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  1. #1
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    Schwalbe Racing Ralphs as an All Around Tire???

    Do any of you use the Racing Ralph as an all-around tire? I have for a few months and really like it for the most part, but most of my riding is on dry trails.

    I have read reviews of this tire (and other Schwalbe tires) and all have very mixed reviews. . From the reviews I have read it about the Ralphs, it seems that some people say they use these tires for all sorts of riding and others say they should only be used for racing.


    While I have been lucky enough to be able to ride in dry and fairly benign conditions where I live in Williamsburg, VA, but I am planning to make some trips out to other parts of the state and down to Asheville, NC to ride Pisgah / Dupont here this spring.

    As a result I am concerned that these tires may not perform optimally in such varied conditions and I am a little leery of the possibility of a sidewall cut on a trip on an epic trip away from home.

    On the other hand, I have not really had any problems as of yet with the Racing Ralphs other than some so so performance in damp conditions.

    Just curious to hear your opinion.

    I do love the way they roll so fast though!


    Matt

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowler1 View Post
    Do any of you use the Racing Ralph as an all-around tire? I have for a few months and really like it for the most part, but most of my riding is on dry trails.

    I have read reviews of this tire (and other Schwalbe tires) and all have very mixed reviews. . From the reviews I have read it about the Ralphs, it seems that some people say they use these tires for all sorts of riding and others say they should only be used for racing.


    While I have been lucky enough to be able to ride in dry and fairly benign conditions where I live in Williamsburg, VA, but I am planning to make some trips out to other parts of the state and down to Asheville, NC to ride Pisgah / Dupont here this spring.

    As a result I am concerned that these tires may not perform optimally in such varied conditions and I am a little leery of the possibility of a sidewall cut on a trip on an epic trip away from home.

    On the other hand, I have not really had any problems as of yet with the Racing Ralphs other than some so so performance in damp conditions.

    Just curious to hear your opinion.

    I do love the way they roll so fast though!


    Matt
    Very good dry conditions tire. Forget it in the wet.
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  3. #3
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    The racing ralph is a very limited use tire.

    Horrible for anything moist or loose.
    Sidewalls cut easily on rocks.

    Great grip on hardpack, only.

    If you want something with similar lightweight and fast rolling, but with multi-condition grip, check out the Rocket Ron. Hooks up and handles well on a variety of surfaces and is still blazin fast.
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  4. #4
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    The racing ralph is a very limited use tire.

    Horrible for anything moist or loose.
    Sidewalls cut easily on rocks.

    Great grip on hardpack, only.

    If you want something with similar lightweight and fast rolling, but with multi-condition grip, check out the Rocket Ron. Hooks up and handles well on a variety of surfaces and is still blazin fast.
    It does fine for me in loose or rocky conditions. Good traction. No cuts.
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  5. #5
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    "Race day only" has always been a ridiculous phrase to me... no matter what it's said about. If whatever it is can handle racing (which is just riding... I know, shocking), then it can handle regular use. /rant

    It's a great all-around tire. Here in Texas we don't ride in the wet because our trails can't handle it, so the lack of wet traction is not something I've experienced.
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  6. #6
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    I've never had a tire wear out as fast as a Racing Ralph. I got only about 250 miles on the one I was using in the rear before it was useless. This was on Central Texas trails, which are pretty tough on tires - but the Racing Ralph's still wore incredibly fast.

    The tire was fine for most conditions, but I switched to a WTB Nano in the rear. It offers similar performance for me, with much, much better durability.

  7. #7
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    Racing Ralph or Rocket Ron?

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    It does fine for me in loose or rocky conditions. Good traction. No cuts.
    Shiggy,
    Were you referring to the Racing Ralph or the Rocket Ron as the previous poster was?

    I may take a look at the Rocket Ron for a more all around performance tire. I generally only ride when it's dry, but there are always those wet sections on the trails when all else is dry, especially if you expand your riding to locations outside of your local trails I guess.

    I do really want somethign fast rolling though. I love that about the Racing Ralphs. If I can't find a good fast rolling tire with more traction then I may just stick with the Ralphs and accept limited wet performance and just ride the road bike on wetter days.

    Matt

  8. #8
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    The edge knobs are small and not buttressed so they fold over easily. Plus, the transition knobs are few and far between. Upright traction/rolling is superb, but I just got tired of having to *****foot the front and moved on. I think it was when I got rash on top of the scabs from the last rash that made me say enough. You could say I made a rash decision.

    100 grams more of side knob can be more fun and still roll nearly as well in the center. Look at the edge knobs on a Maxxis Ignitor, Speialized Captain or GC to see what I mean. Pump up the tire and push the knobs over. There is no magic force that will keep your relatively massive body weight from rolling a handful of these knobs over as easily as your thumb can. If people saw what their tires looked like under load they'd be shocked. Continental have a 'glass road' that allows them to do this.

    If you want a realistic tire that can actually deal with the forces and conditions a bike can generate, it will look more like a motorcycle tire. Currently, I'd use the Schwalbe Hans Dampf as the best example. Anything lighter and lesser is trading off some useable aspect of performance for weight and rolling resistance.

    Anything you do to a Ralph to make it 'better' will also make it heavier and/or slower. So it's close to perfect for what it is. But here's the thing; you may say 'well, I never corner that hard' but from the tires POV a sidehill/ off camber is the same as a corner. No choice. And pedalling up a sidehill is the same as cornering with the brake on. You just can't argue with physics.

    There is no 600 gram tire that will do what a 900 gram tire will do. And there's no 900 gram tire that rolls like a 600 gram tire. How much casing, how much tread rubber, and how would you like your knobs. Big menu to choose from.

    Don't get me wrong; I really like Ralphs which is why I put up with them [Wow, fast!] for a while. But I wasn't washing out the front before and I haven't washed out since and the gear bill was getting expensive. I know; I haven't 'learned' the tire yet. But when I look out my window all I see is mountains and the temptation to ride 'all mountain' is hard to resist. Currently I'm running a Ground Control front which seems to work better the harder you lean on it but rolls well. But it could be an Ardent or an Ignitor or whatever. As long as there are edge knobs that put up some sort of fight before they fold.

