Schwalbe revamped its flagship Pro One road tyre last year with the TLE or Tubeless Easy version taking centre stage.
Claimed to be the best road tyre Schwalbe has ever produced, the Pro One TLE is meant to be a performance all-rounder for everyday riding.
When it launched, Schwalbe claimed the new Pro One TLE offered 13 per cent lower rolling resistance and 22 per cent more cornering grip than its predecessor.
There’s also a lighter-weight tubeless Pro One TT, plus a conventional clincher version designed for inner tubes.
The Pro One TLE is available in 25, 28 and 30mm widths for 700c wheels, 25 and 28mm for 650b wheels, and couple of very niche smaller sizes: 20 × 1.1in and 26 × 1.1in (these use a slightly different construction).
This review focuses on the Pro One TLE in 28mm, which we suspect may be the most popular model as many riders gravitate to slightly larger tyres.
Schwalbe Pro One TLE construction and weight
The Pro One TLE is designed for performance but includes puncture protection. Schwalbe
As ever with a high-end road tyre, Schwalbe set out to balance weight, rolling resistance, grip and durability, and the brand claims to have specifically targeted a tubular ride feel here.
The Pro One’s ‘turn-up’ construction has three overlapping layers of carcass on the sidewalls but only two under the main part of the tread.
A 14mm-wide ‘V-Guard’ belt adds puncture protection to the central portion of the tread, while the rubber itself is a new dual-compound formulation that Schwalbe calls Addix Race.
There is some very shallow siping spaced at intervals around the tyre, but Schwalbe makes no particular claims about these and for all practical purposes it’s a pure slick tyre. There are small dimples in the central tread that act as wear indicators.
The non-tubeless Pro One uses the same construction but gets a different bead material, making it a claimed 5 to 20g lighter.
Claimed weight for a 28mm Pro One TLE is 270g and my test set come in just under at 260g and 268g, so no complaints there.
The lightest tubeless option is the 25mm Pro One TT at a claimed 205g, while the tubed Pro One starts at a claimed 215g for a 23.
Schwalbe Pro One setup and rim compatibility
The TLE logo denotes Schwalbe’s “Tubeless Easy” tyres. Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media
Road tubeless is still in something of a transition phase and, while new ETRTO and ISO standards are in the process of being agreed and rolled out, across-the-board compatibility is not a given.
The Pro One TLE’s obvious competitor is the outstanding Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL. Continental ostensibly forbids fitting its tubeless road tyres to hookless rims (which would include the new Zipp 303 S and 303 Firecrest, for example) and the GP5000 TL has “mount only on hooked rims” moulded into the sidewall.
Schwalbe includes no such warning, and indeed the Zipp 303 S appears on the list of tyres the brand has tested for compatibility.
However, the “optimal” rim design for road tubeless tyres shown on Schwalbe’s website does have bead hooks.
According to Schwalbe’s Tim Ward: “there are no particular restrictions for using Schwalbe tubeless road and gravel tyres on hookless rims as long as they are explicitly designated as tubeless compatible.
“However, it should be borne in mind that hookless rims tend to have a more restricted pressure range and, without the bead-lock lip of many tubeless clincher rims, the tyre can de-mount at very low pressures or when flat.”
I tested the Pro Ones on a set of Specialized Roval C38 carbon clinchers, which feature a bead hook and have a measured internal width of between 21.3mm and 21.4mm.
On moderately wide road rims, the tyres measure up a little larger than their nominal size. Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media
As you’d expect on a moderately wide rim, the tyres measure larger than their nominal size, coming in at between 28.4mm and 29.0mm wide.
Mounting by hand posed no difficulties, while seating required the assistance of a booster style pump, but no more heroic measures.
This will naturally vary between wheelsets, for example our editor George Scott was able to seat a 28mm Pro One TLE on a DT Swiss R24 Spline db wheel at the launch of the tyre with a track pump only.
Riding the Schwalbe Pro One TLE
I’ve put around 1,300km on the Pro Ones over the past few months during what was, by UK standards, an exceptionally dry spell.
A significant proportion of that distance (I’d estimate perhaps a quarter) was on gravel in and around the Forest of Dean.
The Pro Ones are very much road tyres and a skinny slick is never going to be in its element on looser surfaces, but they’ve acquitted themselves as well as could be hoped and, critically, I’ve suffered no punctures despite running them through coarse gravel numerous times and there are no obvious cuts or slashes threatening early failure.
The first signs of wear are showing, but their claimed lifespan of 4 to 5,000km on the road feels plausible, although obviously there are endless variables.
At 1,300km, the first signs of wear are appearing, but there’s absolutely no squaring off. The dimple is a wear indicator. Matthew Loveridge / Immediate Media
I’m very light and therefore tend to run my tyres at quite low pressure. I’ve been impressed at how tolerant the Pro Ones are of being run properly soft.
I’ve had the front as low as 40psi without ill-effect (note that this is lower than Schwalbe recommends) but, after some experimenting, I’ve settled around 50psi for the front and 58psi for the rear.
Even at the very lowest pressures, the Pro Ones feel accurate and controlled, they don’t flop around on their sidewalls like some purportedly racy road tyres.
On tarmac, the Pro Ones are like any other modern road clincher. Without comparing rolling resistance data this is highly subjective, but the Pro Ones feel fast, even at those very low pressures.
Saying that, I’ve been testing the tyres on my Specialized Roubaix long-termer and they replaced a set of 32mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 TLs. Switching to the Pro Ones, there was an obvious drop in comfort, but I couldn’t honestly say the bike felt any faster.
In summary, the new Pro One TLE builds on the well-earned reputation of the original tyre. If you’re looking for a fast all-round performance tyre with some puncture protection, you aren’t likely to be disappointed.