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  1. #1
    ~Reformed Mechanic~
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    Wasted $300+ to recall why Racing Ralphs are the best....

    Im not saying they are the best in all cases, since we all have different needs. But if your REAR tire needs are anything like mine - light, fast, traction, volume, durability than yes RaRa is king...

    After my last RaRa wore down a bit more than I like on the rear, I figured Id try a few others I haven't tried on the rear before, since I love testing tires....

    First runner up was another Ikon. I really like the ikon but was running a EXO protection last time and wanted something lighter. Immediately I recalled how terrible the braking traction was but enjoy the speed and predictability... Two rides in sliced the sidewall and got shelf'ed.

    Replaced it with an X-King racesport. Very cool tire! Fast predictable, outshines the Ikon in traction, great braking also very light. However the sidewalls needed A LOT of sealing for days before they stopped leaking quickly. A PITA I thought I could live with, until 3 rides in I sliced the sidewall, Shelf'ed

    Sick of these "flimsy sidewall" other brands I decided a RoRo was what I needed. Mounted her up, sealed well tubeless. Was amazed at the combo of low rolling and lightweight. I felt like I had a rocket strapped to the back along with some great traction also. Not to mention the RoRo was the lightest of the bunch at 1.04lbs.... Got the the very fist hill climb the first day on the trail and sliced the sidewall... WTF!! Now prior to these last 3 tires Ive sliced exactly 1 sidewall in the past 3 years and was totally my fault...

    At this point I said screw it im going back to "ol' trusty" for the rear. Ordered myself a RaRa 2.25 and weighted in at only 1.08lbs! The last one I have lasted 2 seasons of HEAVY riding from Appalachian mountains to sandy salty trails in florida. Its the second lightest of the pack by a large margin only to be outdone by the RoRo. Sealed her up, exactly zero pinhole leaks in the sidewall, have been out already several times and not a single hiccup. Now I have traction again, Rolling R IMO feels like the clear winner, it simply out does everything that any of the best racing tires can do, with one major exception, its lighter and MUCH more durable than its competition!!! I blew over $300 on tires in just 2months trying to find something that can do what the RaRa can do for me, im not switching again


    P.S. Oh, so whats the moral of the story you ask? For all you guys who think you need sidewall protection or cant run a lightweight tire due to demanding terrain... If you haven't yet, try a RaRa before you come to your conclusion.
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  2. #2
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    When my Bontrager 29-3s wear out, that will be my next tire. I had great luck with the 26er version RaRa...hopefully, the 29er is even better!
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  3. #3
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    I liked the RaRa at first but after only 2 months of moderate use my knobs were worn down so much that I had no traction at all unless I leaned the bike over substantially so that what was left of the side knobs could get a bite. Rocky terrain just tears those soft knobs right off the RaRa from my experience. At $90 per tire that's quite expensive. I'm now riding an S-Works Fast Trak on the rear and really like it.

  4. #4
    Zaf
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    I've been fiddling with a few different drive tyres over the passed year or so on my 29er, I haven't tried any Schwalbe tyres yet, but here's what I've found.

    Maxxis Aspens - I do love this tyre, it's SO fast, yet the side knobs allow you to lean the bike in and enjoy traction. Completely shot in the foot because you can't get it in UST or EXO and the sidewalls break if you happen to let it spot a sharp rock within two meters of you. I love the tyre, but you piss money down the drain if you're riding it on anything slightly rocky.

    Maxxis Ikon - Great tyre, and such a wonderful wearing compound to it, decent volume, great predictable tread pattern that rolls fast! EXO is expensive and in my experience, lacks the protection that the extra rubber of UST gives. I gave up on this when the second one I bought slashed out after what felt like a clean ride.

    Maxxis Crossmark - UST, it's hard to argue with the durabilty of UST and these were SOOO easy to set up onto my DT swiss tricon tubeless, didn't even need a track pump, I could set this tyre using my pissy little bike frame hand pump. It doesn't roll as fast as the Aspen, the nice ramped treads and shallow center tread on a 2.1 allows you to roll on the center tread quite nicely, and the side lugs dig in well enough. There is a BUT, with this tyre though. Maxxis, in their wisdom put these little circular treads on the side pattern, and I can't for the life of me, see why they're there. I took the time one day to heat up a knife and go through cutting them all off and the character of this tyre in the corners was SO different. Those nice square lugs now get this wonderful leading edge with which to dig into the ground with. If you lean your bike in, this tyre will just grip, and it holds on tight through loose over hard pack.

    Conti Race King - Great tyre also, superfast, predictable grip and has a nice manageable slip to it. Has a really nice volume to it, although in 29er you need to find it in proTection or else it suffers the same criticism of the Aspen, in that it will slash out at the drop of a hat.

