Just back from my first ride on these, and I have to say that they far exceeded my expectations. They replaced a set of The Captain Control 2.2s (both Ravens and Captains are being run front-and-rear). Most noticeably, they dropped something like a pound of rotating mass off my bike (an alu Racer-X); that's weight you can feel when you heft the bike, and weight you can REALLY feel in the ease with which these spin back up to speed coming out of corners.
The tires are wicked light, thin, and supple. I admit that I was skeptical when I first put them on, as they are indeed near-slick with minimal knobs. But they ride great; smooth and fast, with the low pressure (I ran 25 front/28 rear for my 180lbs) really taking the sting out of roots.
The grip is way better than I thought. I was riding my local loop of twisty, rooty singletrack, mainly hardpack-to-tacky dirt and the occasional puddle. I was a little skittish at first (no knobs doesn't inspire a lot of confidence!) but as the ride progressed I pushed them harder and harder. I'd say they actually stuck better then the Captains, and the suppleness and low pressure allows great grip in rooty or rough turns; they just cling to the trail like velcro, and the low knobs don't squirm or shift the way knobbier tires can when run at low pressure. The only situation where they were noticeably less grippy than the Captains was in really greasy mud (but really what tire works well there?). The rear also broke free a bit more easily than I was used to under hard braking, but this was easy to control, and the loss of traction was gradual and easy to compensate for.
Bottom line: first impression exceeded expectations. We'll see how they do in other conditions and how they hold up, but I'm optimistic!
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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