Schwalbe Fat Albert Review

Pro Reviews

Reviewed by Brian Mullin aka Gram and MTBR.com Pastajet
http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

NOTE: Tires are a very personal thing, and they are hard to be subjective with. Tires are very dependent on the conditions and terrain they are used in and the riders riding style. When reviewing tires I had access to a very large swath of tires and could make many comparisons on the same exact terrain, making A/B comparisons much easier. Out of all the products I have tested, you need to carefully read the review and take everything with a grain of salt, just because I find a tire lacking somewhere does not mean that you the reader will have the same findings. “I’m a god. I’m not *the* God… I don’t think”

I have been using the Schwalbe Albert series of tires for many years, and have always had a special fondest for them. I had predominantly used the Albert snakeskin version (26×2.25), which rolled well, had bombproof sidewalls, good traction, decent weight and was easy to set up tubeless. The original Albert series came in the Fat Albert (26×2.4), the Albert (26×2.25) and the Little Albert (26×2.1) versions.

At the Interbike 2008 show Schwalbe had a couple of new tires on the market. One of the most interesting was the revamped Fat Albert. They come in a 26×2.25 and 26×2.4 size, and in a front and rear specific version. The newly revamped tire has their new U-Block technology and their new Triple Nano compound. The filler particles for the Triple Nano have been changed in size from 200 nanometers to 10 nanometers. This means reduced internal friction, which lowers rolling resistance and smaller particles mean more surface area so grip is improved.


Rear on left and Front on right, rotation to top of page

The front is tweaked for handling and braking while the rear has been optimized for traction and curve control. It still retains the classic Albert series tread pattern and come in a Snakeskin, Performance, Double Defense (only in the 2.25 size) and Tubeless versions.

Hey hey hey! It’s Fat Albert!

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Anon says:

    Out of interest – did you try the new-FA front on the rear wheel?

  • mountain_bomber156 says:

    Mediocre traction? I found they worked really well.

  • squish says:

    I picked a set of these up in Sol Vista at the Nationals a few months ago, and have been loving them ever since. I run them reverse of what is recommended and they just hook up, sand, roots, loose rocks, and baby heads. Set up tubeless very easy, and I’m typically running between 25 and 30 psi depending on the ride.

    Great tires!

  • Anonymous says:

    1) I did not try the front tire on the rear
    2) I am not sure if you have ever ridden in the Colorado Springs area and dealt with the Pike Peak gravel (pea gravel), it is a loose nightmare for traction adhesion. I have ridden the older Fat Albert and Albert and a whole slew of tires of late and the new Fat Albert rear had mediocre traction in comparison
    3) I did run them reverse once and that didn’t make much difference

  • Blue says:

    I found them to do quite well and preferred them to the old Fat Alberts in loose conditions (Colorado as well), though I generally avoid playing on loose gravel roads. They outperformed the older ones by a decent margin and rolled faster.

  • cesalec says:

    Brian isnt it the one on the left the rear and the one on the right the front specific?

    I do agree, with your review, it could be a great tire! So far in front I haven´t had many complaints. But the rear although it climbs like a Nobby Nic, it grips a bit more than the NN but nowhere where I should expect it over (wet/dry) roots and stone plaques.

    I don´t get why schwalbe doesn´t pay more attention to the grip in the wet. They can be dangerous! though in the dry they are terrific, but not 100% confident inspiring.

  • squads says:

    How does the tread hold up over time? I did not catch anything in the review regarding wear. I was looking at this as a possibility for a front tire.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I tried a combination using the front version in front and rear positions (reversed rotation direction for the rear one), and it worked quite well.

    I reversed the rotation direction of the rear tire, it that did help quite a bit, but it still had the same odd attributes.

    In regards to longevity, so far they have done well, but I would need more time to see how the wearing is? I used the front for a much longer period of time, and they have shown no ill effects after a lot of miles.

  • jagdpanz says:

    I`ve finished one pair of Fat Alberts (2.35) and i can tell one thing:
    Best tire i`ve ever had.

    For FR, Enduro – and even XC racing – becouse – for me, traction is most important thing on terrain :)

    Next time i`ll buy wired version. Is much heavier but also much harder (more resistant for damage)

  • Doug H says:

    Not very impressed with these tyres. I found the 2.25′s to be pretty slippy in the wet and really not that flash in the dry either. You can’t push them very hard into high speed corners as they tend to wash out. Bigger and softer knobs needed on the outer edges to give it some cornering bite. I recently had 4 weeks hard riding in Crested Butte, Ketchum Idaho and a few days in Santa Cruz Ca. The rear tyre is toast now which is pretty disappointing for the cost.

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