Schwalbe Nobby Nic Addix FastGrip 2.8in tyre review
Width: 68mm (35mm internal rim @ 15 psi)
Schwalbe’s faster-than-it-looks Nobby Nic has always been a popular XC/Trail tyre and this plus-sized FastGrip version continues that character into the high-volume arena.
The main news here is the use of Schwalbe’s new Addix compound range rather than its old triple-compound line-up. The composition of the new compound (and even whether it’s a multiple- or single-durometer mix) is still classified. We know it contains a higher proportion of silica and other elements that bind the tyre together better, increasing tread strength and wear-life dramatically. The new FastGrip compound sits between old PaceStar and TrailStar compounds, which were already on the hard, high-value side rather than soft side, so that means they should last ages.
Despite the chunky, well-spaced tread, it rolls really quickly, compared to low-tread tyres from most other brands. The lightly reinforced Apex carcass feels light and lively on the trail too, skipping and bouncing off (rather than moulding round and smothering) the lumpy bits.
The wide-spaced centre/intermediate digs a decent amount of straight-line mechanical traction out of soft and loamy conditions, so you can work it hard through pedals and brakes without disconnecting.
The Apex carcass isn’t as crumple-prone as the old Nobby Nics, but it still tends to squirm rather than stay stable once pressures get low.
Enthusiastic straight-line feel needs to be tempered against the effect of extended rectangular shoulder knobs too. That’s despite lateral siping and a more conventional square stand-up block at every third tread element — the Nic’s are prone to sudden and significant off-camber or intermediate lean-angle slippages. This is particularly obvious in damp conditions where the FastGrip compound also struggles to stick predictably.
There’s no other compound option in any size of Nobby Nic. so we’d recommend the Magic Mary Addix Soft up front if you want more sticky grip without sucking out all your rolling speed. Alternatively, the DH Apex carcass Addix Ultra Soft compound Muddy Mary completely redefines glued-down damping and all-conditions grip and still pedals well.