Ride report: Forte Pisgah 2.3(f) Forte Tsali 2.2(r)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ride report: Forte Pisgah 2.3(f) Forte Tsali 2.2(r)

    Background: transplanted rider from Ct. riding in metro Atlanta. From rocky, rooty, wet soil to red-clay hardpack. I've been riding my old faves from Ct for the past several years...usually an IRC choice, most lately Serac XC 2.1 f&r. Seemed adequate, but couldn't rail the turns like I used to up north. Climbing was still great in wet sections, but the edge knobs just weren't up to the job.

    I finally decided to try a more appropriate tire set and I chose the Forte options based on ride reviews here.

    Forte Pisgah 26x2.3
    The Pisgah is a true size 2.3 and is high volume with a tread pattern that borrows heavily from several tires, such as the Nevegal (pattern) and Fire XC (lug shapes). It's a single compound tire with a hardness in the middle of soft/hard at 60A.

    Billboard


    Tread


    Forte Tsali 26x2.2
    I just this week installed the Tsali 2.2 on the rear. This tire has a very tall profile and instead of a broken line of edge knobs, the Tsali has an almost un-interrupted line of edge knobs with ramped intermediate and center knobs. It's a bit like a Small Block 8, but the knobs are about twice as high and separated just a bit more. This is a dual durometer tire with a 60A/70A combination with the higher durometer in the center ramped treads (I'm guessing).
    Billboard


    Tread


    Setup Issues
    The Pisgah fits inside the fork very nicely. The high volume casing is as tall as it is wide, so it just looks right. But, riding an old scoot has its disadvantages...My old bike frame was designed around early 2000's race tire tech when 2.1's were "big" tires. So, I had to modify the rear fender of the iDrive a bit, but I got it sorted. Here, you can see how tall the rear tire actually is. I had to shave my rear fender lower mount bolt and heat up the fender in the seatstays and mold it better to the brake bridge (or whatever they call it now). I won't go fender free on this frame, but I might have to mod this if it ever starts being an issue. For right now, it's got about 3/16" clearance all around.


    (not sure if you can see the clearance, but those with iDrives will understand)

    Finally, the ride
    I wanted to see how these worked together on typical metro Atlanta trails, so I chose the new Mill trails at Olde Rope Mill park in Woodstock. These intermediate trails are very flowy and for the most part, it's like a 3 mile long pump track with some small doubles, lots of woops and berms on most downhill turns.
    With the Serac in the rear, I was having to brake a lot when hitting the berms and such, but with the new Tsali in the rear, the bike rails even the most off-camber washouts with ease. After about 20 min. on the trail, I was finally able to trust the tires and ended up doing my normal weekday loop 2 min faster and I probably pedaled 20% less, being able to carry more speed through the turns. Overall, I think this is the best setup I've ridden in a very long time.
    The large volume front has excellent traction in hardpack, loose over hardpack, washed out corners, and switchbacks. The tire rolls very fast for its size and tread type. Another side benefit was I am actually able to remedy the on/off nature of my front Hayes HFX-9 by installing a 180mm rotor in the front and allow the improved traction of the tire and higher MOI of the larger rotor, making the brake much more progressive feeling.
    The rear tire (finally) dutifully follows the front, allowing me the choice of steering from the front of the bike or the back. It's much more comfortable being able to choose which type of turn I want to make based on terrain. I now know that if a sketchy off camber is coming up at speed, I can move my weight over the back of the bike and just lean and it will bite hard. Conversely, steering from the front allows just enough give to the traction in the rear to swing it slowly around high speed berms and such. This tire is also VERY fast. Pedalling was markedly easier than my old Seracs which were fast tires in their day. Traction in the hardpack was amazing as well.
    I've heard folks having issues with the sidewalls of the Tsalis, but I'm not too concerned. First, I've given up on Stan's and B.) Despite my size, I ride pretty light and try to pick lines that don't tear up tires. YMMV on sidewall durability.

    Overall
    If you're on a limited budget, ride hardpack and aren't a brand snob, I'd take a serious look at these. I got the Pisgah for $19 bux with a coupon and the Tsali for $24 bux. That's less than ONE big brand tires. And from what I understand, these are manufactured in the same factories as Panaracer. Performance did an excellent job on these.


    Tires I've ridden in these conditions:

    IRC Mibro 2.25/2.1 (folding, Stan's and tubed)
    IRC Serac XC 2.1 (folding, Stan's and tubed)
    WTB Velociraptor/Smoke 2.1 (folding, tubed)
    Geax Blade 2.1 (folding, tubed)

    Bike:
    2001 GT iDrive 4.0 Large
    Mavic x317 disc/Wheelsmith DB14s/American Classic disc
    Manitou Black Super Air SPV 80mm
    '04 Shimano XT Derailleurs, LX Shifters 2x9 22t/32t, 12-34t cassette
    Truvativ Firex square tapers on BB-UN72 (XT)
    Raceface/Easton cockpit
    Hayes HFX-9 Carbon 180mm/160mm



    Me:
    6'1"
    205 lbs
    (didn't know they stacked stupid that high, didya)

    (who needs a hug today?)


    Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, please ask.

    AJ
    "Stop smirking. It's irritating" - Judge Judy

  2. #2
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    You need a fork fender.

    So, I will admit I skimmed a little, but are these tubeless ready and are you using tubes or not?

  3. #3
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    These are NOT tubeless ready AFAIK and I'm using lightweight tubes, even at 215 with gear.

    If I don't come home in speckled shirt once in a while, my wife will probably think I'm out doing something else.

    AJ
    "Stop smirking. It's irritating" - Judge Judy

  4. #4
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    I have a season and a half on a pisgah. I like it, its decently grippy and confident. No weird handling characteristics and no surprises. Its amazing for the price. Theres better tires out there, but they cost a lot more.

    Its STIFF though. Im 185 and run it tubed, at about 21psi. Thats just where it ended up to get some compliance from the tire. On the rocky sections I still get some deflection, but my trails arent that rocky. The tire stiffness makes for confident handling otherwise, but its still weird how stiff the tire is.

    It handles like a stiff nevegal that rolls faster, if that helps for comparison.

  5. #5
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    I use the Tsali on my 26er, really love how it rolls and the great grip except when the trails are leaf-covered in the late fall/winter. At that point I'd rather ride on the rim for increased traction.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  6. #6
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    For the record, I'm running both at 40psi and the tires are great. I was able to get out again tonight for about 5 miles, adding an additional loop that has more woops and berms. Handled great.

    I guess it's my weight, but I get tire rollover on the rear when I go below 35psi or so no matter what the tire.

    AJ
    "Stop smirking. It's irritating" - Judge Judy

  7. #7
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    Ride update....sloppy rocks and roots!

    4th of July ride today after a long night of rain. Typically, the trails are closed here after a night like that but they weren't today. Figured I'd go out and ride a loop or two and see how they do in the snot.

    I rode the South Loop at Blanket's Creek and it was WET. In Ga, mostly you don't get mud, but a layer of water on top of the packed clay. The South Loop has a lot of loose babyheads some off-camber climbs with rock shelves and lots of roots. I was tentative, but I must say they rode very well for the conditions. I was able to clean the outer uphill which is about 150 yards of rocky outcroppings and shelves with large cross roots with no problem. I was pretty surprised how the rear gripped in the wet.

    Overall these tires have exceeded my expectations. At 34psi today, they were fast and gripped very well on the wet rocks and roots. I actually felt a little like being back in Ct for a little while.

    Looks like I'm in for some maintenance tomorrow:



    AJ
    "Stop smirking. It's irritating" - Judge Judy

  8. #8
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    I-Drive rocks!

  9. #9
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    Thanks! Yes, they do/did. I've ridden every version of the iDrive and this one still works the best. It's got a built in platform.

    Here's the rest of us on MTBR:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/gt/original-i...re-680510.html

    AJ
    "Stop smirking. It's irritating" - Judge Judy

  10. #10
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    Thanks for posting, this helped me make my decision to go with the Tsali/Pisgah combo for my new bike.

    I just got mine in the mail yesterday and weighed each, they were quite a bit off from the stated weights.

    Tsali 29" folding bead 620g
    Psgah 29" folding bead 665g

    Haven't installed them yet but I plan to run them tubeless on my Seeker. I think these will be a much better choice than the Vee Rubber tires I was considering.

  11. #11
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    Let us know how they are in 29". I'm running them on 26" and I love them.

    AJ
    "Stop smirking. It's irritating" - Judge Judy

  12. #12
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    I didn't notice before but I think your rear tire is installed backwards, at least backwards from the Tsali on my hardtail.
    I looked on mine and realize it doesn't specify direction but I installed it the same way as my Stumpjumper with a Larsen TT tire (which I thought the Tsali was based on) and that one is directional. Just an fyi.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  13. #13
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    Yes. I'm running it in reverse orientation so that the biting edges are there for better climbing. Habit, I guess.

    AJ
    "Stop smirking. It's irritating" - Judge Judy

  14. #14
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    I have set up the Pisgahs tubeless and it works great. They seated up with just a floor pump for me. I usually fill tires up with air first and no sealant to seat the bead. After bead is seated, deflate and put sealant via valve stem. To my surprise, the Pisgah held air without sealant for quite some time. Thant means it's not very porous. Rides nice without tubes and less deflection. No burps for over a year and run pressure around 25 psi. Btw I'm 160 rider weight.

