Schwalbe is one of the bigger tire companies you will see riding around North America. They make a wide range of tires, everything from Mountain to Road to City, and everything in between. We are going to take a look at the overall most popular Mountain tires they make. The models tested are as follows:
These tires come in a variety if different compounds, making it all that much tougher to narrow down the exact tire you want for your bike. Last year, Schwalbe launched a new compound to their Evo line, Addix, which aims to please riders in every category by increasing durability without skimping on grip or rolling resistance. Below we dive a bit deeper into each Addix compound.
Aside from differing compounds, there is numerous different options for sidewall protection. We make it easy for you and go over the basics for each form of protection.
With the bases covered for the different compounds and sidewall protection for Schwalee tires, let's dive into the tires themselves and see which tire will have you getting rowdy out on the trail!
Starting with the Thunder Burt, this will be the most XC focused tire. It features a fine tread in the center, or a semi-slick pattern. The cornering tread on the sides feature much larger knobs to help get some grip when leaning the bike over. The Thunder Burt will be a very very fast tire in good conditions, but not provide much grip in wet or loose conditions. It’s mainly used in the rear for most riders, however sometimes you will see them front and rear for races with a lot of gravel and road, or if riders are looking for the fastest rolling option. It’s available in the Addix compound Speed (red stripe).
Available Sizes: 26 x 2.10, 27.5 x 2.10, 27.5 x 2.25, 29 x 2.10, 29 x 2.25
Compounds: PaceStar, Addix Speed
Performance: SnakeSkin, TK Easy, LiteSkin, RaceGuard
The next level up in amount of tread will be the Racing Ralph. This tire is still very XC focused, but has a more well rounded tread pattern. This provides more grip than the aforementioned Thunder Burt and will perform much better in wet and loose conditions. A great tire for the front and rear of an XC bike or even in the rear of a trail bike. Available Addix compounds are Speed (red stripe) or Speedgrip (blue stripe).
Available Sizes: 26 x 2.10, 26 x 2.25, 27.5 x 2.10, 27.5 x 2.25, 29 x 2.0, 29 x 2.10, 29 x 2.25, 29 x 2.35
Compounds: PaceStar, Addix, Addix Speed, Addix SpeedGrip, Dual
Performance: SnakeSkin, TL Easy, LiteSkin, Performance, TL Ready, Performance, Handmade Tubular
The last offering in the XC area, the Rocket Ron features taller tread and a more overall spaced out pattern than the Racing Ralph. This will be the best XC tire option when the terrain is loose or wet. While it’s commonly used up front on XC bikes, this is not a bad option to be used front and rear or in the rear of a trail bike. It sheds mud much better than the Racing Ralph while still rolling fast and providing good grip. Available Addix compounds are Speed (red stripe) or Speedgrip (blue stripe).
Available Sizes: 700 x 33C, 24 x 2.10, 26 x 2.10, 26 x 2.25, 27.5 x 2.10, 27.5 x 2.25, 27.5 x 2.60, 27.5 x 2.80, 27.5 x 3.00, 29 x 2.10, 29 x 2.25
Compounds: PaceStar, Dual, Addix, Addix Speed, Addix Speedgrip
Performance: Handmade Tubular, Performance, Performance, TL Ready, LiteSkin, SnakeSkin, TL Easy
Moving into the full trail category and possibly the most popular tire Schwalbe makes, we have the Nobby Nic. One of the best all around tires offered by Schwalbe, the Nobby Nic will perform great in most conditions you put it in. Dry, loose, wet with roots, the Nobby Nic can handle it. Falling into the trail category, you could run these front and rear on a mid travel bike, put it up front for some grip on an XC bike, or put it in the rear of your 6-inch travel rig. It’s an incredibly versatile tire that is not going to disappoint. Available in Addix compound Speedgrip (blue stripe).
Available Sizes: 26 x 2.10, 26 x 2.25, 26 x 2.35, 27 x 2.25, 27.5 x 2.35, 27.5 x 2.60, 27.5 x 2.80, 27.5 x 3.00, 29 x 2.25, 29 x 2.35, 29 x 2.60
Compounds: Dual, Addix, PaceStar, TrailStar, GateStar, Addix Speedgrip
Performance: Performance, Double Defense, Performance, TL Ready, SnakeSkin, TL Easy Apex, SnakeSkin, TL Easy, LiteSkin
The Hans Dampf is very similar to the Nobby Nic, but leans slightly more toward the heavy trail/enduro bike dominion. Square tread patterns in the center of the tire means it will not only grip when climbing but also braking. This is the least aggressive tire (don’t worry, it’s still plenty aggressive!) available in Schwalbe's “Super Gravity” protection. The reinforcement makes it very strong and resistant to cuts and failures. This would be a good tire to use in the rear of an enduro bike or up front on a trail bike. Available in Addix Soft (orange) for Super Gravity casing, and Addix Soft (orange) and Addix Speedgrip (blue) in the tubeless ready casing.
Available Sizes: 24 x 2.35, 26 x 2.35, 27.5 x 2.25, 27.5 x 2.35, 29 x 2.35
Compounds: Dual, Addix, Addix Soft, Addix Speedgrip
Performance: Performance, Performance, TL Ready, Super Gravity, TL Easy, SnakeSkin
Don't let the name fool you, the Magic Mary will impress you with a hard charging aggressive tread. This grip-monster has the most tread, featuring Schwalbe’s tallest and most aggressive knobs. It’s great for days in the bike park, smashing out shuttle runs on your enduro or DH bike, and setting PRs on any kind of downhill you throw at it. It performs well in all conditions. Coming in a range of casings and compounds, you can find one to match your terrain and riding style. It’s available in a downhill casing that offers max protection and comes in Addix Ultra Soft (purple stripe). The Super Gravity casing is available in Addix Soft (orange stripe) and Addix Speedgrip (blue) and is tubeless-ready.
Available Sizes: 26 x 2.35, 26 x 2.60, 27.5 x 2.25, 27.5 x 2.35, 27.5 x 2.60, 27.5 x 2.80, 29 x 2.25, 29 x 2.35
Compounds: Addix, Dual, VertStar, TrailStar, Addix Ultra Soft, Addix Soft, Addix Speedgrip
Performance: BikePark, Downhill, Super Gravity, SnakeSkin, TL Easy
With a full range of tires, you should be able to find a pair to match your bike, terrain and riding style.