Tioga Binary Tires: At The Finish- by Guitar Ted
The time has come to render a final verdict on a tire which has a few unusual things about it. The Tioga Binary tire is unique in its approach to what makes a gravel tire work with its smooth central tread and the laterally placed side knobs. The characteristics of this tire have led to a few discoveries which you can check in to here in my previous post.
Without getting into covering the same ground as I already have here, there are still some things I am finding out about the Binary tires. One of those things is how well it rolls on pavement. Again, air pressure is paramount in bringing out the different traits that the Binary has going for it. At slightly higher pressures than I would typical use this for on gravel, the Binary becomes a fast rolling, smooth feeling tire. The surprise here is how I never felt that there was an abrupt transition to the side knobs and even when cornering, there was not a lot of rumbling feeding back through the bars. Sure, you could tell the tire had side knobs, but it wasn’t unnerving at all, or even bothersome.
The other thing I discovered here is that the transition between the smoother section and the knobs on the side leaves a little edge. This edge is slightly raised above the section where the knobs start in. The roads here have been wet, rutted, and then dried out. This has caused some hard-edged rutting, which had the effect of catching on that edge on the tire I described.
It wasn’t an issue where I was in any danger of losing control, but this little feature of the Binary could occasionally pop the bike out of line when the tire would ride up on a rut and then slip off. Granted, this all could be mitigated with air pressure, (lower), and rim width may also play into whether or not this manifests itself on anyone else’s set up. It was a minor nit in a tire that otherwise has been a pleasant surprise to ride.
At The Finish: First off, I like the Binary tires from Tioga a lot. They have a great feeling on gravel and they can do some things with more severe conditions that other tires cannot do well. They roll smoothly and have a unique characteristic for a gravel based design in that the central part of the tread is smooth and fast on pavement. If I were a rider that had a 50% or so pavement to gravel ratio for riding, or if I had a lot of paved riding to do to get to gravel/back roads, this would be a tire high on my list of choices.
Tioga set out its claimed traits and goals for this tire and in my opinion, they have achieved them. The potential for “more” is the tantalizing bit that is still missing here. Tioga is well aware that riders are thinking this as well. Tubeless ready, maybe something in a wider width, and other possibilities with this design are things we at Riding Gravel would like to see going forward for the Binary. Until such time that these sorts of features are offered though, all I can say is that the Binary is a surprisingly good, relatively affordable tubed tire option for the gravel rider that wants an “all around” tire. A tire that is going to be great on pavement and off it.
Note- Tioga sent the Binary tires for test and review at no charge to RidingGravel.com. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.