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Schwalbe Nobby Nic Super Trail tire review

Schwalbe’s long-running Nobby Nic gets a new tread and ‘Super’ carcass options, but does this give it the trail trust it’s always lacked?

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Super Trail tire
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

New Nobby Nic shakes off its sketchy reputation to become a fast but predictable all-rounder in a usefully wide range of weight, protection, size and compound options

For

  • Fast-rolling
  • Predictable grip
  • Fast-clearing
  • Soft compound available
  • Lighter options retained
  • Accurate app pressures
  • Loads of sizes including 26in

Against

  • Misleading name
  • High official pricing

While most tires in Schwalbe’s new ‘Decade of Super’ range are trusted treads on new carcasses, the Nobby Nic finally gets a change in its block arrangement as well as a useful range of tread, weight and protection variants. That makes it a much more effective all-rounder without obviously compromising the easy speed that’s always been its biggest attraction. 

While the unchanged blue stripe marking of the Addix SpeedGrip compound and double knob top sipe slots mean the Nobby Nic still looks superficially similar, the tread pattern has changed significantly. A triple rank of center knobs has been added into the existing twin and pair arrangement to create an alternating, open diamond formation. The shoulder knobs have been changed to a two vertical, two horizontal arrangement (vertical lugs outnumbered horizontal two to one previously), and they’re slightly more buttressed. That doesn’t sound like a massive change, and the overall vibe of a surprisingly fast and quiet roll on harder surfaces is unchanged.  

The old Nobby Nic had a reputation for continuing that road tire performance off-road too and was generally a reliable way to spot riders who were more into fire roads than proper trails. Each corner we hit progressively harder, or brake lever we pulled harder, or sloppy section we stirred steering or progress out of, the more we realized the new Nic was a lot more fun to work with. It still can’t match the ‘laugh at anything’ traction offered by the Magic Mary, but it offers completely vice-free vanilla handling across a wide range of surfaces. It’s got enough bite to attack swampy sections and it’s still open enough to clean out gloopy mud, so it hooks up predictably as soon as you’re clear. It’s happy to be leaned in enough to make the most of decent trail geometry and sorted mid-travel, and it lets go with a saveable slide that’ll make you feel like a hero rather than wondering why everything suddenly hurts.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Super Trail tire

(Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The misleadingly named 'Super Trail’ version (Super Enduro would make a lot more sense) adds extra impact protection and low-pressure sidewall support for riders who like to hit stuff hard. Schwalbe’s refreshingly accurate Tire Professor app suggested a 1.5bar/ 21psi setting for us which chimed exactly with the sweet spot we’d found. At just over a kilo, it’s not heavy for a reinforced ‘Enduro’ tire but it adds a noticeable acceleration killing 285g over the previous Snakeskin version in the same size. Unlike the Magic Mary and Rock Razor, the Nobby Nic is also available in the lighter Super Ground carcass which replaces Snakeskin and only adds 80g. You can get the grippier Addix Soft compound in 27.5 and 29x2.35in sizes, ‘classic sidewall’ versions for a retro aesthetic and even 26in options for genuine retro bikes. Listed prices are made more palatable by online reality, too.

Verdict

New Nobby Nic is still a naturally fast-rolling distance shrinker, but it’s also a proper all conditions all-rounder with a range of carcass and compound options to dial in the grip and protection you want for the most progressive or prehistoric trail bikes.

Tech Specs: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Super Trail tire

  • Price: $89.00 / £64.99
  • Weight: 1094g (29x2.35in Super Trail)
  • Sizes: 26 2.35in; 27.5x2.25, 2.35, 2.6, 2.8in; and 29x2.25, 2.35, 2.6in
Guy Kesteven
Guy has been riding mountain bikes since before they were mountain bikes and is right handy on an offroad tandem (of course he is).