The Panacea of tyres …..? Schwalbe Nobby Nic?

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  • The Panacea of tyres …..? Schwalbe Nobby Nic?
  • Conan257

    I use 2.25 Nics, and find them decent all round, but not excellent.

    Will be trying Black Chilli Rubber Queens if I find some at the right price.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    I used them for a good few years and rated them, more on the rear than on the front – prefer more grip up front regardless of the conditions.
    They’d be in the mix for best all rounder for smoother trail conditions IMHO – treads a bit light for all round riding in the rockier parts of the UK.

    Premier Icon nickc

    Bit draggy if speed is your thing, but grip is fine for a front, overkill for a back tyre IMO


    I liked the Nobby Nics, used 2.1.s in standard wall, which ripped as I believe they are made from cheese.
    2.25 snakeskins are stronger and worked much better through the rocks.

    2.2 rubber queens black chili beats them in all conditions however. Rolls as well, more traction when climbing and more grip on corners and braking. Just better all round. 2.25 nn and 2.2 rg are the same width (measured on same 717 rim), but the rq is a taller tyre, so better cushioning over rocky bits.

    Premier Icon mboy

    Nic’s are fast and light for their size, which is why they’re popular. They are however not especially grippy, and unless you go for the Snakeskin version they are pretty fragile.

    If you’re racing then a Nic up front and a Ralph on the back is quick, light and offers decent comfort (use the 2.25’s, they roll as well if not better than the 2.1’s), but if you’re more of a trail centre man then get something grippier… Probably from Maxxis, or if you can afford them, Conti black chilli Rubber Queens.

    Premier Icon bigjim

    depends what you are riding on mostly, I like them as a rear, bit draggy on hardpack. snakeskin version is the best option in my experience, pretty tough but not heavy.


    the NN’s are a bit of a jack-of-all-trades really imo, so they don’t excel on any particular surface, but they work well enough on most surfaces. If like me, you like to get you bike out of the shed/garage/bike store/ bike pampering room (delete as appropriate) and just ride it without worrying about “What tyres for” then NN’s work well in my experience!


    using some 2.25 pacestar triple compound as they came on a set of wheels i bought.
    Light and roll ok but the grip is poor compared to HR, minion, smorgasboard, spec eskar that I usually use.
    I won’t be replacing them.


    The NN snake skin as some of you have recommended doesn’t have the ‘tubeless’ or ‘ust’ title, can they not be run tubeless? I have a stans arch ex on the rear, 26″ of course 😛

    Premier Icon richmtb

    but if you’re more of a trail centre man then get something grippier…

    Please explain. At trail centres which are mainly hardpacked you can get away with faster tyres, shirley

    NN front RR rear would be ideal for trail centres, just pick the width / compound to suit you wheels and riding style


    I’m using a 2.2 front and 2.1 rear, they seem pretty good across most conditions except sticky mud where they don’t clear quickly enough.

    Premier Icon Scapegoat

    they are tubeless ready. I run them on three different rims, all with Stans tape, valves and gunk, Arch EX, Flow and DT Swiss 500s.


    Anyone seen any decent deals around for either Nics or Black Chili’s?
    (sorry for the slight hijack!)

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    check out the other NN thread. My experience was I was glad they were on a demo bike as I wanted rid of them fairly quick. Not grippy enough for me but didn’t offer a significant rolling advantage to off set that.


    I’m researching a new tubeless tyre for the rear of my hardtail. Through searching the forums and observing tyre talk threads it seems opinion from a lot that the panacea (best all rounder) of tyres is the Nobby Nic, what say the hive? I appreciate this the question of questions.

    Also after discussion about which size to select, leaning towards the 2.1 for better rolling but will I lose confidence on the loose/wet stuff with that size?


    Legoman – Member
    Anyone seen any decent deals around for either Nics or Black Chili’s?

    crc are doing the NN evo ust for 39 quid atm, but the snakeskin is 45!!!
    Before turning tubeless I was running conti verticals front and rear and found them excellent for everything, rolling was bit shit but still ok, and they’re 15 quid!! I’ve just shelled out for 2 holidays this summer, one of which is in 2 weeks so keen to keep costs way down, but I need a new rear tyre!

    Premier Icon Northwind

    I wouldn’t agree… They’re no better than alright IMO. Wee bit puncturey even in snakeskin, picky about pressures, not much good in mud… I could forgive all that stuff if mine hadn’t worn out faster than any tyre I’ve used (they had tread left but the blocks lost their edges and half the grip went with them)

    But allrounder depends on your idea of allround, most riders don’t do all sorts of riding.

    Premier Icon fathomer

    HS bike discounts, a pair is about 60 euros.


    I would never use them as a rear again.
    Too draggy on hard surfaces. Wear really quickly.
    If you’re a heavy rider they are too squirmy – I was constantly checking if I had a flat. Saps your confidence.
    Excellent grip though.
    Personally I don’t like front tyres with such a harsh transition between centre and peripheral knobs. For me they are not confidence inspiring when you’re in the transition zone. HD much better on the front IMO.
    I don’t like them and found the reviews a bit disappointing.


