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Schwalbe 'Racing Ralph' 26er or 29er TLR Tire

Last updated 2011-09-04 - Send Feedback
Related: gear, mountain biking
Schwalbe 'Racing Ralph' 29er MTB tire

The Schwalbe Racing Ralph is an all-around tire for 26" or 29" wheels. I tested the Racing Ralph 29 X 2.25" TL-Ready Snakeskin 11600199 on my Moots MootoX RSL hardtail 29er race-oriented mountain bike. I also tested the 26 X 2.25" TL-Ready Snakeskin version on my Moots YBB 26.

See pricing at Amazon.

For comparison purposes, I also tested the Furious Fred on the MootoX RSL, as well as the Rocket Ron on the MootoX RSL.

The Racing Ralph tires are the heaviest tire I would consider for my riding, even in rocky conditions. Yet while I think the Racing Ralph tires are sufficient for nearly all conditions in my area, one can certainly envision harsher rocky environments with sharp-edged rocks where a beefier tire might still be necessary, such as the Porcupine Rim trail in Moab, Utah.

Tubeless ready — sealant required

In my view, tubeless operation with tire sealant is mandatory for many conditions, even without sharp rocks. Even though the Racing Ralphs are a relatively durable tire, I would not run the Racing Ralph tires in my area with tubes, due to the prevalence of thorns in the dry season.

The Racing Ralph tires are “tubeless ready” (TLR) for UST rims, but they are not UST tubeless, and thus need sealant to fill pinholes. With a reasonably thick sidewall, my experience showed that there were very few pinholes, unlike the ultra-thin Furious Fred tires.

I used two bottles (4 oz total) of Stan’s NoTubes sealant for my testing and riding.

Tire pressure

The Racing Ralph tires can be run with pressures as low as 26 psi. I tested mine using pressures in the 26-30 psi range, which I found to yield terrific comfort and very good grip.

Rolling resistance

On the trail, I had a preference for the 26 psi setting, as this yields superior comfort and grip over 30 psi. On the road or clean hard pack dirt, the low pressure can feel a bit sluggish, and pressures of 30-32 psi are preferable.

Rolling resistance is significant, and somewhat better than the Racing Ralph. Both the Rocket Ron and Racing Ralph have noticeably higher rolling resistance compared to the Furious Fred.

Excellent grip on off-camber surfaces

For those who live in the Palo Alto area, I tested the tires on Alpine Road (dirt), Monte Bello to White Oak Trail to Black Mountain, Russian Ridge and Windy Hill (up and down), as well as various adjoining trails.

The descent from Black Mountain in Monte Bello open space preserve entails various off-camber curves, often with a thin layer of loose soil over hard pack. On such surfaces, I found that the Racing Ralph tires excellent grip, but physics cannot let any tire both brake hard and grip off-camber, so some attention to the surface conditions remains mandatory.

'Ridge Trail' in Russion Ridge open space preserve, near Monte Bello preserve
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