The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is deceptively fast and has been around for ages, but the latest version is obediently controlled in all conditions. It’s available in a range of sizing and sturdiness options, but it’s expensive and there’s only one compound choice.
While the Schwalbe Magic Mary and other Schwalbe MTB tyres come in a range of new ADDIX rubber recipes, the Nobby Nic is only available in a SpeedGrip option. That’s not as treacherous on roots and wet rock as it sounds, and decent sized tread lugs and fast clearing, mud friendly spacing hook up OK in mucky conditions. It works well in drier conditions, where it digs into loose rock and sand before breaking away with a very controllable drift. This makes it particularly well suited to the 2.6, 2.8 and 3.0in options and they’re also available in the tougher Apex construction for stability and survivability at low-teen pressures.
Whatever size you go for, carcass construction and compound mean it always rolls impressively quickly with minimal drag and a buoyantly floated feel. Add relatively low weights for a full tread tyre and that means speed and agility that you’d normally associate with much more compromised control. Tubeless inflation, cut resistance and tread life are all good on the SnakeSkin and SnakeSkin Apex versions, but be wary of the admittedly very pretty, minimal mass LiteSkin versions as they’re significantly more fragile and porous sidewalls can affect sealing.
Naturally fast, buoyant and light for its size, the Nobby Nic is a great choice for adding a tailwind to your trail riding without compromising control. It also lasts well and the plus-size versions are particularly good. There are no stickier options for wetter conditions though and LiteSkin versions need a lot of TLC.
Sizes: 26-29in x 2.1-3.0in width