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.
- 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
- Not great front tire due to horizontal gaps in tread pattern
- High and blocky middle tread pattern doesn’t roll fast
- Heavier than advertised
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
More Info: www.schwalbetires.com