Picking the right mountain bike tire seems like it should be a simple process, that is until you're faced with an overwhelming number of options, many with alphabet soup acronyms and names that don't seem to have any relevance to the product at hand.
Schwalbe have been working to change that, a process that began a few years ago with the introduction of their Addix rubber compounds. The names for those compounds were relatively self-explanatory – Soft, UltraSoft, and SpeedGrip, and a colored stripe down the center of the tire made it easy differentiate one compound from another.
For 2021, Schwalbe is continuing their quest for simplification with five new 'Super' carcass options: Super Race, Super Ground, Super Trail, Super Gravity, and Super Downhill. Riders can start by choosing the carcass that fits their terrain and intentions – the thinner and lighter Race and Ground options are aimed at cross-country riders, while the Trail, Gravity, and Downhill casings are heavier duty, designed for riders who need more sidewall support and increased protection against flats.
In some cases, the tires have gained a few grams compared to previous versions, but Schwalbe's intention with the extra reinforcement was to allow riders to run the tires without needing to use any inserts, an interesting change of course from the company that brought Procore to the market back in 2014.
Along with the new casings, Schwalbe also have an updated Nobby Nic on the way, along with a new version of the Big Betty that's aimed at the enduro / DH crowd.A Quintet of 'Super' Casings
Nobby Nic V3
Super Downhill: The burliest option in the lineup, this casing has six carcass layers, two layers of Apex puncture protection at the sidewall, plus Snakeskin fabric for even more puncture protection. It's also tubeless ready with a Kevlar bead.
The Nobby Nic is Schwalbe's all-rounder, a tire that's designed to work for everything from cross-country to all-mountain riding. For the third generation of the tire Schwalbe added more support to the side knobs, and altered the center knob pattern to allow for better mud shedding in wet conditions.
The Nobby Nic is available with a Super Ground or Super Trail casing, with Addix Soft or Speedgrip rubber. 27.5” options are available in 2.25, 2.35, 2.6, and 2.8” widths, while 29” versions come in 2.25, 2.35, and 2.6” widths. There are even two 26” models, in either 2.25” or 2.35” widths. The actual weight for a 29 x 2.35 Super Trail model is 1100 grams. MSRP: 59.90 – 69.40 EuroBig Betty
Big Betty is back in the lineup, returning as an aggressive option that works well as a rear tire when paired with a Magic Mary up front. Rectangular center knobs are designed to dig in for braking traction, and the stout side knobs are meant to provide support during hard cornering.
The Big Betty is available with a Super Trail, Super Gravity, or Super Downhill casing, with either Addix Soft or Ultra Soft rubber compound. 26” models come in a 2.4” width, while 27.5” and 29” versions are available in 2.4 or 2.6” widths. The actual weight for a 29 x 2.4” Super Gravity version is 1363 grams. MSRP: 59.90 – 67.90 Euro.
More information: schwalbetires.com