I decided to mount the Ehline as a rear tire and the Honcho as a front to take advantage of my testing time while utilizing their respective strengths. The tires are tubeless ready and I mounted them onto DT Swiss XM481 rims. The fit was fairly tight and it took some foul language and muscle to get them installed. Once installed however, it was effortless to seat them with a standard floor pump.
Be warned if you still ride with inner tubes, I did try to install them with a tube and after about an hour of trying I decided to give up. During our test we didn’t encounter any air loss or burping, which is impressive. The downside to the stiff carcass is trailside flat changing. Carrying a tube isn’t going to help if you can’t get the tires on or off. My recommendation would be to carry plugs and maybe pack a can of Gup.
Before riding these tires, I was running quiet an aggressive tire setup. These tires looked a lot more XC than my previous tire spec and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had some real concern about how these tires would perform on an aggressive trail bike, ridden by a larger rider on some steep and rowdy British Columbia trails.
I was quickly and pleasantly surprised with how these tires perform on a variety of trails. They were able to stick to large rock rolls, they cornered well in the dry and were predictable at speeds. The Ehline is a little bit less predictable in the wet, but if I was going to be spending more time in deep, steep or wet terrain, I’d just run Honchos front and rear.
Since I’m a bit heavier than some of those twig-skinny testers out there, I ran the tires with around 35 PSI in them. Both tires have a recommended pressure range of 25-45 PSI. With 35 PSI inside, it was difficult to make them burp or get any sidewall roll over. Reducing the air did cause the tires to feel unstable and there were a couple of issues with the bead coming out of the rear rim when cornering hard and roosting corners.
While I do like the tires a lot, they are not without fault. The tires lose a lot of air between rides. The tire was seated properly and there was sealant in the tire but night after night the tires would lose air. If the bike was left for a couple of days the tires would be near flat. The Ehlines lose air much faster than the Honcho’s. We were constantly checking tire pressure and adding air before rides to make sure that a lack of pressure wasn’t going to leave us stranded.
For XC riders, the Ehline front and rear would make for a fast rolling tire combination. For riders looking for a little bit more traction, I feel confident saying the Honcho would be a good option. I really liked the combination of the Honcho and the Ehline and it proved to be a fast rolling combination that was meaty enough to be ridden aggressively.
The loss of air bordered on being annoying and for riders who like to set it and forget it, this might be a deal breaker. Having to check tire pressure and add air daily was a nuisance and it did make riding these tires less enjoyable. Overall I’d say the tires are surprisingly good and they are worth trying out if monitoring pressure and adding air daily isn’t going to annoy you.
Ehline – 895g
Honcho – 1,040g
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