Nearly a decade ago, riders of that era's spindly XC bikes experienced the lightweight, low-profile, and high-volume ride of Schwalbe's Racing Ralphs. Chainstays lost paint, opinions swayed, and those twitchy XC bikes evolved into the trail-taming monsters that they are today. And during that...
Low rolling resistance
Very light for a 29x2.4
SnakeSkin didn't save it from sidewall failure
Flimsy casing and stretchy bead
Got the EVO PaceStar SnakeSkin 29x2.4 version, which claimed to be 595g. Ran it tubeless happily for about 200 miles, but it oddly needed a sealant top off already. Sidewalls were webbed with sealant and a nice sized Stan's "booger" was bouncing around. About a dozen rides later, I burped it landing a drop a little sidewalls and that surprisingly tore the sidewall a little (under 1" long). All the sealant inside was dry too, with an even bigger "booger" that drew a gallery which took pics of it. Threw in a tube and it flatted within 2 rides, as did the next tube. Tried to see if Orange Seal could plug the sidewall after trying to cover it with some 1" wide gorilla tape, but no go. Looking at the tire and looking how to save it, perhaps with a needle and floss to stitch it, but it's been nothing but trouble. Recalling the times I washed out the front, but saved myself...
Only switched since I thought a 2.4 would be cool up front, but it turned out to be not be any better than a 2.2 Ikon.
These tires have boosted my confidence on the trail more than any other tire I have used, and I have tried plenty.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: December 4, 2013
Supple and soaks up small bumps
sealed up well tubeless
large volume for stated size
Weaknesses: tears very easily
ok grip, maybe not for heavier riders
I got this tire because I wanted something lighter than the Kenda Slant Sixes that came on my bike. I rode the tire for months as a rear tire and liked it although it didn't seem overly grippy but it was definitely lighter. After riding locally here in NJ on mostly hardback roots trails I took my bike with Ralph on the back to PA and rode a rocky trail called Blue Marsh. Well, that was the end of Ralph, not one but two gashes and one gash wasn't even the sidewall but rather in the tread area. I don't considering myself an aggressive or hard rider and this is the first time I ever and a tire rip like that. I contacted Schwalbe and in their defense they did send me another Ralph which I've now setup tubeless as a rear tire on my bike. I'm running it at 25psi on my 29er and I like it quite a bit, I just won't take it on rocky trails but for rooty bumpy stuff it seems quite good. In summation I'd say it's a worthy candidate if you're looking for a lightweight tire and don't ride really rough stuff but if you ride anywhere with rocks it'll surely destroy your Ralph. I didn't have the snakeskin sidewall and my Ralph weighed in at the manufacturer's listed weight.
Strengths: - Light tire with a large volume carcass.
- Low rolling resistance; feel like they will roll for days once you get going.
- Super easy to mount up tubeless. I got them to seat with a floor pump
- Good grip as a rear tire at lower pressures.
Weaknesses: - Weak and very porous tire carcass. After about a month I already have quite a few sidewall cuts. Also, they ended up being impossible to run tubeless for long periods because the sealant would dry out in a few weeks due to the porous sidewalls..
- Extremely fast wearing. The center knobs look like they are crumbling and the inside edges of the side knobs are all torn out after about two months of riding.
- Absolutely terrifying as a front tire. Constantly feels like it is on the edge of washing out.
These tires came with the stock build of my 2013 RIP 9, and are the "Performance" grade of the 29'er Racing Ralph. I definitely do not recommend them. They check all the boxes when it comes to the typical Schwalbe complaints: Fast wearing, fragile, and a bit sketchy in the handling department. Though to be fair, I think in my case the "budget" carcass and tire compound are what let this tire down. I have a TrailStar/Snakeskin/tubeless-ready Hans Dampf as a front tire, and it does not suffer from these issues (great, great front tire by the way). Also, I kind of liked them as a rear tire at around 25 PSI, lots of grip for so little tread.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 25, 2013
Strengths: grip is just fine, as a 1.95
Weaknesses: EXTREMELY EASILY punctured. VERY THIN sidewall
this tyre came from my 2012 giant anthem, the first 4 rides is fine, I don't push it too hard as the new break didn't perform well.
