After dialing in their Addix rubber compounds a few years ago, Schwalbe has been hard at work on their next big launch. Big is an understatement. Calling it The Decade of Super, Schwalbe’s new lineup touches everything from XC to Downhill, and it includes a few new tires as well!
Five new Tire Constructions
Not only is there a new naming convention, but there are five new tire constructions to go along with them. To Schwalbe, it was important that their customers could easily understand what each tire category was meant for. Their previous Downhill and Super Gravity categories were pretty self explanatory, but the TLE, Snake Skin, APEX, and Lite Skin titles is where things got a bit muddy.
In order to clear things up, the new Super Construction System uses simple terms that most riders will recognize. Want to go fast and race? Then reach for the Super Race. See yourself as a trail rider? Super Trail. Need a tire for covering a lot of ground with more puncture protection? Then the Super Ground may be worth looking into. Simpler naming is, well, super.
While simpler names are found on the outside of the tire, new constructions are found on the inside of the tire starting with the Super Race. As the name would imply, this is the perfect tire for your XC race bike. Schwalbe states that their main goal for this tire was improved suppleness without affecting durability. It’s also built for wider rims, and more aggressive riding which is more common on the world cup circuits these days.
To get there, the tire uses their patented turn-up construction which results in three carcass layers on the sidewalls and two carcass layers in the middle under the tread. That results in a much more supple area under the tread, which is then reinforced with a thin Raceguard puncture protector.
Since this is meant for race bikes, the Super Race construction is limited to their XC tires in the Rocket Ron, Racing Ralph, Racing Ray, and Thunder Burt – all in the Addix Speed rubber compound.
Based on their Snake Skin carcass, the new Super Ground tire gets even more durable with the Snake Skin material running from bead to bead and three full carcass layers. Schwalbe’s MTB Tire Product Manager Robert Mennen says that the Super Ground construction is the sweet spot between puncture protection and light weight. Compared to the Super Trail, this tire is built for less aggressive riding, but it offers more puncture protection than the Super Race.
The Super Ground is available in all of the same tires as the Super Race, with the addition of the Nobby Nic and the Jumbo Jim – both in the Addix Speedgrip rubber compound.
According to Schwalbe MTB Tire Product Manager Carl Friedrich Kämper, the Super Trail project was sort of the genesis to the entire Super lineup. Sensing a gap between the Super Ground and Super Gravity, Schwalbe wanted to add something in the middle with the suppleness of a Snake Skin tire and the durability of a Super Gravity tire.
The resulting tire is very similar to the Super Ground, but adds an Apex insert with a new material at the sidewall for increased sidewall protection.
Naturally, the Super Trail construction is found on more aggressive tread patterns, starting with the Nobby Nic, then the Rock Razor, Hans Dampf, Big Betty (it’s back!), Magic Mary, and Eddy Current (front only). Most of these tires that make a good front tire are offered in Addix Soft, while the more rear specific tires are offered in Addix Speedgrip as well.
Super Gravity hasn’t changed much, but there has been an improvement over the past design. Namely, it features the new Apex material for improved snake bite resistance. Otherwise, it’s the same four layer carcass design with full bead to bead Snake Skin material.
You’ll find Super Gravity constructions for the Rock Razor, Hans Dampf, Dirty Dan, Big Betty, Magic Mary, and Eddy Current (rear only) – with most available in Addix Soft, and the Magic Mary and Dirty Dan coming in Ultra Soft as well.
What should a modern downhill tire look like? Schwalbe thinks it should be something like the new Super Downhill construction. Now with a folding Kevlar Bead Core, this reduces weight and makes the tire better for tubeless set ups. Like the other tires, the Super Downhill tires also get a new Apex material for increased snake bike protection – this time with two layers.
Purpose built for DH, the Super Downhill construction will only be found on the Dirty Dan, Big Betty, and Magic Mary – all in Addix Super Soft rubber compounds.
New Transparent Sidewall Option for XC
Love the tan sidewall look? Schwalbe has a new color option that is only available on the new Super Race tires. Called their Transparent Skin sidewall color, this is different than the Classic or Bronze Skin options offered on their other tires. The Transparent Skin tires really show the nylon carcass underneath.
And it looks amazing on a bike like the new Revel Ranger. Right?
New Third Generation Nobby Nic
Another Nobby Nic? Yup, and this time it’s even better (what did you think Schwalbe was gonna say?). So what’s changed? Well, to answer that, you’ll have to start with what’s changed on the bikes that the Nobby Nic is meant for. Those bikes have gotten far more capable over recent years, and their riders are pushing the limits more than ever.
To make the tire better fit the modern trail bike, the new Nobby Nic has increased support for the shoulder knobs to make it more controllable when cornering or riding off camber sections. You’ll also find more space between tread knobs for better mud shedding in wet conditions. Because of that, Schwalbe positions the tire as the perfect option for aggressive trail riding, all mountain, or even light enduro use.
Available in wide range of options, there are apparently 37 different Nobby Nic Tires that will be offered including 26, 27.5, and 29″ sizes, tube and TLE (Tubeless Easy), and black, Bronze Skin, and Classic Skin sidewalls (in select models).
Big Betty is Back!
The other big news for Schwalbe is the return of the Big Betty. Back in the lineup for Super Trail, Super Gravity, and Super Downhill tires, the tire features large breaking edges for confidence when going into corners hot. Bigger spacing between the center and shoulder knobs is said to offer better control and handling in dry conditions. Schwalbe suggests pairing the Big Betty in the rear with a Magic Mary in the front for the best set up.
Big Betty isn’t available in quite as many options as the Nobby Nic, but there are still tires for 26″, 27.5″, and 29″ wheels, plus black or Classic Skin sidewalls (in select models).
So Many Tires…
At first, when you look at the chart above, it doesn’t look like there’s that many tires in Schwalbe’s MTB catalog. But once you start factoring in all the variations in sizes, construction, colors, and tread patterns, you’re left with a dizzying array of options. According to the spreadsheet that Schwalbe shared with us, there are at least 145 different tires in their current MTB line up!
Want actual weights and first impressions? Of course you do – they’re all in this post!