Rubena Scylla and Kratos 29er Tires

29er Tires

Rubena Scylla and Kratos Tires Review

We first rode the Scylla front and rear on a Santa Cruz Highball 29er. We mounted them tubeless and they sealed up with no problems. I aired it up to my normal 22 psi but I had to keep rechecking the air pressure as pressing the sidewall felt softer than normal. It turns out that sidewall material is so compliant that it feels like it has less pressure. Now, it’s not cloth thin like some tires but the rubber itself conforms nicely.

Strengths

  • Supple casing results in comfortable ride
  • Protected sidewall
  • Weight is light for what it is
  • Dual compound exhibits good grip and rolling abilities
  • Very flexible configurations with Scylla and Kratos combinations
  • Scylla is a great XC race tire
  • Kratos grips very well
  • Refreshing to see a fresh approach to tire design

Weaknesses

  • Not as much volume as size claims
  • Two-tone appearance is not for everyone
  • Not a lot of retailers yet

The Scylla is a very fast race tire and it should be. Measured against it are fast, low knob 29er tires like the:

  • Kenda SB8
  • Specialized Renegade
  • Maxxis Crossmark
  • Panaracer Driver Pro
  • Continental Race King

These are tires that would be rated 2 stars if judged by grip alone. Rather, speed and winning climbing and endurance races is their #1 priority. If they keep you upright on corners and steep descents, that is often good enough. Bermed, loamy spring and fall conditions are good for these tires as well when not racing. And as conditions get looser, these can get relegated to rear tire usage only, as most of the speed benefit is on the rear while the traction benefit is up front.

I’ve used all the tires stated above and I’m very familiar with this category of ‘speed’ tires. Low pressure is critical and 29ers with long contact patches are good as well.

The Scylla is a great tire. It is fast and it keeps you upright. The low knobs in the middle coupled with the harder compound, enables this tire to scoot up climbs with enthusiasm. The tire has a nice rounded profile too, so leaning the tire left to right is consistent. Lastly, it’s got decent cornering knobs, so you can actually lean this tire into a corner more than its peers mentioned above. It’s got some pretty good cornering grip and it never let us down on the high speed turns.

As the trails got looser, climbing and braking traction started to suffer a bit. Also, the front started communicating signs that it was starting to slip on dusty corners. The Rubena Kratos came to the rescue.

We put the Kratos on the front only and started hitting the corners hard again. The Kratos is wonderfully predictable and it handles corners with ease. Braking is impressive too, as it performed well even in dusty covered trails. We set some Strava personal records not only up but going downhill as well, as we mounted this on our trusty Specialized Carbon Epic

Over the course of 20 rides, we hardly noticed wear on the tires so we expect these to last long. We are pleasantly surprised to see this tire from this new (to the US) company. It’s good to see a new player in the market deliver a fresh approach to tires.

Overall: 5 chili peppers
Value: 4.5 chili peppers

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • StiHacka says:

    Nice review, thank you Francis. It is good to see quality Czech products appearing in the US. I wish they will get in the 650b business and give us some aggressive AM treads for the betweeners, too. remerx.cz, a Czech wheels manufacturer, has been offering 650b rims for a while so I believe there must be some demand at least in the EU.

  • trifasciata says:

    Which is a better front tire (cornering, traction), the Scylla or Panaracer Driver Pro?

  • Francis says:

    The better cornering tire is the Panaracer Driver Pro because it has large side knobs. The Scylla is a little better at climbing and braking. My ultimate speed setup is the Driver Pro front and Scylla back.

  • Case says:

    Hello. I’m the distributor for Rubena here in the States and I thought I’d jump in with a couple of things. @StiHacka, Rubena will be producing the Scylla and the Charybdis in 650b and they will be available soon. @MTBR.com, thanks for the review, I’m very happy you thought well of the tires. We work hard to find vendors like Rubena to bring to market here in the States. I was immediately impressed with their quality and their pricing. I encourage anyone here to please post thoughts and critiques when you have had the opportunity to ride Rubena.

    Thanks,

    Matt Case

  • nfsfox says:

    Ah its nice to see the compan work its way up and into the US. Here in Slovakia these tires aren’t very common but the feedback that people give on them is very impressive. I was about to buy a set of crossmakrs but who knows… I might change my mind.

  • joules says:

    so a review of a tire without a picture of the tread… really?

    that’s 99% of the information I would want about a tire, and without it this review is just about worthless.

  • Pavel says:

    Hi from Rubena, Czech Republic.
    Following the review I would like assure everyone that you will see Scylla (27,5 x 2,25) and Charybdis (2,00 x 27,5) introduced at the Eurobike show in Germany as well as at Interbike in Las Vegas in a few weeks.
    Generally tires are available either in black (single compound) or Grey Line (dual compound). They are well tested in harsh conditions such as South African Cape Epic race. Epic proven combination is to have Kratos in the front and Scylla on the rear wheel.
    Enjoy the rides with Rubena! And wait for more exciting new products such as freeride tires, road racing tires, BMX tires,… Many of them are already with our riders at the Olympic games in London. You can watch Rubena riders such as Rebecca Henderson (Australian, MTB XC U23), Dan McConnell (Australian, MTB XC Elite) both Champions of Australia and Oceania 2012 (Rebecca finished in the 2nd place overall in the 2012 World Cup U23), or Romana Labounkova (4X 2011 European Champion),etc.

  • hawkeye says:

    @Pavel: When will some bigger bag size tyres be available? Presently in Australia, only the 2.25s are available, which are more like 2.0s.

    Most recreational riders here prefer to run a 2.25-2.3 front tyre as measured (particularly for the front) – which would probably translate to a 2.4-2.5 in Rubena sizing.

    Any comments?

  • DJ says:

    Got to say i’m riding the Kratos on my Air9 Carbon SS here in Bend OR, as fast as the SB8 they replaced but more than twice the grip. No-brainier, cheap, mine inflated with a flow pump tubeless put in some Stan’s (just in case), only thing that would get me off these tires is if they brought out a 2.35/2.4. Love mine. Cheers

  • TS says:

    Hi, thanks all for the feedback on Rubena 29″ tyres; my first 29er is on order, Canyon AL 29, I decided to use Panaracer Driver Pro as rear tyre, Rubena Kratos at the front. Should be a good alternate to more common Conti Race King/Mountain King II. I am very curious to experience both tyres….cheers TS

  • Tony says:

    I’ve been running these on my 29er for the past 6 months here in OZ with the Kratos front Sylla rear. I’m very pleased with them so far. Not as big as tye stated size implies but easy to run tubeless & light. They feel similar in grip to the Nobby Nic/Racing Ralph combi. I think that they’re comfy due to the high TPI count.
    The rear sidewalls are now just about dead due to our unavoidable rocks but as a light & comfortable race tyre these work well.

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