    Northwind – Member

    But allrounder depends on your idea of allround,

    My normal ride in the week is about 15 miles on road or gravel path (canal) and some forest singletrack for say about 4/5 miles max. I go up Cannock about once a month and I also like to go up the lakes for some natural riding about 3/4 times a year. I own one bike (and ride it a lot) and want a good tubeless allrounder for the rear that I can fit and forget for as little money as possible. 😀


    Just for balance – I enjoy NN on front and back. Took a few rides to get used/for them to bed in (not sure which) and felt draggy and not as grippy as (e) on first rides. Now I am totally confident in them. Plus black and red stripes match my bike!!

    [Having said that, am about to change to RR front and rear for a trial on faster XC rides now that the trails are drier.]

    Premier Icon funkrodent

    Some interesting comments. I’ve got NN Pacestar as a rear and Black Chilli on the front. Have to say I like the NN and have used them at trail centres (Llandegla, Cannock and Dalby), as well as in rocky, wet and muddy Calder Valley, at Penmachno and Marin (both very wet and slatey) and in the Peaks and they’ve handled it all just fine. It’s surely worth emphasising that there’s three different compounds of NN, each designed for a slightly different purpose. you’re going to get a different ride quality/type on a Pacestar than you are on a Vertstar. I’m taking the Flux up into the Lakes this evening, so more opportunity to test the tyres on multiple terrain 🙂
    FWIW – the one time I’ve had a tyre rip in the sidewall, its been the Continental, not the Nobby Nic. No idea if that actually means anything (it could as easily have been the other way round if the rock in question had been positioned slightly differently), bu there you go..


    I’ve ran Nic’s (evo) on one of my bikes for the last couple of years and it’s done a lot of mileage around the South Downs, which have lots of sharp flint laying about. I’ve never ripped them, but at the same time the sidewalls aren’t the most substantial in the world. I wouldn’t take them to Wales for example but I have friends who have and didn’t suffer any damage.

    I rate them as pretty good all rounders.

    Premier Icon njee20

    Not a massive fan frankly. Heavier and slower than a Ralph, whilst being no better in the dry and still crap in mud. If it’s too wet for a Ralph, I’d switch to something better than a Nic.

    Premier Icon DaveRambo

    I ran Ralphs front and back for ages in all conditions and they were brilliant in all but really bad mud.

    I now have gone tubeless and have one bike with Ralphs and another with Nics.
    Nics are certainly draggier on the road but for me not that different in the dry. In mud they are better than Ralphs, as you’d expect.

    My conclusion is either Nics or Ralphs are great do it all tyres with a large overlap of riding they work well on. Faster terrain favours the Ralphs, wetter the Nics so choose depending on what’s most likely.

    I just switch bikes.


    I really like NN 2.25 snakeskins as an all rounder – they are less draggy on road than I expect, and seem to grip well in everything. They don’t miraculously clear and grip in sticky mud – what does?

    I have a set of wheels with HD rear and Fat Albert front (overkill for me really, but if you have a few wheels, why not?) and also a lightweight set with Rocket Rons. The Nobby Nics are what I end up riding most of the time – they grip well without dulling the handling, they roll OK, they have not shredded themselves on a flint like the one time I tried taking Ralphs onto the South Downs.

    Good tyres.

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    Have 2.25 Nobby Nic’s on the (26”)FS & 2.4 Racing Ralph’s on the 29er HT here.

    Much prefer the Ralph’s as they roll so much better but don’t really appear to offer any less in terms of grip.

    I happily rode through winter on the Ralph’s so when I buy again it will be Ralph’s.


    I have NN on the rear of my AM soft tail with HD up front. On my XC hardtail I’ve got NN up front and Rocket Ron’s on the back. Both are good combinations for all year round riding. I’m sure they’re not the best but there is no such thing as the best when it comes to things like this. I do run high pressures though about 37 psi front and rear, so rolling resistance is not an issue. I find them to be good robust tyres and very puncture resistant, but they are the more expensive snakeskin/Evo versions.


    Got a pair of the NN evo x4 gatestar snakeskins from Bike-discount in Germany – just over £60 delivered and delivered fast too.
    These are supposed to be the latest incarnation of the Nic with a specially soft shoulder compound to aid grip in cornering.

    Have’nt fitted them yet as I am currently running Rocket Ron and Racing Ralph combo on the Cube and am happy with it (in the current weather) – when these wear though I’m looking forward to trying out the NN, first time I’ve tried em.

    Edit – not doing that deal I got but they are doing this….



    for the 1.8 wide.

    2.25 is £30. Not that great a deal when you can get 2 snake/gatestars for £60


    I swapped my 29er NN evos to BC X-Kings immediately prior to riding. Took a while to get them to seal, so I was a sweaty mess, even before we set off.
    Big mistake. I had no idea quite how porous the sidewalls were, even with lashings of Stans.
    I now have a clavicle hook plate (google it) after washing out on a rooty section and collecting a tree.
    Apparently Continental are lukewarm re. tubeless (despite labelling them as such) and it’s taken me ages to reduce the leakage.
    Anyone else had similar experiences, and I hope this is a warning to anyone else to be careful on the first few rides.
    Can’t wait to get back out.


    From another nn thread

    the nobby nic is quite a useless tyre for most UK riding conditions

    Thread closed.

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