Schwalbe CX Pro tyres
By Paul Hopkins
11th January 2013
The Schwalbe CX Pro cyclocross tyre is a narrow little beast; at least it is if you’re used to MTBs and their bulbous take on off-road rubber.
You’ll have probably guessed that we’re all born again ‘cross fans here at CycleTechReview. I used to race ‘cross back in the late eighties and this year decided, if I was going to keep focused over the winter and stand some chance in early season road races, a comeback was called for.
With all the rain we’ve had this year I didn’t think there was much point in going for anything other than a full mud tyre. Schwalbe produce 9 ‘cross tyres, all clinchers apart from one tubular. The Schwalbe CX Pro looked like it would be more than able to handle the slop of a UK course with ease.
First impressions of the Schwalbe CX Pro from someone who is used to wider off-road rubber is how narrow they are; mud clearance is huge, a useful feature if, like me, you are forced to run a rigid mtb rather than a dedicated cyclo-cross frame.
However, as the Schwalbe CX Pro is 35mm wide, it falls foul of the UCI’s maximum width rule, but as I’m unlikely to be riding any UCI sanctioned races any time soon, this shouldn’t be a problem. Of course it does also come in narrower versions.
The Schwalbe CX Pro’s have all black side walls and use Schwalbe’s ORC, Offroad Racing Compound. Simple white logos are printed onto the tyre; very classy, not performance enhancing in any way, but they do look good!
The tread is large and aggressive, just the kind of tread to inspire confidence when off-road. The tyres are directional, with the central chevrons driving forward on the back wheel and helping with braking duties on the front. The tall tread gripped very well and predictably, and I was soon able to slide the wheel in and out of corners with confidence.
The first time off-road was actually at a local club training session, which was perfect. It consisted of laps around some cones to warm-up, followed by short sprints and then some ‘cross skills.
The 26” version of the Schwalbe CX Pro I used on my rigid mtb weigh in at 405g, just 5g heavier than the 700c version. The 26” version is useful size if, like me, you have a young son that races as he has a pair on his 26” wheeled cross bike.
The feel compared to a full-fat mtb tyre is instantly noticeable, especially across grass, which normally slows a bike right down. These spun across the energy sapping, waterlogged grass like it was tarmac; well, almost. Lean them into a corner and they bite and hold well. In muddy conditions they cleared well and with the pressure sorted they would find grip, even on off-camber uphills.
First time out I had inflated the Schwalbe CX Pro’s up to 55psi, but as I rode over the next few weeks I kept adjusting the pressure downwards. The Schwalbe CX Pro tyres were fine all the way down to 35psi; in fact in one race I ran them as low as 28psi, without a pinch!
Over the course of the winter racing season I’ve found them to be very dependable, with only one puncture and that was a pinch flat on the White Hills UCX which is a 70km off/on-road ride around the hills of the South Downs in South-east England. The pinch puncture happened on a broken section of tarmac where we were charging along in a paceline, so the potholes were unavoidable and crashing into them at full pelt, a puncture might be expected…
Other than that the tyres still look in good as new condition, with little wear and no cuts to the sidewalls. At under £20 each, I think the Schwalbe CX Pro is a great tyre and will continue with them as long as the mud stays with us. There’s also a Lite version for the more serious racer ‘crosser. Highly recommended.
Schwalbe CX Pro 26″x1.35 and 700×30 rrp. £19.99/$31.45
Schwalbe CX Pro Light 700×30 rrp. £29.99/$46.15
Although, completely outside of CycleTechReviews normal field of interest, check out the commercial from Schwalbe below. you’ll be amazed at what you can do with just one Schwalbe tyre!
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