  9. #9
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    I would say the Nobby Nic is more of an all around performing tire.

  10. #10
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    That's an interesting POV Bulerias; my experience has been much different. Raced in SoCal last weekend on extremely dry, sandy/dusty trails with off-camber, broken up singletrack that got worse as the day wore on. The Maxxis Ikon in back was very unhappy in these conditions, wanting to slip away downhill on steep, loose switchback climbs, for instance. The RaRa up front? Rock solid all day. I'm new to Schwalbe, this was my first racing experience on RaRa but I'm happy and it's staying on my wheel. That Ikon in back? Maybe not...

  11. #11
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    I run a mix of EVO and snake skin Racing Ralph's (tubeless) all the time on four 29er's and one 26er... for commutes, dirt, pavement, races, urban assault, etc.

    One of them was defective and turned into darn near a slick after ~1 year. The others are still going strong. Tubeless w/ lower tire pressure definitely improves grip. I have a Nobby Nic 2.35 snake skin that I've contemplated mounting on the front of my geared hard tail because that's the one most likely to cut loose on me in hard/fast cornering. Waiting till I wear down the 2.4 RaRa on there now...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdcadbiker View Post
    That's an interesting POV Bulerias; my experience has been much different. Raced in SoCal last weekend on extremely dry, sandy/dusty trails with off-camber, broken up singletrack that got worse as the day wore on. The Maxxis Ikon in back was very unhappy in these conditions, wanting to slip away downhill on steep, loose switchback climbs, for instance. The RaRa up front? Rock solid all day. I'm new to Schwalbe, this was my first racing experience on RaRa but I'm happy and it's staying on my wheel. That Ikon in back? Maybe not...
    Steep and loose climbs don't ask much of a front tire; you'd have to swap them back to front to get a meaningful comparison. Actually, I'm running a Ralph on the back at the moment and find I can work within its limits off camber, but you just can't romp up a sidehill with it like something with heavier construction. And when it dies I'll probably put a GC on as they seem to be compatible with the local reality; I'd like to run something exotic but it's behind me so all it has to do is work - I won't have to look at it and it won't be there long anyway.

    There's a 10k mountainside XC racecourse 5 minutes from here and on that a Ralph is just fine. The OP was about it as an all around tire, and for that I think you're better off with more tire at the edge for a front. I run tubed and can put on tires from a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 EVO to a Spesh 1.9 Renegade in a few minutes, depending on the plot of the day.

    Sounds like you might have gone better with more tire on the back; less tire isn't always faster in the long run if you're backing off and slipping. Ikons seem to be the current 'in' tire for XC around here; never tried them.

    My point was that All Around [Jack of All Trades] means Hans Dampf in German. So in good thorough Germanic form, Schwalbe says it right on the label.

  13. #13
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    Interesting thread. Very insightful! Keep going haha.

    I'm in the process of picking a new tire setup, grabbed a set of Stan's and am planning to run tubeless for the first time.
    I do hear the EVO SS NoNi f / RaRa r combo is great but dear lord thats an expensive set of tires. (mind you I'm ordering off CRC so shipping is free and they have pretty nice prices right now.

    But for some reason Spesh tires keep staying in the back of my mind. Then theres the Hans Dampf that looks and sounds amazing from reviews I've read. As a front it seems to handle EVERYTHING. Just wish it wasnt so heavy.

    But I did read somewhere in this thread what does it ultimately matter if you have a light weight/fast rolling tire if it washes out or doesnt allow you to corner as hard.

    Such a hard decision for someone who has to over analyze everything

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
    "Race day only" has always been a ridiculous phrase to me... no matter what it's said about. If whatever it is can handle racing (which is just riding... I know, shocking), then it can handle regular use. /rant
    Maybe...maybe not, depends on how much the race courses resemble everyday trails, there's a course in my area where a 'cross bike is likely the winning ticket. Another thing to consider is that race courses generally have tech zones and so forth where one can quickly swap out a shredded tire. This allows racers to get away with running lighter, more fragile, and faster tires than they otherwise would.

    Personally I hate fast traction limited tires, sure I can ride a Conti Race King on all my local trails and I can do so without much difficulty. Is it fun? Yes, but not nearly as fun as shredding the trails as fast as I dare on a set of Trail Kings. I'm willing to give up some speed to gain the traction I want for doing stupid stuff.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowler1 View Post
    Shiggy,
    Were you referring to the Racing Ralph or the Rocket Ron as the previous poster was?

    I may take a look at the Rocket Ron for a more all around performance tire. I generally only ride when it's dry, but there are always those wet sections on the trails when all else is dry, especially if you expand your riding to locations outside of your local trails I guess.

    I do really want somethign fast rolling though. I love that about the Racing Ralphs. If I can't find a good fast rolling tire with more traction then I may just stick with the Ralphs and accept limited wet performance and just ride the road bike on wetter days.

    Matt
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  16. #16
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    I had to give up on my Ralphs this summer. It got very dry, and all the hardpack turned to loose dirt. I worked on my technique and tried to stick with the Ralphs, but it got too difficult. Once the back tread was 1/2 gone (which happened pretty quickly), it would break loose on steep climbs if I had to stand.

    I went to a HD front and Nick on the rear. Possibly overkill, but I definitely have great traction. In particular I like the HD on the front because I'm able slide it in faster corners without falling. The Ralph cornered pretty good for a fast tire, but seemed to break away quickly if it started to slide.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigGK View Post
    Interesting thread. Very insightful! Keep going haha.

    I'm in the process of picking a new tire setup, grabbed a set of Stan's and am planning to run tubeless for the first time.
    I do hear the EVO SS NoNi f / RaRa r combo is great but dear lord thats an expensive set of tires. (mind you I'm ordering off CRC so shipping is free and they have pretty nice prices right now.

    But for some reason Spesh tires keep staying in the back of my mind. Then theres the Hans Dampf that looks and sounds amazing from reviews I've read. As a front it seems to handle EVERYTHING. Just wish it wasnt so heavy.

