Schwalbe Nobby Nic TrailStar/PaceStar 2.8in tyres review£114.00

Plus-sized rollers for those loose trail days

BikeRadar score3.5/5

The Nobby Nic is among the most aggressively treaded plus tyres out there, and with Schwalbe claiming they’re only one percent slower rolling than their 2.35in counterparts, why not throw an aggressive tread on a plus-tyre?

Well, they do come up a little slower in our rolling-resistance tests than the Maxxis pair we tested recently, but when you look at the tread pattern, that’s not surprising. The flip-side is that in loose to muddy conditions, they grip exceptionally well — holding off-camber, loamy lines with authority.

They do come up a bit square, which makes mid-lean bite much easier to find, but when leant in hard, they do break free quite suddenly, making it hard to find the limits of traction.

The rear Schwalbe Nobby Nic PaceStar
The rear Schwalbe Nobby Nic PaceStar

The PaceStar rear tyre grips as well as the front in soft ground, but the hard compound slips like soap on wet rock and roots. We suggest going for the superior TrailStar compound front and rear if given the choice.

That square profile means they work well on a sub-40mm rim, which could be handy if you want to squeeze them into a 29er on a pair of 30 to 35mm wide 650b wheels, and compared to other similar tyres they’re also relatively affordable.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic TrailStar on the front
Schwalbe Nobby Nic TrailStar on the front

Fitted with tubes, we had punctures galore, but run tubeless with plenty of sealant the 855g Nobby Nics suffered fewer punctures. However, the 67 TPI casing feels more crude and underdamped, bouncing off random rocks, than some 1,000g plus tyres we’ve tried. Worse, the bead fits too loosely around both sets of rims with which we tested (DT Swiss XM 551 and Syncros TR1.5). This means the tyre is prone to burping and pinging off the bead when cornering hard at lower pressures, and meant it was slightly harder to inflate tubeless than its peers.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

Jon Woodhouse

Technical Editor, UK
Jon's been working with bikes for as long as he can remember, from spanner monkey to product tester. He's always looking out for new kit that'll give an edge when the going gets rough and is happiest experimenting with geometry, rubber and suspension.
  • Age: 32
  • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 62kg / 137lbs
  • Waist: 79cm / 31in
  • Chest: 92cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: If it involves dirt and bikes, Jon is there, whether big days out in the mountains or steep and technical plummets in the woods. It's all good.
  • Current Bikes: Mondraker Foxy Carbon, BTR Fabrications Custom hardtail, Scott Spark 700 Plus Tuned
  • Dream Bike: Nicolai Ion 16 Longest, made from carbon
  • Beer of Choice: Franziskaner Weissbier
  • Location: Monmouth, South Wales, UK

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