Schwalbe Nobby Nic 650B Tire Review

May 22, 2013
by Richard Cunningham  
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.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic 650B 2.25

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.



Nobby Nic 650B Details:
• 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

Schwalbe Nobby Nic 650B 2.25

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.



Features

Evolution Design
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.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic 650B 2.25

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,



Performance

Cornering
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:
bigquotesSchwalbe'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

Schwalbe Tires


91 Comments

  • + 24
 I'm sure the forum gremlins will eat this comment as they often do to early responses but not every TL-R casing Schwalbe tire has been perfect. I and a number of others who frequent mtbr have had examples that came with pinhole sidewall leaks straight out of the box.
  • + 4
 ^ what he said.
  • + 1
 I have had 6 Schwalbe Nobby Nics and Rocket Rons and they were flawless as TLR, on UST proprietary rims - some were inflatable with floor pump. Even non TLR versions. Unlike Continentals which are lying about TLR of their protection and super dport series, and can be inflated only on ZTR rims which are tighter than anything thanks to BST. By the rule of the thumb if you don't want issues with tubeless setup, run proprietary UST tyres and rims and pay the weight price.
  • + 3
 I wasnt impressed with my continentals but i never needed anything other than a track pump to inflate them. Schwalbes have been even easier and a far better tyre overall. I run Nobby Nics and I cant think of a better all round trail tyre.
  • + 9
 I actually hated my exp with nobby nic tyres, I found they rolled well enough, but that's about it, I found in wet conditions it slid out far to many times, and in the dry it wasn't so bad, but under loose dirt I had a few wipe outs, I much prefared my Conti rubber queen 2.4,
  • + 2
 Sladevallydh - what bike were you on? That really makes a lot of difference. They offer all the grip I need on the hardtail or a 100mm fully, but 6" Nomad can go too fast too easily for them. At high speeds they are sketchy indeed in wet, and for such use the Hans Dampf or Rubber Queen are the best choice. I want to try Spec purgatory / butcher sx combo now. For hardtail though Nobby Nic/ Rocket Ron combo have been ace!
  • + 1
 I was on a giant reign, and your right about sketchy, almost the perfect word for my exp with them, I've actually been on the purgatory tyres, and for one the roll very well, but didn't get much time on them as it was a mates bike, only had a day on them
  • + 1
 Just as I thought. For 6"-ish bikes those have too short knobbs and have way to flexy sidewalls. Pair them with sub 28 wide rims and those are like riding on a jelly. They just can't support so fast bikes. There is no way around it, a tyre for am/enduro machine must have at least 750g of rubber in 2.25 and long fat knobbs.

I saw a guy once on a 6" bike on Conti Mking Supersonics 2.4 on Mavics XC717s - I mean you will never ever learn anything on such bike. It's like parkour on high heels!
  • + 7
 I think what this goes to show is that Tyre reviews are almost completely pointless. I was reading a magazine this week where they review the Nobby Nics positively and say how good they are in the damp conditions, then later in the magazine they review a bike with Nobby Nics on it and they say that you should think about changing them. It doesnt say which compound tyre it is in either review. The compound and side wall is probably far more important that the tread pattern. YOu can buy a €20 Nobby Nic or a €50, they are clearly not going to perform the same.

Also, a lot of people blame every little slide out/sketchy moment on their tyres. Ive seen guys slaying trails with the most worn out tyres imaginable. Sometimes it just requires you to adapt your riding style.
  • - 2
 Agreed samsemtex, most of tyre reviews are pointless. You need to give info on: terrain they are used in, bike they are on, wheels they are on and what the test rider expects from a tyre, what are his preferences. You can relate to such information. If you take NNics to Moab or Sedona you won't be too happy. Likewise take a Crossmark or a larsen TT to Ireland and swear yourself to death. Take Minion DHF to my xc trails and you can have fun in wet on them, take High Roller and you'll be scraping clots of mud after every mud pool.
  • + 2
 I gave up on setting a 2.25 NN tubeless after a few weeks of trying. It would hold air for a few days just fine and then on trail, I would blow a new hole through the side wall in minutes. A 2.25 HD w/ SS protection has been much better until I tore a massive hole in the casing between knobs. Next stop - Michelin Grip'r.
  • + 1
 I have a special hatred for them grip'r tyres
  • + 2
 UST only. Tubeless ready does not work as the sidewalls are like paper
  • + 4
 I found the nobby nics to be sketchy as well in the wet and especially on granite surfaces. I was hoping they would have gotten better. For that price I'll stick to my minions.
  • + 3
 Schwalbe tires in general, except for the DH casing ones, are fragile as all hell. The Evo sidewalls are business card thickness, the snakeskin just adds a slight extra increase in thickness, and the "double-defence" isn't really that much better. By the time you get to the DD casing, you're at the weight of most any other brand of tire.
  • + 1
 Completely different tyres ???? I hope you were Joking
  • + 0
 Totaly agree deeight on snake skin and DD. They are worthless, don't even add to the stability. I am running standard Evo after I slashed DD for the third time.

