MTB Tire Test: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance

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Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

This is the first used mountain bike tire I'm reviewing, it was used as a front tire for 3000 km. Wear of the central knobs is 0.3-0.5 mm, wear of the shoulder knobs is pretty much zero. This is mostly because it was used only on Dutch trails, which are very easy on tires (we have no rocks). These tires were donated to me by an MTB buddy. He upgraded from a Nobby Nic/Racing Ralph combo to a tubeless Rocket Ron/Thunder Burt Evolution set up. He had to do this because he couldn't keep up with me anymore after I upgraded my rear tire to a tubeless Race King RaceSport.

The 2012 model year Nobby Nic Performance was a single compound tire, this compound was called ORC (Off-road Racing Compound). Starting with the 2013 model year tires, Schwalbe started using a dual compound on the Performance line tires. I'm looking forward to testing a new Performance line Schwalbe sometime soon. Just like the Racing Ralph Performance, this Nobby Nic was very easy to mount as well. it's very easy to get the bead over the rim walls, the Evolution line beads definitely are much tighter.

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Specs
Brand Schwalbe
Model Nobby Nic Performance
Year 2012
Supplied By Bought in store
New or Used Used
Mileage 3000 km
Price Range Med
Buy At
Manufacturer part number
TPI 67
Compound ORC
Bead Folding
ETRTO 57-622
Size Inch 29"
Width Inch 2.25
Specified Weight 600 grams
Max Air Pressure (psi) 65
Made In Members Only
Available Sizes 29x2.35

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance Test Results

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance  mountain bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements
Specified Weight 600 grams
Measured Weight 605 grams
Measured Width Carcass 54 mm (un-round)
Measured Width Tread 55 mm
Measured Height 54 mm (un-round)
Measured Knob Height Center 3.2 mm
Measured Knob Height Edge 5.0 mm
Measured Total Thickness Center (excluding knobs) No Data
Measured Total Thickness Sidewall Not Tested
All size measurements are taken at an air pressure of 35 psi / 2.4 bars on a 17.8 mm inner width rim.

Because this is a used tire, some measurements will be off when compared to a new tire. The measured weight is 605 grams, I'm not sure what the original specified weight of the ORC Nobby nic was, but 605 grams isn't bad. The size of the carcass is very close to the size a 2.25 sized tire should have. Height of the center knobs is 3,2 mm. I think this should be 3,5 - 4 mm for a brand new Nobby Nic. Knob height at the edge of the tire is 5 mm.

Rolling Resistance Test Results

Rolling Resistance Test Results
Inner Tube Conti MTB 29 (225 gr butyl)
Rolling Resistance
55 PSI / 3.8 Bar
Members Only
Rolling Resistance
45 PSI / 3.1 Bar
Members Only
Rolling Resistance
35 PSI / 2.4 Bar
27.2 Watts
CRR: 0.00815
Rolling Resistance
25 PSI / 1.7 Bar
30.8 Watts
CRR: 0.00923
All numbers are for a single tire at a speed of 29 km/h / 18 mph and a load of 42.5 kg / 94 lbs.

Use the formula: RR (Watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load.

Although this is a used tire and wear is very low, the rubber did age for 2.5 years so take this into account. Rolling resistance is not bad at all for a tire with big knobs, the Nobby Nic even beats the top of the line Maxxis Ikon 3C MaxxSpeed, which has much smaller knobs. Rolling Resistance is 3 - 5 watts higher than a Racing Ralph Performance of the same age and mileage.

Puncture Resistance Test Results

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Performance  mountain bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine
Puncture Resistance Test Results (higher is better)
Total Puncture Score Tread No Data
Total Puncture Score Sidewall Members Only
Tread Puncture Force Sharp Needle 12 Points
Tread Puncture Force Blunt Needle No Data
Tread Total Tire Thickness No Data
Sidewall Puncture Force Sharp Needle Members Only
Sidewall Puncture Force Blunt Needle No Data
Sidewall Total Tire Thickness Members Only

Puncture resistance is very good, with a score of 12, it's the most puncture resistant tire tested to date.

Hard Surface Static Grip Test Results

Static Grip Test Results
Wet Grip Average No Data
Wet Grip Center No Data
Wet Grip Edge No Data
Measured Knob Height Center 3.2 mm
Measured Knob Height Edge 5.0 mm
Grip in points = coefficient of friction * 100
MTB grip test rim width = 30.0 mm
Wet Grip Test and Off-Road Tires (info)


Considering it's medium price range and big knobs I think performance is decent, especially when you factor in that this tire has been used for 2.5 years. I believe tires get slower as they age because of the hardening of the rubber compound. After only 2.5 years, this effect might be quite small. Unfortunately, this is an experiment that can not be done in a day. Puncture resistance is very good, much better than the other tires.

I think this tire proves that tread pattern doesn't completely determine the rolling resistance of mountain bike tires. The Nobby Nic, with its coarse tread pattern, has less rolling resistance than a Maxxis Ikon MaxxSpeed, which is a tire with much smaller and lower knobs.

RATING: 4.0 / 5