    But I did read somewhere in this thread what does it ultimately matter if you have a light weight/fast rolling tire if it washes out or doesnt allow you to corner as hard.

    Such a hard decision for someone who has to over analyze everything
    I guess it really comes down to your riding style. If you ride super aggressive then a RaRa up front might not be the way to go. Nothing in my experience rolls better and so far I haven't wasted a sidewall on rocky stuff (which was the main complaint I read about before biting the bullet on opening the wallet for them). I look at it as: okay I dropped some coin but they work great for the myriad of stuff I ride on and I don't have to swap (tubeless) tires for different conditions. Yeah, I'm LAZY... so what hahaha.

    I majorly washed out a 2.4 front once during a race on bone dry twisty single track (mostly because I was trying to post a killer first lap and then see how long I could keep it up). On the same bike, the RaRa's did fine in a mudfest endurance race where Philadelphia cream cheese style mud extruded from the front wheel and fork stanchions in a cool pattern for better than half of the 9+ mile loop (and the back wheel wanted to go sideways)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    I guess it really comes down to your riding style.
    I think you couldnt be more right. My problem is I like to believe I'm hardcore and ride aggressive, when in actuality I'm a newbie without technique. Just plan out of control at times.

    That being said, kinda why I think I might want to sacrifice some weight for confidence/control. When I roll up to a really nice rooted very steep decent that splits into two exits I always choose the gnarlier lookin path and usually not as cautiously as I should.

  19. #19
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    I have the Nobby Nic 2.35/Racing Ralph 2.25 setup on my XC 29er. On my SS Karate Monkey, I have a Nobby Nic 2.35/Rocket Ron 2.25 setup. All run tubeless in the mid 20s for PSI.

    Both of these combos are excellent for me. Nobby Nic is confidence inspiring. So I personally feel like a grippy front end tire does most of the work to the point that a Nobby Nic in the rear seems like overkill, but I'm not an expert.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigGK View Post
    I do hear the EVO SS NoNi f / RaRa r combo is great but dear lord thats an expensive set of tires. (mind you I'm ordering off CRC so shipping is free and they have pretty nice prices right now.
    I have picked up several Schwalbe tires on ebay for less than MSRP. I don't know how the sellers come by these tires, or why so cheap, but I picked up a pair of EVO Snakeskin TL Nobby Nics in 2.35 for $130 for a pair just before Christmas. Not cheap, but less than $90/each.

    I also get good deals on Schwalbes at treefortbikes (no affiliation) from time to time. I see they are price matching Nobby Nic 2.35 x 29 for $65 right now. I'd buy one or two if I hadn't just bought the pair.

    (I see you're in Canada, so I apologize if this isn't useful info.)

  21. #21
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    As someone said, riding style is what dictates.

    Can I "ride" a RaRa in soft and loose? Sure. Can I rail corners, shred and lean the bike in soft and loose like I can a RoRo or NoNic - no way. But not everybody rides like that. I'm a big guy and I LIVE for flowy tight downhill sections. To me, that's the most fun on a bike.

    I have all three tires. The NoNics are on the bike now and provide the best grip in the sloppy winter mid Atlantic, and are heavier and slower without being too bad.

    As soon as things get a bit firmer and the leaves are gone - on go the RoRo's.

    If I know I'm gonna be on true dry hardpack, I'll maybe mount up RaRa's if I'm looking for that last nth of rolling resistance reduction vs RoRo.
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  22. #22
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    yes, maybe a seasonal approach is a good way to go. I think that most of my "out of local" riding will be in winter and spring, which is also what will probably be most of the wet riding I may do.

    Maybe I need a more agressive tire for winter and spring and then back to the straigh Ra Ra combination for summer.

    I run tubless so swapping is more of a PIA.

    So between the Nobby Nick and Rocket Rons what do you feel would offer a good and fast rolling tire, but with a slightly better wet condition performance and rocky / cut resistant quality over the Ra Ra? I am thinking maybe the Rocket Ron may do that without being overkill.

    I recently swapped and went to a set of Specialized Ground Controls and found that they SUCKED in relation to the Racing Ralph in terms of their rolling resistance and suppleness. To me they were just super, super slow and plodding. To me they were DEFINITELY not worth the tradeoffs they offered in terms of traction and i did not like the way they edged / turned. I think something more aggressive than the Ra Ra may be appropriate for my winter riding, but not making a jump as big as the one I made to the Controls. hence my thoughts that the rocket ron may be the way to go as a winter / spring tire....????

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowler1 View Post
    yes, maybe a seasonal approach is a good way to go. I think that most of my "out of local" riding will be in winter and spring, which is also what will probably be most of the wet riding I may do.

    Maybe I need a more agressive tire for winter and spring and then back to the straigh Ra Ra combination for summer.

    I run tubless so swapping is more of a PIA.

    So between the Nobby Nick and Rocket Rons what do you feel would offer a good and fast rolling tire, but with a slightly better wet condition performance and rocky / cut resistant quality over the Ra Ra? I am thinking maybe the Rocket Ron may do that without being overkill.

    I recently swapped and went to a set of Specialized Ground Controls and found that they SUCKED in relation to the Racing Ralph in terms of their rolling resistance and suppleness. To me they were just super, super slow and plodding. To me they were DEFINITELY not worth the tradeoffs they offered in terms of traction and i did not like the way they edged / turned. I think something more aggressive than the Ra Ra may be appropriate for my winter riding, but not making a jump as big as the one I made to the Controls. hence my thoughts that the rocket ron may be the way to go as a winter / spring tire....????
    Ron's are my favourite all around tire (2.4 front and 2.25 back). I'm about 175 lbs and run them tubeless at 21 psi front and 23 psi back. They work well in the wet (at the lower psi).

    I use them in virtually all conditions except for terrain with a lot of sharp edged rock. In those instances, I use snake skin NNics (same sizes) or Fat Albert's if it's really gnarly.

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    I am thinking I am going to order a Rocket Ron for the front....not sure whether to order one for the back or just to keep using the Racing Ralph in the rear.