  5. #5
    g3h6o3
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    I think you only need sidewall protection if you slash all tires that way... I know for sure that I cannot run a tire without sidewall protection tubeless in my local conditions even on the front, including RaRas.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  6. #6
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    I would be surprised if RaRa and RoRo didn't use identical casings, so I think you may have just had some bad luck.

  7. #7
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    I tend to agree somewhat with the RARA praise.
    I rocked a 2.25 Snakeskin Racing Ralph on my AM29er in the rear. Lots of grip (for a racing tire) and beefy sidewalls.
    They feel great tubeless on a Flow EX.

    Currently I have a Specialized Purgatory Control on there. Also tubeless. Although I like it because of its grip, it flexes a lot compared to the Racing Ralph.
    It feels rather squirmy, slower and doesn┤t hold air as good. Even with sealant.

    I also own an SWORKS Purgatory. But I couldnt really ride that tire. The sidewalls are paper thin.

    Casing construction of the Schwalbe Snakeskin tires is really good in my opinion, I also really like how good they work in a tubeless setup.

  8. #8
    g3h6o3
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    I totally agree and ride a RaRa on my AM hardtail in the SnakeSkin variant. It excels in most conditions but without the SS its useless.

    The OPs problem is mostly about sidewall protection, not RaRa vs others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Znarf View Post
    I tend to agree somewhat with the RARA praise.
    I rocked a 2.25 Snakeskin Racing Ralph on my AM29er in the rear. Lots of grip (for a racing tire) and beefy sidewalls.
    They feel great tubeless on a Flow EX.

    Currently I have a Specialized Purgatory Control on there. Also tubeless. Although I like it because of its grip, it flexes a lot compared to the Racing Ralph.
    It feels rather squirmy, slower and doesn┤t hold air as good. Even with sealant.

    I also own an SWORKS Purgatory. But I couldnt really ride that tire. The sidewalls are paper thin.

    Casing construction of the Schwalbe Snakeskin tires is really good in my opinion, I also really like how good they work in a tubeless setup.
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  9. #9
    ~Reformed Mechanic~
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    Quote Originally Posted by spsoon View Post
    I would be surprised if RaRa and RoRo didn't use identical casings, so I think you may have just had some bad luck.
    I assumed this myself, the reason I got the RoRo. Two things, when sealing tubeless, there were a good few pinholes and even a few larger holes than needed some solid attention when sealing. I needed a few hours of the stans shake just to get the RoRo sealed. Where as the RaRa Ive never needed more than just 1 or 2 shakes and ready to ride. Then there is the trail I ride 3-5 times a week that the RaRa lasted two years on, that the RoRo sliced literally 1/2 mile into... Possible lemon sure... But Im sticking with the RaRa
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  10. #10
    ~Reformed Mechanic~
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
    The OPs problem is mostly about sidewall protection, not RaRa vs others.
    Not really. Never had a sidewall issue to date. The RaRa is the only "race light" tire I've found that excels in every area except long term wear... Im still open to try others but cant find anything that can compete in weight, volume, performance, speed, durability...
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  11. #11
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    im very happy with my rear racing ralphs with snakeskin walls. i do have hans damph is the front for climbing
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  12. #12
    psycho cyclo addict
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    Wasted $300+ to recall why Racing Ralphs are the best....

    I run 4 sets of RaRa's (my GF runs two more sets of 'em as well), some snakeskin and some not. One rear 2.25 snakeskin had issues within weeks of mounting it- numerous sweat spots where Stan's was leaking and the tread showed signs of excessive wear (crumbling side nobs and visible tread shrinkage). I got a replacement after a few e-mail exchanges and sending along pictures to Schwalbe.

    All of my other ones have been fine with no significant tread wear. A couple months ago I mounted one of the four 2.4 EVO's I bought off Chainlove for $39 each on the.rear of my rigid SS and have no issues with that one either.

    I just turned 1,800 miles for the year and a record 426 miles this month (all on large volume 29er tires). RaRa is still my tire of choice for all around use on commutes, dirt, races, rocks and urban assaults.
    【ツ】 eDub 【ツ】

  13. #13
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    Glad you like them but where I live, I wasted $60 on Racing Ralphs (and another $60 on a Nobby Nic for the front) only to take them both off after three rides and hang them in my garage.

    While I wish they would work in the hard packed, dry dusty conditions out here, as they are super light, they didn't

  14. #14
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    I run Racing Ralph snakeskin as rear tires on both of my bikes. Love them..I ride typical southern New England terrain and leave the RaRa's on during all 4 seasons. I've been extremely impressed with the traction as a rear tire even during a winter of snow covered roots. I have alternated between Rocket Ron's and Nobby Nics as front tires, but now that the Ron is available with snakeskin sidewalls I'm going to ditch my last Nic once it's worn.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    I run 4 sets of RaRa's (my GF runs two more sets of 'em as well), some snakeskin and some not. One rear 2.25 snakeskin had issues within weeks of mounting it- numerous sweat spots where Stan's was leaking and the tread showed signs of excessive wear (crumbling side nobs and visible tread shrinkage). I got a replacement after a few e-mail exchanges and sending along pictures to Schwalbe.

