The Schwalbe Kojak Folding 26 x 2.0 bicycle tire (Photos at end of article) has been on my mind for quite some time as the best replacement choice for the rear of my Recumbent Mid Racer in order to smooth out the ride while at the same time keeping the weight down and the rolling resistance up. Unfortunately the folding version of the Schwalbe Kojak can sometimes be hard to find in the USA and it is frequently listed as out of stock on the Schwalbe Site. So I was pretty happy to find one in stock at Amazon. What I wasn't happy to find was the price! I paid almost $50, but that did include shipping. So all in all not bad and a pretty good price on the Kojak considering what most bike shops charge and none of them ship free.
Since I ordered my tire just 3 weeks ago when Amazon said there was only 1 in stock, they have now been restocked and are showing 3 in stock. And the new price is now $42.48! Blah, isn't that the way it goes; as soon as you buy something you find it very soon after at a much lower price? It's just the way it is I suppose. In any case the Schwalbe Kojak in my opinion is well worth the money because there is no other completely slick folding tire in it's size that even exists.
Here is the "trick" you need to know when buying anything including bicycle components from Amazon. And I have learned this one the hard way. Amazon sells products and they promote other people's products. This means that the exact same item on Amazon can be sold for different prices! This also means that if there is a problem you could end up dealing with Amazon or a 3rd party. When you are searching for products make sure you search the ENTIRE AMAZON site. This is easy to do. In the search bar at the top select "All Departments". Then you can refine your search from there. Usually bike parts are in the Sports & Outdoors department.
Amazon Links for Schwalbe Kojak Tire:
Kojak Folding : Schwalbe Kojak Folding Bead Tire (26X2.0)
Kojak All Tire Sizes: All Sizes of Schwalbe Kojak Tires
You may also want to try AE Bike in Michigan as they carry some Schwalbes and have a good track record for delivery. I bought my Durano's there... they did not have the Kojak's when I checked.
The folding version of the Kojak is 460 grams in the 26 x 2.0 size, and comparing that to my existing Continental Sport contact that is only 200 grams more for a much larger tire (The height of the rear of the bike rose about 1.5"! I intentionally wanted the rise because I have recently changed out the front fork to one that is "suspension corrected" to match the height of the suspension fork it replaced (Dropped about 2 lbs off the bike weight). So with the fork swap and the new tire the ride is about the same level. Would a slight rise in the rear vs the front without a fork swap make a difference? I don't know. Every time you change something on your bike it changes the performance or geometry slightly. The handling of bicycle with the new fork has drastically improved the handling of the bicycle for the better! Very happy about that. I'll have to write about that in another review. I also need to do a review on the new wheel build and the Velocity Race Hub. Never seems to be enough time to do everything.
Back on point. The Schwalbe Kojak feels very well made. There are no rough edges and the mounting was surprisingly easy... didn't have to break out the Tire Bead Jack for this one... just a little pressure on the thumbs and it mounted right up. This might have something to do with the Mavic 717's that I am now running front and back, I don't know for sure, but in any case it was very easy to mount and very secure when inflated.
The ride of the Kojak vs the 1.4" Conti it replaces is surprisingly similar in terms of rolling resistance. In fact the Kojak may actually roll a little bit better from a purely subjective standpoint (we all like to feel good about what we buy right?). I chose to run the tire at Max Pressure to start to see how it feels. Max pressure is 85 PSI. Recommended pressure is 70 PSI. At 85 PSI the tire does feel a bit STIFF, while still quick, it was not quite what I was going for. So I reduced the pressure to 70 PSI and the ride smoothed out noticeably.
I barely feel the difference in rotation spin up (Acceleration) vs the Conti but that is also likely due to the new wheel I had built up that dropped the weight over the existing wheel by about 10 ounces! So even after the additional 200 grams the new wheel with the Schwalbe Kojak mounted is lighter. And the Velocity Race hub spins very smoothly.
Although I'm not the guy who tries to maximize corners at high speed, this tire does corner much better than the previous tires I've run - the Specialized Fatboy, Schwalbe Durano, and Continental Sport contact - on this bicycle. I also don't worry so much about hitting a small rock now when I corner. I have had the back end slide out from under me with small stones in the past.
Hopefully some of what I've written will be helpful in your own decision making choice for your own recumbent bike. I'm hoping to build an electric upright based on a Trek Pure or a Electra Townie and for that bike I'll run the Schwalbe Big Apples... thought about doing that on this bike but even with a light skin (Which they might not be making any more) Big Apple I just couldn't bring myself to risk the additional weight. I'm very happy with the Kojak and I think most people will be as well.
I find it ironic that people will spend a couple thousand on a nice Recumbent then run $15 tires. Tires make so much difference. Do yourself a favor and find the best folding tire you can for the type of riding you do. Less weight can really make a difference. When the Continental Sport Contact wears out on the front I may consider replacing it with a Kojak 1.3, but I have a whole lot of pedaling to do between now and then!
If you click the pictures they will enlarge
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