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.