Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evolution 2.25in tyres review£41.99

Fast but fragile rubber

BikeRadar score3/5

Schwalbe’s Racing Ralph re-established the semi-slick market and this MkII version is impressively fast, grippy and high tech. The price is a little prohibitive though.

The wider spaced, taller tread of the second-generation Ralph gives it a much more predictable hold on loose and loamy terrain, and proper shoulder knobs allow you to rail it pretty hard too.

The hard base triple compound ‘Evolution’ rubber keeps the knobs from squirming about and losing traction, although you’ll have to back off on the aggression slightly if you run one up front.

The speciically engineered superlight carcass rolls smoothly and fluidly over the trail, although you’ll need a lot of juice to seal them if you use Stan’s NoTubes or similar.

Tread life on the Ralph is short too and the superlight sidewalls can tear and cut up very quickly in rocky terrain, which makes the high price even more scary. Tougher ‘Snakeskin’ versions are available if you search for them, though.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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