The front tyre flat at the firth ride when fast speed downhill, changed a self healing tube.
Yesterday, the rear tyre flat at the same downhill section, changed a normal tube and flattened in 3 minutes again! Of course I have checked the inside when fixing.
Im regular to this track , used to use maxxis high roller, never has any issue. Every time u ride here will always meet some riders. if the track doesn't suit ridding why it's so popular?
the sidewall is really so thin, can easily find where is broken cut by the rocks. if the track you ride has small and sharp rocks, it will happen some day...
Strengths: Good traction when laid over, good on climbs, rolls pretty well
Weaknesses: I would say weight, but these came stock on my giant anthem 29er 2. I do wish it was closer to 400 grams, but you can only get so light with tires before you lose it's desirable characteristics.
Like I said, this came stock on my anthem. I ride/race very aggressively, and I love to lay these tires into the turns. I have heard some bad things about tearing sidewalls on shwalbe tires, but these tires have over 500 miles of aggressive riding on them and show no damage. I run them with tubes between 32-35 p.s.i. So far so good! I do wish they were lighter though, me being an XC rider at heart.
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2013
Weaknesses: Terrible for climbs came with my niner jet would neve recommend. Wtb exiwolf with nano raptor up front bet grip I've had to date
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: April 21, 2013
Strengths: Light weight. Fast.
Weaknesses: Durability. Air leak (I run tubeless).
These tires came with my Giant XTC 29er. When new, everything is good but after using for a year, the rear tire knobs are beginning to tear. The rubber is also starting to harden as I can see more cracks appearing after each ride. This bike is only used for XC rides and I would use my other bike - a full-suss for technical single track rides. Given that I don't use this bike often, the wear is considerably fast.
The side wall on both tires are also worn (white thread under the rubber is beginning to show). As mentioned, I only use this for XC rides. I am really puzzled about this and wonder if the rubber actually degrade by itself.
Since I am running tubeless, the tire used to be able to hold the same amount of pressure for 2 weeks. Nowadays, it would loose about 10psi after 4 days.
Weaknesses: Easily punctured. Burps often when tubeless. Expensive.
I got these when I got my new Intense Carbine 275. Been thru two rears since December 2012. Thin sidewalks can't handle rocky terrain. Poor traction during technical climbs. Rocks go right thru these weak tires. Very disappointing for the price. Don't waste your time or money. There are other tires that roll fast and more durable.
As a racing tire, I will start by admitting that the RR has a great balance between strong handling/performance characteristics (great trail hook-up, with either high or low air pressure) and weight. There's just enough tread to make for a comfortable ride on looser/technical terrain. But in my many experiences with the RR, these pros are outweighed by unreliable durability - consistently. I've tried to give these guys the benefit of the doubt and run the RR from time to time on my race bike, and I literally haven't gotten more than 3 rides out of a set before tearing a sidewall or sometimes even puncturing the tire around some of the knobs. It's worth mentioning that I'm not an aggressive rider, and I'm probably pushing 145lbs wet. Most of the rides I've done on these have been ultra-XC races on what usually involve a majority forest road / double track, so these haven't really been run through anything too rocky. Now, if I saw this type of damage when running other tires, I'd be the first one to question my finesse and handling abilities, but I rarely have problems with other brands - especially related to sidewall damage. For example, I've been running a set of Ikons (EXO) on my SS bike for 2 years without ever having a flat (the Stan's goo has long been dried up, and they still hold air well) - and that bike has been through some REAL singletrack! Overall, I could care less about weight / handling if I can't trust the durability during a race. I'd much rather run something heavier and sacrifice a few seconds/minutes difference over a 100 miles than blow out a sidewall and end the day prematurely. If these were $50 tires, fine - at least the durability would be reflected in a more reasonable price. But for $85-90 a pop, these have become the butt of a joke around my local trails ("Ha - you blew up your Schwalbe Racing Ralph [or even worse, Furious Fred] tire during a road ride - you should have known better than to run those in the first place!")
