New Mountain Bike Tyres
I noticed last week that my Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres, which came with my Focus Fat Boy MTB, we wearing desperately smooth. The front tyre in particular was looking pretty bald. On wet rides, the handling was getting very sketchy and I was spending more time clipping in and out of my pedals, waiting for a washout.
Schwalbe Smart Sam
I bought the tyres from On One Bikes, a bike store who retail some special bikes as well as carrying perfect stock for the conditions I ride in. I got a 2.25inch tyre for the front and a 2.1inch for the rear. I’m hoping that the big front will stop the bike washing out on me (my greatest fear when clipped in) and slow down the rate of wear, too.
The tyres are made from a hardwearing compound which means they shouldn’t degrade on the miles I do on the road. Added to that are some nice big shoulder lugs which should bite on corners and in the slippier gloop away from the traffic. Since I also hit the canalside a lot, the hardwearing central tread should hold up well on the gravel surface of Rochdale Canal towpath.
Fitting And Riding
Putting the tyres on to the bike was simplicity itself. I chose the “light” flavour of tyre, and the bead was very easy to get onto the rim. I just left a few psi in the inner tube and thumbed the bead onto the rim, using a tyre leve for the last couple of inches. No sweat. My only advice would be to check that the bead is seated properly all the way round, as previously I’ve experienced a “ran over a snake!” bursted-out innertube after a rushed tube repair with the old Racing Ralphs!
When riding, the tyres roll fast on tarmac – a real blessing on the way to your favourite trail if, like me, you’d rather not throw the bike in the car to get everywhere. I got them up to 28mph on a downhill road stretch where I usually hit around 26, so they’re at least as quick as the Racing Ralphs on the black stuff.
Off the road I felt much more confident on wet & slippy mud, as well as the limestone and gravel trails on my usual autopilot loop. I don’t think this was new tyre bravado as I’m pretty sure I was being scientific about it! At this stage I’ll promise to post a follow-up comment below after our Saturday ride 😉
These Schwalbe Smart Sam MTB tyres are not expensive: a very reasonably-priced, hardwearing, all round MTB tyre. If you ride mixed surfaces like me, I think you could do a lot worse. If I change my mind, I’ll post below so check the comments for updates once the initial post-purchase euphoria has worn off.