Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evolution UST: Spirited grip. Devilishly fast. Nobby Nic combines the incompatible: It has divine grip and goes like the devil. How is that possible? Triple compound - an MTB tire first -, combined
I normally don't like writing reviews after using a product only a week or two, but I'll make an exception here as I had to remove these from my brand new bike after less than two weeks because of the danger. The front of my bike was slipping and sliding all over the place. Started with 35 psi, then down to 30, then down to 25, then down to 20, then 18, just so I could corner without wiping out. I don't like running PSI that low as I'm going to get a pinch flat or smash a rim on the technical rocky section. I ride dry, hard pack, lose on top of hard pack. I had to change my riding style just to finish the rides until my new tires came in as I was afraid to lean the bike over. Southern California is not the place for this tire.
Similar Products Used: Kenda Nevegal, Panaracer Dart
Bike Setup: Niner RIP 9, 200 lb rider on XL frame. XC to AM trails.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: August 25, 2012
Strengths: Grip well even in wet, pretty light, good rolling
Weaknesses: expensive, sidewalls are week
Been using in both 2.1 (HT) and 2.25 on AM rig.
Very good traction front/rear and very predicable even on wet rock. Would say excellent front or rear tire for XC. Love them on my HT in size 2.1. Rolling resistance is not bad, actually use them on front with a racing ralph or furious fred on rear during most of the year (also stick them on rear during the wet winter months here in Portugal.
Only issue besides price (if bought at MSRP) is on my Nomad I've gotten alot of tears on sidewall. Too thin and easily cuts on rocks with very agressive riding.
I have had a few of these tires now and know them well. The grip is amazing, especially on wet rocks and amongst boulders. Also, they are more puncture resistant than the standard Nobby Nics. They are a tight fit on all the rims I have, but once on they seal up quite well (tubeless) without a compressor - just a track pump.
However, we have had some issues with the sidewalls failing, sometimes suddenly. I have a video on my YouTube channel of a sidewall exploding and Stans sealant being ejected everywhere - but can't post the link here. There seems to be some weakness in the sidewalls that is triggered when riding amongst sharp rocks. But they are still my front tire of choice, even on my 29er.
Similar Products Used: Panaracer, Conti Explorer, Conti Mountain King, Hutchinson Toro and Python
Bike Setup: Stumpjumper FSR Pro Carbon and Niner SIR9 SS rigid
Date Reviewed: May 5, 2012
Strengths: Speed, grip and toughness.
Weaknesses: None so far
I bought the tubless reay snakeskin verion as a front tyre to replace a Specialized Fast Trak. The Fast Trak was crap for where I ride and kept washing out in dry dusty switchbacks. The Nobby Nic was mounted tubless and sealled straight away and held pressure right from the start. There was no noticeable loss of speed and the grip improved out of sight. The area I ride is extremely rocky, sandy and with heaps of throns. So far there have been no leaks or gashes in the side walls (snakeskin) and the tyre is holding up really well. I have a Racing Ralph to replace the Specialized Renegade on the back when it finally dies. I have no issues at all with the Renegade as a back tyre. My tyres cost me $55 each from Wiggle with free freight.
I have the snakeskin versions in 26" and 29", both mounted to Stan's Arches. The 29" tires mounted effortlessly at home with a floor pump. The 26" version... not so much. I ended up having to take them into my LBS to get them mounted. I actually had the opposite problem of an earlier poster, where the tires were too loose and would not seat into the bead without an air compressor and a lot of manual seating of the bead from the bike mechanic--though it still only took him like 10 minutes to do what I'd been struggling with for 2 HOURS!! ;) However, since then, I've been pleased with both pair.
They have terrific traction in wet conditions (important in Central NY) and grip wet rocks and roots with a sure-footed feeling I've never experienced with any other tire, aside from the Rocket Rons. I can rip over wet rocks, roots, and logs and rarely ever slip. We recently had a long dry spell and the trails got really dry, dusty, and hardpacked, and they performed extremely well on those conditions, as well. These may be a bit heavier than some of Schwalbe's other tires (a lot of riders around here seem to favor the Racing Ralphs), but I prefer the grip and extra durability over reduced weight. I've probably got over 1000 miles on the 29" Nobby Nics, and I've had no flats or issues with losing air pressure. I just got the tubeless set up for my 26" bike about a month ago, and I am assuming it will deliver similar results.
Similar Products Used: Rocket Rons, Kenda Nevegals
Bike Setup: 26" and 29" versions set up on Stan's Arches. I run the front tire around 22psi and the rear around 24psi, depending on conditions.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: April 16, 2012
Strengths: Great in all conditions, very responsive, rolls extremely well.
Weaknesses: Horrible side wall durability
Bumming out about these tires, was really liking them until the 10th ride when the side wall split on an xc ride. The side walls had the look of a tire that had been ridden hard for 3 months after the first few rides. The shop thought they sold me the snake skin side wall model until we researched it a bit. These tires would work fine for riders not encountering any rocks, just hard packed smooth trails. If you like technical riding stay a long way away from the Evo model... unless you like torching $180 every month or two.
Similar Products Used: Specialized, Michelin, Conti
a Cross Country Rider
from Sydney, NSW, Australia
Date Reviewed: July 29, 2011
Strengths: Great grip, and lets you know when you are straying close to the limit. Sheds mud moderately well in damp conditions. Light weight compared to other UST rubber.
Weaknesses: Sensitive to correct pressure. Ran it at 30psi like the Ignitor I'd been using, and it was scarey skatey and loose - was seriously questioning the wisdom of the purchase. At 25psi, loved it.