I am surprised with your experience on granite ShabbyD as Zi find those to be the best grippers on wet and mossy rock faces of all kinds of tyres I had, save Maxxis Slow Reezay. Comparing toblack chilli MKings II which are their closedt competitors, NNics grip rock quite well IMHO

This is an all out XC tyre for few terrains in the world. Dry conditions tear them apart. But if they work for your bike/terraim, they are unbelievable. A love hate tyre ondeed
  • + 2
 my god i am agreeing both with Waki and D8. They are pretty much a light use tire. Most mounted tubeless fine but enough haven't that is worth a call out. I have to totally agree that despite the Snakeskin the sidewalls are prone to tearing. As of right now they are among the easiest to find 650b tire around
  • + 2
 I got two brand new 2012 year 29 x 2.25 Racing Ralph Evo TL-Rs... one sealed perfectly, no leaks at all. The other would go from 30psi to flat as a pancake in 30 mins. Even with about a quarter pound of sealant in the tire... sloshed around over and over, left sitting on its sides, still wouldn't seal up. I've resorted to pulling the tire and using a brush to literally paint the inner casing with liquid latex and then letting it dry. Honestly the non TL-R casing tires from 2011 and earlier sealed up better than this POS.
  • + 1
 2011 TL-ready sucked balls. Bad bead. 2012 are much nicer. Racing Ralph Gatestar snakeskin is the best version. All sealed up with zero problems.
  • + 1
 What makes them nice is that they are very fast and very light, but long term durability is very poor. I run the gatestar versions for enduro/super-d racing in Oregon, which use pacestar (fast/hard) for the center knobs and vertstar (sticky dh) on the edge knobs. With that compound, they are awesome for speed and cornering. But their durability is awful and I can really only expect to get 2-3 races before they are done. Not worth the retail price of $88 for that, but I got them on sale from germany for $22 per tire so I'd have a supply for the season. I pretty much run Maxxis for all general riding purposes.
  • + 1
 You should try conti's black chilly rubber queen, IMO it's the best enduro tyre going, .... Very durable, good grip in all conditions, predictable which counts for a lot, and not too expensive..
  • + 1
 RQ is a good tire for lots of enduros, but not what we have in Oregon. Our trails are mostly high quality PNW hero dirt. Speed and adept cornering are the name of the game. RQ's are way too slow to do well at most of the enduro events here. The guys running Conti's here seem to be running a combination of X-Kings (rear, sometimes front) and Mountain Kings (front). It's a totally different game in Europe, where heavier casings and treads are necessary to handle the courses.
  • + 1
 RQ/TK slow? In Black Chili? What are you smoking. They roll in no way slower than NN or HD.
  • - 2
 Yes they do roll slower, they have larger, more sparsely spaced knobbs. No way around it - But not sure how much slower.
  • + 1
 No, they do not. It is the same number of knobs and what not. RQ 2.4 rolls just as well as Big Betty. The only tires that roll notably slow are Kenda's.
  • + 2
 Ummm, I didn't say the RQ was slower than an HD (it might be faster) and I didn't say RQ wasn't a great tire (it is). But it is definitely much much slower than a NN, especially in pacestar compound. You can be competitive in an XC race (even at Cat 1 level) with NNs, not with RQs. That's rolling speed.
  • + 1
 these pinkbike product reviews are always just adverts. i wanna see a real review where they point out flaws. they never say "eh, this product isn't actually very good"
  • + 2
 What I wanna see is PB doing comparisons, lets say they test 5 enduro tyres in the one day and write up an artical, it's the only way to get some acctual indication of what's good, because buying a set of tyres, esp when there 88$ a pop is a leap of faith
  • + 1
 For those still reading and interested, I can concur with what many are saying here about tyre reviews (too universal to be useful), what Waki says about hardtails / tyres and the Continental and ZTR flows... they do a damned good job in that combination. I am running a non UST 2.2 Mountain King (not ProTection) on ZTR flows with Stans Latex and after some initial serious teething problems (burping) they now are offering my just the right amount of rolling speed, grip and predictability for my particular riding style, bike and trails. Would I trust that wheelset on my 5 inch full bouncer? Never!
  • + 1
 Exactly!! For fast riding on loose or rocky terrain , I'll take conti 2.4 trail kings anytime. Not too impressed with the nics that came with my Bronson
  • + 1
 After 5 months of riding a combo of Specialized Butcher Control/ Purgatory control in mixed conditions I take them as the best tyres I ever had for AggroXC/ Trail riding on HT or 4-5" bike. They grip well in all situations and conditions I tried them, braking climbing/ cornering seal up very well and sidewall is just stable enough for me. I'll write a comparative review later if anyone cares.
  • + 1
 ^I'll read it. I run a Purgatory S-Works 2.3 in the front and a Captain 2.2 Control in the rear for my favorite setup on my Stumpy.
  • + 14
 Is there really that much difference in a tire due to a small change in wheel size? Does the 27.5 version of a tire really warrant it's own review?

