by Ben Haworth
April 21, 2009
Here’s the rubber sniffin’ Press Release in full…
Fat Albert is back
Although now nearly ten years old Fat Albert is still one of the most popular Mountain bike tires and it was one of the first large volume, light weight tire. Now Schwalbe has created a whole new generation of all-rounders.
Fat Albert excels in Alpencross. „Nothing is more important in Alpine crossings than a fat tire. The Fat Albert grips and performs in any terrain – either dry, or wet. Providing maximum safety with the greatest possible riding enjoyment“, said Tom Bierl, who is both Alp Biketours alpine guide and editor in chief of „Trekkingbike“.
Schwalbe has redesigned and developed every feature. Making the new Fat Albert Front und Rear tires noticeably grippier, much truer while cornering, quieter on hard surfaces and easier to ride at altitude – „like running on rails“, promised Schwalbe technician Markus Hachmeyer. Freerider Johannes Fischbach admirably proved this: In May 2008 he became German 4Cross champion in Wilthen, Saxony using the new Alberts.
Strong Features: Snakeskin, Triple Nano-Compound and grippy U-Blocks
Large volume and low weight – the core competences of Fat Albert have not changed. A robust snake skin protects it from sharp rocks that otherwise quickly tear apart the side walls of lightweight and fast racing tires. „Snakeskin is one of the most effective discoveries we ever made for Mountainbikes“, added Markus Hachmeyer. The 50 grams weight penalty is well worthwhile.
New nano-sized polymers and fillers have greatly improved rolling resistance. The hitherto „gigantic“ 200 nanometer particles have been reduced to only ten nanometers i.e. 0,00001 millimeter. This reduction has two benefits: The internal friction is reduced that in turn reduces rolling resistance. And because many smaller particles present a greater surface area than fewer larger ones – the superior contact area provides better grip. The result is an outstanding Allround-Compound for the tread center, beneath which lies an extremely easy rolling base compound and to the sides lie grippy shoulder compounds. „All three complete the unique Triple Nano-Compound“, stressed Hachmeyer.
Additional grip is generated by the, so named, U-Blocks. Schwalbe technicians positioned these specially shaped lugs against the direction of rotation and so turned on its head the traditional thinking that lugs should always run with the wheel rotation. The U-Shape lugs and their positioning develops even more cornering grip i.e.: It is natural for the tire to want to wander out of curves. U-Blocks prevent this by lifting the tire by the nature of their forward-facing, half-open design. The surprising effect is less under-steer and more stability in cornering.
Fine tuning for front and rear wheels: Fat Albert Front & Rear
The Front version is designed to enhance braking and steering performance. The shoulder positioned U-Blocks grip positively in curves providing precision steering.
Fat Albert Rear provides powerful propulsion. The special Rear Version features U-Blocks running in the traditional direction for better control in corners making Fat Albert Front and Rear, with their perfectly positioned U-Block lugs, the undisputed best pairing for Alpencross.
The latest incarnation – like the preceding Fat Albert – have sturdy and robust lugs, because durability is far more important than saving the very last gram.
The Double Defense version uses an additional HD Ceramic Guard to protect against penetration punctures in thorny areas that is particularly important.
The tubeless tire variant of Fat Albert is somewhat heavier, but much stronger. Air retention is not maintained by incorporating butyl in to the tread compound, but by applying an internal butyl layer to the tire. The resultant combination means that deep cuts in the tread cannot reduce air pressure and penetration punctures can be sealed by applying a conventional patch to the hole inside the tire. Outside the Snakeskin fabric protects the side walls.
Fat Albert Front and Rear are available from specialist dealers in sizes 2,25 and 2,40 inch from 2009.
To celebrate its tenth birthday the Front & Rear twin pack comes in an ‘Alpine’ inspired display box.