Schwalbe Tyres

ALL AROUND THE WORLD

ALL AROUND THE WORLD

You will find SCHWALBE bike tyres in the USA, in South Africa as well as in Japan and Australia. In Europe, we are even the market leader! There are two reasons for this success.

Firstly, we are “tyre fanatics” and 100% committed to bikes as well as, for several years now, to wheelchairs.

Secondly, our tyres are not available everywhere, but exclusively from specialist shops! Because we insist on qualified advice and good service.

And we know: Only the specialist trade can provide both.

Schwalbe is the brand. Bohle is the company.
Owned by the family Bohle since its establishment in 1922, the company is now being managed by the third generation.

Schwalbe international.
Headquarters in Germany, subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and USA/Canada. Distributors in over 40 countries. Production partnership with the Korean tyre manufacturer, Hung-A, production in Indonesia.

Schwalbe UK Ltd
Schwalbe UK Ltd started life in 1985 as Double J (Midlands) Ltd., which was set up to specialise in the supply of parts to the wheelchair and bicycle industries, by its present Managing Director, Philip Taylor and his brother, whose background had been in bicycle manufacturing.
In May 2008, Schwalbe UK Ltd moved into a purpose-built, ultra-modern facility in Telford. Its storage capacity is double that of its previous warehouse and can currently store up to 750,000 tyres and 2.1 million tubes.

Schwalbe Tyre’s,

When it come’s to changing you’re bike tyres theres fair few to choose from, I know this from recent experience.  So what do you look for when it come’s to that point in your bikes journey when you need to change rubber.

Well I’ll start with the basics, first you need to establish what size tyre your wanting to ride with,  the choice here ranges from 23mm, 25mm, 30mm and the huge 32mm.  The easiest way for me to explain the sizes is simple, 700(wheel size) x 23mm is the low profile of tyres, then when you look at the 25 and upwards it gives more comfort to the ride. 

A few thing’s you have to consider are what you going to be looking for, comfort speed or terrain.  Most tyres were the smaller 23mm which claimed to be the tyre of choice, this however made the ride quite hard and you felt even the smallest of bumps.  Then cyclists noticed the pro’s using the 25mm tyre, this was found to be more comfortable and claims were made that it was also quicker than the previous 23mm. 

Then a few cyclists were seen to be looking for even more comfort, so they went to the bigger 30mm, this was OK and increased comfort but also had it’s drawbacks.  Reports claimed that the bigger tyres caused more drag from road surface contact and moving resistance…I have no Idea how they test this but somehow they did.

Now I like the smaller tyre (23mm) but switched to the 25mm to get the extra comfort for those longer rides.  You might think “how’s an extra 2mm going to make any difference”, I know I did but the difference was huge.  Not only did it make a difference in comfort but it felt a lot quicker as well, something we all want I’m sure.

So I know what size tyre I want.  I need to work out what sort of tyre I’m going to need.  This is where it gets really difficult, so I put it to the social media to see what all you thought was the tyre of choice.  It’s this response that surprised me the most, out of all the tyre brands out there only a few were suggested.

I knew what most of you suggested and thats the Continental either the GP400S or the Gatorskins,    I didn’t want these for a number of reasons.   I’ve used these from the day I started to ride road bikes, plus the cost of them was starting to get silly.  One thing I want to say is I know the GP400S and the Gatorskins are two completely different tyres, for different conditions but there the most general tyres.

After looking at the wide range of tyres available I wanted to see if there was a tyre better than the popular Continental.  Once I took some time looking at all the stats  on all the brands I found one that really did look like they could be a contender.  Schwalbe are’t the easiest to pronounce but there stats and information about the tyres they make looked good.   Like most brands they had a wide range of tyre to choose from making sure you had the right tyre for the type of cycling you wanted to do. 

Schwalbe’s website was also one of the easiest sites to use, not only could you see the whole range by clicking the required box for your choice, the site will suggest the best tyre for you.  Then all you have to do is decide which tyre you want to use.

Schwalbe One

A few days later I received the tyres I selected, the first was a direct comparison to the GP400S.  The Schwalbe One, first thing I noticed was they were both extremely light.   Whilst looking closely I noticed the tyres felt really grippy, I don’t mean a little tacky but really tacky.   This is something I really liked as soon as I unpacked them from the box.  Not only does it give confidence in knowing the tyres feel grippy but they’ve not even been on the road yet.  What I mean by this is that all tyres when there new have a slight sheen to them,  this means they get more grip as there broke in.

  As some of you may have experienced with some tyres they can be a complete pain in the arse to get over the rim.  You must have had that one tyre that just refuses to get on the wheel, well the Schwalbe One went on my rims really smoothly.   Then it’s a case of inflating to the required pressure.  They suggest a max pressure of 125psi, I normally go with 100 or 110psi.  This gives me the comfort I’m used to.

On first ride out there were a couple of things I noticed almost instantly, the rolling contact was really good.  Almost no resistance noise and the One felt very steady, slight movements were sharp and responsive giving the feel of grip.  All this from the first outing, it could only get better, a few rides later and I really felt like the Schwalbe One was a really good tyre.  Not only did I feel like I was able to free wheel longer the grip was something else.  I’m known for getting down hill’s at a good pace so I needed to see if these Schwalbe One’s gave me the extra grip I needed.

Whilst belting down a well known hill, I had to put all my trust into these new tyres, When it come’s to getting down a hill as fast as I can I push both my bike and my tyres to the edge.  I know when I’m getting good speed and grip when I feel the pedals rub the floor, this means I’m leant right over pushing the tyre to the limit.  Not something I’d recommend and it’s not my aim but I had to know what these tyres were like.  They preformed great and gave great feedback from the road, I felt very reassured with every turn I made even under heavy braking. 

