The Racing Ralph has been a mainstay of Schwalbe’s cross-country offering for many years and comes in a variety of sizes and types to suit just about every XC racer’s needs.
The tyre is designed for XC racing and has a low profile tread pattern, tipping my scales at just 697g for the Racing Ralph Evo TLE 29 x 2.25in tested here.
- Using as a rear tyre
- Most conditions for speedy XC racers
- Pairing with a burlier front tyre for improved grip
Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo TLE 29 x 2.25in details
The Racing Ralph is primarily intended as a rear tyre but can be used on the front in dry conditions.
The low profile tread pattern has been designed to reduce weight and keep rolling resistance as low as possible. The centre-siped, wide lozenge shaped blocks provide braking and acceleration traction alongside the many gripping edges.
The red stripe around the tyre’s circumference denotes the Addix Speed compound, which features on the top-end Evo tyres and is designed to provide less drag, more grip, durability and damping.
The Evo tyre I tested also uses the lighter Snakeskin casing.
Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo TLE 29 x 2.25in performance
The Racing Ralph delivers speed, and lots of it. While it can be used front and rear, I found it best as a rear tyre thanks to the rectangular blocks that acted as paddles and helped scoop me up tricky climbs and dig into the dirt when braking hard into corners.
Despite the tyre’s light weight, it doesn’t feel delicate compared to beefier XC tyres and I had no durability concerns. For such a light tyre with a low-profile tread pattern, the Racing Ralph provides good stability on fast technical trails with lots of obstacles.
The Addix Speed compound works well across a range of conditions, managing to hook up in the dry and loose, while also finding grip in the wet. It’s predictable over roots and rocks and there’s no detectable squirm from the thin sidewalls when you’re really cranking it hard into corners.
It’s an impressively versatile tyre and because it grips in a reasonably wide envelope of trail conditions, it delivers more usability and all-round appeal than the tread pattern would have you believe. This means it’s great for everyday riding and big distance epics alike.
Even though it does a commendable job of being a do-it-all tyre, its focus is on race-day performance. With minimal weight and low rolling resistance it should satisfy the leanest XC racer.
Tubeless installation on my DT Swiss XR1501 control wheels was among the easier of the tyres I’ve recently tested, too.
Schwalbe Racing Ralph EVO TLE 29 x 2.25in bottom line
A fast tyre with good braking, acceleration and cornering abilities in most conditions.
It’s very light on the scales, but has enough casing toughness for all but the most aggressive trails and riders.
How we tested
We pitted 10 of the best cross-country-style tyres against each other to find out which we think is worth your time and money.
- Bontrager XR2 Team Issue TLR tyre
- Continental Race King BlackChili Protection tyre
- Maxxis Ardent EXO TR 29 x 2.25in
- Maxxis Crossmark II EXO TR
- Schwalbe Rocket Ron Super Ground SpeedGrip
- Schwalbe Racing Ray Addix Speed 29 x 2.25i
- Specialized Ground Control
- Vittoria Barzo TNT tyre
- WTB Ranger TCS Light Fast Rolling