There are better condition specific tyres out there but for all round versatility and incredible value you won't do much better than the Schwalbe Smart Sam. It rolls very well on any terrain, in all but very worst conditions. Even on the road it rides effortlessly and as a result is perfectly suited to those occasions where the odd excursion onto tarmac or gravel roads join up your favourite slithers of singletrack. They're lightweight and and pretty durable too.
Ideal for: All-day rides across all manner of terrain.
Used the world over on anything from lightweight cross country hardtails to burly full-sus rigs, Schwalbe Nobby Nic's reputation lamented by numerous 'best tyre' awards in the cycling press. Super-light 'Evolution' casing is borrowed from their Racing Ralph XC race tyre. Triple compound tread construction employs hard-wearing rubber in the centre sections to roll fast, with softer, stickier rubber in the intermediate and outer sections giving grip where needed when railing the turns.
Ideal for: Absolutely anything you dare throw at it.
Just because Albert's fat, doesn't mean he's heavy. Schwalbe's aim with the Fat Albert is a large volume tyre at a relatively low weight. Robust SnakeSkin sidewalls help to protect from punctures, while specific compounds help to tune the characteristics for front or rear use. On the front is Schwalbe's TrailStar formula for maximum grip and control, and on the rear is the easy rolling yet durable PaceStar compound.
Ideal for: Trail centres and gravity assisted trails.
2 March 2011