    Probably will try the Ro Ro up front and then decide on whether to put one on the rear too.

    When summer comes I may go back to Ra Ra up front and rear.

    Just my current thoughts...

  25. #25
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    The Ron is lighter than the Ralph and rolls damn near as fast (the difference is miniscule, IMHO), but has much more grip and volume. It feels A LOT better in terms of suppleness and handling - but MAY cut easier (there is ALWAYS a compromise somewhere when it comes to tires).

    I do not ride particularly rocky trails, but have cut both Rons and Ralphs.

    The Nic is not really in the same league with the other 2 tires in temrs of weight and rolling resistance - you WILL notice the difference. Far from horrible, though - and you get used ot it. BUT it will hook-up and shed on muddier/leafier trail where a Ron might fail and a Ralph would not have a chance.
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  26. #26
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    Melting Feather talked me into Racing Ralphs awhile back. I found out real quick that they don't respond well to hardpack with loose small rock covered with live oak leaves. Slid right into second I did! After riding them for quite awhile, it seems to me that being more aggressive in the corners with them actually helped. It was that semi-mid leaned over that seemed the slickest, but get past that and it sticks mo' bettah. I am about to build up a bike and ordered a pair of the new RRalphs with a bit more tread on them.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowler1 View Post
    Do any of you use the Racing Ralph as an all-around tire? I have for a few months and really like it for the most part, but most of my riding is on dry trails.

    I have read reviews of this tire (and other Schwalbe tires) and all have very mixed reviews. . From the reviews I have read it about the Ralphs, it seems that some people say they use these tires for all sorts of riding and others say they should only be used for racing.


    While I have been lucky enough to be able to ride in dry and fairly benign conditions where I live in Williamsburg, VA, but I am planning to make some trips out to other parts of the state and down to Asheville, NC to ride Pisgah / Dupont here this spring.

    As a result I am concerned that these tires may not perform optimally in such varied conditions and I am a little leery of the possibility of a sidewall cut on a trip on an epic trip away from home.

    On the other hand, I have not really had any problems as of yet with the Racing Ralphs other than some so so performance in damp conditions.

    Just curious to hear your opinion.

    I do love the way they roll so fast though!


    Matt
    First, I would not trust the non-snakeskin versions. Paper thin, mine lasted 8 rides. I live in western VA, lots of rocks and roots, but not much sharp stuff. The Snake-skin version has been doing well, though.

    I think the RR is a legit choice for the rear if you want something pretty fast, but the 2.4 I had in the front was lacking, IMO. I like something with more tread up front. I run a 2.25" RR in the rear of my 29er HT for the past year or so, though I do change it out if it is going to be snowy or sloppy in the winter.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd look at something grippier up front, and see how the RR does for you in the rear. The rolling resistance is going to matter less in the front as in the rear.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  28. #28
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    I just ordered a set of Rocket Rons off of Amazon for a pretty amazing price...

    Went with the 2.25 front and rear. My biggest concern is fitting the 2.25 in the rear of my Moots hardtail- but I've been told it should be fine.

    I've been running the Fire XC Pro for years, wanted to try something different.

  29. #29
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    I have been using ralph at the rear and rons in front with great success. Using tubeless on a AC classic race rims and about 20-25 psi.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonub View Post
    I have been using ralph at the rear and rons in front with great success. Using tubeless on a AC classic race rims and about 20-25 psi.
    Ditto on AC race 29s. I want a 2.35x29 RoRo though!!!

  31. #31
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    Been using Racing Ralphs for that last couple years, first on my 26er SS and then on my 29er (after a short fling w/Maxxis Ikon's). I am ~170 and ride a rigid SS. I don't believe in using a different tire for racing unless it is just a fresh set of the same set of tires I always use (just newer and less beat up). When I ran front suspension I had 2.25 RaRa EVO Snakeskins front and rear. Since I went rigid (2 months ago) I have been using a 2.35 RaRa up front with the 2.25 on back. This setup has been solid here in NorCal (Auburn area) trails that include loose over hard, mud, hard, sharp-jagged-rocky etc (not a lot of roots though). I have only tore one sidewall, and that was almost a year ago in the mountains of NC (during an event, damnit!). I love this tire, but it seems that I am always searching for a replacement due to the cost (I have another thread here about that). Still, I will likely keep coming back to this tire as I have been very please with it's all-around performance as a XC tire; from the easy mounting, good volume, grip, weight, etc.(everything but cost). There is that, plus I am use to it. I know how it handles in different conditions, so I know what to expect.
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  32. #32
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    Thanks for the reply.

    I ended up getting some Rocket Rons (29x2.2) and am mounting the front and rear. I had thoughts about mounting a Rocket Ron just in the front and keeping the Ra Ra in the back. I will give this setup a shot and see what I think. I still have a pretty fresh Racing Ralph that I can put on back if I choose to.

    I just hope the Rocket Rons roll nice and fast like the Racing Ralph does. I know it will be slower, but hopefully not to the point of being too noticeable.
    Matt

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    Quote Originally Posted by bowler1 View Post
    Thanks for the reply.

    I ended up getting some Rocket Rons (29x2.2) and am mounting the front and rear. I had thoughts about mounting a Rocket Ron just in the front and keeping the Ra Ra in the back. I will give this setup a shot and see what I think. I still have a pretty fresh Racing Ralph that I can put on back if I choose to.

    I just hope the Rocket Rons roll nice and fast like the Racing Ralph does. I know it will be slower, but hopefully not to the point of being too noticeable.
    Matt
    Hope you went with snake skin version. My 2013 rocket ron only lasted two rides in the rear before a sidewall cut. I loved the tire though. The front is still going strong.

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    Yes...

