Schwalbe, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Well, for fast riding with the occasional foray off the beaten track there’s the S-One (now the G-One Speed), for fast riding on the beach and even further off the beaten track there’s the G-One (all round), if you want a pure off roader with some super traction there’s the X-One and if you need a deep mud plugger for cyclocross then there’s the X-One Bite.
It’s not that I’m a fanboy per se. It’s just that, well, when you find a make that offers something for everything you do, why change a winning formula?
I’ve had Schwalbe road tyres on the ‘good bike’ since the days of the Ultremo ZX and R. I chose those for a simple reason. They looked cooler than what everyone else was doing, with their massive lettering and availability in a variety of interesting colours. When I was in my ‘pink phase’ with my Rapha Condor saddle and Assos 6 day jersey the pink Ultremo R worked out very nicely indeed in finishing matters off. And they were lovely tyres, plush and fast rolling. Latterly I’ve been running the ‘normal’ One tyres, that is to say the non tubeless clincher version. They are quick, supple and I’ve never had a visit from you know who. They also wear well, for race tyres, and I’ve got at least a couple of thousand miles out of them. I paid around £25 each so that’s pretty good. I did move away with a slight dalliance into the Michelin Power tyres, but their fragility made me return to what I knew. I still like Continental GP4000iiS but they’re not quite as fast in my view.
The Schwalbe Pro One hails from the same series of tyres that I referred to in my opening, that is to say, the tubeless ones. You can use them with a tube but, to really sing, you need to try them tubeless. If you want to know all about what that involves then click on this link. You’re going to need some tubeless compatible rims (ideally) and some other bits and pieces. I should add that there’s also a non tubeless Pro One as well now. Those will have slightly more pliable sidewalls and a lower weight. They look identical to the tubeless ones otherwise.
In my testing of the Pro One I’ve been using them tubeless on the Pro Lite Revo (which are already set up for tubeless) and also with my Fulcrum Racing Quattro with tubes. There is a difference overall and I’ll come to that a bit later.
If you’re going to get the best out of tyres nowadays then it’s best to go 25c or, if you can, even 28c. The Pro One come in a variety of sizes, from 23-28c and also a 650b option. I tend to opt for 25c on the Supersix because that’s the most it will accommodate. With the SuperX I tend to favour bigger tyres. It’s all about the rolling resistance see, and you need to set aside what you think you know.
It’s almost impossible for mere mortals to properly test the rolling resistance of tyres. Yes, you can swap another tyre over, do that same hill drop, try and measure it. But short of a power meter and some identical conditions it becomes hard to draw proper conclusions. Thankfully, our friends over at www.bicyclerollingresistance.com do this work for the benefit of the cycling community. And the data that they produce is always interesting. You can read about how they carry out the tests here.
Most of the tests are carried out on 25c tyres because that’s pretty much accepted more commonly now as the de facto option. I’ve selected the GP4000ii, Michelin Power and Schwalbe One (tubeless) and you can see the results here.
It’s an interesting outcome and the Schwalbe One are better almost entirely across the board in terms of watts losing out only to the Michelin at 120psi. Of course, these being 25c, there’s little reason to run them at that pressure and, crucially, Schwalbe cite the max pressure at 110psi. In terms of puncture protection they come out at the top of the heap, but that’s hardly surprising given their thicker sidewalls. It’s an impressive set of stats. Despite their increased weight over the others they are still the faster rolling tyre and I very much doubt spinning them up to speed will demonstrate any effect whatsoever.
The tyre itself is marked out from the non Pro One (i.e. the One) by the addition of ‘tread.’ That means that they’re directional as well if only for OCD purposes. It adds a bit of prettiness but doesn’t do anything in terms of grip.
The 25c size up pretty well too. On both sets of wheels they came up at about 26.5mm height and 25mm wide. There’s still plenty of clearance on the front of my Supersix and enough on the rear chainstay.
In terms of getting them on I used the tried and trusted method of putting them on with a tube first to get them shaped and stretched (hence the valve in the above picture). In terms of ease of fitting they are part of Schwalbe’s tubeless easy range. That translates to easier tubeless rather than easy on! In terms of difficulty I’d rank them to be easier to get on than the G-One but a little harder than the S-One/X-One. It’s worth, if you are planning on running tubeless tyres, to invest in something like the Kool Stop tyre lever/grabber to pull that last section over the wheel. Remember that you don’t need to worry about pinching a tube but you do need to take care not to damage the sidewalls. It’s fair to say that these are harder to install on a tubeless rim (i.e. the Revo) than a non tubeless one (i.e the Fulcrum).
Because they are a good snug fit getting them inflated is a non issue. Indeed, it’s been a while since experiencing any frustration with inflating a Schwalbe tubeless tyre. Using Schwalbe’s easy on fluid and a track pump they inflate immediately. There will be some inevitable air loss over time but it’s no real difference from inflating your tyres weekly.
In use they are particularly whizzy. That’s a technical term by the way. It means fast, cushioned and humming along. And that’s with pretty standard wheelsets. Stick these on a tubeless carbon rim and you have pretty much the perfect combination.
It’s hard to write an awful lot about tyres. My existing One tyres have seen probably 2-3k use and apart from looking a little ‘faded’ have very little in the way of scars or cuts. I’ve used the Pro One over 500 miles so far and they’re as new still. I’ve not experienced any ‘you know what issues’ at all. And in terms of riding them, they are an absolute dream. Fast, good ride, durable. What’s not to like?
Price? Can be a sticking point for sure. At £66 rrp they’re not far off what I pay for tyres on our city car. But there are reductions and at the moment Wiggle have them at £33.49 which is a massive 50% off. And that’s not bad at all…….