The new 29×2.6 tires are now showing up in shops across the country. So what category do these tires fall under? Plus tires? Plus Minus? Mini+? There has been a big buzz across the mountain bike industry for the past year or so about the impending arrival of 2.6 tires. The concept was essentially to find the perfect balance that allowed tire manufacturers to have a tire that was durable and offered a similar feel to traditionally sized tires while bringing the benefits of higher volume casings and enhanced grip of the plus platform. Many speculated that 2.6 would be the sweet spot for a lot of riders, from beginners to advanced riders.
I have right around 100 miles on a set of the newest version of the venerable Nobby Nic. Not long enough for a full review by any means, but I can say I have some really positive initial impressions. The tires are mounted up on a properly wide set of Ibis 938 rims (34mm internal width) on the new Ibis Ripley LS, one of the first bikes to spec 2.6” tires as standard.
First things first, these tires look pretty rad. I’ve never thought of the Nobby Nic as a super aggressive tire, but it certainly looks the part in 2.6” guise. Compared to a 2.35, there is a noticeable increase in size, but it doesn’t look as out of place as a 2.8-3.0” tire. They measured out to 63.18 mm (2.49”) lug to lug and the casing measured at a full 65.50 mm (2.58”) on the Ibis rims. They came mounted up on the bike, so I did not get a chance to throw them on the scale.
I set the tires around the 20 psi range for the first ride. Getting up to speed felt surprisingly normal. I didn’t notice any dramatic difference getting up to speed versus a 2.35” setup. Where I instantly noticed a difference was in the corners. These things are ridiculously fun to stuff into a corner! They offer loads of grip while still communicating their limits really well. Drifts came predictably without much fuss. I did find myself upping the PSI a bit simply because I was able to push into corners harder than expected.
Durability is always a question with any tire, but Schwalbe has a reputation for being slightly less robust than some other brands such as Maxxis. On my third ride I did manage to partially burp a tire. Upon closer inspection, I realized I had actually dented my rim, with no actual tire damage. Apparently, I got a little lazy with checking my air pressure and dinged the rim. The tire itself showed no sign of damage. At this point, I am seeing no unusual or excessive wear.
Climbing traction is really solid as well. I managed to clean a rooty tech climb on my first go that has been giving me fits for a year now. I don’t know if it was new bike syndrome or the pleasantly plump 2.6” tires, but either way I cleaned a pretty tricky climb without a hiccup from the rear end.
After some high-speed sections, I decided that I needed to add a little more rebound damping than I would usually run. The extra volume of the tires has a bit of an undamped rebound effect under big hits and high-speed chunder. But a few clicks of rebound damping took care of it. Just understand that you may need to tweak your suspension slightly to compensate for the larger rubber.
The main thing I noticed on the trail so far is confidence and predictability. The outright max grip may not be able to match some knobbier options out there. But for an all arounder, the Nobby Nic 2.6 seems to do a lot of things well.
The casing size isn’t the only new thing about these tires. The Addix compound is Schwalbe’s newest rubber for their evo line of tires. You can spot an Addix tire by the colored line running around the outside tread of the tire. The Nobby Nics are the Speedgrip compound, which is similar to the old PaceStar compound. It is designed to give solid all around performance for a wide range of situations.
From Schwalbet :
“ADDIX SPEEDGRIP, the universal compound. It definitely has the widest range of use. Perfect for XC, AM and Trail: for the majority of EVO tires there’s a version with ADDIX Speedgrip! It replaces the previous PaceStar compound where a significant, though not the only difference, during extensive use is more mileage and a longer life.
Lots of everything: speed, grip and durability. Combining all three characteristics to achieve the perfect compound is almost impossible in theory, but now we’ve done it with ADDIX Speedgrip to an extent that we never thought possible!”
These are some bold claims! But if Schwalbe has managed to increase both grip and durability that dramatically then Maxxis better take note. But I’ll know more once I get a crap ton of miles on them myself!
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Can I run them on my bike?
Maybe. That’s the only definitive answer out there. Frame and fork clearance is just part of the issue. The tires need a wide rim to really be effective. The wider rims help to support the sidewalls and keep the tires from rolling under hard cornering.
If you have wide rims and a boost fork, they will likely clear. But always use caution and common sense. (If it’s too tight and something wedges in between your tire and fork and you get ejected, don’t blame us… fancy legal disclaimer).
The latest offering from Schwalbe is a compelling argument for the 2.6” platform.
For Crankjoy’s full review go here: http://crankjoy.com/speedy-trail-slayer-schwalbe-nobby-nic-2-6-review/