations.
  • 87 0
 Will I make it under 12 parsecs?
  • 20 7
 nerd
  • 11 0
 more like FTW thought the same thng
  • 3 0
 14
  • 18 12
 Not to burst your bubble... But a Parsec is a unit of distance used in astronomy, equal to about 3.26 light years... So with some simple math, that equates to 39.12 light years. So in terms of speed, (obviously time is relevant) it doesnt really seem all that great, but in terms of durability... probably the last set of tires you will ever buy... Until they change wheel sizes of course... Again....
  • 11 1
 Sorry that was supposed to be an emoji... didnt work out.
  • 4 0
 @jomacba: George Lucas addressed this issue!
  • 6 0
 @freestyIAM: NERDS!!!!!!!!! in my best Revenge of the Nerds-Football player
  • 15 1
 @jomacba:

Nerd hat on>

Hans Solo doing the Kessel run in under 12 seconds, was a measure of distance, not of time, although the two correlate.

The theoretical route to Kessel was around tons of black holes and other things that screw up faster than light travel like hyperspace. But faster objects can get closer to the center of a black hole without getting caught in it than a slower one.

So because the Millennium Falcon was a very fast ship, he was able to complete the run using a straighter course than the previous record (which was obviously also faster in time), which was why it was noteworthy/boastworthy.

Nerd hat off>
  • 6 0
 @ocnlogan: and this is why pinkbike comments are the only internet comments I read.
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: lol, fair enough. I just wanted to sound smart.
  • 9 0
 It's the tire for course cutters. That's how Han did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs...
  • 1 0
 @jomacba: are you engineer?
  • 5 0
 @jamesbrant:
By engineer, do you mean somebody professionally qualified in a branch of engineering?
Or...
The operator or supervisor of an engine, especially a railroad locomotive or the engine on an aircraft or ship...?
  • 3 0
 @Longtravel: That was Ogre.
  • 2 1
 @ocnlogan: who the hell is hans solo?
  • 1 0
 @Ironmonsoon602: I thought it was Hans Rey right?
  • 1 0
 @Cspringsrider: lol yeah, duh!
  • 4 0
 @Ironmonsoon602:

Yeah, autocorrect murdered my post.

“Hans solo” and “12 seconds”...

I was “this” close to sounding pseudo-intelligent on the internet!

Facepalm.
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: Yes thank you. I'm glad I scrolled a little more before typing exactly this...
  • 36 2
 If you're gonna release a product that's essentially just a knock off of a well known and loved product, at least make it significantly cheaper than the product you're knocking off.
  • 35 3
 Looks like a minion. (Now do I win some tires?)
  • 42 0
 Unfortunately your entry could not accepted due to not specifying DHF or DHR
  • 15 0
 So here are some Kendas!
  • 19 0
 Ultra Durable - My TP has that same claim
  • 9 0
 Anyone can make it Ultra Durable,,,but is it soft as well.
  • 14 0
 Does it shed mud?
  • 8 0
 @ReformedRoadie: lots of restaurants and bars buy TP that manages to be both rough and non-durable...
  • 9 0
 @Mac1987: AKA John Wayne TP - it's rough, it's tough and it don't take any sh!t
  • 4 0
 You have TP?
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: So it will act like a Minion but it isn't really a Minion?
  • 1 0
 @VwHarman: Can you spare a square?
  • 9 0
 Thank you for including the comparison photo that we were all wanting! Its like you predicted the comment section Smile .

And actually, future tire reviews showing the tire next to a few common competitors would be useful as a standard thing to do, as a frame of reference.
  • 5 0
 @jaydawg69: agreed, same fir bike pics please. Can you always have a session in frame as design reference...
  • 9 0
 Dan, under the details it says 27.4 x 2.5
  • 21 0
 didnt you hear? new wheel size.
  • 33 0
 @cuban-b: Whoops, leaked that. Shh.
  • 53 0
 @danielsapp: most of the benefits of 650b with playfulness of 27.3"
  • 19 0
 @cuban-b: from the people who brought you 28.99
  • 3 0
 I guess we'll need a new hub spacing to go with that new wheelsize,huh?
  • 3 0
 @nozes: macrospline. .
  • 3 0
 @RoadStain: macaroni spline, get with the times.
  • 11 3
 who runs only one tan wall. if ur gonna tan wall go full tan wall !
  • 7 16
flag SnowshoeRider4Life (Mar 26, 2020 at 9:39) (Below Threshold)
 friends do NOT let friends, ride gum (tan) walls
  • 18 1
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: Your friends sound like they might be dicks.
  • 3 1
 @SpeedMountain: he is from the East Coast...
  • 2 1
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: once you go black..........
  • 1 0
 They’re afraid of people going full Duro!
  • 4 0
 Always curious about the business decisions. Did someone look at this and think they had any chance of breaking into the market with this? Or are they hoping for a big OEM following? They’re certainly not priced for OEM. Just seems odd.
  • 1 0
 QBP has such a vast dealer network they’ll sell these.