    Quote Originally Posted by PainkillerSPE View Post
    Hope you went with snake skin version. My 2013 rocket ron only lasted two rides in the rear before a sidewall cut. I loved the tire though. The front is still going strong.
    Yes I got the snake skin version. My previous Ra Ra however was not snakeskin as it turns out, but never had a problem with it despite a lot of hard riding

  35. #35
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    Apparently, Schwalbe has addressed the poor-cornering nature of the RaRa: Radical change for Racing Ralph | Schwalbe North America

    Should be one helluva tire if Schwalbe has executed its goal!
    '95 M2 StumpJumper FS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    Apparently, Schwalbe has addressed the poor-cornering nature of the RaRa: Radical change for Racing Ralph | Schwalbe North America

    Should be one helluva tire if Schwalbe has executed its goal!
    Now they tell us. I think they owe me a helmet...

  37. #37
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    You know what, I think that link MAY be to an old Schwalbe page, pertaining to a PREVIOUS version of the tire. A buddy sent that link to me, stating what I parroted above.

    Sorry for the confusion.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpjumpy View Post
    You know what, I think that link MAY be to an old Schwalbe page, pertaining to a PREVIOUS version of the tire. A buddy sent that link to me, stating what I parroted above.

    Sorry for the confusion.
    Might indeed be an old link, as the latest Racing Ralph model is HS425. The link above showed the Racing Ralph HS391 (which is now renamed as the Rapid Rob).

    Interesting read though, and it also seems that Schwalbe has gone through 3 versions of the Racing Ralph.

    I've used the HS425's as a 29x2.35 front, matched to a 29x2.25 rear, no problems with traction...though the rear sidewalls have been "skinned" a bit due to a muddy race. I've now got a 29x2.4 (now discontinued) for front use, and will move the 2.35 to the rear. Haven't mounted them yet, though. (Saving them for racing or fast rides hehe)

  39. #39
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    So, I punctured my RaRa today flying down a narrow, rocky (sharp, jagged type) trail. It was punctured in the center of the tire. I noticed before the ride that the tire was a bit low on air, and I even pointed out to my riding partner that it was about time for a new tire as the tread was looking pretty warn on this one (tire is over a year old with a best guess of ~1600 miles). So, low air pressure + low tread + fast rocky decent = flat tire. If I had enough Stans, it might have fixed itself, but I was maybe 3/4 mile from the end of the ride, so I just hoofed it out rather than putting a tube in a tire I am going to replace. I will be staying with the 2.35 RaRa up front, but have a Michelin Wild Grip'R (tubeless ready) that I want to give a long look at. Will likely go back to the RaRa at some point, or who knows, maybe I'll give the RoRo or NoNi a look.
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    I'm coming off Mountain Kings (older version) which I liked quite a bit. Good all rounder. I don't like the looks of the tread on the newer MK2's so I'm looking around. Seems the RoRos might be a good fit? Perhaps a little faster with just a little less grip? How do they perform in the sand?

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    I run them tubeless on my bike and like them for what i do.Whiting and stt.I just picked up another for the front yesterday(replacing kenda slant6) they were on sale for 30 bucks and are the newer versions.

    The rears been on for a few months already.Its been tubeless for atleast 2 months.Both are not the tl ready ones just the performance line.

  42. #42
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    RaRas have been my all around tire on my XC bike when conditions are dry or humid. I rode it in wetter conditions as well and found it to be decent or at least better than expected. Moving to a more AM setup, I'm thinking of a RaRa for the rear but looking for more thread on the front.

    Conditions here are rocky with a lot of roots and I would call the dirt "organic sand" (mix of sand and dirt)
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    Hi all,
    I'd like to ask about similar tyre setup but didn't want to start a new thread because I think there are enough of it. I ride a 80mm hardtail bike with a not too good fork and I use schwalbe smart sams in 2.1 size. They are surprisingly good, but I want something bigger that fits on 17mm rims and takes some pressure off the wheels, because I'm afraid that due the lack of the suspension they won't last long.
    So the tyres should be:
    -2.25 or 2.3 size
    -small rolling resistance
    -good grip in corners and uphill
    -last long (the mountain is 10km away from me on concrete)
    -decent protection against glass and spikes
    -on the front grippier
    -on the rear less rolling resistance

  44. #44
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    I would not run wider than 2.1 tires on 17mm rims FWIW.
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  45. #45
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    Schwalbe Racing Ralphs as an All Around Tire???

    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
    I would not run wider than 2.1 tires on 17mm rims FWIW.
    I do it all the time with no significant issues, even on narrower rims. Some tires work better than others, mostly tread design related.
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  46. #46
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    RaRa is a personal fav all arounder of me also only rear though. I bombed the hell outa pisgah and DuPont with them. They wear fast so be prepared to shell out $200 per season on 1 side of your bike. For that reason Im looking for a new rear tire this season...

    FYI - if your not a VERY confident rider I wouldn't use them in the mountains. MANY people talk about how fragile they are. Although Ive never cut a non SS in the rough in 3 years.
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  47. #47
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    It was not working well for me on XC717 rims a while back but maybe it's fine with tires which have sidewall protection.
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    Ok, it looks like racing ralph isn't for me because of the costs and the grip. What do you think about Conti X-King 2.2 (racesport or protection whatever) rear and MKII 2.2 protection front?

  49. #49
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    In my local conditions, the RaRa was better than XKing on the rear. Overall however, I don't dislike the Conti but it's not as versatile.
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    Okay then. What could you recommend to use on rocky trails? Something versatile. My local trails are quite rocky. Nobby Nics or MKIIs on both end?

