Hello, lovelies. Coming atcha fresh from the Fat-bike.com testing grounds is our review of Teravail’s 26×4.0 “Light and Supple” Coronado tires.
To give the Coronados the best test possible over the course of just a few weeks, I swapped them between three different bikes for a more well rounded review. Testing was done mostly using a drop-bar Moots Frosti with Marge Lite rims (65mm) on long gravel, B-road and other mixed surface rides. To mix it up, I also put the Coronados on a Salsa Bucksaw, (also using Marge Lites) for several mountain bike rides, and finally on a Salsa Beargrease with HED Big Deal rims (85mm) to see how they behave on wider rims. Let’s dive right in then, shall we?
– First Impressions:
I unboxed the Coronados just as soon as the box arrived from Fat-bike.com World HQ and noticed a couple things right away. First off was the very distinct tread pattern which is fairly different from most current fat offerings, using a lower, flatter chevron center and some nicely shaped side knobs; a bit reminiscent of the ‘ol Surly Endomorph . Many riders thought the Endo was a fantastic sand/beach riding tire, and the info on Teravail’s website call the Coronado out as one that excels in dry, sandy environments… so, this could be a new incarnation of an old stand-by. Secondly, I noticed that my “Light and Supple” versions of the Coronado sure felt like they deserve that label. I didn’t get the gram-counter out, but they definitely felt lighter than the Bontrager Hodags that I pulled off the Moots, and there was no question that the casing and tread were much softer and more pliable. (All of the size and weight data is here – https://fat-bike.com/2018/05/first-look-treavail-coronado-26-x-4-0-tires/)
Mounting the Coronados was quick and easy on the Marge Lites. Installation on the Big Deals took a bit more work, but the beads seated home with a loud bang, making a tight, solid seal for tubeless set-ups.
– Ride Impressions 1 of 3:
The large majority of our test miles were put down on using the Moots with 65mm wide rims, with 6 psi in front and 7 psi rear. Aside from aggressive mountain bike riding, this bike is my primary rig, and during testing the Coronados were ridden on every kind of North Iowa gravel ranging in conditions from wet and soggy, super chunky and freshly dumped, to dry and powdery hero gravel. Also in the mix were minimum maintenance dirt and rock roads, double track mtb trails, railroad ballast rock and even a short trip down a sandy beach.
An improved ride quality was what I first noticed when I hit the road, which is saying something when aboard a bike that already has a magic-carpet-like ride. At first, the tires had a bit of that “auto-steer” feeling when cornering, but after a couple rides to get the air pressure dialed in that sensation was gone. I would attribute that feeling to how supple the casing is, and how well the tire flexes and conforms in corners while the soft side lugs dig in. The Coronados absorb washboard and potholes nicely and softly float over the freshly quarried fresh gravel chunk while rolling nice and fast on the smooth stuff.
As much as I try to keep my rides on unpaved surfaces as much as possible, a few miles of pavement are inevitable; here the Coronados cruise happily along where many other fat-bike tires seem to drag excessively. There aren’t many beach riding opportunities here in North Iowa, but I did hit one small stretch during testing. Not having spent much time riding just sand it was new territory for me, but the Coronados did just fine pointed forward, and I was able to corner and accelerate without losing control or having to dab.
I really enjoyed the Coronados on the Moots, and I’d say they’re in the running for my favorite fat gravel tires. As soon as I’m done testing them on a couple other bikes, they’ll definitely be going back on this bike for the rest of their lifespan.
– Ride Impressions 2 of 3:
The second round of testing was done mountain biking, using a Salsa Bucksaw (also running 65mm rims) this time with 7 psi front and 7.5 psi rear. I also ran the rear tire in the reverse direction to see if that would provide some extra bite. Our local mountain bike trails are in an area once quarried by a cement company, now a conservation area mostly taken back by nature. Trail conditions here include packed gravel double track, twisty single track with short, steep climbs, plenty of log piles and numerous sections on large rocks that sometimes shift beneath you and are always threatening to cut a sidewall.
My first mountain bike ride on the Coronados was a day after some rain, and despite loading up a little in some greasy sections, the tires bit in better than I’d have expected and never lost their grip on the wet, rooty climbs. Warm weather and wind dried the trails right up, and my next several rides were on nice tacky single track and dry, loose double track; both places the Coronados shine. Just as they were on the gravel, these babies are fast, and I found myself coming into a few corners unexpectedly faster than normal. Transitions from going straight to cornering were smooth, grippy and predictable. Climbing, acceleration and braking traction was surprisingly good for a tire that doesn’t look overly aggressive. There was a noticeable change in rolling resistance on pavement with the rear tire reversed, but I do think it helped the tractive effort while climbing in the dirt.
– Ride Impressions 3 of 3:
Despite testing the Coronados on two very different bikes in two totally different kinds of use there was one constant, and that was the 65mm rim width on both bikes. Since 80 – 85mm rims are the norm on fatties these days, I felt it would be remiss of me not to try them on a wider rim. I’ve liked several tires on my narrower rims in the past, only to try them on wider rims to discover increased “auto-steer” or other handling behaviors I didn’t care for. In the final round of testing the Coronados were mounted up to a pair of 85mm HED Big Deals (6 psi front, 7 psi rear) and run on my fantastic plastic Salsa Beargrease.
Due to some heavy rains, it was back to the gravels for the Coronados. I was pleasantly surprised at how much the tires widened and filled out on the wider rims, I think also partially due to the very shallow sidewall on the Big Deals allowing them to fatten out nicely. The day after a heavy rainstorm led to mostly dust-free hero gravel and the Coronados sailed quickly along the Iowa countryside. We got a little brave and hit a couple miles of dirt “level B” road to see how the tires would perform in some sticky mud. Because of the low, flat, closely spaced knobs on these tires, everything that makes them a great dry condition tire does make them less awesome in the mud, as it loads up in between those lugs and packs up a good bit.
The good news here as that when back onto the packed gravel, the Coronados released all the mud in a grand cascade (up my nose and into my helmet vents) and after about a half mile they had completely shed clean. More good news is that on the wider rims the cornering is the same if not slightly improved, especially on pavement, which was quite a surprise. The extra rim width didn’t seem to slow the tires down any, on pavement or gravel, and the float factor over in the super chunky side of the road was excellent.
– Final thoughts:
I think Teravail has a darn nice tire here, and it’s no wonder they’ve expanded the size offerings available (but maybe a tan-wall 26 x 4.0 would be cool… wink wink). The Coronado is certainly everything they say it is; a very capable dry condition tire for all kinds of mixed terrain. The “Light and Supple” casing seems like a win, as the ride quality of the tires is very nice and they grip better than looks would let on; I’m curious to see how they wear as the miles stack up so I’m going to report back at the end of Summer with how the Coronados hold up over the long haul. Also, despite all of the jagged rocks, abandoned cement plant haul roads, old barbed wire and railroad tracks I put the Coronados through, I never suffered a flat.
Thanks for reading y’all, we’ll see you out there.