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schwabe nobby nic/ racing ralph vs maxxis Ardent

By commandokamikaze - Posted on 24 October 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hi all,

I've just put a deposit down on my new wheels for Christmas the 2015 Anthem SX 27.5 and I'm super pumped! However I want to know what everyone's advice and experience is with the Maxxis Ardent tyre tubeless vs the standard combo that comes with the bike being the schwabe racing Ralph and nobby Nic, I haven't rode on either before, I'm currently using maxxis crossmark with tubes. This is my first time going tubeless.


I've torn the sidewalls out of both types listed and ripped the edge nobs off RR's so haven't been overly impressed by them. Although some people swear by them.
I'm currently having a good run out of my second set of specialized Fast tracks in the control casing.

I have a Trance 27.5 that came with tubeless Nobby Nics. Absolutely useless. Actually work better with a tube in them because the sidewall is so weak.

Now running an Ikon on the back and an Ardent Race on the front, both EXO TR. Much better combo. If you are super aggressive an Ardent on the front might be a bit better.

If you go with Schwalbe tires be sure to get the Snakeskin compound - it's much more resistant to punctures. I have run racing Ralph snake skins for years and found them super reliable. I am currently running Ardent Race on my Anthem 27.5 and they seem good too - fast rolling and good grip cornering. But they're a bit heavier than racing Ralphs.

Yeah that's what I heard about the sidewall being thinner and weaker on the RR's and Nobby Nics, the guys at Giant Sydney recommended the Maxxis Ardent saying that the schwabes are not as durable and also not as predictable with grip and loss of traction supposedly. I'm thinking the Ardent might be the way to go!

mostly riding XC,singletrack,etc.. ride some rough natural trails as well as better groomed ones, Appin & Kentlyn are the less groomed ones I frequent.

are the only way to go ... the 'Evo' and 'Performance' versions both have very light sidewalls which don't handle the rocky sandstone terrain around Sydney at all well...the Snakeskin on the other hand seem very durable in my experience.

i run an ardent up front and racing ralph evo snakeskin performance at the back on my carbon xtc 27.5 and its an almost perfect set up for my riding style and local trails. of course i race cross country n the ardent is quite chunky but the slight increased roll resistance is more than made up for in front end grip. if trail/enduro is more your seen is more your seen then perhaps try a nobby nic at the back. i used to run ra ra's at the front n rear when the bike was new n it didnt end well in come cases. put a crossmark on the back n its good, just not quite as good as a ra ra.

Yep I had RaRas both ends on my Scalpel when I got it and persevered way too long. It's just not bitey enough for local conditions as a front. It made me nervous trying to maintain momentum cornering in loose-over-hard conditions, which messes with your confidence and commitment, which makes you tentative, which leads to mistakes, which kept me off the bike for a couple of months last year.

Loving the bike a lot more with a Rocket Ron on the front. Much more confident without that much of a rolling resistance penalty. It's an improvemet in singletrack as you dont need to brake as muxh for the corners. snakeskin sidewalls of course. Smiling

Nobby Nic on the front works well too, but the now superseded front with the angled shoulder knobs needs to be mounted back to front or it can be unpredictable at the limit cornering.

Schwalbes're also sensitive to pressure, so some time spent experimenting pays dividends. Basically you want to run them as soft as you can without squirming.

I'm running 2 x Nobby Nic's on my Trance 1 Advanced 27.5. I converted them to tubeless yesterday (Stan's the man) and hit the Dam this morning. So far so good. Put 30psi in them and they seems fine to me. If you don't care about the weight maybe go for the Snakeskin model. I would run with whatever the bike comes with and them select your favourite when they are worn down.

After the council fucked the Dam over this week you will not get a sidewall blow cus there are no damn rocks left poking out of the ground.

CU on the track.

I'm running the NN up front(snakeskin) and a Maxxis Ikon (Evo) on the back, works really well on the Sydney trails. I've had remarkable longevity out of my NN.

I bought a pair of Ardent race once. The weight was not specified and when I got them they felt quite heavy and I don't think I even bothered putting them on the rim. Used IKON as a rear tyre for a while. Was OK but not very light either.