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    Does anybody know if the Continental Mountain King II protectoion version is really smaller than 2.4 and 2.2? (I mean 2.4 is really 2.2 and 2.2 is 2.0) Could I fit the 2.4 on the 17mm rim if it measure really just over 2.2? Problem is that I'd like to have a tyre with lot of traction without huge rolling resistance to ride on my xc trail bike in trailish style not in the hardore xc style, but it's so hard to find one. From every tyre I read bad things, can't say if tyre I want is really existing

  52. #52
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    I've been uesing ralphs for over a year, everyday 5 mile commute to work 4 miles off 1on road, found them to deal with everything barring long'ish wet grass and thats like worse than riding on ice, they are the snakeskin version and i am suprised at the amount of tread thats left on them, bargin for me as i got them from On-One cycles for £25 the pair with folding bead

  53. #53
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    I liked the RaRa but I would also suggest the Maxxis Ignitor if you want to go more aggressive
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    Racing Ralphs came on my C'dale RZ120 in the 2.5" width and thought they were a pretty good all-around tire in the varying south Appalachian trails....then, I switched to the tubeless versions at the 2.1" width. The regular tires were much better as they had a supple sidewall and good cornering grip at 2.5". However, the 2.1" isn't so groovy in the corners as the the sidewalls are a little on the firm side. Even running low precious, diving into a tight corner becomes a scary event.
    I hear they've added an additional row to help cornering bite and made the sidewall a little more flexible, but I haven't tried them out yet. These will probably last me through to the fall, but will probably try out Nevegal 2.3" tubeless next.

  55. #55
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    I used Maxxis Ignitor on my stock bike, but didn't work for me. Maybe because I used it a lot on concrete. Now I'm thinkin in a Maxxis Ardent 2.25 up front but can't find the best to put it on the rear wheel. Ardent should be good for agressive XC riding and trail of course.

  56. #56
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    Of course I would never recommend an Ignitor for pavement or concrete... on trails its very versatile but narrow.
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    As you said it doesn't belong to concrete and sadly smaller than the claimed size.
    Now I looked for older threads and found out that X-King 2.4 would fit on the rear with its 2.25 real size, but the MKII 2.4 is around 2.35 and that wouldnt fit on the narrow rim up front. Something grippy that is 2.25 in real life and not just claimed? Conty Rubber Queen is really 2.2 so it would be smaller than the rear tire.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrider24 View Post
    As you said it doesn't belong to concrete and sadly smaller than the claimed size.
    Now I looked for older threads and found out that X-King 2.4 would fit on the rear with its 2.25 real size, but the MKII 2.4 is around 2.35 and that wouldnt fit on the narrow rim up front. Something grippy that is 2.25 in real life and not just claimed? Conty Rubber Queen is really 2.2 so it would be smaller than the rear tire.
    The xking 2.4 and MK2 2.4 are pretty much the same size and the RQ2.2 is only slightly smaller.

    Why not use another Ardent 2.25 on the rear. It's a better rear than front tire anyway. An xking 2.4 racesport is your fastest option with reasonable tread.

  59. #59
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    Be helpful on the thread as to which wheels size and generation of Ra Ra they were talking about.

    The latest generation in 29er could almost be considered an alround tire. Not in any of the other smaller sizes or older generations.

    Good enough to get the Ax 29er in 2nd place as a Trail bike of the year award.

    Anthem X 29er Named Trail Bike of the Year Finalist! - News | Giant Bicycles | United States

    Sadly the latest generation Ro Ro is worse. Faster buts doesn't have as much ultimate grip as earlier versions.I'd probably rate the latest 29er 2.25 Ra Ra above the 29er 2.25 Ro Ro in cornering ability but rate the new Ro Ro as faster than the Ra Ra.
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 04-12-2013 at 07:17 PM.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat Again??? View Post
    I have the Nobby Nic 2.35/Racing Ralph 2.25 setup on my XC 29er. On my SS Karate Monkey, I have a Nobby Nic 2.35/Rocket Ron 2.25 setup. All run tubeless in the mid 20s for PSI.

    Both of these combos are excellent for me. Nobby Nic is confidence inspiring. So I personally feel like a grippy front end tire does most of the work to the point that a Nobby Nic in the rear seems like overkill, but I'm not an expert.
    I used to be a fan of the No Ni prior to the new softer Pacestar compound but I tried a 650B 2.35 No Ni in pacestar and found the angle tread and the softer compound along with the scaled down tread [ from the old 2.4] to soft vague and squirmy. Didn't have the grunt of the old tread. Be beter on wet tree roots etc though. IMHO staright to Hans Damf in pacestar is a better option. Pity and strange how they do a 2.25 HD in 650b size but not 29er. IMHO 2.25 would be excellent in 29er.

  61. #61
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    Re: Schwalbe Racing Ralphs as an All Around Tire???

    Quote Originally Posted by gvs_nz View Post
    I used to be a fan of the No Ni prior to the new softer Pacestar compound but I tried a 650B 2.35 No Ni in pacestar and found the angle tread and the softer compound along with the scaled down tread [ from the old 2.4] to soft vague and squirmy. Didn't have the grunt of the old tread. Be beter on wet tree roots etc though. IMHO staright to Hans Damf in pacestar is a better option. Pity and strange how they do a 2.25 HD in 650b size but not 29er. IMHO 2.25 would be excellent in 29er.
    I agree on the HD, but are you also running that on the rear tire?

  62. #62
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    No I use a slightly quicker tire on the rear depending on terrain.In 26", I like the Conti three as rear tires ,xking 2.4 , mk2 in 2.4 or RQ2.2. Their tall but with a narrower profile gives them good rollover and speed which also makes them better rear than front tires. In black chilli they wear better than schwalbes on the rear. The edges of the No Ni are not as great a concern on the rear so I've got one a 2.35 on the rear in 650B. I've gone away from 2.25 tires on the rear. They are 5mm lower than the 2.35 / 2.4 tires. An xking 2.4 racepsort is a great fast tall tire for the rear but sketchy when you get them on the edges or wet tree roots.. I like their taller rollover and shear speed though. The narrower profile gives a noticeable bit of speed over a Ra Ra 2.4 on the rear.

    In 29 I don't need as agressive tires so run raceport xking 2.2 as a rear, depending on conditions.Once again they wear well [ much better than Ra Ra]and offer a good mix of speed and grip[ better than an ikon].They have puny volume but have good cush for their size in 29er racesport version. Interestingly , though the same volume, the MK2 is not as supple and comfy. Neither are that great on wet tree roots., but i don't care on the rear. Waiting very patiently for the 29er 2.4 xking racesport. Looks like it will be out in 650B first.

    I find the HD in pacestar more than adequate on most conditions. The edge tread is small enough to flex and grip well without the softer trail star compound. It's also faster on a narrrow rim like a ZTR 355 as compared to something like a Flow ex or P35. So an HD on a narrower rim may also be an option on the rear.