-easy to mount on roval & stans
-holds air very well, no air leak and sealant leak even after 1 week
-Oh yeah, very low rolling resistance. Which means, FAST!
Weaknesses: -it slips off real easy on rocks and roots but this is not realy a weakness since all round XC type tires are like this (such as ikon, rocket ron).
-price! $90 each
I have the 2013 Racing Ralph TLR Snakeskin version and use this on my AM bike. Yup! YOu'd be surprise how much traction this thing has. Almost identical to nobby nics but the rara are a lot faster. I have my bike setup with rara rear and nonic front.
Similar Products Used: ikon 2.2
race king 2.2
rocket ron 2.25
Date Reviewed: February 25, 2013
Strengths: Low rolling resistance
Weaknesses: Wont hold air as a tubeless set up . Using stans sealant.
I bought a 2013 giant anthem 29 er... These tires came as stock... Theynsay tubeless ready on the side... I have been trying to get them to seal on the sidewalls for over a week. Addidng air and the usual,swishing motions to spread the stans inside.... I though maybe it was me but my riding partner got a,set of these tires and had exactly the same issue... The bike shop treid to seal and they thought they had but later after i had them home they lost air again. There seems to be many many small holes that keep "erupting" and spewing a tiny plume of stans .... Then it happens somewhere else . Rather random and not confidence inspiring.... Need to look for some other rubber now.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: February 22, 2013
Strengths: light weight
Weaknesses: not the jack of all trades
I use these tires since last year. I ride my bike to my work place on road and on week end I go to the trail. Most of our trail here are muddy terrains as it has been raining all the year in our place.
I run it in 2.10 size on both wheels. However it grips well on wet soil when run straight and easy to recover the line while riding but don't try to lean with it in such condition. Otherwise it shows its best traction on dry soil at its best performance. On dry soil the side knobs stick very well on dirt I've ever done a high speed lean in and it doesn't shows any slip.
The term 'racing' means light weight and easy to handle but it isn't a versatile tire. So don't ever expect the best in any condition of trail.
Strengths: Light fast rolling, good traction set up tubeless very easy .
Weaknesses: None that i could find.
This is an xc racing tire, and does what its designed for gracefully, don't buy this tire if your ride downhill or ride heavy trail .that is not what it was designed fore, I love this tire, best tire I have owned, comparable to maxxis Ikon .
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: December 12, 2012
Strengths: Great rolling resistance, lightweight, bites hard on steep climbs
Weaknesses: Very twitchy on loose dirt / gravel
I recently got a 2013 Giant XTC 0 and these tyres were supplied on the bike.
Great tyres for hardpack riding, general XC, tabletop jumps, steep climbs, They feel really good on this bike. The absorb the shock pretty well. They are pretty fast too for a MTB tyre. Compared to my old 26er Maxxis tyres on my old XC bike I'm about 5 - 6 kph faster on the flats on average and I can reach top speds on the road I couldn't hit previously. Granted some of this will be the bike.
Now I'm no pro but but I have been riding MTB for a long time and I ride faster than most of my mates and once you hit loose gravel or dirt on these things, they just washout from under you at anything more than the slightest lean going into a corner. They have collected up pretty quickly straight after and that has saved me from some big off's so far but I just don't trust them now and I'm now finding I'm looking to avoid the really loose stuff on fast descents which is making life much less fun.
At 30kph+ riding on flat loose gravel, the front and rear and all over the place at the same time. I don't dare try and lean in at all at this speed because I'd be off in an instant. It feels like riding with two flat tyres. I'm sure there are better tyres out there for this style of riding but they should definitly be at home in these conditions, esp for the cost of these things.
I'll try a more agressive tread for my next set and will try to stay upright until then.
Overall I'd still recommend them for hard dirt \ road, light trails \ jump parks.
I'm looking for any data people might have about the difference between the Racing Ralph and Specialized Control tires. I am doing Leadville for the third time going for 8:45 ish and looking for any tips.
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