  15. #15
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    I ran stans for years and just got fed up with the mess of it all. Plus the solution would eat through the carcass of the tire. I might try it again next season with the latest gen of sealant. We'll see.

    AJ
    "Stop smirking. It's irritating" - Judge Judy

  16. #16
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    Good report. I have run 26" Pisgah's on/off for a bit over a year. I was unfamiliar with the Tsali and ran a Pisgah front/back. I only got 180 miles out of a rear before it was completely trashed but the front held up famously for quite a long time. I ran them 2Bliss from day one. All but 1 out of maybe 4 that I have mounted up set up tubeless as easily as any UST tire I have run. The one that didn't was being difficult due to the shape of the bead from being wrapped up and stored. I put the last set on my SJ Comp custom build I just sold off. I'm rolling on a Hans Dampf now but they share a similar profile and did real well in loose over packed and rocky chunk. I gave a set of 29'rs to my buddy when he was struggling with coin and bald tires and asked only for a report on how they did performance wise and longevity since he was so brutally harsh on tires. I never did get a solid report back and just quit asking. Sorry I can't offer that info.

  17. #17
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    So I ran these tires with tubes (27psi) for 3 rides and tubeless (26psi) for 2 ridea on a mix of trails (rooty, mildly rocky, mildly sandy, clay hardpack, leaves) and they did great. The Pisgah (F) can surely kick up some loose soil/sand, but at no time has it felt sketchy or slid out. If you ride a lot of loose stuff it would probably work well as a rear too.

    The Tsali rear has performed equally well. It grips loose rocky climbs and slick (not wet) roots and of course shines on hardpack. Both tires have pretty soft sidewalls which makes for great feel of what the bike is doing. I don't see many rock gardens so not too worried about sidewall punctures.

    The tires mounted up easily on 3 different WTB rims (ST i19, ST i23, Freq i23) and seem pretty fat on the i23 rims, very close to the stated 2.2". When I finally mounted them tubeless, it was a breeze even for a first-timer like myself. WTB Frequency i23 rims, Stan's 25mm tape, Orange Seal (4oz per tire). The tires mounted up with a floor pump no problem, beads popped around 35psi, and even before sealant held 35psi really well with only a tiny tiny slow leak at one spot in the bead. For non UST/TCS tires, I thought this was pretty good.

    I have no complaints about this combo, it grips when I need it to, rolls nicely, relatively lightweight, and, as a bonus, about as cheap as you can ask for. Unless they wear really fast or I discover some other issue, I plan to stick with this combo for Charlotte area trails!
    Last edited by Jerz_subbie; 08-24-2015 at 08:32 AM.

  18. #18
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    Pishah's 26x2.3s f&r for a season and a half, rear shows some wear now, with tubes running 24psi f and 26psi r. Very happy with them, not fast rolling but acceptable.

    On my other bike I run Psgah 29x2.2 f, 21-22psi and Tsali 29x2.2 rear, 24-25psi on i23 equivalent rims. They came in at around 650g each and I've been running them with Stans this season. Sidewalls are showing some wear now and Pisgah seeped around the bead for about a week. Tsali was solid tubeless from day one.
    I might loose a bit of speed running the Pisgah front but I love the confidence it provides in various types of terrain. One race we started 15 mins after the rain stopped and while pretty much everyone was sliding all over the place I had ride slower but almost had no problems with grip, front or rear. I'm very impressed at the value and quality these tires provide for so little $$.
    2019 Yeti SB100
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mevnet View Post
    I'm very impressed at the value and quality these tires provide for so little $$.
    Agreed.
    Hope they add 27.5" tires soon.
    Niner Jet 9 RDO, Scalpel 29, XTC 650b, 04 Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Trek Rigid SS - No suspension, no gears....no problem

  20. #20
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    I ran these for a while and really liked them, 20 bucks a tire on sale is a great deal for a light, fast, tire. I ran it tubeless with about 25 lbs pressure. After about 300 miles I noticed a very regular breaking down of the side walls on the Tsali. The cords were showing through all the way around both sides of the tire at a very very regular 3/4 inch distance. After a while I started losing air overnight, It was leaking out one of the worn spots. I think the sidewall flexes at 25 lbs and it just wears out ( Im 155 lbs)
    I can live with it, I bought a Tsali and a Pisgah on sale for 20 per tire and I am good for another few months.

  21. #21
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    Wow. I'd have dents in my rims at 25psi. LOL.

    AJ
    "Stop smirking. It's irritating" - Judge Judy

  22. #22
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    I usually ran about 25 in my front tires. On the pisgah im running 18-19psi. The tire is so stiff! This is with tubes too, and zero pinch flats or rim strikes. Im 185lb, so im not incredibly light or anything.

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