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  1. #1
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    would running a Nobby Nic "backwards" on the front offer better braking..

    Wouldn't running the front tire "backwards" offer better braking and cornering under braking
    at the slight expense of a little rolling resistance?

    the side knobs on the Nobby Nic look to me to be better arranged with the sipeing cut forward
    at the contact patch on the front tire..

    Any feedback?

  2. #2
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    It probably wouldn't make a lot of difference. Maybe Scwalbe, in their infinite wisdom, considered it and decided it works better as recommended.

  3. #3
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    I run it backwards because it's logical given the knob orientation. It corners without slip and tracks more tightly into turns than a Racing Ralph. Slight speed penalty over RR in the straights but you can carry more corner speed. I have a Smart Sam on the rear.
    Upright braking should be better running it standard because of the angled center area knobs.

  4. #4
    West Chester, PA
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    I've tried it both ways and can't tell a difference. Either way, it's a really good front tire.

  5. #5
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    I was totally thrown by the tread direction as well. I thought the direction arrows were mis-labled when I took the Nic out of the box. I mounted it as directed, but it turned out to be an awful front tire for my tastes. I should have tried it backwards before I sold it, I guess.
    You're so cute internet tough guy. Noogie...Noogie...Noogie.

  6. #6
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    It sure looks like its designed to run backwards... Never tried it though.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Danger View Post
    I was totally thrown by the tread direction as well. I thought the direction arrows were mis-labled when I took the Nic out of the box. I mounted it as directed, but it turned out to be an awful front tire for my tastes. I should have tried it backwards before I sold it, I guess.
    What in particular did you dislike?

    I tried it 2.35 as a front and thought it would ride much better than it did, based on the looks of this tire. Pretty aggressive tread but didn't seem to run right for me as I was losing traction in turns compared to a 2.4 racing Ralph. I will try it backwards to see if there is a difference.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BacDoc View Post
    What in particular did you dislike?

    I tried it 2.35 as a front and thought it would ride much better than it did, based on the looks of this tire. Pretty aggressive tread but didn't seem to run right for me as I was losing traction in turns compared to a 2.4 racing Ralph. I will try it backwards to see if there is a difference.
    I'd be interested to hear your "backward" experience. Report back.

    The tire constantly washed out on me. Wound up on my face a number of times. I tried shifting my weight forward, and tried to adjust my approach to turns. I tried everything. I was running a pretty slack bike at the time, so maybe it was a bad match for the tire. I also was not getting along with my front fork suspension at the time, so maybe that played a part. I know people will say it's the rider, not the tire. I think I rode the Nic front and back on my bike for about 4 white-knuckled months. The second I took those tires off my bike, no problems. As so many riders love the Nic, I understand the tire was just a bad match for me and my riding style. But it was the worst tire experience I've had in about a dozen different tires. I've wondered to myself whether the Nic is best suited to the 71 degree head-angled, full suspension bikes that are the market sweet spot, but there are a lot of slack bike users of the Nic, so we probably just don't get along.
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  9. #9
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    I've had some tires that I hated until I turned them around and ran them backwards at which point they were tolerable. It's not like it costs you anything to try.

  10. #10
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    We used to run the older version "backwards" (the new normal) as it used to pull itself into corners.
    With the new tire running "backwards", with the side knobs being open to the front ("V" facing rider), the braking performance should be better and much sharper than the other way around.
    As long as you don't have them mounted tubeless it's always worth a try.

  11. #11
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    Ok, not the best comparison but ran my 2.35 29 backwards and rode way better! Couldn't sense any diff in rolling resistance but cornering and braking much improved and noticeable in a variety of terrain.

    Not the best comparison for 2 pretty important factors, first I mounted the tire on a Flow EX and previously it was on an Arch EX. Maybe wide tire fits better on wide rim and that was my reasoning plus the rims I tweaked were usually the front. Still running Arch on rear.

    Second, not riding my home trail but rode Alafia River Park which has some of the best trails in my state, and trails were in excellent shape so fun factor was at the top of the scale. Probably good test of tire though as terrain ranges from buffed out rollers and berms to hard pack to loose rock over rock to scary technical rooty/rock descents and climbs. In other words a good mix of everything.

    My other tire choice is the Racing Ralph 2.4 for the front which feels lighter and rolls faster but don't trust it's durability in some of these conditions. Bike is Anthem 29 with Racing Ralph 2.25 on rear. Pretty sure the Ralph would ride better on the Flow and run backwards.

    So my conclusion for what it's worth, is running backwards and mounted on wider rim is not just a little different but much better grip and braking with no difference in rolling resistance.

  12. #12
    West Chester, PA
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    I'd like to take back what I said before. I turned around the NN that's currently on the front of my bike, and it seemed faster and grippier on my ride today. I'm definitely running it backwards on the front wheel from now on.

