Schwalbe has launched a new range-topping tubeless road tire called the Pro One – claimed to be 25 percent lighter and with 10 percent lower rolling resistance than the outgoing One.
BikeRadar joined a very small group of journalists to ride the new tire in Belgium and Germany. Check out our Schwalbe Pro One first ride review.
The new Pro One uses a triple-compound tread with a harder centre for better efficiency, softer shoulders for cornering grip and a very soft base layer beneath both of the others that doesn’t ever contact the ground but contributes to lowering the rolling resistance.
The Pro One is available in 23, 25 and 28mm widths, plus a fitment for 20” wheels. The European price is €69; UK and US prices are still to be confirmed but expected to be around £60 and $80. Schwalbe also offers a conversion kit of tape, valve and valve extensions to work with most clincher wheels.
Resistance is futile
Especially in a high performance tire such as the Pro One, the biggest benefit of going tubeless is reduced rolling resistance by eliminating the friction between a tube and tire. Schwalbe also claims that you can achieve these gains while using lower pressures (by 1bar / 14.5psi), which will deliver increased grip and comfort.
In comparisons using Schwalbe’s own rolling resistance test rig with a 50kg load on a wheel spinning at 30kph, the company’s basic training tire – the Durano – records a resistance of 29W.
The One clincher is much faster at 22W, and the One Tubeless quicker still at 19W. The new Pro One shaves off even more, burning just 17W of your effort to turn it.
There’s less weight on the front wheel than the rear, so you don’t just double that saving but add 50 per cent. Therefore a set of Pro Ones could save you up to 18W. If you train with a power meter you will already know the significance of that figure over a long ride. If you don’t, well it’s a lot – about the same as you might hope to gain with a year of hard training.
There is a light tread pattern but only because “we got tired of explaining that a slick bicycle tire is just as good in the wet”. A bicycle tire is too skinny and moving too slowly to aquaplane like a car tire can, so it has no need of a tread pattern to clear water and the channels in a bike tire treads are far too shallow to move a useful amount of water anyway. However, Schwalbe know that they have an uphill battle to change that perception so the Pro One gets a cut tread.
Schwalbe’s new tubeless range also includes the S-One 30mm pavé tire which was raced to the top-10 at Paris-Roubaix this year; the X-One 33mm CX tire; G-One gravel tire; and Big One 60mm beach racing tire. The latter has the lowest rolling resistance Schwalbe have ever tested at under 10w. Of course, it isn’t aero enough to be fast on the road and serves as a useful reminder that low rolling resistance isn’t the be all and end all of tire choice.
Bear in mind…
If you’re thinking, ‘Great, I’ll put these on my race wheels and be unbeatable’ then hold up. There are not many tubeless compatible wheels on the market and very few that are truly race-worthy. While some clinchers can be converted, others cannot and not every brand states it clearly. A tip of the hat to Bontrager and Specialized-Roval as both have engineered their latest aero carbon clinchers to be tubeless-friendly.
One more thing to bear in mind is that the gains in rolling resistance from the Pro One outweigh the wattage savings between a top-end aero wheel and a rather ordinary wheel. If you’re agonising over Roval versus Zipp, any performance difference (and there’s likely very little) pales in comparison to the savings you will make at the tire.
We’ll have a first ride review for you very soon.
Find out more at www.schwalbe.com.