If you’re like us, and the sight of the original Rocket Ron tyre from Schwalbe conjures up scary memories of tyre that was great on soft soils, but quite frightening on anything else, rest assured the updated version we have here is roughly 745,955 times better than before.
The German tyre folks at Schwalbe have a catalogue that is impressively complete and constantly evolving, offering up a myriad of tread patterns, compounds and sizes. You can bet that there is a tyre in there that will suit your riding style and terrain, you just need to make that match happen.
We tested the Rocket Ron EVO TLE – Evolution, Tubeless Easy. A triple compound tyre with a reinforced casing dubbed ‘Snakeskin’, the TLE will do a better job of retaining air and reduce the risk of casing tears. A TLR (Tubeless Ready) version is available for the super weight conscious, saving around 60 grams per tyre via a thinner casing but would best only be in the hands of racers.
The Rocket Ron is a lightweight cross country tyre with openly spaced and spiky tread, a style that suits softer trail surfaces where the spikes bite through the dirt, penetrating the surface for a solid hold. And right now as we head into winter, it makes a lot of sense to choose tyres to suit the conditions. We’ve been riding these on our 27.5″ wheeled Pivot Mach 4 with the futuristic electronic Shimano Di2, and with 120/100mm travel, the 2.25″ Rocket Ron is a great match for the sharp handling singletrack racer.
What makes the new Rocket Ron so much more appealing than it’s predecessor is the way it holds its own on surfaces that it’s not specifically aimed at, making it a pretty good all-rounder if you still spend the majority of time on softer trails.
The tacky and slow rebounding rubber compound with increased support around the tread knobs helps it find friction on hard pack or rock, and in a 2.25″ size we were running fairly low pressures and that helped it from pinging off roots and rocks.
Tubeless wise, it sealed up to the Shimano wheels without a hint of any leaking, the gummy and supple bead creates a nice and tight lock, and holds air just fine. We did have one puncture (climbing a rocky embedded fire trail, oddly enough) through the top of the tyre, we lost a bit of Stans Sealant, but the hole clogged up and we were able to continue on our ride with no further worries. It’s a risk with such an openly spaced tyre, sharp rocks can easily find a weak spot in between the knobs, but that’s a price to pay for less weight.
The Rocket Ron is a mighty fast rolling tyre, the low weight and low tread mass gives your wheels a zippy and quick feeling. They would make a great upgrade to your cross country bike if you’re looking to reduce weight, and bang for your buck this is a great way to do it. It’s not a tyre to ride with a heavy hand though, if you’re going to benefit from low weight you won’t get the best results if you muscle it around and lean it over too far, it’s not an enduro tyre, it’s a cross country tyre. Check out the burlier Nobby Nic or meaty Hans Dampf if you’re in need of a tyre to suit a wild riding style, or if your trails are dry and hard, the Racing Ralph is another old favourite of ours, see, told you Schwalbe have all bases covered.
Available in 2.10″ or 2.25″ widths and a super light, or with a reinforced casing (Snake Skin), the Rocket Ron is worth a look if you’re looking for a fast tyre to match your tyres to the upcoming winter months.