The Schwalbe Nobby Nic SnakeSkin Tubeless Ready is a performance tire for the serious rider or occasional racer, combining unshakable grip with wicked speed. This version of the Nic is almost 10% lighter than its predecessor. Built using the blueprint from the Racing Ralph, the tire uses a unique knob spacing pattern to hold its line on steep loose climbs, and to decrease vibration at high speeds, allowing the tire to roll faster. A perfect choice for someone looking to train and race on one set of tires. Schwalbe Tubeless Ready tires have a specifically shaped and coated tire bead. This bead quickly seals on the rim and provides safer seating without the extra weight penalty of true UST tires.
Strengths: lightweight, predictable traction, high volume
Weaknesses: Weak sidewalls; unreliable as tubeless.
I've used two versions:
Version 1: Evo 2.35 PaceStar Triple compound TL ready tires.
Mounted on Crossmax SX, tubeless with stan's sealant.
I really wanted to like these tires. They were light, high volume (huge!), and had decent knobs. They mounted tubeless fairly easily, but took several shake sessions to hold air.
Traction was good as a rear tire, but tended to drift as a front. Predictable drift.
What killed this tire for me was the inordinate number of flats that plagued them. In the last few rides, I had a flat every ride. Their downfall are the thin sidewalls. There were several tiny holes/tears that still sealed (albeit tenuously) Eventually, I had half-inch sidewall tear on the rear that didnt seal. After 4 months of weekly use, they're toast. I could/would use them with tubes, but I've got other tires to try, so why tolerate them any further.
Version 2: Older model Nobby Nic 2.1 UST Evo.
Mounted on Shimano UST wheels.
Very difficult to mount on UST rims. Plastic levers are no use. I had to use steel DH tire levers to get them on. Airing up was straightforwad though, and they held air with sealant.
Though much smaller in volume than the 2.35, they had good grip. Much more reliable than the tubeless ready version. They hold air, and have sturdier sidewalls. I would buy these again, not the tubeless ready.
I would say the nobby nic is maybe the most versatile tire I have ever ridden. So much so that it really does not do very good at any one thing. It can be like a downhill tire but it's really not quite meaty enough. It can be an xc tire but I would only use it in the rear. It actually works pretty good for a rear tire. There are faster rear tires. The nobby nic has a real reliable skid. I have actually gone through s turns with the tire locked up. Dragging it through. It seems to pair very well with a specialized butcher on the front. That combo is great for trail riding/enduro or whatever but probably overkill for xc racing, although I am actually considering that combo for at least one early season race with a fair amount of mud, rocks, motorcycle tracks and occasional snow. But when it gets dryer I think they will be too slow. But if you like to rip it up on the downhills that's a great combo.
As a front tire the nobby nic was not very good. I would say it felt about as controlled as a rocket ron for instance, but the rocket ron weighs much less so why bother? It feels like a lightweight xc tire, but it is heavy and has big nobs (not good). I ran the nobby nic forward and backward and like the backward mounting better. That actually made it look normal as well. It is a good looking tire, and pretty light considering the size of the nobs but it just plain feels sketchy as a front tire when cornering. It just does not feel right to me. The specialized butcher felt much better in the front. I think it is party because of the soft rubber specialized is using.
So basically back tire only, and only for tough courses and/or technical riding where speed is not the primary concern.
Strengths: None, unless you consider constant puncturing and zero longevity a strength
Weaknesses: Pathetic durability, wears out in no time, punctures on virtually anything other than Tarmac
Honestly avoid this tire at all costs. This is the worst POS tire I've ever used. Sidewalls are about as durable as an inner tube. Constant punctures (tubeless? Don't even think about it). I ride in SoCal, technical rock but not super aggressive; never seen anything like this piece of garbage in 15 years of riding. Even soured me on my LBS just for selling it to me. I will NEVER buy any product of any kind from Schwalbe again. Period.
Similar Products Used: Maxxis minion, Velociraptor
Bike Setup: Knolly Endorphin
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2013
Strengths: Fast rolling, grips well on most terrain
Weaknesses: Fast wearing, rear knobs starting ripping off after first ride on rocks
The tire works great as a front tire. I have no complaints. But on the rear the knobs ripped off after my first ride on rocks. I literally had no center knobs after a month of riding. Way to expensive of a tire to have that kind of wear.
Strengths: Light weight for size, high threadcount, flexible casing, large casing (not 2.3" as advertised, but larger than some competitors). Roll impressively well on pavement and trail for such tall, burly central knobs
Weaknesses: One flaw for me, but it was big enough for me to remove the tires: cornering knobs are very tall and flexible - you can easily fold them over with a thumb. What that means on the trail is that the cornering knobs will fold over, leading you to wash out suddenly during hard cornering. I want to keep my teeth and collar bones intact, so I'm off to the next pair.
Typically high Schwalbe pricing. I'd have no problem paying top dollar for superlative tires, but these are not it. Light, large volume casing, but wimpy cornering knobs that lead to dangerous wash outs.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: August 21, 2013
Strengths: Light, Grip (when new), easy to mount, no pinch flats, climb, sheds mud well, roll well on pavement
Weaknesses: Wear fast, soft compound gets destroyed on pavement and rocks, expensive
These tires came on my 2012 Giant Trance. They worked for 3/4 of a season, then cornering became scary unless I ran them at 17psi. Threw on some specialized purgatory control 26x2.4, very impressed.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Purgatory Control 2.4
Date Reviewed: August 12, 2013
Strengths: Came with new giant trance x2
Weaknesses: Horrible tire. Already need new rubber after less than 10 rides
Do no buy or change immediately
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 11, 2013
Strengths: Rear: Climb well when new.
