TESTED: MITAS TERRAFORCE EF & EH TIRES
BY: CHAD DE ALVA
The right tires can make a night and day difference in the enjoyability of a given ride. With the right tires on your bike, you can rail corners, climb up the loosest, slickest, gnarliest climbs and generally giggle like a kid on Christmas all day long. However, with the wrong tires, rides can devolve into a slip and slide suffer fest and there is a real possibility of having an off or other non-fun event. Mitas (pronounced “Meet-us”) Tires aren’t well known in the United States, despite a number of super-talented riders like Max Gerston and Pol Tarrés running them. In the past, they’ve been hard to source in the US, but thanks to companies like Lindeco Genuine Powersports (LGP), getting Mitas tires is as easy as ordering them online. To get acquainted with Mitas Tires, I spooned a Terraforce EF front and Terraforce EH rear onto my KTM 300 XC-W.
The choice of which Mitas Tires to try first was easy – I simply copied the tire setup Chris Birch runs on his KTM 300. Up front, Chris runs the Terraforce EF in a 90/90-21 in a soft compound denoted by a single green stripe. Out back, he uses the Terraforce EH in a 140/80-18 in Mitas’ Super soft compound denoted by two green stripes. Durometer (Shore A) measurements for the Super soft compound are slightly harder than the two other brands of soft or gummy rear tires that I have on hand. Mitas is known for having long lived tires, so a harder compound isn’t surprising here.
Chris runs these tires with Mitas mousses on his bike, but for this test I used heavy duty tubes.
Spooning the tires onto the stock KTM rims was unremarkable, and the wheels took what I would consider a normal amount of weight to balance.
Rather than easing into these tires, I opted to hit the ground running by riding some of our more difficult local singletrack. I also put my chainsaw mount and a chainsaw on the front of the bike, because why not start on harder trails with an extra 20-plus pounds on the front of the bike? These particular trails are laced through basalt boulder fields on the sides of an extinct volcano. The area burned earlier this year (hence why I needed to bring a chainsaw), and monsoon rains flushed the whole area with an incalculable volume of ash and debris. These trails are best described as very lumpy, silty, and technical.
It took only a few turns to get dialed in on the Mitas Terraforce EF and EH. Cornering performance was great out of both tires in the hardpack and loose rocky single track leading up to the burn, as was braking performance. As the singletrack gave way to big lumpy boulders, the Terraforce EH did a great job finding traction, and climbing up any boulder I wanted to was limited only by my ability. The only complaint that I can level against the tires in these conditions was that the Terraforce EF didn’t stick to the off camber two grit sandpaper that is the basalt boulders as well as some other tires I’ve run.
Moving to the complete opposite end of the trail conditions spectrum, my next ride was on absolutely saturated trails after a monsoon rainstorm. Thanks to randomly distributed clay layers in the soil, the mud can either be no worries or slicker than greased ice. The Mitas Terraforce EF and EH did well in these conditions providing predicable grip and not packing up with mud. Once the trail dried and turned into hero dirt, it was game on, and I didn’t think twice about pushing the tires as hard as I dared. Traction on slimestone (that’s moss covered limestone that’s very slick) was among the best out there. In short, these tires performed very well in these wet to hero-dirt conditions riding single track, and doing more hard enduro stuff like climbs and riding up rock ledges and downed trees.
The Mitas Tires Terraforce EF front and Terraforce EH rear have proven to be great tires for singletrack and enduro style riding. These tires quickly instill confidence, and their performance is top shelf. With the exception of the Terraforce EF not sticking to basalt boulders as well as some other tires I’ve used, it’s hard to find fault with their performance; and to be clear, the front tire is completely usable on Basalt. I have experienced no tearing or chunking from either of these tires, and all of my intentional abuse has done nothing other than create what appears as normal wear on these tires. I’m not sure I can say the same for my rims though. If you’re looking for a premium tire that will help you channel your inner Chris Birch, and that works well across the spectrum of conditions and surfaces from sandpaper to slick and slit-dry to saturated-wet, give the Mitas Terraforce EF and EH a try.
Mitas Enduro Tires, and Mitas Tires for many different applications including road and adventure fitments can be ordered online from LGP at: www.lgp-powersports.com