Editor’s Note: Our European Contributor, “c_g”, has chimed in with the latest on the Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires. Although it is prime time for riding in the Northern Hemisphere, “c_g” has been quoted as saying the following: “This summer sucks!!!” Let’s hope things get better over there before the summer slips away! “c_g”‘s first post on the tires can be found here. For now, here is his report:

SCHWALBE Rocket Ron 2.25 29er – First Impressions: by “c_g”

1_RRSo far we have had 2 weeks of warm temps and sun for what is supposed to be the warm season of 2010. Luckily I have always caught the good days in between for extended rides and so it had not been all that bad. But really – who stole the summer here in southern Germany?

Anyhow, the transition from exclusively riding the GEAX tubulars was made in the midst of this wet climate lately. Despite not having had a chance to ride the ROCKET RONs in dry conditions, I have had a fair amount of miles on them in wet, wetter and wettest (see the pictures for illustrations).


So the ROCKET RON has had the chance to prove its worth under extreme conditions. To those who have ridden the tire in its 26” version it comes as no surprise – the ROCKET RON is a GRIPPER under these conditions as well. The open tread and widely spaced trapezoid knobs make for both – super self cleaning properties and very good traction. I had been able to ride some of the “rootiest” trails and was surprised how well behaved the RON was.The SCHWALBE ROCKET RON does combine some of my favorite traits in tires good volume, good traction and low weight.


VOLUME: Despite seemingly undersized out of the box – after some days of stretching at 3 bar pressure the tires did reach a true to size volume; both tires stretched out to a full 56.5 mm casing width and 57.0 mm knob width respectively (on 26 mm rims). The tires were 52.0 mm and 52.5 mm tall (casing only). This size is respectable and can be a close fit on some bikes. The knobs are distributed in 4 rows alongside the casing and grow gradually from 2.5 mm in the center row to 4.5mm on the side row. Overall the profile is fairly rounded in shape.

TRACTION: As long as you give the RON the chance to “dig in” or “grip” it will perform well. Smaller roots will be gripped by the widely spaced knobs, soft soil up to nasty mud is simply penetrated up to where traction is better. The supple 127 tpi casing does allow for some knob flexibility and the triple compound helps keeping traction high while rolling easily. In the conditions I had ridden it I was positively surprised. Of course I will continue to ride it under varying (and hopefully some drier) conditions to complete the RON´s performance potential.


The widely separated side knobs allow for easy passage of mud and give the tires a decent draft in deeper grounds (it is no special mud tire, the size alone keeps it from sinking in like specialty mud tires do).

LIGHT WEIGHT: At a slim 512 to 515 g the RON is super light. This makes for a true race like acceleration. Any tire I know that is comparable in traction and volume is at least 100 g heavier (per piece). Of course this weight comes at a price – literally because they are pricey (especially in the US) and figuratively because even SCHWALBE does note on their description of the ROCKET RON that in that combination “puncture protection and durability are limited”. The remarkably thin sidewalls call for higher than usual air pressures to keep the tire from flexing (you might as well run super wide rims for extra support, which would defeats the purpose of running extra light racing tires, wouldn´t it). I will play around a bit more with pressures to specify for you. The thin casing certainly makes the tire more prone for sidewall cuts and tears but so far I have had no problems – but then again I have not exposed the tire to alpine (aka rocky) riding yet. Be sure I will

is one more attribute I put high priority on, but running the ROCKET RON tubeless is something SCHWALBE does not recommend – so should you choose to do the conversion nonetheless you´ll void warranty and liability. SCHWALBE did pronounce tubeless compatibility for their full 2011 Evolution line, though – so it is just some time before the tire does fulfill my personal specification sheet completely.

SUMMARY: All in all the combination of the attributes traction, volume and lightweight makes the ROCKET RON an exceptional tire – after only a limited time on them I would already call this tire my first pick as a racing tire at mixed or whet conditions. (Mind you the thin sidewalls still scare me off from using it too aggressively in rocky terrain.)