Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 77
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    266

    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
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
    Reputation: shiggy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Posts
    48,231
    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.
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  3. #3
    Helmetless Crasher
    Reputation: Stumpjumpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,070
    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.
    '95 M2 StumpJumper FS
    '11 Cannondale RZ 120-two

  4. #4
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
    Reputation: shiggy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Posts
    48,231
    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.
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  5. #5
    transmitter~receiver
    Reputation: meltingfeather's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    8,058
    "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.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    285
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    266

    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    305
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    267
    I would say the Nobby Nic is more of an all around performing tire.

  10. #10
    It ain't easy being Green
    Reputation: sdcadbiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    943
    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
    psycho cyclo addict
    Reputation: edubfromktown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,974
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    305
    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
    Rep'n the 905
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    265
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    1,961
    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
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
    Reputation: shiggy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Posts
    48,231
    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
    RaRa
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  16. #16
    Oh, I've GOT bike money
    Reputation: JACKL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    506
    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
    psycho cyclo addict
    Reputation: edubfromktown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,974
    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
    Rep'n the 905
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    265
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Flat Again???'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    130
    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
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Flat Again???'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    130
    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
    Helmetless Crasher
    Reputation: Stumpjumpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,070
    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.
    '95 M2 StumpJumper FS
    '11 Cannondale RZ 120-two

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    266
    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
    I wonder why?
    Reputation: i1dry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    550
    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.

    i1dry?
    ...some drink from the fountain of knowledge..some only gargle...!!

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    266
    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
    Helmetless Crasher
    Reputation: Stumpjumpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,070
    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.
    '95 M2 StumpJumper FS
    '11 Cannondale RZ 120-two

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •