The Schwable Rapid Rob Tire run on the rear can provide serious XC race performance.
For Day 1 of the XC mountain bike racing tire review I am running the Schwalbe Rapid Rob 2.1 with K-Guard in the rear only.
Check out my last review of the Vittoria Peyote tires, since I am still running the Peyote up front, but have now switched out the rear Vittoria Peyote for a Schwalbe Rapid Rob to compare the combined package.
XC Mountain Bike Schwalbe Rapid Rob Tire Review: DAY 1
Ride Distance: 15 miles
Once again we are riding our favorite test track, 8 miles of single track out of the 60+ miles of the backbone trail in So Cal. This trail pushes the limits of both rider and the Schwalbe Rapid Rob tire run in the rear. I am riding a Jamis Nemesis XC racing bike and running head to head against my long time friend’s new Intense Tracer 275C best suited for AM / Enduro.
I have better endurance, and am packing a little less weight, but he has a superior bike for the trail. We both share about the same skill level on any given day. I think I am faster in the straights and sometimes braver in the rock gardens, while he is much better on jumps and drops.
This trail combines aggressive single track, downhill with quick short technical climbs and some windy flats runs. There are some small 2-4 foot jumps and drop offs, with a few wicked rock garden sections and plenty of hairpin turns. There are very few spots to pass, so we usually let the faster guy lead.
Today’s trails conditions were hard packed with lots of sandy spots at 97F with very low humidity. This is the standard southern California summer riding conditions.
Since I am running a clincher rim with a tube, I am running the rear quite high at 38 lbs to avoid flats at all costs, but still allow me to ride aggressively without worry. Of course this makes the tire a bit bouncier in the rear but I am not going to flat out on the jumps, drop offs or sharp rocks.
At the end of the ride the high pressure gamble paid off and the tire did not flat once. In my opinion, that says a lot about this lightweight SC tires quality / construction.
While the Schwalbe Rapid Rob is only a 2.1 as compared to the 2.25 Vittoria Peyote in the rear run previously for two consecutive tests, I felt the cornering was superior to the Peyote.
Visually you can see the cornering tread is higher and more pronounce on the Rapid Rob and this did equate to real world improved turning for my riding style, trail conditions and my bike setup.
However, while all the knobs are square on the Rapid Rob tire as compared to the Vittoria Peyote, I felt the Peyote climbed a bit better to my surprise, especially in softer conditions.
My initial gut instinct was that the Rapid Rob would climb a little better with its increased, tighter packed square knobs in the center row as compared to the wider spacing on the Peyote and its more trapezoidal knobs.
However, I think the Rapid Rob has a slightly lower tread profile in the center than the Peyote and of course the overall width is less. The difference in climbing wasn’t huge, and I would probably still select the Rapid Rob in the rear because of the extra cornering confidence I felt on this trail.
For race day, I would weigh the amount of climbing traction vs. cornering needed, and make decision between the two. The decision would be tough, because they are both real good tires and close performers.
As far as tire strength goes, at higher pressures neither tire flatted and remained puncture free.
Both compounds are on the softer side for racing and wear quickly.
Next test on Day 2 will be a bit less aggressive, more typical of a national level XC race course.
In my opinion, our Day 1 XC mountain bike racecourse has sections that are beyond UCI XC World Cup level, but it also has portions that would be on these tracks and not on a national level racecourse. Thus it is makes sense to push the full capabilities of the tire for the best review.
Most tire reviewers are giving a review based on a very small indoor test track, or very small portions of a easier outdoor trails. I do two full days and beat the living bleep out of the tire, so you really know what’s up.
Thus even if you aren’t 100% sure the perfect tire for race day, you will be able to limit the amount of tires you take to the track and quickly get the best setup with minimal testing.
We found the best deals on the Schwalbe tire, click here.
XC Moountain Bike Schwalbe Rapid Rob Tire Review: DAY 2
Ride Distance: 24 miles
Today’s test is at Pt. Mugu State Park. We entered from Sycamore campgrounds off PCH and road Overlook, to Backbone then Two Fox and back to the fire road home.
Out of the gate the Schwalbe Rapid Rob was really climbing like a champion up Overlook. It was a little less sandy then the Day 1 test and I felt very planted an din control.
At high speeds descending on the fire roads, I could slide the tire predictably, but of course since it is a lower profile tire, it was possible to quickly push it beyond its limits especially during heavy braking.
When pedaling fast on the fire road flats, the tire hooked up great both in and out of the saddle.
The most enjoyable portion of the trail for me is always Backbone, and today didn’t disappoint. I must admit the trail was sandier than I would prefer so I backed down a tad to avoid sliding the rear off the trail in very narrow rutted portions.
Overall the tire allowed me to descend with great confidence considering it is an cross country mountain bike race tire and all the other riders were running Enduro rubber.
I did not flat the rear and that was a bonus.
I am very impressed with the Schwalbe Rapid Rob mountain bike tire, and recommend you run on and see how it performs for you.
My Rating for the Schwalbe Rapid Rob tire for XC Mountain Bike Racing on the Rear (1-10):
Flats & Rolling Sections: 9
Technical Climbing: 7
We found the best deals on the Schwalbe tire, click here.
XC Mountain Bike Tire Review Articles