Schwalbe Wicked Will - Tire Review

Apr 13, 2010 at 0:09
Apr 13, 2010
by Dunbar Cycles  
 
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After a slight delay over the Olympics (my liver still hurts), I have completed the second tire test in my long and treacherous quest to find a tire that will outperform my beloved High Roller. Up this time, the Schwalbe Wicked Will in the Gooey Gluey Compound.

Results? Check it out, details and pics inside!

If you've missed the first test, check it out here.



Here it is, the second installment of the mother of all tire tests in order to find the sweetest DH tire that has ever rolled upon the earth. After the last test, I read a lot of the comments and felt that a lot of good points were raised on what to add to the tests. It also seemed that a lot of people were showing interest in the Schwalbe Wicked Will. I know that a lot of the Yeti guys were running them at the World Cups last year so it seemed like a good idea to try them out. Cycles Lambert was nice enough to shoot me over a pair and so the test was on!



Schwalbe Wicked Will
Schwalbe Wicked Will

The Specs:
26 Inch tire by 2.5 inch
Gooey Gluey Compound Front and Back
Advertised Weight: 1370 Grams
Actual weight Front: 1150gr. Back: 1220gr. (interesting how there exactly the same make and model yet slightly different weights)
Suggested Use: Loose over Hard Pack





First Impression:
At first glance you can tell that the Wicked Will is going to be a fast rolling tire. The knobs are very low and tightly packed together. The Gooey Gluey Compound feels softer than a Kenda Nevagal or any Maxxis 60A, but still harder than Maxxis's Super tacky or 3C compounds. This makes sense for what the tire was designed for as you want it soft enough that it is still going to grip on the hard pack, yet not so soft that your knobs would fold over in corners on hard surfaces.



The Test:
I have revised how I am going to grade each tire. Based on some comments from the previous tire test, I will be giving each tire a rating out of 5.

In testing this tire I had to take into consideration that the Wicked Will is intended for dryer, more hard pack conditions. I found this a bit of a struggle considering I am testing my tires in the middle of a Vancouver winter and do most of my riding on steeper, loamy trails, laced with roots . That being said, I tried to ride these tires as much as possible on hard packed trails and even managed to ride some dry/loose conditions after some of the abnormally warm weather we had during the Olympics.




Hook/ Cornering:
When you first look at the Wicked Will it is noticeable that there is not much of a valley in between the center knobs and your cornering knobs. The knobs on the Wicked Will visually look like they all blend together and on the trail this gives the tire the exact same feel from rolling straight, to mild corners, to fully laid over corners. This pattern doesn't give the bike a lot of hook when you are just starting to set up for a corner, however it did give the bike a very predictable feel. I do feel that the knobs on the Wicked Will could have been a little bit softer considering it is Schwalbe's softest performance compound. Even on the loose over hard pack trails I felt like a softer compound could have benefited the tire. All in all, the Wicked Will still cornered great on the hard pack, but still didn't hold a line as well as a Maxxis Minion or a Continental Der Kaiser. On the softer loamy trails the tire struggled as the short knobs quickly became packed up and the tire turned into a semi slick. The harder compound wasn't horrible on the wet roots, but still slid around noticeably more than some of Schwalbe's competitors.

Rating 4/5 (This rating is based on the Wicked Will's performance on hard packed trails)




Predictability:

I definitely found this to be the Wicked Will's strongest area. The tire didn't hold off camber lines as well, but it crushed a lot of other tires when it came to letting the rider know exactly when it was going to slide. After the first couple of rides on the Wicked Will, I knew exactly when it was going to let loose and how far I could slide it before I completely lost control. What the tire lacked in being able to hold aggressive off camber lines, it made up for in being one of the most predictable tires I've ever ridden next to the Minion. Even under braking, the tire let me know exactly where it was going to slide too.

Rating 4.5-5



Rolling Speed:
The combination of small space in between the Wicked Will's knobs and its low-raised knobs made the Wicked Will a quick roller. It didn't roll as fast as I was hoping, but still felt much faster than Maxxis' 3C compound and the Kaiser's Black Chili Compound.

Rating 4/5




Braking:
The less than massive knobs of the Wicked Will did not hook up great when it came time to stop. It was however very easy to brake with this tire in situations where you have to brake and corner, the rear wheel would easily slide wherever you tried to put it. Felt very similar to the braking of a Kenda Nevegal.

Rating 3/5



Rear Tire after two weeks of riding
Rear Tire after two weeks of riding

Durability:
The Wicked Will didn't break down as fast as a Maxxis 3C compound tire, however I was expecting its hard compound to make it last a lot longer than the last tire I tested, the Continental Der Kaiser. After comparing the pics of the two it almost seems as though the hard compound of the Wicked Will wore just as quickly as the Der Kaiser. Hard one to call as I rode exactly the same amount on both tires, but during the Wicked Will test, the conditions were a bit drier.

