Schwalbe Nobby Nic review

Popular trail tire receives significant updates

2018 Tire Buyer's Guide 29er All Mountain Trail Tires
Schwalbe Nobby Nic Speed Grip Snakeskin 29x2.25

The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is one of the most popular trail tires, earning OEM spec on many trail bikes.

What is it

The Schwalbe Nobby Nic has a difficult job: Deliver great grip and durability while minimizing rolling resistance, and also provide good braking performance. Such is the life of a trail tire. It’s most often used for everyday rides, but may also be called on to do an XC race or some technical, steep descending. Mtbr tested the 29×2.35 version with 67 tpi and a claimed weight of 765g. Actual measures were 834g and 2.4″ wide when measured on Stan’s Arch MK3 wheels with 26mm internal diameter. We mounted each tire tubeless and inflated them to 40 PSI. The tires then sat for 30 minutes to help account for stretch. We then deflated tires to 25 PSI before measuring. All widths were taken at the widest point of the tire.

So how does the Schwalbe Nobby Nic fare? Keep reading to find out.

Pros
  • Large, blocky knobs are predictable
  • New Addix compound is true improvement from previous compound
  • Excellent and predictable braking performance
  • Tread design and rubber compound work in tandem to achieve long tread life
  • Weight is fairly light for size and sidewall protection offered
  • Wider than advertised
Cons
  • Not great front tire due to horizontal gaps in tread pattern
  • High and blocky middle tread pattern doesn’t roll fast
  • Heavier than advertised
  • Expensive
Mtbr’s Take

The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is an all-around trail tire so you don’t necessarily expect to be blown away in any one performance category. But this tire achieves what it was designed for, delivering good grip and longevity, albeit at a steep price ($92).

Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29x2.25

The Schwalbe Nobby Nic was a solid pairing with this Intense Primer.

We do have one bone to pick with this tire, though. If you look at the tread from the side, you can see a clear path to the other side without any knobs. This gap has caused us to slip the front tire when riding in loose conditions. It’s something we look for now in most tires, as it can deliver this behavior when the rider is primarily on this part of the contact patch in slippery and at-the-limit conditions. Because of this, we prefer using this tire on the rear, and installing something like a Schwalbe Magic Mary up front.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic

Here’s how the Addix Speedgrip compound fits into the wider realm of tire use.

But with the blocky knob pattern and horizontal gap, the Schwalbe Nobby Nic delivers awesome traction on climbs. These tires are like paddles that claw up steep and loose trail. The other most notable quality is excellent and predictable braking. Couple that with stable knobs and it’s one of our favorite rear tires.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29x2.25

The blue stripe indicates that this Schwalbe Nobby Nic model uses the Addix Speedgrip compound.

There are four Schwalbe tread compounds. We tested the most appropriate one for this bike segment, Addix Speedgrip. The Speedgrip is the most versatile in the line, and will be available on virtually every model Schwalbe offers. It’s essentially what PaceStar was, except it offers significantly improved grip and durability.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29x2.25

Notice the horizontal gap in the tread pattern.

Weight wise, Schwalbe is one of the best. There are insanely light tires in the Schwalbe line, so clearly they know how to control materials. In this tire, they delivered a weight of 834 grams with good sidewall protection. That’s not light based on old standards, but considering the size and sidewall protection, this is a decent weight. It’s a very useable tire, but not one intended for weight weenies.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29x2.25

We mounted the Schwalbe Nobby Nic to a Stan’s Arch MK3 wheelset, which has a 26mm inner rim diameter. That 60.97mm measure converts to exactly 2.4 inches.

In terms of durability, the Addix Speedgrip was a true revelation. Durability has been the Achilles heel of past Schwalbe tires, but that appears to have been addressed. The Snakeskin casing is good, too, delivering good ride quality and good durability in our Tahoe and Downieville test rides.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29x2.25

Weight is about average for this category.

Bottom line, while expensive, the Schwalbe Nobby Nic is one of our favorite rear (but not front) trail tires. If it slips a little bit on the rear, it’s controllable and of little consequence. On the front, though, it can lead to trouble. But pair it with a Magic Mary front and it’s a match made in heaven.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
Price: $92
More Info: www.schwalbetires.com


About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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Wordpress Comments:

  • R Parker says:

    The 2.35 could be sketchy on the front, but I haven’t found cornering to be a problem with the 2.6 width and the Addix Speedgrip compound.

  • servicemms@gmail.com says:

    Is there a real review here? This sounds more like a marketing release. What size? On what bike? Under what conditions and use?

    At least show me a picture of a dirty tire, or it didn’t happen.

  • Shark says:

    Decent rear tire, terrible up front.

  • tyrebyter says:

    Horizontal gaps? I think you mean lateral.

  • streighty says:

    I am riding the Magic Mary 27.5 x 2.35 up front on a 35mm inside diameter rim (Derby) with the same size Nobby Nic on the rear and it is a great combo for all kinds of riding: Sedona, loam in the PNW, dry, and wet. Really hard to top this combo for the weight and grip IMHO.

  • MBR says:

    What WIDTH was tested?

  • MBR says:

    And what DIAMETER was tested? 29… 27.5? Geez

    • Jason Sumner says:

      Sorry we had some text drop out during editing. Measures are 29×2.35. Article has been amended. Thanks for reading.

  • Marc says:

    Click “read more” and the page expands to a full review with all the details.

  • BCX says:

    29X2.35 is a decent rear tire, but just way too fragile in rough backcountry terrain. Snakeskin cuts pretty easily. I have 2 with boots in them if anyone would like to try them 😉

  • dickachu says:

    First ride 5 holes in 2 hours, but its was easy to fix.
    Dropped it in garbage bin, and putted back Contis Trail King apex protection.

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