Schwalbe recommends using a bead lubricant such as their Easy Fit solution, or soapy water when setting up tubeless tires.
The Nobby Nic tire is the all-arounder in Schwalbe's
mountain-tire lineup. It’s designed to tackle everything from hardpack and fast-rolling trails to soft and loamy conditions. The confusion for riders is that the Nobby Nic is available in so many different variations. Is stepping up to the Evolution triple compound really worth the $60 upcharge over the Nobby Nic that uses the ORC single compound?
The Nobby Nic is available in a huge number of variations, including different wheel diameters, casing constructions, casing sizes and rubber compounds. It’s dizzying to look at the list of tires they have available, and we don’t have room to list them all. However, we boiled the shootout down to two very similar tires with two very different price tags. Both of these tires sport a 26 x 2.25 casing size and an identical tread. The first tire is from Schwalbe’s Evolution line and uses a tubeless-ready casing, triple-compound rubber and Schwalbe’s top-end PaceStar construction. This tire weighed in at 1.3 pounds and retails for $84. Our second tire is from the Performance line and uses a single-compound Original Racing Compound (ORC) rubber and standard bead. This tire also weighed in at 1.3 pounds and retails for $53. The Nobby Nic is also available in a 29-inch version with a number of options.
Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evolution Triple Compound
Schwalbe Nobby Nic ORC Single Compound
Field test results:
Mounting these tires proved to be a pleasure, as both snapped easily into their place without the use of a tube. The less-expensive ORC tire required the use of a compressor to initially seat it, while the Evolution tire snapped in with just a floor pump. Both tires held air from the start with a typical 1.5 ounces of Stan’s sealant per tire.
We tested these tires in the desert of SoCal for the bulk of their six-week testing period, but also ventured out for some Colorado high-mountain singletrack and mid-California loam on both pairs. Both tires provide excellent traction for cornering, as the aggressive side knob provides a predictable bite when the bike is laid over, even under hard braking. We did notice a slightly snappier feel with the Evolution tire, possibly thanks to the triple compound, which boasts a firmer rubber at the base of the knobs to decrease rolling resistance. While the soft-rubber compound of the ORC tire is grippy enough to hold nearly any line, hard cornering on hardpack conditions can cause the knobs to feel squirmy, a trait we didn’t notice as much with the Evolution-series tire.
The Evolution tire is more supple and predictable, and it rolls noticeably faster than the ORC when ridden back to back, but these differences are subtle. What gives the Evolution tire the win was not our initial impressions or minimal ride-quality advantage, but the condition of the tire after months of testing. Spending equal time on both tires in nearly equal conditions, the ORC tire saw significantly more wear, so that savings per tire at retail price wouldn’t be much of a savings in the long run.
The performance benefits of the Evolution tire, when combined with the improved wear characteristics, make it our choice for trailbike bliss. The versatility, excellent weight and high-end performance characteristics make this tire a winner on a trailbike in nearly any condition.