Rating 4/5



Weight: (1220grams.)
I'm not gonna lie, I felt that the Wicked Will was kinda heavy considering it had such a low profile tread design. It is pretty much the same weight as tires like the High Roller, Der Kaiser. Yet it lacks the visually larger and better performing knobs.

Rating 3/5




In review:

Positves:
Awesome on Hard pack trails
Very Predictable
Rolls fast


Negatives:
Compound could be softer for rocks and roots
Not light
Not great in wet conditions

All in all the Wicked Will from Schwalbe was a really fun tire to test. The Wicked Will, with its combination of fast rolling and predictability made for a fun ride on looser trails. I personally would probably not run these tires unless I was riding/racing a lot of dry and sandy conditions. I could see how they would be a great buy for someone in the interior of B.C. or the loose trails of southern Cali.

DUNBAR CYCLES ONLINE

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54 Comments

  • + 5
 Nice review, really clear - great to see that you took on board the comments from last time. One more suggestion (for next time), it would be helpful to see a table for the bottom of your review that compares all of the tyres that you have currently reviewed against the different criteria (ie cornering, rolling etc).
  • + 3
 theres a couple things missing that should be mentioned. the size of a maxxis 2.5 is much smaller than that of a Schwalbe, or most other manufactures. i have Schwalbe the wicked will and its a mm or two wider than my maxxis highroller 2.5 therefor it should be expected that the schwalbe would look heavier on paper than maxxis. also it is normal for tire weights to vary quite a bit.
  • + 1
 Great point
  • + 7
 thanks for the info, I'll need next time I buy new tires
  • + 3
 Great review adam, I have to agree with all of your ratings. Remember tho that there are two versions of the wicked will. the Gooey Gluey (one you tested of course) and the Triple Nano. The triple nano is more of a faster rolling tire where the gooey gluey is more grippy.
  • + 1
 I also got the triple nano but felt the compound was simply to hard a compound to be any use for north west riding.
  • + 1
 I have run some of the Schwalbes lineup in several conditions and environments, the austrian alps, the semidesertic region of northern mexico, and the Ajusco (Mexico City).

I have to say there is one thing I love about the schwalbes, rolling, puncture and pinch flat resistance, and they look sexy i dont know why O_O. Snake Skin is a must, I havent had any pinch or flat running schwalbes in any of those places mentioned , while with the nevegals in Northern Mexico I had 6 flats in one ride...quite simply annoying.

Riding in dry conditions schwalbes can almost crush any competition, talking about the (EVO SS compound) but they are horrible, dangerous (experienced first hand), and simply scary when it comes to the wet trails in the Alps, rocks, cambers, dampf roots.... even over dry roots they just slip away...

Havent tried the Gooey Glue version, but after this review I´m not so convinced that the gooey glue version of any Schwalbe tire would do MUCH better on the wet alps.... which I dont understand, being schwalbe a german company based in Bayern, knowing perfectly well the weather conditions on europe and specially the alps, how can their tires be so slippery!?

As said, in the alps wet or dry, I havent feel more secure with any tire than the Nevegal, but they are just a pain in the...
  • + 0
 I have found Schwalbe tires to be a bit disappointing. I did try the Big Betty and Muddy Mary (both in triple compound flavor as I need them to last for some time) and both didnt really perform the way I thought they should or could. The big betty is useless when it comes to being only slightly moist and the muddy mary is useless in the dry. And especially the MM has a rolling resistance that´s far beyond what´s acceptable I think. So I switched to Maxxis Ardents a few days ago and couldn´t be happier, it rolls and grips like a charm, no matter if wet or dry. Same experience with the minions last season. They wont work at a full-on mudfest of course - but that´s rarely the case where I ride. Gonna try Conti the next time, I´d like to know how they work.