On the last ride out I was able to put the Schwalbe One’s to the test completely, when I left for the ride its was nice and sunny.  Half way through our ride the heavens opened and it was in for the remaining part of the journey, this was the test of tests. 

As you know punctures are more common when riding in the wet, so add the slick tyres to the mix and I’ll be able to see just how strong the puncture protection really is.   During the ride we were encountered with everything from rain , puddles to slick roads.  As you would expect I was a little reserved when cornering in the wet but the One’s were very good and never even showed any signs of slipping.

It wasn’t until I encountered some of the hills that I encountered a traction loss, when climbing a steep section and whilst being stood up the back tyre lost grip on a couple of occasions.  Remember this was in the wet but in the dry I had no problems at all.  So I found that remaining seated was a better way of maintaining grip.

For the whole ride, which was mostly around country lanes I never experienced a problem at all.  No signs of a puncture and the tyres showed no signs of wear at all,  on further inspection I couldn’t find any signs of tyre damage at all.  After all the rides I’ve done the tyres still looked brand new. 

One thing I have noticed was the grip the Schwalbe One’s provided, I’ve pushed these tyre’s to the max on both the corners and the straight.   They gave a smooth and comfortable feel as I weaved around the corners, even when inflated to 110psi they still had a slight bulge to the shape.  I felt like they gave a brilliant feel to road resistance increasing the feeling of speed.  From the recent rides my average speed had increased by 3mph. This might not sound like a huge amount but on a  ride this is really noticeable.

Schwalbe Durano DD,

The other tyre set I have from Schwalbe is the Durano DD,  these appear to be the direct opposition  for the Conti Gatorskins.   From the moment I unpacked them from the box there was a noticeable difference. 

Like the Ones you could feel the rubber compound felt different,  even before they had been on the road they had a sticky feel to them.  I was now quite excited, to have a winter tyre that offer better puncture protection but better still more grip was brilliant.

Getting them on the rims was the first hurdle but surprisingly they went on with ease which was a nice change.  Like the One’s there directional so you have to look for the directional arrow and correct as required.  Once on the rim then its a case of inflate to the required pressure, this is a personal setting only you will know.  The suggested psi is between 100 – 115 psi how ever I run mine at around 100 and this seems to be fine.  Under inflate and you’ll end up pinching the tyre and getting a flat, over inflate and you’ll reduce the grip the tyres can give you.

With the weather of recent I was unable to test the tyres in extreme wet wether conditions, however I was able to try them out on a rainy day on a mixture of road surfaces.   The first thing I noticed was the smooth feel, no matter how rough the road was the feedback from the tyres was surprising. 

On the smoother sections of road they really stood out, giving the feeling of increased speed with less effort was a pleasant feeling.  I also noticed the extra distance I was able to gain whilst free wheeling, was this just in my mind or was it really the tyres.  I was unsure myself, so I went home and changed the older gators back on.  Then I went to the very same hill and stopped at the top, with no peddling I set off to see how far I could get.  The difference was noticeable in both speed and rolling distance but only marginally.  Still any extra is always a bonus.

With any winter or even yearly tyre the one thing we all want to have is better grip, over the years I’ve pushed the gatorskins to the max.  This resulted in some high levels of reassurance and cycling ability.  So the Schwalbe Durano DD’s had to be good for me to have the same or even more confidence in them.

Hill’s are where the real test comes into it, on both the climb and the descent.  I’m fortunate enough to have plenty of these around so I was able to put them through the riggers.  Whilst climbing both in and out of the saddle I had no problems at all.  I was expecting some slipping from the rear tyre whilst out the saddle, so it was a pleasant surprise when I experienced very little if any at all.

Once I reached the top it was time for the descent trial, this is where it could all go wrong and fast.  As with any descent I’m always looking for what I don’t want to encounter,  maintaining the lines I would normally take I found I was able to match and in some areas beat the times down the hill’s.  Remember though I’m not going flat out in the wet but in the dry I felt as confident as I did with the Schwalbe one’s on the bike. 

All I had to do now after reassuring myself these tyres were able to give me the grip I wanted was to see how strong they were.  It felt odd looking for glass and other items that would potentially cause a puncture.  However after over coming the fact I wanted to get a puncture to this day I still haven’t,  I wouldn’t advise you deliberately ride over glass or any other sharp objects.  With the right tyre pressure and the extra protection the Durano’s offer I felt like these were the tyres for me.

Summery

Like everything there’s only one thing that’ll hold you back, thats confidence.  You need to have confidence in the tyre’s your riding to get the most out of them.  Switching from one brand to another is just as hard, however a change for the better is always worth it.  I never really understood the rolling resistance before but after trying the Schwable’s out I’ve understood a whole lot more. 

The feel the grip even the comfort of the ride felt different.  After a few rides and after the tyres had covered a good few 100 miles they came into their own.  Some of you will say the Conti Gatorskins with the Black chilli compound is the best out there. Well after trying them both I disagree and after riding with conti’s for so long I was a bit nervous to say the least.  After making the leap I wish I’d switched sooner, the grip on the Schwalbe’s is far superior as is the strength of the rubber.

I’ve not see any splits or imperfections since riding the One’s, however like with any tyre rotating them from front to rear is advised to extend the life of any tyre.

For the cost of the Schwalbe’s either the One’s or the Durano’s there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider them.  Even if they cost a bit more there worth it, but look around and I think you’ll be surprised at the savings. 

I hope this helps with your next tyre choice, I know what rubber I’ll be using from now on.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact contact me and I’ll look into it. 

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