We’ve got mixed feelings about this, especially when it comes to tyres. While the feeling of zippiness and responsiveness that you get from lightweight tyres is nice, we’ve seen far too many rides and races ruined through fragile tyres getting sliced to pieces. Consequently, we’re usually happy to carry around a bit of extra heft for the security and reliability of tougher treads.
The Textra series of tyres aims to mitigate this compromise, with new sidewall technology which adds a lot of protection with minimal weight gain.
The new Mitas (formerly Rubena) Textra series of tyres aims to mitigate this compromise, with new sidewall technology which adds a lot of protection with minimal weight gain. We’ve been running a pair of these treads on our 29er for the past couple of months; out back we’ve had the zippy 2.25″ Scylla Textra, and up front the more knobbly Kratos, also in a 2.25″.
Mitas (nee Rubena) tyres have a strong following in cross country racing circles, where they’ve won a stack of National Championship and been raced by Australian Olympians. The cross country heritage is clear when you pop them on the scales – even with the Textra sidewalls, these are quite a lightweight set of treads, especially the Scylla which is just over 620g. The Kratos with its more aggressive tread blocks is still only 750g.
Mitas clearly have a lot of faith in the technology as they’re offering a 100-day sidewall guarantee on a Textra tyres!
The Textra sidewalls are these tyres’ real point of difference. The sidewalls are hatched with the pattern of an ultra-tough rubberised fabric which greatly improves the tyre’s resistance to slashes, but without making the sidewalls overly stiff or thick, which can affect the ride quality. This is the genius of the Textra tyres – greater protection, but preserving the supple performance of the 127TPI casing. In fact, to touch, the Textra sidewalls don’t feel noticeably thicker than a regular Mitas tyre. But Mitas clearly have a lot of faith in the technology as they’re offering a 100-day sidewall guarantee on a Textra tyres! You can do a lot of riding in 100 days, so that kind of reassurance is gold, as anyone who’s had to bin a near-new tyres with a slashed sidewall will attest. And apparently, this faith in their product’s performance is justified – the local Mitas distributors promise us they haven’t had one report of a slashed sidewall on a Textra tyre yet, and we certainly didn’t experience any issues. Taking a look at the wording of sidewall guarantee, it’s a very honest, no bull-shit assurance – if your Textra tyre gets slashed in normal riding conditions, you’re covered. You can read more here.
We set our Mitas tyres up on some Stan’s Crest rims, which suited the cross-country intentions of this rubber perfectly. They’re definitely a ‘true’ 2.25″ tyre – compared to the generous dimensions we’re used to from the likes of Schwalbe and Bontrager, the Mitas treads are a bit narrower. The compound on the Textra treads is also quite firm. For now, Mitas only do Textra rubber in their CRX compound, which is really designed for durability and rolling speed. There are plans to introduce their dual compound Greyline rubber to the Textra range in the future, which we’d welcome for the increased side knob grip.
We’ve probably logged about 100km on these tyres to date (which is as far as many people on these tyres will ride in a single race) so we can’t claim to have ridden these tyres into the ground, but we’ve certainly got our head around how they perform. They’re a very fast set of treads, but with good bite in hardpack and sandy conditions too. If we were racing, we’d be very tempted to run the Scylla front and back, as it has sensational straight line speed, but with enough bite that you don’t approach every fast corner with your heart in your mouth. If conditions are looser, using the Kratos up front is a good option. Even though it has a chunkier tread pattern, it’s surprisingly fast too as the centre blocks are quite low profile. We were particularly impressed with its braking performance.
If you’re looking for new rubber, that won’t leave you stranded in a pool of tubeless sealant as everyone else rides away, then give the Mitas Textra tyres a crack.
Both tyres have a really compliant ride quality too, conforming nicely to the terrain when we ran our pressures in the 25-27PSI range. Given these tyres don’t have a huge air volume, that suppleness is really important, helping keep a good footprint on the trail rather than skipping around.
If you’re a cross country or trail rider, then the 100-day sidewall guarantee alone makes these tyres a sound investment, especially if you’ve gone through the wallet emptying pain of binning near-new tyres in the past. These are great cross country treads, with performance characteristics that will be ideal for dusty, sandy Australian race tracks this summer. If you’re looking for new rubber, that will definitely go the distance and won’t leave you stranded in a pool of tubeless sealant as everyone else rides away, then give the Mitas Textra tyres a crack.