by Marc Basiliere
June 11, 2014
Faster and grippier with improved SnakeSkin casing
With applications ranging from XC racing to full-blown enduro (at least on the rear wheel), the Nobby Nic has long been one of Schalbe’s best-selling and most widely-spec’d tyres. While its intended use remains the same, as it heads into its third generation the Nic has been extensively reworked, sharing little with its predecessor. The redesigned tread boasts enlarged shoulder knobs for improved cornering stability and large mud-shedding gaps. Centre blocks have been tweaked to improve forward and braking traction while keeping rolling resistance low.
Introduced at the same time, the new SnakeSkin casing incorporates a monofilament polyamide fiber rather than the old multifilament fabric. The change is said to improve cut resistance, reduce susceptibility to snakebite punctures, and be more airtight in tubeless applications. Where the old SnakeSkin was said to be 56% more resistant to cuts than the company’s LiteSkin sidewalls, the new version is a claimed 85% more cut-proof. Given the new sidewalls’ improved air retention (and, no doubt, the shrinking demand for ‘true’ tubeless tyres), they are rolled into a so-called Tubeless Easy (TLE) casing, which will replace both UST Tubeless and Tubeless-Ready (TLR) casings going forward.
Available in a massive twenty-eight versions, the 2015 Nobby Nic runs from a 26×2.1in racers’ special to a chunky 29×2.35. Triple-durometer PaceStar (fast and durable) and TrailStar (grippy and less durable) rubber compounds will be offered in the high-end Evolution Line, while Performance Line models get more modest dual-compound rubber.
Tucked into our press packet was an image of a Nic apparently equipped with the company’s forthcoming dual-chamber system as spotted at the Tweedlove Enduro World Series. From our initial post:
Recognizing practical lower limit of around 20psi in current tubeless setups, but looking for the traction and reduced rolling resistance that even lower pressures can provide, Schwalbe has developed a system with dual air chambers. The outer chamber can be run as low as 14psi to allow the tyre to conform closely to the ground; greatly improving traction and control. A separate inner chamber allows the rider to run somewhat higher pressures against the rim, better supporting the sidewall: improving bead retention, reducing burping, and reducing rim strikes.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until later this summer for more on the concept. The new Nobby Nic will begin shipping this autumn.