Admittedly, the actual decade for Schwalbe’s Decade of Super launch didn’t start off so well. Initially, Schwalbe had planned a big launch event for their new tire constructions where we could ride them and get the scoop. Then the pandemic put a hold on all travel plans, and Schwalbe had to rethink their approach.
The next thing you know, a giant box of tires with a super hero (genie? The video at this link will help explain) on it showed up to the office with little information and simple instructions: go ride!
That bit is important because it allowed me to test the tires in the way that I prefer – completely blind. Before reading or hearing anything about the new constructions, I was able to put time on both the Super Race and Super Trail constructions to form my own opinions before reading any marketing copy. Which is why I was very impressed when I finally did read about the new constructions and it matched up to my experience perfectly.
Super Race Racing Ralph / Racing Ray 29 x 2.35″
As noted in the first post outlining the new constructions, there are a lot of tires to consider. To help narrow things down, we filled out a questionnaire about the type and size of tires we would be able to best utilize. For me that meant nothing but 29″ tires for XC, Trail, AM, and Enduro riding.
On the XC side, Schwalbe sent over their Racing Ralph and Racing Ray which use their new Super Race construction.
These also feature their new Transparent Skin construction, which looks really nice on a bike like the Revel Ranger with its deep green finish. Both tires use the red Addix Speed rubber compound.
These tires were very easy to set up tubeless, and slipped over the rim by hand. After adding about 2oz of Schwalbe Doc Blue tire sealant to each tire, a quick pop with the air compressor locked the beads into place without any further fussing around needed.
How do they ride?
As soon as I set out for the very first ride on the Super Race tires, I thought my tire pressure gauge was off. I was running the same 22.5/23 psi I have run in the same Schwalbe tires in the past, but these Schwalbes felt drastically different. There is no missing how supple these tires feel compared to others. They’re so supple, that I was able to add a bit of tire pressure while still getting the ride feel and traction that I was looking for. I ended up around 24-25 psi, with an impressive amount of grip out of an “XC Race” tire.
Are they durable?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best tester when it comes to tire durability. I rarely flat, and our trails are very easy on tires. But thanks to an errant rock, I got an early chance to test the sidewall durability on the Super Race casings. Somehow, a large, flat rock got flipped up by the front tire on a fast descent. The rock then bounced back to the rear tire, where it must have grabbed the tire and scraped along until the rock wedged between the rear derailleur cage and the rim. The derailleur is toast. But the tire and rim emerged unharmed, short of some superficial scratching.
I also tested the pinch flat resistance a few times when running the initial lower pressures, and so far, I’ve had no issues. Which again, is impressive considering the bike these are mounted to encourages you to go bigger than most XC bikes would.
Now for the detail you’ve all been waiting for – the weight. Keep in mind that these are the widest tires that Schwalbe offers in the Racing Ralph and Racing Ray, both with Super Race TL-Easy constructions and the Transparent Skin sidewall. That makes the 727g Racing Ray and 743g Racing Ralph seem very respectable in terms of weight.
Super Trail Nobby Nic (Third Gen) 29 x 2.35″
This tire is special not only because of the new Super Trail construction, but also because the Nobby Nic has been redesigned once again. Like the Super Race tires, I had no idea about either of those things before riding them.
To give the Nobby Nics a proper test, I went to the last trail I actually flatted on. This trail network has a great mix of exposed roots and sharp, ledgy, and pointy rocks that can easily kill a tire – especially when you’re going fast.
It wasn’t long until I came up on the first long, fast downhill – one that I haven’t ridden in a long time. Our trails change quite a bit given how much rain we get, and I went into this section expecting it to ride a certain way. Needless to say, I was all over the place at a high rate of speed on a trail with a lot of gnarly off camber, root infested segments. That’s where I was instantly hit by how well this tire holds its line, regardless of the trail underneath. It just felt extremely planted and controlled even in sections where other tires would have a tendency to claw at your front tire, forcing you off your line. Note that in this case I have been riding with an Addix Soft compound on the front, and an Addix Speedgrip on the rear.
The rest of the ride proved to be just as good on the new Nobby Nics with the cornering knobs daring you to lean in a little farther, brake later, and corner with more speed.
As noted, I don’t have nearly enough time on these to make any comments on durability, but they feel like they have a very solid construction. There was at least one point where I was sure that I had killed the tire after I gapped into a g-out a little too fast, and landed with the front tire squarely on a pointy rock. I certainly felt the tire bottom out on the rim, but I rode away without any issue.
So far, both the Super Race and Super Trail tires have delivered exactly what is promised by Schwalbe. Both constructions have proven to be better than expected, and assuming they prove to be durable in the long run, look like some great options for your future rubber.
Again mounted to the Revel Wheels RW30 rims for consistency, these were a bit harder to install thanks to the thicker tire construction. I was still able to mount them by hand though, and if you’re really struggling, Schwalbe offers their Easy Fit mounting fluid applicator to make it easier. Once mounted to the rim with tire sealant, the tires again popped right into place with a quick blast from my air compressor and that was it. No shaking the tire to seal hole. No need to add more air after the fact. After seating the tires, I over inflated them a bit and actually had to let air out by the time I hit the trail.
Like the XC tires, these measure a bit undersized on a 29mm internal width rim at 2.31″. Given that the casing is more stout, it may take longer for them to stretch a bit as they’ve only been mounted up for about a week.
While these tires are the same size as the XC tires above, you can see the difference in construction in tread pattern on the scale. Both 29 x 2.35″ tires in Super Trail TL-Easy, the Addix Soft front tire is a bit less at 1098g, while the Addix SpeedGrip rear is 1108g. Not exactly featherweights, but what you give up in weight you seem to make up in control and durability.
Schwalbe also sent over a set of the 29 x 2.6″ Nobby Nics which check in at 1175g. I’ll report back with actual width on this guy once mounted.
Big Betty Super Gravity 29 x 2.4″ Weight
If you read the first post, you know that the Big Betty is back. Schwalbe is recommending it as a rear tire in combination with the Magic Mary up front. While it’s offered in Super Trail, Super Gravity, and Super DH constructions, this one is the Super Gravity option in a 29 x 2.4″ width and Addix Soft compound. On the scale it came in at 1415g.
Magic Mary Super Gravity 29 x 2.4″ Weight
The partner to the Big Betty, the Magic Mary in a Super Gravity construction in a 29 x 2.4″ and Addix Soft compound is a bit lighter at 1264g.
Again, if you missed it, check out the post detailing the new constructions and changes to the Nobby Nic and Big Betty here.