The Schwalbe G-One RS is the latest addition to the German manufacturer’s gravel bike tyres line. This new tyre is designed specifically for gravel racing and features a lightweight casing and directional tread pattern, delivering fast-rolling performance and good grip.
Schwalbe claims the G-One RS is its fastest gravel tread to date, with 20 per cent less rolling resistance than its G-One R tyre.
My two months of testing took place on the rocky and very muddy roads of this year’s Unbound Gravel and also included gravel riding in Colorado and Utah.
Schwalbe G-One RS details and specifications
- Claimed weight: 505 grams
- Actual weight: 518g and 522g for our 700c x 45mm test tyres
- Claimed width: 45mm
- Actual width: 45mm on a 25mm internal rim
Designed for speed
In keeping with the race-focused theme, the G-One RS is built upon Schwalbe’s Super Race casing, first employed on the Pro One tubeless road tyre. It features two overlapping 67 TPI plys laid under the tread and a V-Guard belt to prevent punctures.
The sidewalls are constructed with three plys to balance abrasion resistance with compliance. The tyre is then topped off with Addix Race dual-compound rubber with a longer-wearing rubber down the centre and softer, grippier rubber on the edges.
The G-One RS features a directional tread pattern – a design seldom seen in gravel tyres. This two-in-one approach offers many of the benefits of front- and rear-specific tyres in a single tread pattern.
In the case of the G-One RS, the front tyre is designed to be mounted with the edge knobs angled forward to provide cornering grip, while the rear tyre should be mounted in the opposite direction to allow the scaled centre and paddle-shaped edge knobs to provide climbing traction.
Schwalbe G-One RS performance
My time testing the G-One RS began with a tyre swap the afternoon before Unbound Gravel. I wagered Schwalbe’s latest gravel tread would be just enough to see me through whatever Mother Nature had in store for us come race day.
The G-One RS is available in 35, 40 and 45mm sizes to suit different courses. I opted to test the widest option, which is true to size when mounted to rims with an internal width of 25mm. I settled on 26psi up front and 28psi in the rear for my 150lb / 68kg rider weight.
Being that my first ride on my pair of test tyres was one of the most gruelling gravel race courses, I learned a lot in short order.
My first impression of the G-One RS was how quietly it rolled on pavement: the sound of silence there was an early indicator of how quick-rolling this tyre would be on gravel.
Durability was paramount in my mind when testing in the Flint Hills of Kansas. The belted construction thwarted any sharp flint from puncturing the tyres and the three-layered sidewalls also emerged none the worse for wear.
Post-Unbound, on my less demanding gravel routes in Colorado and Utah (which are frequently smoother with more dirt and sand than rock) the supple, high-volume casing did a great job of muting braking bumps.
Meanwhile, the edge knobs work as advertised, providing reliable grip on hardpacked and loose-over-hardpacked turns.
The G-One RS is not a tyre I expected to do well in wet and muddy conditions and, predictably, it proved to be a poor performer in thick mud. However, this can be said about all similarly designed slick and semi-slick gravel tyres.
The G-One RS’s other weakness is loose and sandy climbs. The small edge knobs and minimal centre scaling can only do so much. In these conditions, the tread is not deep enough to provide the bite needed for good traction.
With these limitations in mind, the G-One RS is still a tyre I would recommend for anyone looking for a race-ready gravel tread.
How does the Schwalbe G-One RS compare to the competition?
The G-One RS sits in a narrow middle ground between slick-centred tyres such as the Specialized S-Works Pathfinder and the Vittoria Terreno Zero, and more aggressively lugged gravel race favourites such as the Panaracer GravelKing SK, Maxxis Rambler and Schwalbe’s own G-One R.
The closest rival to the G-One RS is Vittoria’s Terreno Dry. Both tyres feature unidirectional fish-scale tread patterns through their centrelines with small but effective edge knobs.
Schwalbe has fewer widths for its G-One RS, but its options are more in line with the current gravel market, particularly the high-volume 45mm version I tested.
Plus, having raced both the G-One RS and Terreno Dry at Unbound, I believe the G-One RS is the better of the two tyres, based on the suppleness of the casing and the higher-volume options available.
Another tyre that is likely to be compared to the G-One RS is Specialized’s fast-rolling S-Works Pathfinder.
The Pathfinder is slightly narrower at 44.5mm when mounted to a 25mm-wide rim, but sits lighter on the scale with a measured weight of 441g compared to our heaviest Schwalbe test tyre at 522g.
In terms of ride quality, my qualitative back-to-back testing suggests the G-One RS is at least on par with Specialized’s premier gravel tyre, with more predictable cornering grip and increased traction on loose climbs.
In my experience, this makes the G-One RS a better set-and-forget gravel race tyre.
However, if climbing traction and cornering performance are at the top of your buying criteria, you’re better off looking at knobbier tyres such as the Panaracer GravelKing SK and the WTB Resolute.
Schwalbe G-One RS bottom line
Schwalbe’s latest gravel tyre has withstood the worst conditions I’ve thrown at it. The casing is supple and fast-rolling, and the semi-slick tread pattern works well across a wide range of gravel road conditions.
The G-One RS is a better one-quiver gravel race tyre than many of its peers and the range of widths is suitable for hardpacked gravel to medium-chunky terrain.