I would think if a tire is good in 26 it's going to be good in 27.5. And if it is shit in 26 it's not going to maniacally be better in a slightly bigger version.

I think the same thing when I hear about tire companies 'developing' and 'testing' 27.5 versions if their current models. Developing? What is there to develop? Just make it bigger, it's the same tire.
  • + 1
 I don't know anything about tyre manufacture but from my experience in all the things I have experience in, I bet it isn't as simple as you think. Any time someone ways "Why don't they just..." or "It seems so simple..." on a forum you can pretty much bet that someone spent hours working on it to make it appear simple.
  • + 2
 Well that's what I am asking? If someone can shed some light on it that would be great. But I just can't see there being that much difference. A tread design either works or it doesn't. A small change in wheel size can't make that much if a difference.
  • + 1
 I'm no expert, but: after riding a 650b, i would guess that you could get away with more space between knobs on a 650b tire vs 26", because of the bigger contact patch. so, in result, there might be more space between the knobs, but the same total amount of knobs would be touching the ground, in effect, a tire that grips better AND rolls faster. Which is exactly how I describe riding a 650b, so there you go.
  • + 2
 Having ridden it in all the current tires sizes except penny farthing they all pretty much ride the same. A decently grippy, quick wearing, fragile sidewall, soft cornering lugs tire. Above average tire. But not a Minion by any means
  • + 8
 Sorry but the understanding of PaceStar is wrong in the article.
PaceStar is their hardest rubber compound mix on this line of tyres. (Good for a faster rolling/longer-lasting rear trail tyre)
TrailStar is a bit softer. (Good for a Trail tyre if you don't mind a bit of extra rolling resistance - logically it most often gets used as a trail front tyre but sometimes for front and rear)
VertStar is not available on all versions but is their super sticky version, with a bit more damping, for gravity use - wears out quickly.
All are triple compound.
  • + 1
 Which part of the article do you get this from? Are you sure your not forgetting the performance compound?
  • + 1
 Performance isn't a compound...its a tire lineup of "cheaper" versions than the evolution lineup. All the performance versions use their single ORC compound rubber.

From the Schwalbe website...

www.schwalbetires.com/sites/all/definitions/Performance.html

www.schwalbetires.com/sites/all/definitions/Compound.html
  • + 1
 deeeight: from this year is ORC discontinued in Performance line and replaced by Dual Compound, so you are not correct
  • - 2
 Whoopy... I still wouldn't buy one of them. All they're doing is trying to play catchup with Kenda and Vee Rubber.
  • - 2
 D8 - Location, location, location. Thread patterns of nearly all Kendas, WTBs and Vee Rubbers are useless in Europe. Just as Schwalbies and Contis will be in North America
  • - 2
 D8 - Location, location, location. Thread patterns of nearly all Kendas, WTBs and Vee Rubbers are useless in Europe. Just as Schwalbies and Contis will be in North America
  • + 2
 Saying the same nonsense twice doesn't make it true. Also the word is TREAD...not thread... I don't really see how knitting determines tire performance. A tire's performance isn't determined by the proximitry of its nationality to the terrain.
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (May 22, 2013 at 15:13) (Below Threshold)
 You are a moron. Tyre performance depends solely on and kind of terrain it rolls on and speed it rolls on it. Nobody gives a shit if High Roller is a decent DH tyre on mount Saint Anne where it clears well from occasional mud, if you take it on XC ride in gloop, because its gonna clog with shit after first mud pool and it will not loose that mid brick until you reach asphalt. But you can have an XC ride on it in Arizona with no trouble. And that depends on geology and geographical location you prick. Go Take Kenda excavator, to UK you geeky prick. Are you one of those living in NA who have trouble with Geography?! UK, shit loads of rain and sticky clay. You know somwwhere on the way to Sweden, and the do have weapons of mass destruction!
  • + 4
 WAKI, you are an idiot. Useless in "North America"? Did you ride here? In California alone there is terrain from redwood forests to high desert. Anything and everything in between. From clay mud to sand to slickrock to roots to babyheads to grass. Go ride here instead of masturbating in front of a computer.

