Schwalbe’s Nobby Nic is a tire that’s been attached to my bikes more than any other the last several years. The latest generation Nobby Nic (released summer 2014) combines great traction, weight, durability and reasonably low rolling resistance. The 2.8’s increased footprint and ability to run 6-8 psi less has been a great match with the Nobby Nic without the durability concerns I’ve heard echoed from folks pondering going plus.
Product: Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.8×27.5 Snakeskin Pacestar Price: $96 Weight: 829g and 868g
For testing, my Nobby Nic’s were mounted to 30mm internal width Easton ARC 30 rims. A 35mm internal width rim may open the tire up a little more and enable you to run a little less tire pressure, but the tradeoff is a little more weight. For my needs, I feel that the 30mm internal width is a great match to add more traction and fun without adding too much extra weight. For comparison, the 2.35″ version of the Nobby Nic is a little over 100 grams less and the ARC 35 (35mm internal width) adds about 60 grams over the ARC 30.
The terrain my tires see most are harpack to loose and dusty with lots of slickrock and sharp rocks – terrain that isn’t always the nicest to softer durometer tires like Schwalbe. The beauty of this softer compound is that even after the knobs are well worn they still have a reasonable amount of grip. This is a good thing considering the price of tires nowadays. The pair of 2.35’s I just retired had just over 900 miles with zero punctures, burps or issues of ANY kind.
Tire Pressure is extremely important with plus sizes. If pressure is too low, the ride can get rather bouncy and slow. When entering whoops/g-outs at speed the tires tend to compress too much and loose steering precision. If pressure is too high (18+ for me), I can hardly tell I’m on a larger air volume tire. The traction and shock absorption disappears. I found that 16-18 rear and 15-17 front suits my riding best.
The Ride: The Nobby Nic strikes a good balance of not rolling too slow while offering great traction and shock absorption. The 2.8 does not roll as fast as the 2.35 Nobby Nic with its slightly wider spaced knobs. With 6-8psi less than a standard 2.35, the 2.8″ tire does really bowls over trail obstacles and gives excellent confidence in the corners allowing you to brake less and corner faster. I found myself pushing the limits of braking and cornering speed over what I do on normal width tires.
The durability of the tires seem to be the same at the 2.35’s that I rode 900+ miles without issue. The 2.8’s have been ridden in some seriously demanding conditions mostly in western Colorado where there is no shortage of very sharp rocky trails. There were times that pressure was even a little too low and hard rim impacts were felt without any damage to the tire. I have total confidence running this tire in any condition.
My Take: Schwalbe’s 2.8″ Nobby Nic is fantastic tire for anyone that wants an added level of confidence and traction. When the need for a faster rolling tire is important, I definitely would choose the 2.35 for covering ground faster. The 2.8″ size has the great characteristics of the smaller versions with even more traction and shock absorption. The ability to bowl over trail obstacles and really push into corners with the incredible traction of the plus footprint is seriously fun!