Good review though. Maybe I´ll give those a try too when the Contis are killed...
  • + 2
 i have to say i hate my ardents, they came on my bike, and they are horrible. i find they don't grip on anything and slide as soon as you lean on them at all. i found my contis the same because the side knobs fold on anything other than deep mud (but then i possibly bought the wrong ones)... so far for me it has been kendas all the way. the nevegals are rubbish, but the small block 8, excavator, crossmark and the k-rads for street are the best i have used
  • + 1
 Hey good to know. I was looking at putting the Muddy Mary on my next bike. Maybe I will just play it safe and stay with Maxxis.
  • + 1
 no you wont. schwalbe is the way to go. its bobby by the way.
  • + 1
 I am gonna get the low down from you next time I see you at the park.
  • + 1
 sounds good. ill let you ride my bike too. so you can see how amazing they are for your self.
  • + 1
 When do we get the new reviews of The Mother of all Tire Reviews???
There are so many tires to try, and the 2011 models of all the big names look great! Schwalbe, MIchelin, Maxxis, Continental..... give us more!
  • + 2
 Definitely do some ITS reviews. I've been running a mixture of Schwalbe and Intense for dry and wet and they've been awesome.
  • + 4
 kenda excavators next.
  • + 1
 If I ran muddy mary's front and these read, would the wicked will be able to cope with british winter mud? or are they strictly summer tyres...?
  • + 1
 nice review. i own these tires andlove them. something that does help the tires track a bit better is having the suspension a little softer.
  • + 2
 Do the Michelin tires. i have had high rollers and minions and the michelins top both.
  • + 1
 agreed do the dh 24
  • + 0
 maybe thats true where you live, but michelins are inferior in a few scenarios where i come from
  • + 1
 How are they inferior??
  • + 1
 I like the more round profile of the tire. To be perfectly honest it seems like Michelin took the two best Maxxis tires (minion and high roller) and put it into one tire. High rolling center and braking then the bad ass cornering knobbies. In the wet and muddy however I found the mud did stick more to the Michelin just becasue the knobs are closer together. So in that case: Mud I would run High Roller just because bigger gaps in the knobs and everything else i would prefer Michelin DH. Personal opinion but bring it!
  • + 1
 dunbar: they wear out extremely fast in rocky areas, and i found the side lugs on the michi 16DH (as a rear) are pretty weak and prone to folding over in hard cornering with my 225lb. weight. i loved michis one year riding on mostly clay trails with little wear down, but anywhere else and you will wish you were sponsored cause they come apart in chunks. i have the same side lug problem with minion rears, 2 out of 5 have torn while the middle is fine, so maybe my riding is just too hard on the sides. gotta stop landing still whipped out...
  • + 1
 Have not dealt with the knobs tearing off but i am only 190 ish. the high rolling centers do wear down but i find they wear slower than high rollers. maybe i need to try the high rollers again while in aussie. minion are the go too though in my opinion though. well put mantis
  • + 1
 is "the mother of all tire reviews" dead?????? 0_o just 2 reviews?

give us more!!!
  • + 1
 The best tire I have ever had! 26x2,35", Freeride, Pacestar and SnakeSkin combo for the win! Wink
  • + 1
 Any of you guys know if these tires are tubeless ready? Specifically the 26x2.35 folding bead freeride tire
  • + 2
 What about the Geax lineup?
  • + 2
 can you do an intense tire? like the 909
  • + 1
 Not a bad tire at all. The yeti wc team was smashing it on that tire last year. Just sucks it's so dam expensive.
  • + 1
 Once again, very well written and helpful review. Keep up the good work ace
  • + 1
 these are really helpful and you have a sick oppurtunity to be able to test tires haha
  • + 1
 Big fan of hutchinson Octopus red front and yellow rear. Like them better than the michelens and arrows.
  • + 1
 Awesome review boys, nice work. Keep those feet on the pedals you Sally!
  • - 1
 I want to see a Dirt/Street tire review, these are really well done and it'd be nice to see a comprehensive review of Urban options as well!
  • + 18
 Yeah!Smile Finally some schwalbe tires reviewWink I hope you're going to review big betty or dirty danSmile Great work! Keep it up. P.s. I don't think that street, dirt tires need soo detailed reviews because they aren't as important element in dirt jumping as in downhill racing.
  • + 3
 these good reviews will be realy healpful next time i go to the bike shop, thanks pbSmile
  • + 11
 since when do you need that much grip when your riding on the street?
  • + 3
 You also have to take rolling resistance, durability, flat resistance, weight and other key features into account, not just grip OilScale
  • + 4
 but terrafire, these reviews are trying to find alternatives to the HR for DH, so he is not going to go out a review an urban tyre as he is mainly doing it for him self but sharing what he finds out.

i for one i very interested in what the other tyres will be (maybe look at intense? or new Michelin line?)
  • + 3
 yeah but street tyres have got almost no tread, no there all going to be really similar in terms of like rolling resistance they dont really wear down easily either if your riding street, much slower than any dh tyre
  • + 0
 intense MK2s for dirt/street/bmx tracks
  • + 2
 or 909, edge, intruder and invader
  • + 0
 I like kevlar compounds for street (hookworms) and not so more the super tacky ones.
  • + 1
 Itense 909! I stand by them

+cheers man, really interesting, keep it up Smile
  • + 1
 can i just have that giant?? c'mon guys
  • + 1
 Can we get a maxxis ardent review next?
  • + 1
 Useful/good review! Looking forward to the next one
  • + 1
 Keep it coming! I hope you're going to do the Maxxis Minion, Kenda Excavator & Nevegal and Geax Neuron.
  • + 1
 nice review!
  • + 0
 Liking the new sombrio kit!!
  • - 2
 GIANT Glory > all bikes

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