    All of my other ones have been fine with no significant tread wear. A couple months ago I mounted one of the four 2.4 EVO's I bought off Chainlove for $39 each on the.rear of my rigid SS and have no issues with that one either.
    I had the exact same problem with my 2.25 snakeskin model, it developed a bunch of pin holes in the sidewalls, and the nobs were crumbling all within about 200 or so miles. Schwalbe is warrantying it for me (they were super fast with a reply by the way, so A+ on customer service). I really liked the tire, but may just sell it and move on when the new one comes in. I loved my NN as well, but it also suffered from crumbling nobs.

  16. #16
    psycho cyclo addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by gfs69 View Post
    I had the exact same problem with my 2.25 snakeskin model, it developed a bunch of pin holes in the sidewalls, and the nobs were crumbling all within about 200 or so miles. Schwalbe is warrantying it for me (they were super fast with a reply by the way, so A+ on customer service). I really liked the tire, but may just sell it and move on when the new one comes in. I loved my NN as well, but it also suffered from crumbling nobs.
    The replacement I received has no issues...

    You should complain about the Nobby Nic too- should not be crumbling IMO.

  17. #17
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    I like my set of RaRa's but have had some problems:

    1) Difficulty getting them to seal when first installed, lots of pin holes at the sidewall seams. Needed to add extra Stan's.
    2) Thin sidewalls means the tire moves around a lot on the trail but conforms well to rocks and roots.
    3) On one ride recently, one of the pin holes started leaking again, ended up stopping several times during my ride to re-inflate my rear tire. When I got home I added another cup of Stans and got the pinhole leak to seal again.
    4) One of the two tires still only retain pressure for a few days, not a big deal but noticeable.
    5) At $80/tire they are twice the cost of my Conti X-kings that I run on my other bikes.
    6) Soft compound grips well but I expect the tire will wear quickly.

    Some praise:
    1) Grip, grip, grip! Very confidence inspiring.
    2) Fairly low rolling resistance, not as good as some of the other tires I've used, but given the grip, they roll well.


    All tires are a compromise between high grip, low wear, good robustness and low cost. For my the RaRa's are a great tire and if I raced, would be high on my list but since I don't, I find the Conti's also have good characteristics for half the cost.

  18. #18
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    epic_dude: are you running the standard or Snakeskin versions? In my experience with the Snakeskin versions, I haven't had any of the issues you listed in 1, 2, 3, or 4. Obviously #5 is still an issue

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1035 View Post
    epic_dude: are you running the standard or Snakeskin versions? In my experience with the Snakeskin versions, I haven't had any of the issues you listed in 1, 2, 3, or 4. Obviously #5 is still an issue
    You are right, if I had purchased the SS version, I'm sure I would have had fewer problems with the tires holding air. Maybe next time, if I can find a deal on them.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fondoo View Post
    im very happy with my rear racing ralphs with snakeskin walls. i do have hans damph is the front for climbing
    just out of curiosity how does a hans dampf in front help for climbing? I have a hans dampf in front and I thought the benefit was rocky or loose downhill turns and off camber stuff.

  21. #21
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Front wheel does ZERO for climbing traction....it's ALL in the rear. The front relies on cornering adhesion and steering accuracy, and that's IT.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  22. #22
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    Have RaRa's 2.25 Evo SS and as others have said, pin holes/weaping and they don't last. One required warranty replacement within 200 miles. Maybe try a Fast Trak next.

  23. #23
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    I'm really surprised to hear that Surfdog93, I had no leaking/pin holes or anything with my SS RaRa's...oh well.

  24. #24
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    So Chainlove was dumping some RaRa a while back and I grabbed a pair. They're the 29er, 2.4 Evos tubeless IIRC... I was going to build another wheelset...lighter version (as compared to the old mfg process) of the Light-bicycle AM 29er rims...and use these tires. I'm on some big honkin' Maxxis DHF/DHR2's right now.
    Are the RaRa Evos I picked up different than the ones being talked about in this thread, or same difference except fatter? Thanks.
    Naysayers never apologize. Critics go to their grave thinking everyone else is wrong.
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  25. #25
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    I've had RaRa's (2.25 EVO SS), and couldn't stop the weeping out the sidewalls. No issues with cuts, though. Very light and very grippy for the amount of knobs it had. Did not last long, however. I'm on Ikons now, which I'm happy with. I may try out the new 2.3 Ikons to add some volume.

    I'm also on P-35 rims, which will square up the tire much more. Maybe this helps in preventing sidewall cuts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    Front wheel does ZERO for climbing traction....it's ALL in the rear. The front relies on cornering adhesion and steering accuracy, and that's IT.
    Well.....depends on the bike you're on.

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