Front: Held well when new.
Pretty fast rolling.
Weaknesses: Wear very quickly. The side knobs get chewed up in rocky terrain.
I got the Nobby Nics on a new XC bike and they rode well for a while. It was hard to tell since it was a new ride, but they seemed sticky enough on the climbs and held fine on descents. I'm now at a half season with them - the rear is trashed and the front is very worn. I'm not that hard on tires but these are short-lived skins. There are much better choices out there, e.g. Kenda Excavators that grip well and last more than one season.
Similar Products Used: Kenda, MTB, Specialized, etc. etc.
Bike Setup: Yeti SB-66
Date Reviewed: August 3, 2013
Strengths: Good sidewall, pretty easy to mount
Weaknesses: Durability is horrible, outside knobs wear out from the inside out even before the center knobs wear out
Bought a pair of these in December of 2012. 29 x 2.25 top of the line snakeskin evo pacestar compound (the longest lasting) what a f'n joke. These tires suck. Complete ripoff. First, this bike shares duty with my single speed, so it only gets half the riding. These tires didn't even last 2 months of normal riding. The rear was bald and worse of all the outside knobs wear from the inside and when you corner at speed they simply fold over sending the rear sliding out when you need the traction most. I contacted schwalbe about this and they didn't even reply. Very dangerous for anyone not used to going with a slide. I came to expect it, so I just went with it. Don't waste your money on these, and I think it's the same with all of their tires. I have panaracer rampages' on my SS and they kick ass. Already a season an a half on em' and still going' strong.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: July 6, 2013
Strengths: Climb well, decent rolling speed
Weaknesses: Tire rolls over all the time, weak sidewalls
I do not like this tire. They came on my '13 Trance x2 29er. I can feel the tire roll over when corning hard, going off jumps while off balance, and any sort of anything other than perfect straight landing. The tire also came off the rim while riding and the tube wrapped up around my forks still inflated. Ive never seen anything like that before. Would not suggest these to anyone
Date Reviewed: June 16, 2013
Strengths: Good grip, fast, cheap, wears well, flicks mud
This is my front tyre on my cannondale Jekyll 2 all mountain. It has replaced the hands damph it came with. I was having problems with the hans damph getting mud stuck in it and then being slippery then i got the nobby nic and it flicks mud great it also works great in hard pack, wet, mud and loose conditions. It also corners very well. it is a great front tyre. I have a rocket Ron on the back and find this combo awesome.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 16, 2013
Strengths: Light, flexible casing. Large air volume - 2.1" actual casing & tread width on my narrow XC rims for a "2.35" nominal tire. Rolls like a mofo in a straight line for such a tall-knobbed tire
Weaknesses: Scary cornering action. After enjoying my climb due to the low rolling resistance, I pointed downhill and prepared to wow the Strava world with my DH dominance. But turn after turn, I lost my nerve - rear tire felt like it was folding under the rim, maybe down to 10 psi after a snakebite. Stopped twice to check that I didn't have a flat, but all was good. I think the tall, soft knobs collapse under lateral loads, which is totally unnerving
I think the Nic would benefit greatly by having its knobs shaved by a 1/3 of their height. Tire feels great climbing, and when upright, but loses all composure when leaned over with aggression. I'm outta these and off to something else. Typical lofty Schwalbe pricing, which I don't understand. If they were made from gold bullion, or possessed world dominating attributes, I'd be happy to pay it. But they don't - and I won't
I have used this tire tubeless for a month. Sounds like it's not long enough to review a tire. Really, it is, as I've ripped it to shreds both front and rear.
I'm a Minion lover so please understand this as a benchmark. IMHO Nobby Nic is a very capable but very fast wearing rear tire. Fast and climbs very well, yet wears uber-quickly. At 30 psi the tire in the front is terrible, it bounces off every rock and unsettles your bike. I let the pressure decrease due to running tubeless and getting thorn punctures, suddenly I found the tire was fantastic, I tested it, it had dropped to 17.5 psi (digital gauge) and I weigh 95 kg with gear, it was finally deforming around the rocks and gripping on the off camber, although I'd be inclined to pump it to 25 or less psi if going for ride.
in summary I'd recommend this tire to racers or once a week weekend warriors who don't care about cost and are willing to run lower than recommended pressures up front.
Just received these new Schwalbe tires. An HD and NN. Both are supposed to be snakeskin and say so on the sidewalls. The NN however does not have the checkering pattern on the sidewall like the HD and the snakeskin logo. It is baby butt smooth. Still snakeskin and not a manufacturing mistake? ... Read More »
I have Racing Ralphs on my Giant AX1-29. They perform well and the trails I ride are not too rocky, but there are rocky/gravel sections and roots, and it's been rainy lately. I try not to ride when it's wet, but sometimes some wet sections remain after waiting for the trails to dry.
The Racing Ra ... Read More »
Anybody out there compared this Psycho Genius to the Nobby Nic in the 29" size? Getting ready to build a Devinci Atlas (AM style) and want a tire that is a good all arounder. I have two of both tires on deck and was wondering if I should even give the Tiogas a try or not... been riding Schwalbe tire ... Read More »
I like a grippy front tire and I admittedly over tire on race day on the front end of my bike. I'm working my way down to faster and lighter, but still like some beef up there.
I'm deciding between tires:
Nobby Nic 2.25 Evo/Snakeskin Model (690 grams) - It's nice. No real compla ... Read More »
[COLOR=#333333]Wouldn't running the front tire "backwards" offer better braking and cornering under braking
at the slight expense of a little rolling resistance?[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#333333]the side knobs on the Nobby Nic look to me to be better arranged with the sipeing cut forward
at the contact patc ... Read More »