Schwalbe Nobby Nic 650B Tires

27.5 Sea Otter Classic Tires

Schwalbe is jumping on the 650B bandwagon with a couple of new tire entries for 2013, prominently the aggressive XC Nobby Nic. This definitely seems to be the year of 650B, although it’s being slowly morphed into being called the more appropriate and understandable 27.5. Most of the fork and tire manufacturers are rolling out new products for 2013 in that size, and they’ll be closely followed by quite a few frame companies.
The German tire company Schwalbe has the Nobby Nic 650B in the 2.35 x 27.5-650B size that will be rolled out this summer for around $90, and I got a beta set to test out, so look for a review shortly on this beast. The Nobby Nic is tubeless ready and has the tough Schwalbe Snakeskin sidewall protection, and use the XC oriented PaceStar compound, which utilizes a medium center, medium soft shoulders and an easy rolling base. Hopefully, the sizing nomenclature gets sorted out, since 27.5-650B is confusing? 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.

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.

The Racing Ralph got a slight model change for the coming year, and gets a second lug transition between the center and shoulders, for a more consistent feel and lessened drifting. It gets a 127 tpi casing, and drops around 30 grams in weight. The excellent all around Hans Dampf comes in a 29 x 2.35-inch size in TrailStar and PaceStar variants.

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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  • Bret says:

    I love the fact that we have so much to choose from now. It is tires like this that make the 27.5″ wheel a big contendor when it comes to choosing a long travel bike. At 6’4″, the 29er seems logical so it comes down to how much travel I want and what kind of ride I am looking for. 26″ is dead for me!

  • BikeThrasher says:

    I think 650b bikes wil out sell both 26″ and 29″ In less than 5 years. Its a happy medium and its gaining ground waaaay faster than the 29 did. Can’t wait to see a Pivot or Ellsworth in 650b. The Intense Tracer and Carbine look sick I can’t wait to ride them.

  • Darch Oborne says:

    I have Nobbies on my Transition Bandit 29; and I love them. Kyle at Transition recommended them to me, and he was right. A great ride……but maybe its the bike also! By me, why dick around; ride a good ’29′ like the Bandit, and you’ll never ride your 26 again.

  • Mr. K says:

    I bought a 2012 Blur LT 2.2 with 650b wheels and love it! I am really happy the momentum is starting to build for this “in-between” wheel size, especially with major companies throwing their hat into the mix. I am rolling Kenda Nevegals. I am really happy to see I will have other choices of tires when the Nevegals run out of rubber.

  • Jason says:

    Not sure why everyone is saying 650b is 27.5″. 650b is actually closer to 26″ than 29″. Look at the bead diameters according to ETRTO for each size: 26″ = 559mm, 65b = 584mm, 29″ = 622mm.

    The difference between 26″ and 650b is 25mm. The difference between 29″ and 650b is 38mm. This is why 650b is so cool to me. It is just a bit bigger than 26″.

  • professed says:

    “they have shrunken the footprint slightly in width as you move up the diameters, because the corresponding length is increased”

    WTF??

    A 2.35 tyre is intended to be 2.35″ (another blend of metric and imperial) wide no matter what the overall diameter.

    starting to tire (sic) of the bollocks from both editorial and comments on this site.

  • Jerr says:

    Been riding 650b for 3 years now and love it. Just wish I could go tubeless.

  • professed says:

    Ok. Rode 650 b nobby nic font and back. Rubbush tyre. On the rear you can fall off the edge knobs under heavy cornering getting a nice fish tail effect. Its better on the front but in comparison to their hans dampf not remotely as progressove or grippy. The tread blocks rip and shred in no time and indonesian quality us erratic. Dorry but have had enough of schwalbe. The only durable high performance tye that i would buy from them and only at german prices is the hans dampf.

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