For 2014, Schwalbe has two new gravity oriented tires, the aggressive Magic Mary and semi-slick Rock Razor, along with the cross-country Thunder Burt. They are offering more tires in their SuperGravity protection system, the most prominent being a 29″ Hans Dampf. They have also continued to add more sizes, compounds and sidewall protection in the burgeoning 27.5″ size.
The new Magic Mary is the successor to their popular Muddy Mary, and the big chunky knobs and open tread design should provide excellent control in a wide variety of conditions. The tubeless ready 2.35″ width tire comes in 26″, 27.5″ and 29″ sizes, in their VertStar and TrailStar compounds, and Super Gravity and SnakeSkin sidewall protection systems. The SuperGravity weighs around 1024-1165g each, while the SnakeSkin comes in at 800-885g.
The tire is meant for loose or wet conditions, where traction, cornering and braking in less than optimal conditions is paramount. The knobs are monstrous, blocky and aggressive, and they have lots have siping for an additional bite into the terrain. The open tread design has an alternating set of two and then three ramped center knobs, along with big beefy angled shoulder knobs. All of the large siped knobs, tread pattern and design should provide increased grip in corners, better braking and tractor pulling traction in soft, loose and muddy conditions. Of course, the large knobs and heavy weight come with poorer acceleration and rolling resistance, which is to be expected with a tire that isn’t meant for cross-country racing or use on hardpack.
The inner construction of the Super Gravity design is interesting and unique, and combines their casing, sidewall protection, Kevlar bead and stiffening inserts in a synergistic manner for extreme toughness, strength and flexibility, yet still remain moderately lightweight. The red is the normal casing, and the yellow is their Snakeskin sidewall, while the blue is a rubber insert. In a nutshell, they have a pseudo single-ply setup through the tire body and tread, and two-ply up along the sidewalls, along with a rubber insert along the bead, all bound together as a tough tire sandwich, which is light and flexible. Having the Snakeskin wrap all the way around helps with punctures and cuts, in addition to its usual sidewall placement, which now gets doubled. The rubber insert adds a great amount of stiffness and strength to the sidewalls, making the tires downhill like, but without wire bead issues.
The new Rock Razor is a semi-slick tire, with low center knobs for fast-rolling and acceleration, and is optimized for the rear wheel. The tubeless ready 2.35″ width tire comes in 26″ and 27.5″ sizes, in their TrailStar compound and Super Gravity protection system, or their PaceStar compound and SnakeSkin sidewalls. The SuperGravity weighs around 925-965g each, while the SnakeSkin comes in at 665-695g.
The tire tread has a very low height along the center in a four-three line-up, and then gets large, tall and beefy shoulder knobs. The design should make them a quick roller, and would be especially suited for dry and hardback conditions. Once rolled over for cornering, the monster side knobs should take over for traction and control purposes. It would be a good candidate as rear tire in combination with the Magic Mary up front.
While I was at the Enduro World Series race at Winter Park Colorado this summer, I saw many of the mechanics at the racer’s paddocks cutting down the center knobs on tires to squeeze some extra time out of a stage by having a faster rolling tire. They ended up looking a lot like the Rock Razor.