Schwalbe unveiled the newest addition to their 2013 commuting range – the Big Ben – today at the Look Mum No Hands! cycling café in London. The tyre won't hit shops until after the Eurobike trade show in September but the German company decided to give us a sneak preview.
It's a close relation to the Big Apple, the fat tyre that Schwalbe say kickstarted the the 'Balloonbike' trend a decade ago. Like that rubber, the Big Ben is very wide (up to 60mm/2.35in) and can be run at ultra-low pressures (2bar/30psi) without, according to its makers, any increase in rolling resistance. Where it differs is in the tread, which is deeper and more pronounced.
The Big Ben comes in four colours: black, cream, brown (to match Brooks' saddles) and grey. The black version is the toughest, with a 67epi (ends per inch) carcass and puncture protection rating of four, on a scale of six. The coloured tyres use 50epi rubber. All have Kevlar reinforced sidewalls and are ECE-R75 approved, which means they can be used on electric bikes at up to 50kph.
Sizes available are 20 x 2.15, 24 x 2.15, 26 x 2, 26 x 2.15, 26 x 2.35, 28 x 2 and 28 x 2.15in. The same tread will also come on a standard width tyre – the Little Big Ben – in 28 x 1.5in and black only. Cost is estimated at £29.99.
Schwalbe Big Ben – a perfect match for your classic Brooks saddle
Schwalbe also revealed a new range of London tyres which, despite its name, the Big Ben doesn't form part of. Dave Taylor, from the firm's UK division, told BikeRadar the idea stemmed from wanting to celebrate the city's increasing love for the bike in the year when all eyes will be on it due to the Olympic Games.
They've taken three tyres from their existing range – the Marathon Plus commuter, Durano Plus and Marathon Plus ATB – and added a reflective London logo and silhouetted images of famous landmarks Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament.
All three tyres have Schwalbe's highest puncture protection rating (6), along with their SmartGuard – a 5mm layer of India rubber that's said to offer extra protection from shards of glass without increasing rolling resistance. All come with a wire bead – a first for the Durano Plus, which was previously only available as a pricier folding tyre.
Schwalbe Marathon Plus – now with added London details
Taylor said the tyres will only be available in high street bike shops, predominantly in London but also sporadically across the UK, from today. Approximately 5,000 of each will be produced and once they're gone, they're gone. Sizes and prices are as follows:
- Marathon Plus 16 x 1.35in - £29.99
- Marathon Plus 26 x 1.5in - £29.99
- Marathon Plus 700 x 28C - £29.99
- Marathon Plus 700 x 35C - £29.99
- Marathon Plus ATB 26 x 2in - £29.99
- Durano Plus 700 x 23C - £24.99
- Durano Plus 700 x 25C - £24.99