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...
Strengths: I use it on the front, replacing a WTB Exiwolf. It has lower rolling resistant than the WTB Exiwolf, and seems to have very close handling (with is very good road holding and predictability) as the Exiwolf. It handles loose gravel, sandy trail, paved road with flying color.
Weaknesses: I mainly ride on concert, asphalt, brick trail. packed sandy trail, and occassional gravel rocky patches. So I cannot comment on tree stump, sharp rock, and mountainous trails.
The tire is real noisy on sandy road. It sounds like one is crunching on sand :).
I've spent time astride both Schwalbe RR formats - 26-&-29er. Is there a 27.5 yet? The 26" edition was seriously lacking IMO; they arrived stock on a 2007 S-Works Stumpy, and were useless. I've employed the larger hoops on my 2012 Scalpel 29er and they've been sublime performers. At 25psi they roll all & everything. No complaints beyond the $90 price tag per tire.
Bike Setup: 2012 Cannondale Scalpel One 29er.
2013 Specialized S-Works 29er HT.
Date Reviewed: December 6, 2015
Strengths: Light, good tread pattern and grip.
Weaknesses: Sidewalls too thin.
I've had a love hate relationship with the racing ralphs. The weight and tread pattern are just right for XC racing (I'm reviewing the lightest version and the 26inch size and ran them tubeless) however the compromise with the thin sidewall construction make this tire unreliable. I ripped a side wall on the back last year during an important race and then the front this season during the last race of the year. My tire pressure and riding style never changed, just too weak of a tire to hammer through a trail at race speeds. I went with the ardent race and ikon from maxis (both with the exo and tubeless ready. They are for sure 50-80 grams heavier but well worth it instead of losing $80 in 2 races with the rr. The maxxis tires do not leak, aired up tubeless the first try and grip amazingly well with no flats or problems. These are now my go to tires.
Similar Products Used: Maxxis ikon, ardent race. Kendall karma
Bike Setup: 26 tubeless full susp.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: September 24, 2015
Strengths: Good grip, double defense is working good, good rolling
Weaknesses: Heavy (double defense)
I bought the 27.5x2.25 Evolution Double Defense version several months ago and I really like it because the weight is acceptable and the tire is good for trail and road riding. In combination with a Nobby Nic in the front it makes you feel save on the track and even driving long distances on Asphalt is not a problem with this tyre in the rear. If you are a All Mountain Rider and use the "normal" roads as well I can recommend this tyre in combination with a Nobby Nic.
Similar Products Used: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Double Defense Evolution
Bike Setup: Univega Renegade 6.0 with Nobby Nic (front) and Racing Ralph (back)
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: February 21, 2015
Strengths: tire is very light and fast rolling
Weaknesses: rips very easy too thin
i bought this tire to try out I had heard good things about the brand. Lucky for me I got this on sale. I can say it's very light, the bead on the tire is very tight. I seated the tire on tubeless carbon wheels first try. That is the only thing good I can say about the tire. I rode on it twice. The second ride while riding on 1/4 stretch of road a stick punctured the tire. It agent straight through between the tread. The sealent would not stop this leak. I had to put a tube inside. Unfortunately I rode another few miles on the trail and suffered a pinch flat with two holes in the tube. I was not riding hard just going down hill on a pretty normal trail for SoCal. In conclusion I would never buy these tires again. For the price at $80 a tire there is no excuse for them to fail like this on the second ride. I'm glad I got it on sale, maybe that is why!
Strengths: Non-Snakeskin.....Very predictable, light, and fast rolling.
Weaknesses: Didn't like them tubeless...not enough support...sidewall too weak. It's a super light race tire so I can't really complain too much. I'm going to try the snakeskin version out because I like everything else about the tire.
It's a great tire for XC racing and if you use it for that. I find the sidewall too weak for my tastes so I will be trying the Snakeskin version next. Personally I would roll them with Double Protection and take the weight penalty if I could find them in stock. Hopefully the snakeskin is enough. I'll report back in a few months.
Date Reviewed: October 15, 2014
Strengths: Great grip on wet and dry conditions
Weaknesses: difficult to seal with the stans sealant and it came with some odd imperfections on the side wall.
This review is for the Liteskin version on 2.25 Racing Ralph. I had much trouble sealing this tire I ended up sticking in some water to be able to find all the side wall leaks. some say its tubeless ready but its not as the manufacture told me after I purchased. they say the orange sealant is better than the stans for this tire. there is no weight savings from the regular tubeless ready one that seals perfect. after finally finding and sealing all the holes it was stored for 2 days and then I went riding and lost 50 of the air while riding and now I cant find any holes? trying to return to LBS.
Date Reviewed: September 21, 2014
Strengths: Bought it on sales, so price
Low rolling drag
Weaknesses: Too soft, and thin rubber!
Even using magic/rapid seal (whatever the version), it punctures a lot!
Never I had such problems with my old tires (not under production anymore)
Schwalbe RR EVO 29 2.1
This tire is made out of a very soft rubber compound but after 3-4 rides I noticed the rear tire becoming of age. I'm very heavy rider 250+ so I will try to be objective considering this fact. I guess its a good tire for the speed freaks out there but I would not recommend it for highly technical and climbing trails. It can work well as a rear but for low to mid weight riders. Rock gardens are not this tires specialty because of the thin sidewalls, also the corner knobs ware out very fast.
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.