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The Schwalbe Kojak offers great all-weather cornering prowess and are the fastest big volume slick I’ve ever used. Superior town manners mean they're a real hoot when shod to crossers that do turns on the tarmac. Reflective sidewalls, dynamo tracks and similar detailing are notable by their absence, however, and despite a sympathetic riding style, the race guard protective belt seemed unduly susceptible to thorns, sharps and other roadside debris.
The Kojak is available in a wide variety of sizes from 16x1 through to 26x2; even catering for small-wheeled folders, trailers and tagalongs so shamefully discriminated against when it comes to decent quality, performance orientated rubber. We chose the 700x35, which should fit most crossers, hybrids and sporty tourers. 50 Ends per inch (EPI) is two down from top-flight race tyres so you’d be right to expect something pretty swift while the folding version’s 110-kilo maximum payload will reassure heavier riders/those that lug a load or two.
Ours slipped effortlessly aboard shallow and deep section rims with nominal effort, save for a deft nudge of the tyre lever come the final ten centimetres. Soft, speed grip compounds are designed for speed and tenacity through the concrete jungle and at their 95psi maximum, the first few pedal strokes left me reasoning the big ring was the way to go; riders turning CX drivetrains might feel the call of taller gearing.
Wet manhole covers, last minute swerves around errant pedestrians and opening car doors, never flustered the Kojaks, although a soggy towpath proved a genuinely scary experience-even relieved of 20psi so these aren’t the rubber for riders craving a crafty cut-through. This also marked our first of three flats, a thorn burrowed deep inside the carcass that was easily removed using tweezers; a drop of superglue sealed the casing. Despite periodic brush-overs, glass and similar nasties infiltrated the protective belt twice in the space of fifty miles, leaving me disappointed by their middling dependability. It could have just been the luck of the draw though.
Super swift commuter rubber for most machines, although they seem more susceptable to punctures as a result.
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Make and model: Schwalbe Kojak 700x35c tyre
Size tested: 35mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Kojak makes no compromises. Its home is the road. Although the fast, sporty, tread-less slick weighs just 295 g (35-559) it still has a RaceGuard protection belt"
statements I would broadly agree with.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 37 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)