    Interesting go fast mod to a HD here by the Giant team. Would achieve a similar result to running on a narrow rim.

    First Look: Giant's 27.5" Prototype Bikes - Pinkbike
    Last edited by gvs_nz; 04-13-2013 at 02:57 PM.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvs_nz View Post
    Be helpful on the thread as to which wheels size and generation of Ra Ra they were talking about.
    -snip-
    Sadly the latest generation Ro Ro is worse. Faster buts doesn't have as much ultimate grip as earlier versions.I'd probably rate the latest 29er 2.25 Ra Ra above the 29er 2.25 Ro Ro in cornering ability but rate the new Ro Ro as faster than the Ra Ra.
    Surprising - to me the new Ro Ro looks better - firmer-looking knobs (than the old hollow ones). Are the knobs noticeably shorter, is that why grip is less?

  64. #64
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    Yeh, the edge and shoulder tread are about 1mm shorter from memory. The old one had a bit of squirm if you pushed it hard on hard pack but it was quite predicatable. As long as the treads could hold on to something firm it just had more ultimate grip in corners than most tires of it's class. Kind of felt like you were gripping a rock climb with your finger tips rather than your palms. It was my go to front light trail tire in 2.4 x 26" and 2.25 x 29er. The new tire feels more like your gripping with your palms. Back in the class with other tires. In 29er I think the new Ra Ra 2.25 with it's better edge blocks and closer and taller shoulder tread is at least as equal if not better cornering than the new Ro Ro[ i haven't done any back to back tests]. You can definately feel a step up in speed on the new Ro Ro though. It feels like a real quick tire. It's still miles better cornering than an ikon and probably an xking 2.2 . So it's still a very good tire. It's now more a dedicated race weapon than a race tire that just happened to be a great trail tire as well.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrider24 View Post
    As you said it doesn't belong to concrete and sadly smaller than the claimed size.
    Now I looked for older threads and found out that X-King 2.4 would fit on the rear with its 2.25 real size, but the MKII 2.4 is around 2.35 and that wouldnt fit on the narrow rim up front. Something grippy that is 2.25 in real life and not just claimed? Conty Rubber Queen is really 2.2 so it would be smaller than the rear tire.
    If your looking for a true "trail tire" why are you riding on concrete? Pavement and concrete will ruin good off road tires quick. I found out today that the Ignitor 29x2.1 is a fantastic rear trail tire, more grip than the RaRa and almost as fast. FYI - mine is not small, its accurate at 2.1" maybe its your rims are why all your tires are running small? Narrow rims can do that to tires. The Ardent is a good trail/am tire but its very heavy, not a good XC tire or rear IMO. RaRa is fast and grips well for its weight, Ikon is very fast but gives up a bit of traction. X-Kings are great tires, but also heavy. You really cant compare XC tires to Trail tires as the tread is deeper and this always costs in the weight department... Anyway Im sticking with the Ignitor for trail riding this season!
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvs_nz View Post
    Sadly the latest generation Ro Ro is worse. Faster buts doesn't have as much ultimate grip as earlier versions.I'd probably rate the latest 29er 2.25 Ra Ra above the 29er 2.25 Ro Ro in cornering ability but rate the new Ro Ro as faster than the Ra Ra.
    The early RoRo IMO is much like a comet speeding toward earth... Amazingly beautifully blazing fast, goes where it wants and then burns out in a few nanoseconds of short lived glory...
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ace5high View Post
    If your looking for a true "trail tire" why are you riding on concrete? Pavement and concrete will ruin good off road tires quick. I found out today that the Ignitor 29x2.1 is a fantastic rear trail tire, more grip than the RaRa and almost as fast. FYI - mine is not small, its accurate at 2.1" maybe its your rims are why all your tires are running small? Narrow rims can do that to tires. The Ardent is a good trail/am tire but its very heavy, not a good XC tire or rear IMO. RaRa is fast and grips well for its weight, Ikon is very fast but gives up a bit of traction. X-Kings are great tires, but also heavy. You really cant compare XC tires to Trail tires as the tread is deeper and this always costs in the weight department... Anyway Im sticking with the Ignitor for trail riding this season!
    I don't ride concrete anymore, I don't know why I did. Sadly the mountain is 9km away from me on concrete so I cannot avoid it. It's 18km on a normal ride. Today I went out to ride, and there was no problem on concrete with my 2.1 Smart Sams but when I came downhill I pushed a little too hard and got a rear "slow puncture" and had to use the pump 3 times to get home somehow.
    So this is why I'm looking for a bigger trail tyre, I'm tired of repairing one of my tyres after 1 ride. The front was good, because in the warmer weather the fork moved better than a month ago.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowler1 View Post
    Do any of you use the Racing Ralph as an all-around tire? I have for a few months and really like it for the most part, but most of my riding is on dry trails.

    I have read reviews of this tire (and other Schwalbe tires) and all have very mixed reviews. . From the reviews I have read it about the Ralphs, it seems that some people say they use these tires for all sorts of riding and others say they should only be used for racing.


    While I have been lucky enough to be able to ride in dry and fairly benign conditions where I live in Williamsburg, VA, but I am planning to make some trips out to other parts of the state and down to Asheville, NC to ride Pisgah / Dupont here this spring.

    As a result I am concerned that these tires may not perform optimally in such varied conditions and I am a little leery of the possibility of a sidewall cut on a trip on an epic trip away from home.

    On the other hand, I have not really had any problems as of yet with the Racing Ralphs other than some so so performance in damp conditions.

    Just curious to hear your opinion.

    I do love the way they roll so fast though!


    Matt
    I live in Blacksburg, and ridden a lot in the mountains in this part of the state, as well as parts of NC. I've had a 29x2.4 non-snakeskin that I ran on the front and a 29x2.25 that I still run on the rear of a HT (except in winter or wet).

