Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Schwalbe Racing Ralphs

Now that the trails are drying out (yeah right!) I've decided to fit a pair of German boots (courtesy of Larry at MtnHighCyclery) that have been taunting me from a shelf for the past 6 months. The winter months have been spent on my Bonty ACX 2.2, tubeless ready (but w.tubes!) Gumbi's and I've found them to be highly dependable all rounders, even in the gloop. The soft Gumbi compund means that you can really lean on them :)

The Racing Ralphs weigh in at approx 470g each whereas the ACX's are approx 590g (which is mighty impressive for tubeless) so I'm saving approx .5lb of all important rotating weight :D The 2.1 Ralph tread pattern is no more open than the ACX but the knobs aren't as high and it almost has a continuous centre span which should make for a fast summer tyre. Rob has better watch out :p

Fitting the Ralphs was easy, unlike the Bonty's which each need a substantial wrestle to get on/off my DT 4.1 rims. After ten days of seemingly continous rain since fitting them (sorry guys!) I finally found a dry spell to give 'em a try, albeit on a tame local trail. Although it's difficult to fully understand a tyre after just a single ride, I can tell you that these boots are fast. Just one half turn of the cranks has you leaping forward whereas it seemed that the Bonty's and XC Fire's need a good couple of turns. I haven't explored their limits yet but they didn't let go whilst gingerly pushing fast sweeping bends, tight turns or under braking on small loose gravel or hardpack. Nor did they squirm or wriggle their way through the odd water logged section, which was a surprise.

I'll report back once I've ridden the sand and roots of Woburn and covered a few more miles...

4 Comments:


daahnhilla said...

I'd be very interested to hear how you got on with these, been looking at the Schwalbe range for a while and was unsure about em, sound promising though.

Could do with something a little more sprightly than my great big 2.35 DH tyres!


Farqui said...

I managed to grab an hour or so in a semi damp Woburn yesterday and the RRalph's hooked up pretty well. Really gloopy, long sections needed some momentum to clear but most sections were do-able.

They managed to claw their way up a steep, sandy climb without too much fuss when seated. A little more care was needed when stomping out of the saddle tho, not surprising on a fully.

I did notice that the back tends to generate more feedback than the Bonty's or XC's. Almost like it's squirming around, but not - difficult to explain. So perhaps the light weight sidewall are flexing more ? I'll pop in a few extra psi next time out as I tend to run my boots on the soft side.

They really excel on hardpack / asphalt and by the end of last nights explore I was really chucking the front into corners with zero fuss.


Farqui said...

Another hack around Woburn last night had me getting much more confident on them and really starting to fling 'em around.

They're proving to be fast and dependable with no major flaws, at least at this time of year ;) Cross camber, dry roots are no bother tho I'm still to try such tricky terrain in the damp...


Farqui said...

From various forums, I see that lots of people prefer a RRalph at the back but a slightly more aggresive, yet still fast rolling Nobbly Nick up front.

I've not really experienced any problems with the RRalph front but I'll keep my eye out for a bargain NNick 'cos it'd be interesting to compare.


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