I've settled on Specialized Fast Trak front and Renegade rear. Light and strong. Raced the whole season on this combo and no flats despite numerous rim hitting rocks with tyre in between. Give them a go if you are looking for something light and strong.


At Yellowmundie yesterday it was drier and looser than I have seen it this year and I had just put a New 2.25 Nobby Nic on the front to replace a worn RaRa. I could not believe I was riding the same bike, totally lost confidence on every loose corner. I felt I was just getting tramlined off the track everywhere, was not a good day with a big OTB on my second lap (not the tyre but I was not riding well by this point). After this I just let a bit of air out (maybe down to the low 20sPSI) and it felt a little better if I used the front brake a bit more.

I rarely read about the effects of different rim widths and how this interacts with tyre widths. My Spinnergy rims are super narrow (22 or 23mm) and I think I have been trying to fit too wide a tyre, such that when I get a nice low pressure for grip they just roll around on the rim. Anyway anyone want to swap a brand new Nobby Nick Snake Skin for something similar but narrower? It is getting expensive experimenting with tyres.

Maybe spend a session experimenting with 1-2psi increments?

I would be reluctant to stick an unfamiliar tyre on just before a race. Would want to have gone through the exercise above for a few rides first.

There's a new version of the NN out now that has straight knobs so the quirky behaviour dependent on tread mounting direction should not be a problem any more.

Yes a new tyre just before a race wasn't the cleverest thing I've done this week, I don't get a lot of ride time, and I don't race too hard at the back of the D div, so needs must and all that. Maybe I'll give the NN another go, but have the old setup on stand by for the 1/2 fling in 2 weeks. Yikes!

All74 and hawkeye - re the nobby nic. Those angled knobs that run counter intuitive are for braking into a corner and grip really well when braking and turning, especially when you have some good weight over the front. however, if you run bar height at seat height and try and roll corners they grip and then let do without too much warning. Rocket rons otoh give out grip with warning but far less grip than the NNs.

Rather than turn tyres round I reckon find a tyre that suits you better. NNs make good rears with hans dampf up front btw for people unconcerned about a 1 minute difference on a 100km xcm Smiling

I hear what you're saying, but I've had unsolicited comment from other users and bike shop owners I respect who also reckon the arrows on the sidewall point the wrong way.

That said I have had a bad habit of rolling the corner instead of weighting the bars. That is changing with the big wheels and the noo fun sections of close twisty singletrack that lets me practice good technique, which my physio has been in my ear about (he's an ex downhiller).

Having a front tyre you don't trust sets up a vicious cycle of tentative riding and poor weight distribution as you become reluctant to trust your full weight to an iffy tyre, which then turns into a self fulfilling prophecy when the front slips because you don't have enough weight on it. Sad

I bought a 2nd hand Anthem that came with Racing Ralphs. The rear was bald so I bought a stock standard cheap Crossmark. When I took the RR off I couldn't believe how thin the sidewalls were. Much lighter weight than the base Crossmark - TBH it felt paper thin.

On my first ride on the Northern Beaches fire trails the front Racing Ralph in other wise good nick just split .. big 1 inch split.

I decided to buy another Crossmark. Put the normal one on the front and put a LUST on the back, as I figured it might take a bigger pounding.

Don't want to bag the Racing Ralphs but there's no way I would buy them without snakeskin for the loose rocky fire trails on the northern beaches.

I replaced my Maxxis Ardent Race tyres with 2 Racing Ralphs this week on my Anthem 27.5.

Riding on tight twisty singletrack this morning (dry, hard-packed) I felt like the RRs were faster rolling but had a bit less cornering grip. The big side nobs on the Ardents really hang on, but when they let go it happens very suddenly (I crashed twice on Saturday with them). The RRs have a more rounded profile, so you can feel them drifting a bit as they reach their limit.

I'm going to stick with the RRs for the half fling. It's not a very technical course, and average speeds tend to be high.

The RRs are snakeskin compound, and still 100g per tyre lighter than the Ardent Race.

Nobby Nic's have had a complete revamp for their 2015 tyre so most opinions you'll get on them are out of date.

I had 2013 NNs (not snakeskins) on my Trance as original Giant spec and neither tyre lasted 6 months. Hopefully they've improved since then..

Stepping up to tubeless though everything is going to be better than what you're used to!

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