As the name suggests, Schwalbe’s Overland is designed to be one of the best gravel tires for adventure touring or any other sort of heavy duty mixed surface use. They’re fast once you get them going too, but sturdy strength means a solid feel and they need care in the wet off-road.
Design and build
It says a lot that the Overland is based on the same Super Ground carcass as Schwalbe’s fast MTB tires. This uses a triple wrap base reinforced with protective ‘Snake Skin’ bead to bead protective layer and a reinforcing chafer at the lower edge to earn Schwalbe’s 'TLE' badge. It’s E50 e-bike approved too. They’re the first company to use Fairtrade sourced ‘Fair Rubber’ and they run a recycling scheme for bike shops so their eco credentials are excellent.
The thick carpet of low blocks with paddles across the centre is a hybrid between the superfast G-One R gravel tire and the Racing Ralph MTB tire. Mini angled paddles cover the shoulders too but the slightly larger edge knobs are a long way down the very rounded carcass. The AddixSpeedgrip compound is used for Schwalbe’s faster MTB tires too. While some tires change compounds and carcass with size, all three 40, 45 and 50mm tires have the same construction.
There is a G-One Overland 365 option that uses Addix 4-Season Compound on the Performance Line carcass. That means slightly less protection and slower roll but a smoother ride and reflective stripes for commuting. Pricing is also lower at $57.99 / £49.99 / €49.90
I tested the 50mm tire which is well over 600g, but even the 40mm is 526g which shows how much tread rubber and carcass reinforcement you’re getting. You can feel the sturdiness in the sidewalls as it holds it’s shape firmly while you persuade it onto the rim. That does make it easy to add an insert for extra protection, but I soon realised that was overkill even when riding rocky trails on a tandem. Stiff carcass means sealing is fast and easy and it’s stable even at low 20psi pressures, although that does noticeably slow it’s road roll.
Keep it at 30psi or above though and once I’d wound up the hefty weight, the Overland rolled with a very clean and efficient feel. That’s slightly misleading though as it isn’t actually that fast in reality, even against more noticeably treaded XC MTB tires like the Hutchinson Wyrm. The rounded carcass and consistent tread meant I was confident tipping into turns on the road and off-road in the dry. Big volume and tough construction can be ploughed into potholes or sent down rocky tracks with reckless abandon compared to most gravel tires too.
If you grind it slow, those paddles find more grip than you might expect for the close spacing even in properly sopping, sloppy mud conditions. Brake hard enough to slip that grip though and you’ll struggle to get the slide back under control. That led to some genuinely scary 'runaway train' moments off road in both wet and dry but loose conditions as a result. You'll be lucky – or loony – to lean it far enough over to get the side knobs biting in wet/loose conditions, so corners or off-cambers can be sphincter twitching too.
Unless you run low pressures, they tend to thump and slide of roots and rocks rather than conforming and gripping like a Maxxis Rambler, Teravail Cannonball or similar softer compound, supple carcass options. Again, that means you need to find your personal trade off between rolling speed and ricochet control. Even at low pressures they feel numb and slightly unforgiving too so don’t expect a magic carpet ride despite the 50mm option blowing up to a satisfyingly fat 49mm.
The tough carcass and wear share across so many knobs means they’re good value as durability is decent.
Schwalbe put the Overland as 50/50 on/off road and it’s definitely a very tough, fast feeling and reliable all-rounder for everything from adventuring to e-bike commuting. Being able to properly wallop through rough sections even when loaded is genuinely liberating and stress reducing if you’re used to tip toeing through trouble too. That comes at a weight and wet grip penalty though and you’ll need to find your own balance between low pressure comfort/control and rolling speed.
Tech specs: Schwalbe G-One Overland tire
- Price: $88.00 /£64.99 / €64.90
- Sizes: 40, 45 and 50mm
- Options: Super Ground blackwall only
- Weight: 630g (700 x 50mm tested)