In what appears to be an eruption of fresh rubber out of Germany, Schwalbe has just unveiled an entire redesign of its mountain bike tyre lineup. The big news here is that there are five specific casing options, covering everything from XC racing through to downhill. There’s also been a redesign of the iconic Nobby Nic, and the Big Betty is back and purpose-built to be a rear-specific partner to the venerable Magic Mary. To get a closer look at the new tyre range and casing options, Schwalbe sent a bunch of test tyres over from Germany, and here we’ll be going through the main talking points of the new lineup.
5 New Casings – What Are They?
A few years ago, Schwalbe introduced its new colour-coded ADDIX rubber compounds, which aimed to simplify the naming system, making it easier for consumers to determine the right option for their riding. Now the same concept is being brought to the casing construction too, with a new ‘Super’ naming system that aims to make things easier to understand.
Here are the five new casing names;
- Super Race: The lightest and most supple casing option, designed for XC racing (previously LiteSkin)
- Super Ground: Adds in a bead-to-bead puncture protection layer, designed for XC and trail (previously SnakeSkin)
- Super Trail: Adds in additional sidewall protection for stability, designed for trail and All Mountain (previously Apex)
- Super Gravity: Adds an additional carcass layer, designed for Enduro and e-MTB (previously Super Gravity)
- Super Downhill: Adds in two more carcass layers and two-layer Apex protection (previously Downhill)
Super Trail (left), Super Gravity (centre) and Super Downhill (right).
Once you’ve picked your preferred tread pattern, the idea is to then pick the right rubber compound and then the best casing to go with it. Each tread pattern is available in a couple of different options, which are specific to its intentions. To make a bit more sense of it all, here’s the current availability list from Schwalbe.
The Big Betty Is Back!
That’s right, Schwalbe has brought back the Big Betty name, which is an entirely new tyre designed for downhill and enduro. Featuring long-supported braking edges along with thick, reinforced cornering blocks, the Big Betty is an aggressive tyre that’s ideal for the rear, while being paired with a Magic Mary up front.
The Big Betty will be available in both 27.5in and 29in diameters, though only in the single 2.4in width. You’ll be able to get it in the Super Trail and Super Gravity casings with the ADDIX Soft compound, and in the Super Downhill casing with the ADDIX Ultra Soft casing.
Featuring long-supported braking edges along with thick, reinforced cornering blocks, the Big Betty is an aggressive tyre that’s ideal for the rear, while being paired with a Magic Mary up front.
For enduro use, Schwalbe recommends pairing a Magic Mary with the Super Trail casing up front, and a Big Betty with the Super Gravity casing on the back, which makes sense given it’s the rear wheel and tyre that often cops the biggest flogging. That’s the combo we’ve got, but while the Mary went onto the front rim without issue, the stiffer Super Gravity casing on the Big Betty proved to be far too tight for the selection of tyre levers we could throw at it. We tried fitting the tyre on Bontrager Line Pro 30 and Stans Flow CB7 rims, but despite spilling our own blood and speaking unfathomable words of encouragement, we just couldn’t get it to fit. Hopefully it was just a random production issue with that tyre, so we’ll see if we can source another Big Betty to complete the combo.
Nobby Nic Gets An Update
We had to look twice, because upon first glance the new 3rd generation Nobby Nic doesn’t look all that different from the previous version. It remains as the fast-rolling, all-round technical trail tyre in the lineup, but indeed the tread pattern is actually all new. The main difference is in the shoulder blocks, which have been beefed up considerably to provide better braking traction and more reliable performance in wet conditions.
The main difference is in the shoulder blocks, which have been beefed up considerably to provide better braking traction and more reliable performance in wet conditions.
For more XC-based applications, the Nobby Nic will come in the lighter Super Ground casing with the ADDIX SpeedGrip compound. For more aggro trail riding, you’ll be able to get it with the Super Trail casing in the ADDIX Soft and ADDIX SpeedGrip compounds. We’ve got both variants to test out in the 29×2.6in and 29×2.35in sizes, so we’ll see how the new tread pattern behaves on drier and rockier Aussie terrain.
Tanwalls, So Hot Right Now
As with the bigger trail and enduro tyres, Schwalbe’s XC rubber will also be available with the new ‘Super’ casings, which includes the Rocket Ron, Racing Ralph, Racing Ray and Thunder Burt. You’ll be able to get these tyres in the more practical Super Ground casing, which uses a three-carcass construction, and adds in a bead-to-bead SnakeSkin layer for greater puncture protection and improved stability at lower pressures.
This offers the most supple ride quality, along with lower rolling resistance, and of course lower weight.
For those who want the speediest option possible, these tyres will also come in the lightweight Super Race casing, which features a thinner two-carcass construction with only a small strip of puncture protection beneath the tread. This offers the most supple ride quality, along with lower rolling resistance, and of course lower weight.
Furthermore, Schwalbe will be offering the Super Race casings with a new tan-coloured sidewalls, which look pretty snazzy. We’ve got a Racing Ray and Racing Ralph combo to test out, both in the 29×2.35in size with the ADDIX Speed compound. Given the decent volume, these are bloody light tyres at 699g for the Ray and 720g for the Ralph. As to how they hold up? We’ll be putting them to the test to find out.
In the meantime, you can get more info about the new Schwalbe mountain bike tyre range via the Australian distributor, BikeBox.
Given the decent volume, these are bloody light tyres at 699g for the Ray and 720g for the Ralph. As to how they hold up? We’ll be putting them to the test to find out.
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