The name says it all; the Schwalbe Racing Ralph TL Ready is their most successful race tire. It's light enough to satisfy the weight weenies, and it's faster in a straight line than the Rocket Ron due to a greater concentration of knobs in the center of the tread. That the tread pattern is designed for flat-out speed means that it loses a little ground to the Rocket Ron when it comes to ultimate grip, but not by much. When you lay into the turns, an increase of open space through the transition knobs allows them to dig in and grip the trail. The Racing Ralph uses Schwalbe's PaceStar Triple Compound, their fastest. Schwalbe engineers recognize that it's not possible for one compound to do it all, so they've combined three to optimize the tire's performance. The low-profile tread of the Racing Ralph is fast, and it's still an excellent cornering tire thanks to the U-Block shoulder tread. These tread blocks are angled at 20 degrees or so towards the outside of the tire. A small sipe doesn't quite divide the block, creating the "U" shape. They work to counteract the lateral forces endured when cornering to maintain traction and to keep the bike stable.The tire is designed to be tubeless ready (TL), which means you can say goodbye to pinch flats. A tubeless system allows you to run less air pressure, again enhancing the grip of the tire's tread. Better traction, less vibration, and no flats lead to a great ride. It's necessary to use a liquid sealant within the tire to seal the bead seat and to quickly seal thorn or debris punctures on the trail. The Schwalbe Racing Ralph TL Ready is available in 26 x 2.1" or 26 x 2.25" widths.Tubeless 101: The Why and the How Explained.
Strengths: Extreamly grippy in the conditions its intended for, very light and supple,
Annoying that people review this product negatively when they are clearly misusing it in one way or another. This is an XC race tire and an excellent one. Complaining about its use in technical rocky sections and mud, or about how thin the sidewalls are is pointless. Don't buy a sports car then complain how you cant fit 2X4 lumber in the back. If you are using this tire as its intended it pretty much doesn't get better than this. The casing is extreamly supple and the tread pattern provides excellent grip on hard pack dirt trails. It even performs well on slightly looser surfaces, like dust, sand, and fine gravel. Its a very poor mud tire, but again if you ask schwalbe they will tell you this and advise a different tread pattern. Its extreamly fast rolling and there was almost no noticeable difference switching from a near file tread pattern to this tire.
And I want to address those people who have difficulty keeping them inflated. This is because the side wall is so thin, and therefore much more porous. To solve this you just need a little patience. If your racing ralph does this shake the sealant around in the tire until there are no leaks you can hear. If it deflates abnormally soon just inflate it back up to a relatively high pressure and shake the sealant around again. I'm sure most of you already know this, but this tire sometimes does need more atttention to detail in setting up than others like it.
Anyway if you live in areas with hard pack/fast rolling XC trails this tire is incredible. Very fast rolling, supple, light, well made, and extreamly grippy. This tire is worth every penny if you live in an area that makes sense to use it in. If you live in places where rocks can regularly gash your sidewall then look elsewhere.
I managed to get these tires to bead up for one ride. I used plenty of sealant....an air compressor, the works.
I was mounting them to Mavic C29ssmax rims at the time.
They light and fast, but worthless when they're deflating for no apparent reason. For that kind of money, I expected MUCH more. Not going with these again. I've got them as an emergency tire...hopefully I never need them. If I do, they will be run tubed.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 10, 2012
Strengths: low rolling resistance, good traction, light weight tire
Weaknesses: price $$
I used this tire on the rear (tubless with 30 lbs of air) with an s-works ground control up front. As a rear tire I was very satisfied with the low rolling resistance, grip and cornering abilities. the tire felt planted at speed and the back end didn't have a nervous feeling even at speeds of 34 mph on loom, rocky and pea gravel trail surfaces.
I would recommend this tire to anyone looking for a great xc tire.
Ran these with two different tires up front and it didn't matter, no grip in the dry, hard pack Southern California terrain. Just to get some grip I had to lower my tire pressure so much that I was getting flats and dented rims.
Similar Products Used: Kenda Nevegal, Panaracer Smoke
Bike Setup: Niner RIP 9, XL frame, 200 lb rider.
Date Reviewed: September 9, 2012
Strengths: light weight
Weaknesses: this tire's carcass or sidewall is just too thin and flexible.
I've come to the conclusion that this tire's overall construction is just too fragile and the sidewall flexes too much during hard fast cornering. This flex,felt mostly in the rear, is not confidence inspiring at all. But I did start to use the flex and predicable slide to turn the bike through corners.I replaced tthis OEM tire with same because I just didn't know what to buy. I'd look around at other tires next time.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 27, 2012
Strengths: When new this has good grip on hardpack, rock, and soft dirt, and OK grip on roots. Fast rolling and the tire, when new, is predictable in turns. Good as a racing tire if new.