    I think a good argument can be made for the snakeskin version on the rear for all-round use, though not when it gets sloppy (like winter). They are fast, and get good enough grip for the rear in most conditions for the speed you get out of them. I did not think the 29x2.4 I had on the front had enough grip for all-round use, and was downright scary in even the slightest hint of wet or mud.

    The non-snakeskins are too thin for me to take them seriously as an all-rounder. The one I had tore in no time. The snakeskin has done a lot better.

    I rode a 26" bike with RR's, (26x2.25 front and rear) and I had pretty much the same impression as with the 29er tires as far as rear use goes, but I liked the one on the front even less than on the 29er, though being smaller volume than the 29x2.4 it was not an apple to apples comparison.
    Last edited by kapusta; 04-14-2013 at 10:20 AM.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrider24 View Post
    Today I went out to ride, and there was no problem on concrete with my 2.1 Smart Sams but when I came downhill I pushed a little too hard and got a rear "slow puncture" and had to use the pump 3 times to get home somehow.
    So this is why I'm looking for a bigger trail tyre, I'm tired of repairing one of my tyres after 1 ride.
    Smart Sam is a pretty tough tire. Are you running tubes? Im not sure if your able to but sounds like going tubeless with stans might help...
    I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally...

  70. #70
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    My Mavic XM117 disc rims aren't tubeless ready so I assume I can't. But I can buy the bigger version of Smart Sam from Germany(or anything good with more defense). Smart Sam Evo Double Defense, almost €40 one but much cheaper than my lbs where I could get it around €80-90. And I could get better tubes, the Panaracers I use aren't too good.

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    I love the way they handle but need to go to something more beefy as I have trashed my set with sidewall cuts in rocky conditions. Ruined my current pair before tread wore out.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcolby View Post
    I love the way they handle but need to go to something more beefy as I have trashed my set with sidewall cuts in rocky conditions. Ruined my current pair before tread wore out.
    Have you tried the Double Defence/Snakeskin versions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    I
    I think a good argument can be made for the snakeskin version on the rear for all-round use, though not when it gets sloppy (like winter). They are fast, and get good enough grip for the rear in most conditions for the speed you get out of them. I did not think the 29x2.4 I had on the front had enough grip for all-round use, and was downright scary in even the slightest hint of wet or mud.

    .
    In 29er I don't rate the 2.4 either. Even on loose over hard there is too much float edge to edge over the wide footprint. I prefer the 2.25 as it gets on to it's edges earlier. The big wide footprint is good in sandy conditions but floats too much in muddy or loose over hard conditions. It's slower than the 2.25 and the large volume doesn't seem to provide much if any extra cush over some smaller volume tires. The Ro Ro 2.25 is noticeably smoother.

    Years ago,for some reason, I used to use the 2,4 x 26" as an all season front xc race tire? I can't remember why. I think it was because the courses only had mushy conditions for 20% of the course. From memory the tire floated a lot in the mud, once you got them on the edge, because of their width, they were still better than a No Ni 2.25[ identical size edge tread]. I remember you had to hit the mushy stuff upright or you got big front wheel drifts until you hit the edges.Bit disconcerting, but i had confidence on the edge tread and width of the tire.

    I agree, much much better tires out there if you spend a good part of the season riding in wet conditions.

  74. #74
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    Just to add to the discussion, I have tried 2.4 RaRa, 2.25 RoRo, and 2.2 Nevegal up front in the last 2 months, on the same bike set up. My rear has differed only between 2.25 and 2.4 RaRa. I had to remove the Nevegal right away, as it blows on dry hardpack - way too slow, and sidewalls felt soft - not enough feedback. I was only assuming grip, simply because Nevegal has phenomenal grip. I may have been able to help this by stiffening up the front end, and take into account that the Nevegal acts like a suspension in itself.

    Right now, I'm on 2.4 RaRa on front and rear - mix of dry hardpack and rooty trails, and this has worked the best for me so far. The front slide out comes without warning, however. But for the speed, and volume, I'm ok with it for now. The feedback from the front end is good, the large volume allows me to lean and let the bike sit in corners. Aside from the 'oh shit' losing the front end, the drawback to the larger volume is the transition. Much easier to transfer leans on the 2.25 RoRo front / 2.25 RaRa rear. It also doesn't want to grip anything on those fast downhills during braking...I just can't give up the speed for now, I rather run in controlled chaos at the moment.

  75. #75
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    Are you running tubeless? 29 or 26?
    I have recently tried a new rear tire on my main ride (over the RaRa) and have quickly switched back. So on my 29er rigid SS I am running tubless a 2.35 RaRa on the front and 2.25 on the back. I have been riding this for nearly a year on the Auburn area trails (Sierra foothills and beyond) as well as central and western NC (Pisgah). I ride quite a bit of miles so these tires have seen plenty of roots, rocks etc.. I am still very happy with this setup...especially with the snakeskin version. Thinking I will stop wasting money trying to find a different tire when this setup just works (for me). Sure, the price is not always easy to swallow, but then I have spent a few hundred dollars the last couple years trying out different tires only to come back to these, so I will stick with the RaRa not only because they are working for me, but also, it is one less thing to think about, and the less I can think, the better (kinda why I ride a rigid SS).
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  76. #76
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    Tubed 29. I just picked up 2 sets of TL ready wheelsets, one set is going Hans Dampf f/RaRa r. But I think I'll try the other set tubeless RaRa. Forgot to mention these were on Evo.

    Just to note, my 2.25 RaRa had about 150 miles before taking it off, and I could notice a good bit of wear in the center - 230 lbs in gear.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrider24 View Post
    My Mavic XM117 disc rims aren't tubeless ready so I assume I can't. But I can buy the bigger version of Smart Sam from Germany(or anything good with more defense). Smart Sam Evo Double Defense, almost €40 one but much cheaper than my lbs where I could get it around €80-90. And I could get better tubes, the Panaracers I use aren't too good.
    Stan's NoTubes website indicates that the XM117 rims can be converted to tubeless using their Standard kit. I have an old wheelset using Mavix X139 rims that I've been debating about converting to tubeless using the same kit and Schwalbe tires.

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