  13. #13
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    Recently took my tires off to clean out the built up goo from tubeless. Remounted the NN 29x2.35 tire and just went off of how the pattern looked. Lo and behold I just noticed two days ago that it was backward....still rips, grips and rolls just as well if not better in the turns. This of course could be subjective after reading through this thread but either way it still works great.
    You gotta Get Up to Get Down!

  14. #14
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    (NW rider...mud and roots, 29er hardtail, tubless) Hated the tire running as directed. Washed out all the time. Rotate the tire as directed and you can feel how rough the outer knob is. It should push objects away, not suck rocks and debris to the center. When I first rode the tire, going into a turn it sucked a rotten branch up into the fork stancion. The V on a tread pattern should start in the middle and work its way out as rotated. Even the siping is facing the wrong way on the knob. Check out other tires. Ground Control has a similar tread pattern. Once switched to counter rotation works great, and shreads mud as it should.

  15. #15
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    would running a Nobby Nic "backwards" on the front offer better braking..

    Quote Originally Posted by just lurking View Post
    (NW rider...mud and roots, 29er hardtail, tubless) Hated the tire running as directed. Washed out all the time. Rotate the tire as directed and you can feel how rough the outer knob is. It should push objects away, not suck rocks and debris to the center. When I first rode the tire, going into a turn it sucked a rotten branch up into the fork stancion. The V on a tread pattern should start in the middle and work its way out as rotated. Even the siping is facing the wrong way on the knob. Check out other tires. Ground Control has a similar tread pattern. Once switched to counter rotation works great, and shreads mud as it should.
    I noticed the reverse direction compared to the Ground Control as well. I would have mounted it the other way if I hadn't seen the arrows. Didn't crash on my first ride on it tonight but it felt a little funny. Gonna have to switch it. Funny to see this thread tonight.


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by just lurking View Post
    (NW rider...mud and roots, 29er hardtail, tubless) Hated the tire running as directed. Washed out all the time. Rotate the tire as directed and you can feel how rough the outer knob is. It should push objects away, not suck rocks and debris to the center. When I first rode the tire, going into a turn it sucked a rotten branch up into the fork stancion. The V on a tread pattern should start in the middle and work its way out as rotated. Even the siping is facing the wrong way on the knob. Check out other tires. Ground Control has a similar tread pattern. Once switched to counter rotation works great, and shreads mud as it should.
    OK, so you like a V pattern on the tread. That means it's a V pointing to the rear once the knobs hit the ground. This means, if your 'pushing objects' theory would be true objects would be pushed outward. Hmm...

    Schwalbe has thought about it's tire design and I suspect some of you are overthinking this in a big way. No tire direction makes you crash, YOU make you crash. General tread pattern, tire pressure and handling skills have a lot more influence on handling. I'd say you are tricking yourself into thinking stuff, if you claim you can feel the difference in direction of a Nobby Nic.

    Offcourse, there is nothing against that. If you want to have placebo grip, reverse it!

  17. #17
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    The point of the V should start at the center of rotation. That's just what I have observed looking at tires for 30 plus years. Purchased the tires due to a good deal, and had heard good things. Put them on as directed by the rotation arrows. The front wasn't predictable and the rear kicked the bike sideways on diagnal roots. Put 'em away for a while and thought I'd try again. Through one back on the front running reverse of the arrow, and it hooked up with speed going down some pretty steep soft muddy sections. Worked for me. There's other threads out there that talk about it also. The tire has been out there for a while, and by the old threads it first was set up to run the other way. Been running a Maxxis Beaver in the rear. Just can't loose riding a beaver in the rear. Doesn't ***** either.... Here's an old thread as they once ran the rotation. Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29er Tire: Mid-Term Review

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeroenK View Post
    Schwalbe has thought about it's tire design and I suspect some of you are overthinking this in a big way. No tire direction makes you crash, YOU make you crash.
    Very true. The tread pattern can, however, have a big impact in how hard you can push the tire before it starts to wash out. I think that is what's being discussed here, and I enjoy these kind of discussions.

    Here's my take on angled shoulder knobs: By angling the shoulder lugs in the way that Schwalbe does, the effective cornering edge of the lug is positioned more perpendicular to the cornering force on the tire. This is because while cornering, the front wheel is turned inward to maintain the turn, particularly in tight corners.

    This is a double-edged sword, though. If one was to brake while cornering (which is not proper form; I know) then cornering grip is compromised more so than if the lugs were not angled. Cornering capability is also slightly compromised on corners with a large radius (which also are usually the ones at which the rider would be traveling the fastest.) This is usually where I'd prefer the best possible cornering traction.

    Yes, I placed an angle on the shoulder knobs on the Beaver, but it's a shallower angle than the angle on a typical Schwalbe tire. If I were to design another bicycle tire, I'd like to try a shallow outward angle on the shoulder lugs, and have an "L" shaped knob (like the DHF or DHR II), but turned the other way, so that the inside of the L faces inward in the event that the rider needs to brake while cornering.
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