Such sort of blanket statement, like Kenda and WTB being useless in "Europe" is a clear indication that you have no clue whatsoever what you are talking about.
  • + 2
 I've got to agree with deeeight and Axxe. While it is true that tire performance does depend on terrain, where the tire is made has next to nothing to do with it.
  • + 8
 I've had these tires in the 26" version and I thought that they were ok till you lent them right over. I found that they didn't give any warning before they quickly and violently let go. Leaning over the tire in dry loose conditions was the only time I could get a predictable drift going and even then it would happen at low speeds because I couldn't get enough grip to go fast. I put some highrollers on and pretty much crapped myself when I discovered how much faster I could ride.
  • + 1
 I suffered this too, upon buying my new AM bike i thought i would run these as they appeared to have much more grip, however after one ride i swapped back to Happy Mediums FRONT AND BACK because they are so many miles ahead in cornering grip.
  • + 3
 Pretty surprised to see a positive review on the cornering grip of these tires. I ran Nobby Nics on the front and rear of my trail but got tired of constantly washing out. Swapped the front out and the difference blew me away. Ride these tires aggressively and lean into a corner and they will slide out. Even humping the bars and dropping my inside foot I couldn't find these tires to take a flat corner with any confidence.
  • + 4
 These are basically XC tires with a larger casing and shouldn't be used for agressive riding. OEMs love to spec them because they are light, but that's it with positives.
  • + 2
 Good comments above that point out that they are a good tyre for lighter use. XC/light trail, hard-tail to100mm travel, terrain not too burly, cornering speeds not too aggressive. Reasonable all-rounders and, yes, be careful in full-on muddy terrain. I use them on my 100mm Specialized Epic for endurance racing, multi-day rides and good-weather trail rides but I don't expect to hammer them down a DH scramble or Bike Park. I find the UST sidewall stands up better/firmer than the thinner ones. I've slit side walls on 3 of them but that's over a hell of a lot of miles and, for their weight, I believe they resist punctures/slits as good as you should expect. I would not dream of using them for the type of riding that a bike of 140mm or above would be expected to take on.
I've had issues with Specialized 2Bliss tyres, twice, having porous sidewalls that will not, with Stan's, stay inflated for more than a few hours, but never with Schwalbe.
A mate has had issues once with a RocketRon that exploded off the rim, when initially inflating to seat them, at a little over 40psi and I had the same with a Spesh Purgatory so be careful. Using a bit of dish-washing soap liquid around the bead helps the tyres pop up on to the rim sides upon initial inflation.
The Performance line gets NN's a bad name from OE reviews because they are cheap and light for bike co's to fit. They help pass the ''prospective customer lifts up in bike store' test well. The 'proper' compound versions are a better quality altogether.
The fact that the review says the PaceStar version wears down very fast is a bit scary because that's the relatively 'hard' compound version compared to 'middling TrailStar compound. + you can't (well shouldn't) reverse the (directional) rear to get extra life out of its ripped up knobbies like you can with its unidirectional cousin the Hans Dampf.
  • + 1
 While visiting Vancouver last week I was riding Mt. Seymour and I actuall got a Snake Bite on a NN running tubeless. Had 30 PSI in the tire. Did not hit hard but was going down a really rocky run. That was a first for me, a snake bite on the tire.
  • + 1
 I got a new 2014 Trance with a pair of the 2.25 Nobby Nics on it. Two months in and the front has plenty of tread, while the rear is almost bald. extensive rear brake bleeding and testing as well as excessive "teaching the missis to skid to amaze our kids" has probably halved the rear life. I'd expect about 4 months from a rear under an aggressive rider. going to get a new 2.35 for the front and rotate the front to the rear.
Although I have only tested these on a new bike, the grip is outstanding, especially for a mild mannered looking tyre pattern. It hadn't let me down up until last week in the lashing rain, but by then it was balding anyway.
The snakeskin had also reduced flats to none in 2 months. I normally get a flat every other ride on my previous Panaracers.

