Smart Sam is a brand new addition to the already massive Schwalbe tyre arsenal with a hybrid fast centre and grippy shoulder design. The almost continuous centre tread means fast and easy tarmac or hardpack trail speed and long wear life.
The tyre straightline/upright traction isn’t great, particularly on hard roots and rocks where it can spin and slip very easily if there’s any hint of moisture about. The more open shoulder tread means it will bite in the corners if you get it over fast enough, but even then it’s more of a slider than a sticker and it clogs easily in mucky terrain.
The reinforced Alpen Cross version gives rock protection and increased durability to the already usefully protective 2.25in size. It adds 90g of weight on the ‘Light’ version which most racers will choose. Like most Schwalbe tyres it’s a pricey tyre too.