A new name in the tyre game, but Teravail has exceeded all expectations with the Kessel.
We’d never heard of Teravail before, so its Kessel tyre was something of a wild card in this test. The US firm makes several gravel and MTB models, with this beefy Kessel designed for aggressive trail and enduro riding and available in either 2.4in or 2.6in widths.
Two different casing options exist – Durable (as tested here with a 60tpi casing) and Ultra-Durable, both using the same spiky tread with pairs of blocky centre lugs pointing slightly inwards and side knobs (reminiscent of the Maxxis Minion DHF) consisting of alternating L-shaped and rectangular lugs.
The Kessel inflated first time bang on the money at 66mm for a 2.6in tyre. Air is held in Teravail’s Durable casing with a robust woven reinforcement to prevent tearing and abrasions and also a fine nylon weave under the tread cap to prevent punctures. It inflates with a pretty hefty and rounded profile in the bigger 2.6in size.
Mounted up front, Kessel grip levels are ridiculous. The rubber and tread both offer so much hold and bite in this semi-plus size that it affected steering, giving a kind of dulled response from the handlebar. With the taller/wider tyre laying down so much rubber and the bar height also slightly lifted, rider balance shifted and we had to adjust perceptions. For this reason we’d love to try the 2.4in version.
If that sounds destabilising, it actually wasn’t, as the Teravail’s traction and control is so powerful our test bike still felt very stable once we’d got used to it. The Kessel is also decent rolling for such an aggressive and tenacious tread – there’s no sense of excessive drag on tarmac and smoother fire roads, and it turns over well without any rumble and bobble. Wet or dry, grip was dependable, plus the durable casing is very conforming and supple, tracking and tracing rocks and roots and rough trail passages.
Teravail has hit the ground running, totally surprising us with its Kessel – it’s a match for any of the premium brands, but – and it’s a big but – the £80 price is sky high and heavily influences the overall rating – we’re not entirely sure how a new tyre brand is going to make inroads by matching rivals yet costing more money, but at least Teravail’s product offers a solid start.