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Schwalbe Kojak Tires


Click here to buy the Schwalbe Kojak tires

Tire science has greatly advanced over the years. Recumbent riders have typically not had the same choices of tires that road bikes have because of their smaller tire sizes. All of our trikes have 20" (406) rims, which keeps them low to the ground. Schwalbe has a great selection of tires specifically aimed at recumbents and most of those tires are available in the 406 size.

The Kojak is one of Schwalbe's newest tires. It has their highest speed rating and is billed as a super-light and fast slick tire for the road.

The Kojak that we are interested in is a "folding tire" and weighs only 215g. The size is 20x1.35 so you may need to get new tubes with the tires. Don't run these tires with the wrong size tubes, otherwise you could get a pinched tube and have a flat.

A great looking tire
This tire is completely treadless. If you are looking for a new look for your trike this could be it. The Kojaks have the look of an old racing style balloon slick. Even the writing on the side of the tires have that old style.

So are they fast?
I say yes. I run Marathons as my normal, all-purpose tires. In preparation for a century I was looking for some tires that could give me a speed boost. With a few long rides under my belt with the Kojaks I feel pretty confident saying that I picked up about 2-3mph in speed over 20mph.

Why ride a slick?
From the Schwalbe site: "Even in wet conditions, on a normal, smooth road, a slick tire actually provides better grip than a tire with a tread, because the contact area is larger." I found this to be true. Where slicks tend to fail is on loose dirt or sand because there is no rubber to dig in. If your ride consists of loose gravel and/or dirt paths then the Kojaks aren't for you. If you have nice paved roads then go for it.

Honestly, the durability and puncture resistance of the Kojaks are what worries me the most about leaving the Kojaks on my trike as my normal commute tires. Although the Kojaks have similar specs as the Marathon Racer tires, the Racers feel like they have a lot more rubber. The Kojaks are built with the Raceguard puncture protection belt. It is a protection belt made from India rubber and nylon fabric that protects well against penetration punctures and has only a minimal affect on weight and rolling resistance. Not as thorn-proof as kevlar, but when running at full psi it works well. I haven't had a flat yet.

These tires are designed to run at a full 95psi and feel rock hard when fully inflated. They are a rather skinny tire at only 1.35 inches wide. I do not recommend running these tires at a lower psi, since this could compromise their puncture resistance. Compared to the Marathon 20-inch x 1.5-inch tires they do ride a little rougher. If you are looking for a comfy commuting/touring tire I recommend going with the Marathon Plus, or Big Apples.

The ULCER 2007 - a true road test
I chose to use the Kojaks for my 111-mile ride in the ULCER century on 8/11/07. Although I had two flats, the faster speed of the Kojaks more than made up for any time lost. These tires are a winner. For more details on that ride click here.

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