Schwalbe Nobby Nic 650B Review

27.5 Pro Reviews Tires

The 650B is becoming the hot item, and all the bike manufacturers are jumping on its bandwagon, so new frames, tires, wheels and forks are all popping onto the horizon. For the 2013 product year, Schwalbe has the complete model range in 29er sizes, and 650B will get the Hans Dampf, Nobby Nic, Racing Ralph, Rapid Rob and Rocket Ron. I enjoyed my time on the 650B Nobby Nic, and found them to be an excellent all around tire, with great traction and cornering characteristics.

The Schwalbe mountain bike product suite is divided into three quality groups: Active, Performance and Evolution.

  • Evolution Line. The very best possible. Highest grade materials. Latest technology.
  • Performance Line. Excellent quality for intensive use. Best deal for your money. Now with dual compound for even better performance.
  • Active Line. Reliable brand quality. Now with KevlarGuard as standard protection belt.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic
The Evolution series Nobby Nic 650B in the 2.35 x 27.5-650B size that will be rolled out this summer for $90, and it’s tubeless ready and has the tough Schwalbe Snakeskin sidewall protection, and uses their XC oriented PaceStar rubber compound. Schwalbe has designed the 26, 27.5 and 29-inch tires to have the proper contact area, and instead of just bloating each tire outwards; they have shrunken the footprint slightly in width as you move up the diameters, because the corresponding length is increased.

The tire utilizes a nylon fabric casing, and is constructed with three plies of 67 tpi under the tread, and two plies on the sidewalls. The sidewall has an additional Snakeskin protection layer, to guard against cuts and abrasions, which greatly increase their abuse quotient. The PaceStar is comprised of a base layer, which provides knob stability and good rolling properties, and then a medium rubber running down the center knobs for fast center and acceleration performance, and finally, a medium soft rubber on the side knobs for grip in corners and riding over adverse and rocky terrain. In addition, the knobs have sipes/grooves (small micro cuts) for better flexibility, braking and grip. The center blocks are non-directional and the side U-Block knobs offer additional control when loaded. Their Tubeless Ready system uses a specially shaped and coated tire bead, which offers air tightness, safety and strength at the bead lock when combined with the synergy of a sealant.

Nobby Nic Specs:

  • MSRP: PaceStar $90
  • Size: 27.5 x 2.35
  • Weight: 700 grams
  • Casing: 67 EPI, Snakeskin Sidewall
  • Compound: TrailStar, Evolution Line
  • Tire Bead: Folding
  • Tubeless Ready

Schwalbe also is changing their information on the tire, so it’s easier and more legible to read. On each side of the tire is a section of icons and text, which gives detailed information of the tire’s construction and compound (Pace Star 3), product line (Evolution), and variants (Tubeless ready and Snakeskin sidewall), etc.

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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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  • Rob says:

    Good to see the NN now offered in the 650B size. I run the 26″ NN snakeskin up front and it has quickly become my favorite tire. Just a great light, fast, stable & grippy tire. Price is brutal though!

  • LyNx says:

    Silly comment to list the size as a CON because it doesn’t fit into a 26″ wheel designed frame if you ask me. I think the size is a big PLUS, just use the right equipment and you’ll be fine.

  • Francis says:

    >>Silly comment to list the size as a CON because it doesn’t fit into a 26″ wheel designed frame if you ask me. I think the size is a big PLUS, just use the right equipment and you’ll be fine.

    I agree with this Brian. This tire size and design is fully realizing the potential of 650b. Small 650b tires designed to retrofit to 26ers are the problem.

  • Vince says:

    As far as I am concerned the Neo Moto 2.35 is the base line all 650B tires will be judge against. I’m not sure I will be trying this tire at $90

    So are small 26er tires designed to retrofit to 24 inch cruisers? Really, because not everyone likes 2.35 tires…..so people still like 2.1s :/

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I removed the size constraint as a con. I also added a small section showing the Neo-Moto vs NN.

  • francois says:

    Right on Brian. This article/review has a lot of legs so thanks for editing. I should have my Nobby Nics 650b to test soon. How’s the sidewall btw? A friend had a Nobby Nic 26er last night and the sidewalls were very supple but seemed a little soft for All Mountain use.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Yes, supple but soft sidewalls, that’s why I broached the topic about pushing them hard on AM terrain. The sidewalls have been tough, greatly due to the Snakeskin protection.

  • Fran says:

    In my experience with multiple nn and roro tires all top line evo models the side knobs are a joke, look at that last image and how porous the inside is, 4 more weeks and those side knobs will fold over and are straight dangerous for any high speed cornering.

  • Zuke says:

    Good review! I liked all the pics!

  • Slowie says:

    Good review! Good idea to add the NeoMoto 2.3 comparison.
    I love the SnakeSkin just as much as you do!
    The question of the week: which (online) shop has them in stock?

  • Motoxer913 says:

    The 2.4 nobby nic EVO was garbage on my 26″ 5″ bike. Ran them tubeless on 2 different wheel sets including my rock solid mavic crossmax’s and couldn’t keep the stupid tire from rolling around like it was made of jello and even worse up front while riding aggressive through rock gardens and small drops the paper thin sidewalls kept rolling over and burping air which sent me over the bars multiple times and causing shoulder injury. Even bumping them up to 40psi didn’t help the sidewalks just completely give way when run tubeless.
    These tires are absolutely horrible for aggressive riders due to the paper thin sidewalls. Stay away from them at all costs! I went back to my trusty nevegal 2.35 up front and happy again. Still experimenting in the rear. Runing a Specialized Purgatory 2.2 control right now and so far I like it.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Were they the tubeless ready and snakeskin versions? I ran these tires tubeless at 18-20 psi through some heinous rocky terrain, and never had a burp or tear?

  • Paul Lindsay jones says:

    Yeh I run the rocket ron 2.4 26 tyre and the best tyres I have ever had! Really good. Running around 17psi and I weigh around 82 kilo and I ride extremely hard through rock gardens and everywhere else, I mean very quick on my 9.8 kilo bike.

    Never had any problems with these tyres, really good to be honest, and must have done about 300 miles and all the knobs are still intact. They are the pace start 3 weight is 530g each, lightest at this size, although weighing 545g on my scales, schwalbe have been known to make lighter tyres than their advertised weight, so may be could cause a problem if the tyre if it was a lot lighter and supposed to be 530g.

    I’m running supersonic tubes as well by the way.

    Thanks for the article, I’m thinking of building a 650b for next year, but would really prefer to have rocket ron 2.4 tyres, don’t know if schwalbe will make them or not? Suspect they are in the pipline..

  • Paul Lindsay jones says:

    Yeh I forgot to mention I run these tyres on mavic crossmax wheels, I have different sets of crossmax all rim brake models 1st gen and 2008 UST, tyre bead sticks really well to the UST rims, it is a must though to pump the tyres up initially to 60psi to get the bead to seat properly..

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