Schwalbe Pro One Preview
Schwalbe Pro One Preview
“THE FASTEST ROAD TIRE IN THE WORLD”?
Quite the statement there from Schwalbe. Take a look around the web and you’ll see that there a lot of tests confirming that claim. The question is how much better is the Pro One compared with their previous top tubeless road tyre, the One?
I’ve been using Schwalbe’s One tyre for a couple of seasons now and couldn’t fault them. They’ve taken everything I’ve thrown at them; road races, circuit races, sportives, club-rides, even the odd bit of gravel. So I’m intrigued to see how the next generation has improved on what was for me a perfect tyre.
The Pro One comes in four wheel sizes, with three widths in 700c size; 23, 25 and 28mm. There are also 20×1.10, 26×1.10 and 650x25B options available.
Schwalbe have gone with tubeless technology in a big way. And not just with their off-road tyres. Their top end road tyres – Pro One, One and G-One Speed – are all tubeless compatible. I’m a big fan of tubeless, having originally converted for ‘cross. The ride feel is great, even on fatter tyres and the puncture protection is awesome. That sinking feeling is now replaced with a smug grin when I puncture.
The Schwalbe One Pro can also be used with a normal tube, but its true strengths are experienced only in tubeless form. According to Schwalbe running tubeless tyres offers “clear advantages in speed, comfort, grip and especially puncture resistance”. From my experience I can only agree. As a callow youth – back in the day – I was told to ride 19mm tyres pumped up to 120psi if I wanted to race. So I did, we all did. Anything fatter was for tourists. While they made a lovely sound when you flicked them, it was like riding on solid tyres. And if it rained, you had to lose a load of pressure if you wanted any grip.
Nowadays I generally ride 25 or 28mm tyres at 90 psi or lower. While the ride is much more comfortable, it’s not any slower. As for Schwalbe’s claims of improved grip and puncture resistance, I’ll have to wait until I get some Pro Ones to see how good their patented Microskin carcass is. However previous experience of Schwalbe products make me pretty confident that I won’t be having any problems.
As well as the 127 thread per inch Microskin carcass, the Pro One uses Schwalbe’s Triple Compound for it’s tread. This incorporates a harder wearing centre section, where you spend most of your time, with softer shoulders. The sides offer better grip, but are less hard wearing and sit on a base compound. All of the materials used in the Pro One’s construction are from Schwalbe’s Evo Line. These use the “highest grade materials” and “latest technology”.
If you’ve never tried tubeless before and I know for many roadies it’s a bit of an unknown, this could be the tyre to win you over. In my experience I’ve found Schwalbe’s tubeless tyres very easy to set up. They usually pop on with little fuss and on some rims they go up with a normal track pump.
Looking through their catalogue I found they have a few items to make the whole process a little easier. To convert your rims you’ll need rim tape, tubeless specific valves and sealant. These all come in the Tubeless Easy Kit, with a couple of additions. These are tyre levers and some Easy Fit liquid. The latter helps ease on reluctant tyres it comes with a sponge applicator and evaporates after ten minutes.
Another handy accessory is the Tyre Booster, in fact I would say it’s essential. The Tyre Booster is a metal air reservoir that can be pumped up to 160psi. Once you’ve charged it you can then blast your tubeless tyre on in one go, usually. Different tyre and rim widths can mean you might need a second go, but usually I’ve found ‘cross and road tyres pop on first time. Have a look at Schwalbe’s “how-to” video to see how straight forward tubeless can be. I must admit it doesn’t always go so smoothly, but in all honesty, it’s usually user error!
I’ll be trying out the Pro One over the summer in all manner of events and am really looking forward to see how it compares with the One. Once I’ve given it a good thrashing I’ll let you know how we got on.