And they can offer better margin do bike shops will try to push them over a lower margin product.
  • 3 0
 @meathooker: I guess they’re probably not aiming for the hardcore enthusiast but rather the average rider who’s new enough to not have a strong tire preference.
  • 6 0
 I can't understand why anyone would spend $80 on what is essentially a store brand tire.
  • 5 0
 How has no one made a Phil Kessel joke? Something about it being heavier than expected but still fairly fast and effective, if used in the right ways...
  • 1 0
 ctrl-F'd to find the phil kessel joke
  • 5 2
 I won a set of Tervail tires from some online contest last year...even free tires are't worth it. Corners like shit, and the tanwalls are crazy thin. Ehile and Honcho combo on my Banshee.
  • 2 0
 These have wallmart written all over....
  • 3 1
 These should cost a little less as they seem cheap to produce. 60 DPI does not mean anything without considering the actual rubber formula.

I am not sure what is the point of buying single compound tires once there are companies like Vittoria offering triple + compounds. It makes a huge difference in how fast it rolls, how long it wears, traction and comfort.
  • 2 0
 Terrafail is a part of QBP, the biggest bike parts distribution in the US why wouldn't they try and take market share from quality tire manufacturers they don't distribute. Leave true product development to actual passionate companies instead of mimicking their products and MSRP like they actually R&D it. Maxxis actually has riders and engineers they pay test and develop tires.
  • 4 1
 That pricing. I ordered a set of Magic Mary and Hans Dampf 29x2.35 in supergravity casing for less than a single of these cost recently so wth.
  • 4 0
 Link?
  • 1 0
 Brakes better then a minion DHF ,next rear tire perhaps,cause the dhf in the back in rocky stuff on braking it isn’t the best ,dhr2 much better or even the highroller2 (but to bouncing tire ,what have maxxis done with the rubber of that tires in the 27,5 2,4 max terra tr 3c ,in the small stuff you can feel the tire rebounding),and that A’s on the name looks like the
  • 3 0
 "Hello, Maxxis? Yeah, keep doing what you're doing - the industry still can't keep up."
  • 4 0
 Michelin wild enduro is the new best tire ever
  • 2 0
 surprisingly few teravail jokes on this thread, you guys are really pumping up your tire game
  • 1 0
 I for one I'm waiting for @teravail to start a contest such as the one with the Session and @SCOTT-Sports .

So here's my entry:

Looks like a Minion!
  • 3 0
 Price it at $120, then it’ll stand out!
  • 2 0
 Since owning an Assegai, I have no idea why anyone is still copying DHFs anymore, Assegai is the future
  • 3 2
 That’s the Magic Mary wannabe right?
  • 5 2
 ... like a session?
  • 2 0
 Have 3 sets of Teravail tires already. Would do again. I dig them.
  • 3 1
 That's literally a minion
  • 3 1
 An actual minion dhf
  • 1 1
 Or a session
  • 2 1
 I has less intermediate channel so I guess less grip on hard cornering...
  • 3 1
 looks like an overhyped average grip in dry conditions tyre.
  • 1 0
 I would say I'll just go buy a minion, but the assegai's have won me over these days
  • 1 0
 In a sea of minion copies someone made another minion copy. Great fucking marketing strategy!
  • 1 0
 Price wise like top of the maxxis, weight wise like bottom of the maxxis, hard choice
  • 1 0
 No but yoyouu are the first
  • 1 0
 Do I really even have to say it? You are making this too easy!
  • 2 1
 So how many parsec is this Kessel?
  • 1 0
 My 80s/90s retro senses are getting all tingly. I want.
  • 1 0
 Also the butcher looks similar to a DHF
  • 1 0
 2.8 skinwalls and I’m all in
  • 1 1
 Just put 4 new tires on my wife’s Lexus for cheaper per tire than this. Mtn bike tire costs are getting crazy!
  • 1 0
 You should be buying better tires.
  • 1 0
 another wannabe minion rip off AND it costs more. cchhh lame
  • 2 1
 Looks like a sessmbler
  • 1 0
 Minion DHF II
  • 1 0
 looks like a minion
  • 1 1
 Looks like a Mission to Mi
  • 1 0
 Not for that price
  • 1 1
 Looks like a tired cliche.
  • 1 0
 Minion DHF much?
  • 1 1
 Immitation is the greatest form of flattery.
  • 2 2
 Be careful . Knobs are sometimes not the straightest on this brand .
  • 1 0
 That’s what she said
  • 1 0
 Phil Kessel pro model.
  • 1 0
 Dick Pound approves!
  • 1 0
 Looks like a Session
  • 1 1
 Looks like a DHF.
  • 2 5
 Looks like a Dissector.
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