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Schwalbe 'Rocket Ron' 26er or 29er TLR Tire

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

The Schwalbe 'Rocket Ron' is a mountain bike racing tire for 26" or 29" wheels. I tested the Rocket Ron HS 406 29 X 2.25" TLR on my Moots MootoX RSL hardtail 29er race-oriented mountain bike.

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I also tested the Furious Fred on the MootoX RSL, as well as the Racing Ralph on the MootoX RSL and Moots YBB 26.

The Rocket Ron tires are a racing tire, and are not likely to endure through sharp rocks and similar difficult terrain; use the Racing Ralph or even beefier tires for such terrain.

Tubeless ready — sealant required

The Rocket Ron 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 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.

In my view, tubeless operation with tire sealant is mandatory for many conditions, even without sharp rocks. I would not run the Rocket Ron tires in my area with tubes, due to the prevalence of thorns in the dry season.

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Tire pressure

The Rocket Ron 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 similar to the Racing Ralph. Both the Rocket Ron and Racing Ralph have quite high rolling resistance compared to the Furious Fred.

Compared to the Racing Ralph

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 Rocket Ron tires offered very good grip, but not quite as good as the Racing Ralph tires when off-camber loose stuff over hard pack became involved. Grip is sensitive to tire pressures, but it was clear to me that the off-camber grip of the Racing Ralph hooked up better than the Rocket Ron, yet perhaps not so much better as to make the additional tire weight worth it for many uses.

Also, a few psi difference makes a very large difference in grip; with higher pressures the rounded shape of Rocket Ron tires offers a smaller contact patch as the pressure increases. So stick to 26-28 psi when maximum grip is needed, which lets the tire deform a bit more, for a larger contact patch.

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

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