German tyre company Schwalbe is embracing 29ers with a 29in rendition of its most popular cross-country/trail riding tyre, the Racing Ralph.
The tyre has been completely updated for 2012, and in a first (that we know off) the 29er version of the tyre has been designed with the extra real estate the larger tyre offers in mind.
Revised to offer more predictable traction throughout the full arc of a tyres working range, the tread pattern has a new second transition row of lugs along with straighter, less angled, shoulder knobs.
There are changes less visible but equally important too. A new higher 127 tpi casing (replacing the previous 67 tpi casing) has made the tyre a little lighter overall too. There are various options available, including the SnakeSkin sidewalls which use a 67 tpi casing to ensure they aren’t as susceptible to damage.
For the rubber compound Schwable use their Pace Star triple compound rubber for the tyre, to provide the optimum rolling resistance and cornering performance. This places a softer rubber at the outer edges, for increased grip when leaning into corners, something a little firmer further in, and an even firmer compound along the central section, giving the tyre low rolling resistance for blasting along the trail
The upshot of all these changes is a 30g lighter tyre (claimed weight for the 2.25in tyre is 535g) and 20% decreased rolling resistance.
And they couldn't have arrived at a better time. The weather is all over the place at the moment, and the previously suitable Kenda Slant Six low profile treads I had fitted proved low on grip on some of the squidgy trails I’ve come across over the past couple of weeks. The Racing Ralphs look the perfect compromise for the compromised British summer. I'll let you know how I get on.
This tyre cost £49.99, more info at www.schwalbe.co.uk