Schwalbe G-One RS gravel tire review – super-fast semi-slicker

Is Schwalbe’s scalped tread gravel tire as fast as it looks and what are the consequences for control?

Schwalbe G-One RS gravel tire
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

BikePerfect Verdict

Beautiful fluid feel and blisteringly fast speed makes G-One RS an awesome gravel ride accelerant, but it needs treating nicely.

Pros

  • +

    Blisteringly fast

  • +

    Beautifully buoyant feel

  • +

    Acceptable corner and climb grip

  • +

    Spot-on sizing

Cons

  • -

    Very expensive

  • -

    Limited puncture protection

  • -

    Slightly heavier than claimed

Why you can trust BikePerfect Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The ultra supple carcass of Schwalbe’s G-One R already made it one of the fastest, smoothest gravel tires around. Scalping the tread from the center of the RS has made it even quicker and quieter. They do need a bit of TLC though so it’s definitely a performance option, not a durable daily driver.

Design

The Schwalbe G-One RS shares the same very performance-focused construction as the R. That means it only comes in an ‘transparent sidewall’ (basically brown wall) Super Race carcass option. This is wrapped to form a triple ply on the sides of the tires, but just a double layer under the center tread. That’s crowned with a very slim ‘RaceGuard’ puncture protection strip but it still feels a very thin and flexible tire when mounting. Schwalbe also fits a very narrow chafer strip above the sidewall for reinforcing the carcass and shoring up the TLE tubeless sealing. The stripped-down construction also keeps weight low, although our test tires were over the claimed weights by around 5 percent. 

The tread uses similar short oval ‘fin’ segments to the Schwalbe G-One R, but only uses them right on the shoulders. The RS adds a longer diagonal ‘bar' reaching inwards every fourth edge knob, but otherwise, the ultra low profile tread is borderline decorative rather than physically grip boosting.

Schwalbe G-One RS

The supple, superlight Super Race TLE carcass is carried over from the G-One R tire  (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

Tubeless setup was super easy on most rims I used, although some tighter fits needed a lever and some extra thumb force to pop them into place. Inflation was universally simple though and it formed an immediate and secure seal on both ridged/hooked rim designs and hookless profiles. External width was only a fraction of a mm off the listed 40mm of my sample tires when run at 30psi on a wider rim such as HUNT’s Carbon Gravel Race wheelset. I’ve had zero jumping, weeping, bulging or burping issues throughout testing and that backs up an exemplary experience with the G-One R tires – which I was riding for many months previously.

Despite increasingly reckless riding on those tires, the skinny sidewall and minimal puncture protection were only breached by a thorn once. The hole sealed quickly with sealant too, which is lucky as very supple construction can make tires awkward to plug. Both designs have been bounced to the rim over rocks multiple times – hard enough to leave me waiting for a heart and pressure sinking hiss, but I'm yet to actually snake bite puncture them. 

I’m prepared to accept I’ve been lucky though and with no tread to add protection either, they’re not a tire I’d pick for ploughing into pointy rocks on a regular basis. I’d definitely point loaded or heavy riders towards the new Schwalbe G-One Overland if they want something robust and rapid too.

If you’re after a race-winning tire though, the RS is excellent. The relatively low weight means it accelerates extremely easily. The essentially slick center and ultra supple carcass mean nothing gets in the way of rolling speed either. Unsurprisingly, braking grip is limited, particularly in damp or fully wet conditions, but they’re not totally lethal as long as you’re careful with how hard you pull.

Similarly, you need to nurse upright turning on loose surfaces, but as long as you get the tire tipped in enough to engage the shoulder knobs, you can hold a line with reasonable confidence. The carcass compliance keeps them connected much more consistently on climbs than I expected as well. You can also tune the exact amount of rolling resistance/grip you get by altering the pressures you use. That’s because the softer you run them, the more shoulder knob will make ground contact and create drag, whereas a harder pressure will restrict contact mostly to the bald section. While riders after maximum speed will want an RS at each end, running an S at the front gives a lot more cornering confidence without adding much drag and that’s the combination I settled on as my ultimate safe speed pairing.

It’s worth noting that the beautifully floated feel of the Super Race carcass is well worth considering as the ultimate ride feel upgrade for any bike – even if you’re not massively fussed about the speed gains. Their ability to turn a numb ride from a rigid rim or frame into a really sweetly nuanced glide can go a long way to justifying their very high cost if it saves you wanting a whole new wheelset or bike.

Schwalbe G-One RS

The semi slick tread is grippier than the rolling speed suggests as long as you're careful with your braking (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

The RS takes the ultra supple, floatingly fast ride of the G-One R and strips out the center tread for an even quicker performance. In theory that will make them more vulnerable too, but so far they’ve held up to an autumn of rock thumps and thorn patches totally fine. If you’re gentle with the brakes and committed with your lean angles they grip better than you’d expect too. The sublimely floated feel can be a significant boost to the whole ride vibe of your bike too, at which point even the very high price doesn’t look too excessive.

Tech specs: Schwalbe G-One RS

  • Price: $88.00 / £74.99 / €74.90
  • Sizes: 700 x 35mm, 40mm (tested), or 45mm
  • Options: Transparent sidewall Super Race carcass and Addix Race compound only
  • Weight: 471g ( 40mm tire) 

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg