Teravail Ehline 29″ X 2.3″ Tires: Checkpoint – by Guitar Ted
Continuing on with our look at good gravel going tires for your mountain bike, we are now focusing on the Teravail Ehline. The trio of tires we are looking at also includes the Vittoria Terreno XC and the Hutchinson Kraken. The introductory post for the Teravail Ehline can be seen here. Okay, with all the necessary information linked, let’s get on with our look at the Ehline 29″ X 2.3″ tires.
This tire differs from the previously reviewed tires in this series in that it has a decent amount of tread, but the tire profile is much more rounded than the Kraken’s or the Terreno XC’s. In fact, it is the ’roundest’ profile of the three. Added to this are the Ehline’s very closely spaced central tread blocks. Essentially, the middle two rows make up a bit of a fast rolling ‘ridge’ which gives this tire more speed in some situations than the Terreno XC and is faster overall than the Kraken almost everywhere.
I ran the pressures below 30psi at all times, staying above 25psi as well. This seemed to be the sweet spot for me. I also found that these tires were only measuring out at 55.1mm/ 2.2″, so a hair under what is claimed. However; I am quite sure that if I were to put these tires on what would be considered XC MTB rims now, which would have a wider inner rim width than these old Bontrager Dusters, they probably would be a 2.3″ width.
In the roll down test, I found something rather curious, but I think I have a theory as to why this might be. The Ehline was not as fast as the Terreno XC, for instance, but it rolled out almost as far, and it matched the narrower, less aggressively treaded Teravail Rutland 700 X 47mm tires. This seemed at odds when tires that allowed for much faster speeds in sections of the course did not have a significantly further roll-out, or were similar in roll out distance.
The reason why I think this is happening is that heavier tires, like the Ehline and the Kraken, tend to keep their momentum longer than lighter tires can. This would explain the speed differentials I am noticing. As always, Riding Gravel makes no claims for scientifically accurate test data, because we don’t have the budget for such equipment. So this observation and hypothesis are merely that- Observations and hypotheses.
Moving on… The Ehline seemed to have good roll on dirt, deteriorated gravel, and on anything off-pavement. On the pavement it was slightly better than the Kraken, but both of those tires are no where near the Vittoria Terreno XC in terms of hard packed or paved performance, which should be obvious. The gravel performance of the Ehline was a mixed bag. Fast on anything until deep. loose gravel was encountered. Here is where that very rounded profile also caused some lateral movement as rocks wanted to squirt out from underneath the tires. This was most notable up front. Deep gravel caused the front tire to ‘plow’ and hunt around for the path of least resistance which made handling a bit more of a concern.
So Far…. I think the Teravail Ehline is a decent choice for gravel for anyone who is looking at a dual-purpose use situation where one bike and one set of tires has to do the dirt and the gravel. The rolling resistance is fine, the ride feel is okay, and there isn’t much to point at that is a negative with the Ehline. That is, until you reach the more extreme gravel conditions we can encounter here in the Mid-West.
My feeling is that the Hutchinson Kraken does handle this loose, deep gravel better, but it seems it is a touch more ‘draggy’ on harder surfaces. A compromise set up might be an Ehline out back with the more stable Kraken up front. But everyone’s situation is going to be different and in some instances, the Terreno XC will be all you need. I do think the Ehline strikes a good middle ground between these two choices though.
So to sum up- A great all-around tire here with good gravel potential. It does fall off a bit at the extreme end where gravel is loose and deep, but otherwise the Ehline seems to strike the best dirt-to-gravel balance of the three tires looked at here. Stay tuned for my final verdict on the Ehline coming soon.
Note: The Teravail Ehline 29″ X 2.3″ tires were sent to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review, and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.