Cracking tyre, great rolling with correct pressure, will only buy these in future
  • + 1
 Interesting take Waki. My new bike is coming with TLR NN's. Its a 150 mm bike. After reading your views I am not looking forward to the experience on my local trails which destroy Conti Race and Mountain Kings. I am already riding faster than I ever did when I destroyed the conti's. My experience has been that Maxxis UST tyres are generally strong enough to avoid sidewall cuts and have good tread life. You can indeed only get strength if you add material and weight. Its worth it IMHO.
  • + 1
 Schwalbe make utter rubbish tyres, lasted 5 rides set up tubeless then then suddenly deflated overnight, bead broke and can't even use it tubed now as there is a massive buldge where the bead is broken. Evans cycle uk refuse to accept it as a warranty claim as " such things don't happen". Tyre was never ridden flat or under inflated.

Back to MAXXIS for me. £40 down the drain.
  • + 1
 The guy who I bought my bike off had NN's put on it. They're good tyres until it gets wet, then there is almost no grip. Don't even attempt slanty roots when wet or you may end up like me with a cracked/bent rear triangle! The only reason they haven't been replaced yet is I've not found a tyre that suits me enough to replace them. The search continues.
  • + 1
 I have the new nobby nic as a rear on my Spartan with a Magic Mary on the front, for me a perfect combo. , they did it right this time with the new Nic , it's great in ALL types of riding
  • + 0
 Nobby Nics are awesome tyres for hardtails and low travel bikes for intermediate or wet conditions (not mud) on slower or medium speed trails. Their light weight comes from using very little rubber on the casing which will backfire on longer travel fast bikes, as you will simply start loosing knobbs. One foot out flat out in the dry and you have few knobbs out. Their sidewalls even in Snake Skin version are quite easy to cut as well. Dry big mountains with lots of sharp rocks are a big no for them. Their stability is also very low and a skilled rider that can weigh the bike in corners, especialy burms will find them a bit wobbly, and if he runs them tubeless he might burp them often. Sideways landings after whips or tables can get the tyre off the rim. I ride them at 22/25 Psi on xc trails and 30-32 on dirt/pumptrack.

It is an all out xc/trail tyre. Do not try in AM. But they are the best I've ever tried in XC
  • + 1
 exactly ^, and if you need the next step up go to the Hans Dampf, ive got the Nics on 1 bike and the HDs on the other, both great, HD is just a beefed up am version of the Nics. My nics have seen lots of trails and are still going strong, but if you got them for DH use thats your own fault
  • + 2
 Wow. A tire that weighs less than advertised. I've got to say that I love my set up I have on my Yeti- a Nobby Nic in the rear and a Big Betty in the front. Great tires.
  • + 1
 Got a pair of nobby nics syock on my giant rance x4 2012, Worst tire I have ever tried it kept on getting punctures, grip was sh*t I broke a bone thanks to these pieces of sh*t would never recommend them
  • + 1
 my dad's nobby nic's litterally fell apart. sealant began seaping through, the treades were falling off left and right. But damn were they light
  • + 1
 That rear tire looks pretty shredded for only 100mi. I dont have a problem with good tires that last only 100mi but those look like they were done 25mi ago.
  • + 1
 This review has been great. Now I know that I don't want to spend $88 dollars on a tire that lasts less than a year, has issues, and is limited in its bike choice.
  • + 1
 I've had a set on order for a while now of this exact tire, excited to actually get it now! Will have to take it easy on the skids though Frown
  • + 2
 Nooby Nic. Horrible tire at all grades. Somebody will have to gift them to me to get me to try another Schwalbe.
  • + 2
 There are zero reasons for me to ever pay $88 for a mtb tire.
  • + 1
 The price is related to the origin... Schwalbe tires are a German tire brand (although the actual production is done In Indonesia) and they're expensive as all hell in north America and cheaper in Europe. All their tires have to be imported to N.A. from Europe, and in fact last year, the shipping container that held all the 650B Racing Ralph tires that Schwalbe USA had ordered was shipped BACK to Europe after Nino Schurter started winning world cup races, and all the world cup racers and teams in Europe started buying up the tires like crazy. It caused a real shortage of the tires in N.A. last summer.

