Schwalbe Rocket Ron SpeedGrip Evolution (2018)
Rocket Ron, a Cross Country tire that suffered some changes for this year, the most important being the compound the tire is built from. Even if the tire structure is the same, it got some reinforcements and two compound types: Speed and SpeedGrip. We tested the blue version, SpeedGrip, which has a higher rolling resistance but compensates with better off-road grip and better durability.
They are not as easy to mount as other tires and you need two levers in order to mount it on the rim.
On the track we had to inflated to 1.9bar, a bigger pressure than what we normally use (1.7bar), but we wanted to make climbing easier, this being the setting we use for a difficult track marathon (considering it’s not tubeless). The rolling resistance is impressive, but this is something we discovered 8 years ago when we first tested this tires (on a 26 inch wheel). We were lucky enough to encounter all sorts of track conditions, but the last ride had some wet track and the grip on climbs was excellent considering we had a mix of soil with some mud, loose wet rocks, etc.
While descending you can truly discover the character of this tires. The wider tire, with a width of 2.25 inch, was better for my back, but the grip was surprising in this track conditions, 1.9 bar pressure and wet loose rocks. In corners this tire compensates with a softer compound rather than tall knobs. The clear mountain mud pretty fast (not to be mistaken with forest mud), and when pushed to the limit, this tires offer some really fun controlled sliding. Compared to their main rivals, we believe Schwalbe can improve their sidewalls. A snakebite is impossible at the pressure we used, but when going over some rocks, they left some bad marks on the sidewalls.
In conclusion, the tires are ideal for some serious marathon or XC racing and the pricing is as expected in the premium range. Around 58 EUR is what Schwalbe suggest, a cost that once paid, you get a set of light tires, among the lightest in its category, considering the protection and the extra grip they have. In its Performance version, which is heavier and has less grip, the price is half.