We have tested the racier Schwalbe G-One R and G-One RS models before and found them some of the best gravel tires out there. The G-one Bite I have on test here uses a more robust casing and a more aggressive tread pattern than the variants previously tested, so how did they perform during the often wet and windy fall/autumn and winter?
Design and specifications
Schwalbe’s G-One Bite uses a tread pattern similar to the standard G-one, with many small cylindrical dots spread across its width. Still, unlike the tightly packed ones on the standard version, the Bite uses a variety of heights and has wider spaces between the knobs used towards the edge of the tire. Like all high-end Schwalbe offerings, it uses its TLE tech to make tubeless usage as easy as possible. This comprises of a thin micro-skin on the inside of the tire and a specially designed bead to make inflating and sealing a breeze.
Much like the more aggressive G-One Ultrabite, it uses Schwalbe’s Addix Speedgrip compound, which gives a good blend of lifespan, grip, and rolling resistance. This is paired with their Super Ground casing, which uses a thin layer of puncture protection across the entire carcass that is reinforced with a secondary chafer layer near the bead that's designed to help the tire seal and offer more protection from cuts in that area that are often very difficult to repair.
Five versions are available, two 650b versions in 50 and 54mm widths and three 700 versions in 40, 45, and 50mm wide versions. I had the 40mm version, which I used on the ERE Research Tenaci GA40, DT Swiss G1800, and a set of Elite wheels. I had a slight issue seating a tire on the ERE hookless rim, but bar that, they were easy to fit on all models and measured between 40 and 41.5mm across the various wheelsets.
The G-One bites roll along well on the road and smooth surfaces, with the tightly packed low, profile small dimples not adversely affecting rolling resistance. I've used various versions of the G-One range over the years, and I'm always surprised just how fast the dimpled tread pattern feels compared to similar-size offerings with a more traditional design.
Schwalbe says the Bites are summer tires, and you would assume the tread would be terrible in the wet, but in all honesty, it was better than you would think by just looking at the knobs. It doesn't grip like the much more aggressive G-One Ultrabite or a similarly spiky tire, but it was more than adequate in most conditions. The widely spaced dimples towards the edge of the tire helped with finding traction, and the fact that the tread doesn't clog helps you to find grip when there really shouldn't be.
The tire's rounded profile would normally suggest it wouldn't work that well on off-camber sections and flat corners, but I found that grip was reliably predictable, especially on the front. It doesn't have endless levels of traction, but it's controllable and gives plenty of feedback, helping you work out just how far you can push them.
Schwalbe recommends running it as a rear tire with the uber-grippy Ultrabite up front when the trails get wet and muddy. I rode this combo for several months and found it to be a good pairing, with the Ultrabite adding a lot of confidence and front-end control. However, for everything bar very muddy rides, I actually preferred the faster rolling but just about grippy enough Bite front and rear. The feeling of being on the edge of control is one of the things I enjoy most about gravel, as it can make the most mundane trails suddenly very interesting, and the G-One bite is perfect for that.
The Super Ground casing isn't quite as supple as the Super Race version used in the R models, but it's a much more robust option and has worked well over a long period on multiple bikes. A lot of my local riding is in the UK's Peak District, with its infamous grit stone, which, although grippy, eats tire sidewalls like nothing else. A light race tire doesn't cope well under high mileage here, but the Bites have been great. I have had a couple of punctures from sharp objects, but both were easily plugged, with no cuts or slashes in the sidewalls.
Getting the right pressure with these tires was key to unlocking their Goldilocks performance of being just right most of the time, so be prepared to spend some time experimenting. Once I got to grips with it I found them to be a great mix of well-cushioned grip combined with a fast-rolling speed and plenty of useable grip. The sweet spot pressure-wise for me was 34 psi in the rear and 32 in the front, but tire pressure preferences vary greatly from rider to rider, so I'd suggest trying different settings for your trails and riding style.
The Schwalbe G-One Bite is a surprisingly grippy, fast, supple premium tire that works well for most of the gravel riding I do. When the trails are wetter, they does struggle compared to grippier options, but still has enough bite and feel to make it a fun challenge and not a near-death experience on every ride.
They are definitely at the premium end price-wise, but there are deals to be had if you shop around. The Bites have been my go-to rubber option for most of this year and their performance more than justified the cost for me.
Tech specs: Schwalbe G-One Bite tire
- Price: $85 / £60 / €63
- Sizes: 700c – 40mm, 45mm, 50mm, 650b – 50mm, 54mm
- Weight: 540 grams (700 x 40mm tested)
- Details: Super Ground casing, Addix Speedgrip Compound, TLE construction