Schwalbe has just unveiled its 2021 mountain bike tyre lineup and it includes two new tread patterns alongside a range of five casing options that will be rolled out across the MTB range.
All told, there are 144 new mountain bike tyre options from Schwalbe when you add up all the casing, compound and width combinations.
Casings for all occasions
Schwalbe has expanded and renamed its range of tyre casings in a bid to cater to different riding disciplines and – in theory – make things easier to understand. It’s also tweaked the construction of the casings compared to older models.
Tyre casings are a tricky trade-off between weight and puncture-resistance, suppleness and stability, and rolling speed and damping for rough terrain control.
In a bid to suit the needs of everyone, there are now five casing options to suit the full spectrum of mountain biking:
SuperRace – for cross-country and marathon racing
SuperGround – for down-country and light trail riding
SuperTrail – for aggressive trail riding
SuperGravity – for enduro riding
SuperDownhill – for – you guessed it – downhill terrain.
Although Schwalbe has made subtle tweaks to the exact construction recipes, the SuperGround casing is equivalent to the outgoing Snakeskin models and the SuperGravity, SuperDownhill and SuperRace all have close equivalents in the old Schwalbe range.
The SuperTrail casing is completely new though, offering a middle ground to aggressive trail riders who find the Snakeskin tyres a little too flimsy, or enduro riders who want a little more suppleness and less weight than a SuperGravity tyre. Based on how it’s marketed, this new casing is probably roughly equivalent to the EXO+ casing in the Maxxis family.
Here’s a rundown of the casings offered and their construction. There’s more to a modern mountain bike tyre than meets the eye!
Casing and compound combinations
In combination with these five casing options, Schwalbe still offers its four Addix compounds: SuperSoft, Soft, Speedgrip and Speed.
Softer compounds provide more grip and damping but roll slower and wear out faster.
A featherweight tyre with a cross-country casing and super-sticky downhill compound wouldn’t be much fun, so Schwalbe only pairs stickier compounds with the chunkier casings and tread patterns.
Luckily, Schwalbe provided this table to make clear which compounds and casings are available with each of its tread patterns.
The available combinations of casing, tread pattern and compound visualised. Simple, right?Schwalbe
New Big Betty
With its large lateral braking edges, Big Betty is designed primarily as a rear tyre.Schwalbe
While the Big Betty name is nothing new to Schwalbe, the 2021 tyre is new in all but name.
The aggressive tread pattern is available with the SuperDownhill, SuperGravity and SuperTrail casings. Although it can be used front or rear, Schwalbe recommends it as a rear tyre in combination with a Magic Mary up front.
The laterally-aligned centre knobs are claimed to give it plenty of braking grip while reducing rolling resistance compared to the Magic Mary.
As a rear-biased, gravity-focused tyre with an eye on rolling speed, it should stack up against the likes of the Maxxis DHR2. We’ll let you know how it compares in due course.
It looks like it could be a worthy rival to Maxxis’s DHR2.Schwalbe
Redesigned Nobby Nic
The Nobby Nic has been tweaked with a more aggressive, better supported shoulder tread for harder-charging modern trail bikes.Schwalbe
The Nobby Nic is designed to be a versatile all-rounder for trail and all-mountain riding.
According to Schwalbe “the profile design has been reworked in detail and made more aggressive to take into account the development of modern bikes.”
The brand says it now works a little better in slippery conditions and responds better to hard cornering.
We anticipate seeing lots of Nobby Nics on the back of test bikes in future.Schwalbe
It’s available in the new SuperTrail and SuperGround casings.
The 2021 Schwalbe range will be available from August 2020. Prices are yet to be released.
Seb's been riding and racing mountain bikes for half his life. Since getting hooked on mountain bikes aged thirteen riding a tiny 24Seven Crosser, he's raced downhill, enduro and cross country, and while no athlete, still enters the occasional race. Seb studied experimental physics at university, and he's now happily using (wasting) his degree experimenting with different bike setups, trying to work out what works best and why. You'll often find him riding the same track ten times in a day, changing just one thing to pin down the differences. Seb's much happier back-to-back testing suspension on a wet Welsh hillside than riding the latest five-figure bikes on some sunny press trip - although he quite likes that too!