Schwalbe embraced the mid-sized wheel format, making a number of its most popular tread patterns readily available for XC/trail, enduro and downhill.The Nobby Nic has risen to the top of our short list of 650B XC/trail tires for its fast roll and all-situation grip. Schwalbe makes the Nobby Nic in a dizzying number of models
for all three wheel diameters and in widths from 2.1 to 2.4 inches. For 650B, however, the options are either a 2.25 or 2.35-inch carcass. In this feature, we review the larger, 2.35-inch tire, which is constructed with Schwalbe's mildly reinforced 'Snakeskin' sidewalls, a tubeless-ready bead construction, and a widely-spaced tread pattern, molded with its premium, three-compound Pacestar rubber. Published weight is 685 grams (ours weighed over ten grams lighter)
and its MSRP is $88. Our test tires measured 27.75 inches in diameter at 32psi and the tread width was 2.35 inches on a 19-millimeter ID rim.
Nobby Nic 650B Details:
Schwalbe's Nobby Nic has a wicked blend of spiked, widely spaced tread on a tough, but flexible carcass. The edging blocks are deeply siped in an H-pattern to add grip.
• Intended for XC and trail use
• 27.5" x 2.35" stated size (27.75 x 2.3 inches actual)
• Three-compound tread construction
• 'Snakeskin' anti-abrasion sidewalls
• 67 threads per inch
• Tubeless Ready bead and carcass construction
• Weight: 685g (670g actual)
• MSRP: $88.25 USD
Evolution is Schwalbe's top level off-road tire, TLR means that the beads are designed to seat quickly on tubeless type rims, but that you'll need sealant to keep air inside. Snakeskin is a thin nylon anti-abrasion sidewall, and Pace Star refers to its three-compound tread design. Note the spiky edging blocks - very good for finding grip on hard pack covered by loose dirt.
Schwalbe designates its top level tires as Evoloution, which can mean a lot of things, but in this case, it refers to a group of features, including a supple nylon casing, a folding bead coated with a soft layer of rubber and shaped to ease tubeless inflation, and finally, Schwalbe's 'Ttriple Star' tread compound.Full-Width Casing
The Nobby Nic follows Schwalbe's tradition of pairing a high-volume casing design, with an inflated measurement of 2.35 inches - wider than some tires rated a 2.4 inches. The combination of a large casing and widely spaced tread has proved to create a fast-rolling tire.H-blocks
Schwalbe claims that its deeply grooved side blocks create extra gripping surfaces when the tire is pressed hard onto the trail surface. H-blocks are used on the transition and edging tread where cornering takes place. Siped blocks are featured elsewhere. The Pacestar triple-tread compound features tougher, more durable rubber in the center, with slightly softer edging tread. The third compound is a tough, flexible under-tread layer. Directional Tread
The use of siped and vectored blocks requires that the minimally adorned tread design be run in the correct direction. We accidentally ran a set of 26-inch Nobby Nics in reverse with mixed results. Climbing traction was enhanced, but turning grip seemed to suffer. We followed the arrows for this review.
Tread on the front tire looked good (left), but the rear tire did nor fare as well. The wear took place over about 100 miles of rocky, technical trail riding in both wet and dry conditions. Skidders will quickly destroy Nobby Nics,
Lots of grip to be found on any type of trail surface made the Nobby Nics one of the more enjoyable tires this season. Sliding is easily predicted and controlled. The tires seem to work equally well on the front and rear too - with little, if any pushing recorded throughout the three-month test period. For as minimal as the tread seems, the Schwalbes were always trustworthy. Rolling
Nobby Nics feel smooth and grippy, so they don't give you a sense that you are moving fast - that is, until you realize how much spreed you are carrying out of corners and down slight inclines. The 2.35-inch size seem to be a perfect match for 650B wheels - with a just-right contact patch to grip the turns without dragging down the fast sections.Climbing
Expect mega traction up every climb. Steeps? No worries, just keep pedaling and the Nics will find somewhere to grip. The wide carcass and relatively narrow tread pattern will drop into slots in between rocks sometimes, which can be unnerving, but those moments were few and far between. Over loose or gravely climbs, the spiked tread seems to find tiny bits here and there to hold onto - and we also had no problems scaling smooth rock faces.Braking
Stopping was equally strong and predictable, but use your front brake when dropping down steep chutes, because habitually locking up the rear wheel will quickly turn your 88-dollar trail tire into a cross-country racing slick. Scratching our way down the rocks near San Diego took its toll on the rear Nic.Tubeless Ready
A quick note for those who run tube free that Schwalbe has the tubeless thing pretty wired. Every Schwalbe tire we converted over the past year, including the Nobby Nics, was easy, and required only a standard floor pump.Pinkbike's take:
|Schwalbe's Large-volume/spike tread school of tire design has spawned a notable progeny of followers. The Nobby Nic has always been one of our favorites, but it truly comes alive in the mid-diameter, 2.75-inch application. The 2.35-inch option feels just right - light weight without being too small, and its casing feels supple, but not mushy in the corners. It grips predictably on moist soil, and it manages to find hold on sketchy, 'marbles on concrete' surfaces as well. Don't expect to get a year's riding out of your Nobby Nics though - they wear quickly. Pushing small, sparsely populated tread blocks down steep chutes and through high-speed turns is not a recipe for long tread life. Shelling out 160 bucks for a pair of Schwalbe tires may seem extravagant, but brilliance is fleeting. For some, that's only two rounds of drinks - a pair of Nics should last a few months longer and will show you a far better time. - RC|