You see the same thing with Hope hubs... in the UK they're cheap, because they're made there... in Canada and the USA they cost easily 50% more.
  • + 1
 Then just buy online for about half that. That is what I do. $75 for a set of front trailstar+rear pacestar Hans Dampf.
  • + 1
 Where did you find that deal?
  • + 2
 www.bike-discount.de has the best prices around on Schwalbe tires...their shipping is expensive so either order a bunch of tires or get some friends to go in on an order with you.
  • + 1
 Its expensive for those in NA because it has to cross an ocean by plane (unless you trust the slow boat method) and volumes of boxes play a bigger role in shipping costs than the weights. Its a universal rule, even with dedicated freight / cargo aircraft, that the packages bulk out the planes long before you hit the maximum gross takeoff weights.
  • + 2
 If it is so expensive to ship in bulk - how come I can order it from Europe, and get it shipped to California in less then a week for a fraction of the price difference?

It is not the shipping, it is a bad business model. Tires are commodity, no need for three layers of markup.
  • + 2
 Its NOT expensive to ship in bulk... that's the point... but there's more than simply shipping tires from Europe to the USA... you can blame a good chunk of a price hike on import duties and tariffs... be thankful you got tires through US customs without them slapping taxes and duties on it when it went thru the postal system.
  • + 1
 There are no taxes and duties for a small package like that. Just avoid UPS and their "brokerage" fee.
  • + 2
 Actually there is for practically any package. Its up the customs import center if they choose to flag your package for assessment or not. There's no value too little for them to take a shot at if they feel like it, and there's no such thing as labelling something as a 'gift' either (that's a total myth that a gift tag somehow exempts something from duties/taxes). USPS has a flat rate brokerage fee like most other national postal services but the decision to slap charges on isn't theirs... its with the customs agents at the border crossing points. UPS on the other hand, and fed ex... just takes the approach that everything will get stopped so they force their brokering and collecting of taxes/duties onto their clients, as a means to make extra money.
  • + 1
 Actually, there are zero duties due on those small parts. Except stinking UPS will charge a fee on top even when there zero taxes due. Never a problem with DHL, post, they do not charge anything.
  • + 2
 Here is the relevant document: www.usitc.gov/publications/docs/tata/hts/bychapter/1100htsa.pdf, item 4011.50.00 - rate of duty "free". There are some list of countries etc.. In any case..I did get official looking paperwork on many shipments with no duty assessed - not like they did not look.
  • + 1
 One thing wrong about the Schwalbe tires..... PRICE they are reaaally expensive for the durability you get.
  • + 1
 I have had a few of these in 26 and I really do like the traction with light weight but the tread life is crap.
  • + 3
 Racing Ralphs have far better tread life... it seems the taller the tread blocks that Schwalbe uses, the more prone they are to edge wear / rubber pieces ripping off.
  • + 1
 I've got them in 26 too, I agree traction with light weight but wear super quick. I like it as a rear tire, but it the wear life that kills it. On the front it's not bad as long as you drop the pressure low. Sub 25psi, then it gets wobbly on the hard-pack. I think a Minion, High Roller 2 or Hans Dampf are better of the front.
  • + 1
 I would like to see a shootout between the nics and the dampfs.
  • + 3
 The Dampfs are great for technical rock filled hard pack. While the Nics are more suited to off camber, rooty, and loose terrain. Dampfs are like Racing Ralphs and the Nics are like Rocket Rons, but on steroids. The Dampfs roll faster, are more durable, heavier and pack up with mud. The Nics shed mud like crazy, lighter, eat up loose soil, they tend to fold on hard pack and fall apart on rocks. These are two completely different tires. The Dampfs blast through nasty technical rocky sections and don't slow you down on the buff parts. They never seem to get hung up on anything, stay off the breaks and on the pedals and they do the rest. The Nics have this great characteristic where they don't stall when they start to slide, they actually accelerate. So when the front starts to wash out the wheel seems to start spinning faster rather than pack up and stall. Both are great tires but they have their place. With schwalbe tires you get what you pay for. If you buy the super light race day tires you'll shred them. If you get snakeskin hard compound you'll get plenty of fast rolling miles from them but they will be a hand full in the wet. If you get the soft compound you'll have no troubles with wet roots or moss covered rocks but if you run them in the hot dry summer they will roll slow and fall apart.
  • + 2
 Nailed it.
  • + 1
 Do not skid people. And if you do, do not complain about tires.
  • + 1
 dp
  • + 0
 too weak...

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