The Nobby Nic is a great all-conditions trail tyre for sandy and rocky Sydney conditions. I use the NN 2.25 on the front paired with a 2.1 Racing Ralph on the rear, both UST triple compound. It improves on the planted feel of the Maxxis Ignitor on the front without the bad habit of letting go without warning when you exceed its limits. It rolls very well for such a chunky tyre - better than the Ignitor - and sheds mud OK ... you just have to dodge the chunks as it throws them off!
I don't ride wet conditions a lot due to the fragility and erodability of the sandy clay soils here, so there may be better options out there, but I thought it was OK.
Wear so far has been very good.
It is, however, very sensitive to pressures. As noted, I was not impressed at all initially, but on advice from mates started dropping pressures and when I hit 25psi it magically came good ... in spades. It is my new favourite front tyre.
In riding kit and Camelbak I'm 82kg. You'll need to experiment to find out what works for you in your conditions, but it is well worth the investment of your time.
For comparison I run the RR 2.1 rear at 30-34psi depending on how loose (low psi) or rocky (high psi) it is.
It's a shame the local distributor charges such a high margin. RRPs here are roughly twice what you pay if buying offshore. Hence the poor value rating.
Similar Products Used: Maxxis Ignitor 2.1, Ignitor 2.3, Crossmark 2.1
Bike Setup: Cannondale Rize 130mm
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: July 28, 2011
Strengths: Fastest AM tire and great grip
Weaknesses: durability of thin walled condom
To start with, they are the fastest tire I've used - prior to this I thought maxxis ikons were fast but these are something different.
BUT, durability/strength is the key issues. A piece of crushed rock went straight through the rear tread after 15km (maiden voyage). WTF? I chose the nobby nic UST version as I don't worry about weight - I want reliability. FAIL in my book.
Similar Products Used: none - never experienced anything as weird as this. It pushes the boundaries at both ends of the scale.
Bike Setup: Giant Reign
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 27, 2011
Strengths: Really good grip.
Weaknesses: Side walls (destroyed one on it's first 30kms), difficult to mount on a non UST rim without tyre levers.
Love them as a front tyre, but they are to tight to mount on a regular rim converted to tubeless. You need to use tyre levers which in my case always end up damaging the rim tape and is no good if you are in a rush...
Similar Products Used: WTB wearwolf, Kenda Nevegal, Specialized S-Works Purgatory...
Bike Setup: Mounted as a front tyre
a Cross Country Rider
from Athens, GA USA
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2010
Strengths: They HOOOOK UPPP!!!
Weaknesses: None yet been rolling them about 3 mos.
Got the Schwalbe Knobbie Nic 2.5 UST's with the new Shimano MT 65 wheelset I bought and have nothing but good to report so far. They are my first tubeless/larger than 2.1 tire and I know I sound like a commercial when I say this, but, they scream for speed and beg for torque. Compared to what I've ridden in the past, they are so much more stable on the downhills and truely bite the climbs no matter what the trail bed offers. The only set back I've noticed is wet roots. A wet root will still throw you off line but once contact is made with the trail, the tire bites again. I truely feel more trust riding this tire which allows for more speed on the trail.
Similar Products Used: Panaracer Fire XC & Hutcheson Python both 2.1. Before buying the Schwalbes I spent most of my riding time on the Panaracers. The Hutch's have there place but I don't do xc racing much any more.
Bike Setup: '08 Giant Anthem w/ Sram x9 D.T., Shmino MT 65 wheelset & some Thompson stuff ta boot.
Similar Products Used: Continental Rubber Queens, Maxxis Crossmark, Maxxis Minion DHF, Maxxis Ignitors, Continental Mountain Kings - all UST versions.
Bike Setup: Santa Cruz Nomad with these tyres in the 2.25" width
from Barrie ON, Canada
Date Reviewed: August 30, 2009
Strengths: Grip, roll (for a full nobby), looks great!
Weaknesses: No problems yet. They seem to be wearing a little quick on the rear but they are an uncompromising race tire so I don't see that as a weakness.
I have been running the 2.25 UST front and rear for about a month. They have not let me down so far and have plenty of grip. I ride mostly mixed forest single track, not many rocks but lots of roots. These tires have allowed me to take corner speeds to the next level, just weight the front wheel and rail...sooo much fun to ride! They do however have more noticeable rolling resistance starting at about 20km/m and are sensitive to air pressure. I run about 27psi, any lower and they get "floppy" on my narrow crossmax SL's. I prefer more grip over ultra fast semi slick tires, overall I am happy and these are the most satisfying tires I have tried to date.
Similar Products Used: Hutchinson Python, Bontrager Revolt super X, Maxxis minion, IRC Mibro.
Bike Setup: Element 90, Crossmax SL rims, Nobby nic 2.25 UST FR/RR.
a Weekend Warrior
from Saint Tropez
Date Reviewed: February 14, 2009
Strengths: Incredible traction all around, xcept in sandy conditions but mine are 1.8 UST and a bit narrow for that surface and I'm talking beach sand 'I have a loop that goes through that a one moment)
Weaknesses: Not Durable............but that's the trade of for super traction??!!!
used to be a IRC unconditional fan, Now i'm a nobby nic fan!!!
Unbelievable tire with mind boggling traction. I used the 2.4 non UST Nobby Nic. The 2.25 UST gets the same kind of traction. The 2.25 UST can be run with very low pressure. With Stan this tire really seals: lose < 1 psi / week. Just a real shame there is no 2.4 UST yet. This tire is almost too good to be true but it does have one big weakness. If you use this tire on loose sharp rocks (if you are in Boulder even Walker Ranch will do) the tire disintegrate in no time. The knobs will just peel off. If you ride mostly on dirt this is you tire. If you are ridin' on the (lose) rocks stay away from Schwalbe's Triple Compound.