Weaknesses: Very short life! After several hundred kilometers, nearly every side chevron on my back tire was partially ripped off. Once this occurred, the tire became much less predictable, held much less on side hills and roots, and became trash (it's in the trash can now). This has happened to several Racing Ralphs
Good tire for racing with decent grip and great rolling resistance. Too expensive to use for anything else because of short life.
Similar Products Used: Nobby Nic, Conti race, Kenda, Maxis, etc - have been riding a long time, used lots of different tires
Bike Setup: Mojo with Chris King Hubs/Stans Wheels, XTR Shadow Plus and mostly XTR drive train, Formula brakes
Date Reviewed: June 3, 2012
Strengths: Fast, nice hook up with the trail
Weaknesses: Its a tire..... It could fail
Typically I give objectIve reviews - this one may become slightly subjective. I rode Maxxis Ardents for the past 3 years and loved them. GREAT tire for what I wanted them to do. I ride in the UP of Michigan, Northeast Wisconsin. Rocks, drops and flow. Ardents never failed me - and I've ridden some stuff that had they failed me.... I couldn't blame the tire! So - my bar has been set high.
I have moved more toward CC racing which forced me to reconsider my tire choice. Ardents are many things but intended for racing is not one of them. So in spite of all the reviews on the RR and it's failures I decided to give them a shot. Here's where it might get a little emotional for a sec: The RR comes in a ton of options. Yet MTBR has one category to rate the RAcing Ralph - how does that make sense? You get a real blend of people complaining about the tire (but no idea which RR they bought) and people who love it (again no idea which one they have). Wtf?
Here's my initial impression after 10 rides. I bought the RR SS Pacestar. 2.25"(?)........ After 10 rides - wow. It's fast. Very fast. And it hooks up with the trail. It has rained a ton the past 14 days here and I expected handling to be very suspect vs. what I am accustomed to with the Ardents. I've been pleasantly surprised..... They've been fantastic. They slip a little on rocks but so did my other tire when it was wet. Bottom line is: they haven't split in half, they are fast and they have handled the trail equally as well as the Ardents did for me........
Date Reviewed: April 25, 2012
Weaknesses: Very susceptible to sidewall gashes
I had these tyres on a Giant Anthem 29er and had to replace them after only 2 months of very gentle trail riding. Rubbish tyres in rocky terrain. Avoid them
a Weekend Warrior
from boca raton, florida
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2011
Strengths: light and fast
Weaknesses: Zero durability.
I have gone through about six (6) of these tires and all have failed before tread life. Last one lasted 7 miles before sidewall cut. Do not purchase thinking this tire will survive even mild rock trails as a tubeless tire. It won't. You'll end up running tire with tubes. Great tire for hardpack...but not good for much else.
a Cross Country Rider
from Raleigh, NC
Date Reviewed: July 24, 2009
Strengths: Tire has low rolling resistance and hard knobs.
Weaknesses: I found this tire to be squirrely and not sticky on my front wheel. It made my riding really unpredictable and I didn't trust it on cornering in single track and on bridle trails. I bought it to replace my Continental Leader Pro and I thought it would be a good choice but not for me.
I bought this tire with high anticipation of a nice, grippy small-sized tire for up front. I dropped my bike on single track more than once because I tried to trust it and dig in to turns and the tread on the side didn't give in and grip the dirt so I gripped the dirt instead. The knobs are pretty stiff on the tire and it does roll fast on single track but it is unpredictable and squirrly. I switched to a Conti Mountain King UST 2.2 up front to replace it and my riding was a completely different improvement--I could trust my bike again. After removing the Schwalbe RR I put it on the back wheel and I am going to run a lower air pressure with it to get it a little squishier so the hard knobs will be more forgiving. I'd say buy it if you can somehow manage to demo one somewhere and experience it for yourself and give your own opinion; otherwise, don't buy it because it's not that predictable when it comes to cornering on singletrack and on high speed bridle trails with the tire up front. Haven't ridden it on the back yet though but I am hoping that it will do well there since it does have low rolling resistance.
Similar Products Used: Continental Leader Pro, Conti Cross Country, Maxxis High
Roller, Maxxis Crossmark; WTB Velociraptor; Ritchey Z Max.
Bike Setup: Indy Fab Ti Deluxe; full XTR; Fox F80RLC with 15 mm QR
a Cross Country Rider
from San Jose
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2008
Strengths: I pre-rode the Sea-Otter and was very impressed with how well it stuck. Didn't have to many loose rocks and the trails all had a light layer that could have been considered loose but this tire gave me confidence. There is plenty of beach like sand and it performed well there too. It came out of the turns fast and seemed faster than other tires on the long downhills. Very light. <500 grams. With Stan's <600.
Weaknesses: Wow, the price. The wife still doesn't know and I'm trying to keep it a secret.
I am nervous after reading other's reviews.
So far so good. The Sea Otter course is about 2o miles and has a good mix of terrain and I really had no traction issues at all. I'll put a few more miles on it and see what I think. I may save it for races only. Hate riding on pavement with this one.