Review - Schwalbe Racing Ray / Racing Ralph MTB Tyre Combo

Review Schwalbe Racing Ray MTB Tyres
Selecting MTB tyres for cross country racing and riding always seem to be a compromise to me; a delicate balance between grip and traction for technical sections, versus the need for light weight and fast rolling performance. The new Racing Ray and Racing Ralph combination from Schwalbe promises to overcome the compromise, and deliver on both fronts; through specific tread designs for front and rear wheel.

Schwalbe Racing Ray - Front Tyre

The Racing Ray tyre is a new addition to the Schwalbe line-up, and a new name in the house. It is designed specifically for the front wheel, and features forwards angled tread lugs to provide improved cornering, braking, and handling.

The Racing Ray is pitched as an all-round tyre, capable of both dry conditions and wet mud. It achieves this because the open tread pattern allows debris to be quickly shed from the tyre's surface, therefore providing continued grip and confidence.

Out on the trails this late summer I have encountered both moist conditions and dry dusty conditions whilst riding with the Schwalbe Racing Ray; it has performed very well in both. In the dry and wet it feels fast rolling, confidence inspiring, and grips well on everything from rocks and roots, to sand and mud.

The rubber compound used in the tyres is Schwalbe's Addix compound, which is deemed to strike that balance of grip and durability. It seems to deliver, and even after 300 miles on the tyres they are showing very little sign of wear or tear, and set-up tubeless there has also been no sign of punctures.

The forward facing arrow lugs, relatively wide 2.25 profile, and supple nature of the Racing Ray seems to be what makes it a great front tyre; fast-rolling, but confidence inspiring.

Schwalbe Racing Ray MTB Tyre Review

Review Schwalbe Racing Ray MTB Tyres

Schwalbe Racing Ralph - Rear Tyre

The Schwalbe Racing Ralph is a trusted name in the cross country racing scene, and has been used by many podium topping world class racers. For 2018, the Racing Ralph has received an overhaul, which makes it into more of a rear-specific racing tyre.

The Racing Ralph features wider more horizontally angled knobs than the Racing Ray, this helps to provide improved rear wheel traction on steep inclines and in loose or muddy conditions. Despite the added traction, the relatively low profile of the lugs means that the tyre still accelerates well, and doesn't compromise on rolling resistance.

In testing the new Racing Ralph delivers as promised. I have used the previous version of this tyre in a lot of different trail conditions, and it was a superb all-rounder. This newer version seems to equal, if not better its predecessor. 

I have found traction on wet roots, sand, stones and chalk, when previously I would have been wincing and waiting for the rear wheel to slip. With the change in cross country courses to include more challenging off-camber descents and steeper inclines, this seems like a great racing companion.

Again the Addix compound provides a good balance between grip and durability for the Racing Ralph. Set up tubeless, I have yet to puncture on tough Isle of Wight trail conditions.

Taken as a pair, the new Racing Ray and Racing Ralph are a great tyre combination for all-weather year-round riding. They are fast, fun, confidence inspiring, and durable. They might not be gnarly enough or robust enough for very rough trail conditions, like those I encountered in the Dolomites in 2016, but for all UK conditions and for the majority of cross-country race conditions, they are a pretty perfect set-up.

>> Shop the Schwalbe Racing Ray MTB Tyre and Racing Ralph MTB Tyre here <<

Review Schwalbe Racing Ralph MTB Tyres

Review Schwalbe Racing Ralph MTB Tyres


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