The Pro One is Schwalbe's latest tubeless racing tyre, the improved version of the Schwalbe One our Dave reviewed last May. He liked it a lot. This one is even better – weighing less and rolling better, and I like it. A lot.
As you'll all have read Dave's excellent feature on road tubeless (if not, read it here), you already know that it's all about fewer punctures, better rolling, and lower tyre pressure (should you want it). One of the main disadvantages, he wrote, is that it can be tricky to get said tubeless tyre installed.
But Schwalbe bills this Pro One as 'tubeless easy' – and some people even claim they have managed to get these to go up with a track pump. While I have no doubt this is possible with certain wheels, I couldn't quite get this to work with the tubeless-ready wheels I had to hand: the Hunt 4Season Dura Road wheelset that Big Dave tested recently, and the Reynolds Stratus Pro Disc wheelset I had on test. As far as tubeless tyres go, though, these were very easy to fit – as long as you've got some compressed air to hand, in the form of some magic pump, a CO2 inflator or a compressor.
Then: tubeless rim tape (or a few wraps of electric tape if you want to go ghetto), tubeless valve on the rim, one bead on the rim, stick some sealant in, stick other bead on, soapy water all the way around, some compressed air, and they go up with a reassuring bang as the beads seat where they should. No need to shake the sealant around to get a seal – once up they hold pressure no bother.
I've been testing the biggest version at a nominal 28mm – though more like 31mm on the Reynolds wheels with an internal rim width of 17mm – and 23 and 25mm widths are also available, as well as 28-406 for 20in wheels. (There's also a wider 30mm dimpled tread version, the S-One, which Mike Stead tested in November and raved about.)
I normally run my 'go-to' Continental GP 4 Seasons tyres around the 90psi mark, but it's immediately obvious that's too much for the Pro Ones. At this pressure they feel really hard, skittery and uncomfortable. After a bit of experimenting, the sweet spot for me (at 80kg) is around the 60psi mark, where the tyres seem to roll effortlessly and very comfortably, without losing any road feel.
According to Schwalbe's 'rolling friction measurements', the Pro Ones "show almost 25 per cent less than a comparable folding tyre and over 40 per cent less than tyres which are similarly resistant to puncturing, such as the Durano". I haven't got any equipment to hand to check the figures, but I can say that these tyres feel very fast – faster than any other racing tyre I've tried. And this is a 28. Impressive stuff.
In terms of grip, initially they are actually really disappointing. I don't need to tell you it's been a bit wet out recently, and so most of the testing has been on damp, slippery roads.
For the first few rides grip was on par with my old Schwalbe Marathons, which demand careful cornering in the wet. I was out riding with Dave at the time and he was right when he said to give it a few rides.
After about 60 miles, whatever it was that needed wearing in had, and the grip increased to very reassuring levels indeed. Blatting around Bath's Odd Down Circuit – where the local crit races take place – these tyres go around the very tight corners confidently at any speed I can manage, again scoring better than any other tyre I've tried.
As for weight, Schwalbe claims they are 25 per cent lighter than the previous tubeless tyre. At 291g each (claimed weight 275g each), and making allowances for a bit of sealant, the Pro One takes tubeless tyres a step closer to rivalling the weight of the lighter clincher and inner tube setups. They certainly feel light and accelerate well, though that obviously depends on the wheelset to a large extent too.
So far they are wearing well. By which I mean that no undue signs of wear have appeared, after a mixture of roads, lanes and some byways just for fun. Schwalbe's claims of "superior levels of cut resistance" may appear to be bold, but all I can say is there's hardly a mark and I haven't had to rely on sealant yet.
At £56.99 each, they are expensive, but for that money you get so much in return that I reckon it represents good value.
In summary, I like these Pro Ones a lot. And so does everyone else I've spoken to who's tried them. They are so good that, if you're going tubeless, you should buy some.
Superb road feel, ultra-grippy (after bedding in) and super-fast. Going tubeless? Buy these
road.cc test report
Make and model: Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tyre
Size tested: 28mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Schwalbe says: "A truly thrilling ride. It's fast. It's reliable. It's light. The patented MicroSkin construction makes this all possible. - 70 g less weight, 15% less rolling resistance and improved cut resistance all around. This is the absolute top model from Schwalbe!
"You can also use the Schwalbe Pro One with a normal tube, but its true strengths are experienced only in tubeless form."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
THE FUTURE WILL BE TUBELESS.
Tubeless Easy is the special Schwalbe technology for the next evolutionary level of the tubeless tyre. In practical terms, this means: A little liquid sealant is necessary, yet extensive conversion processes involving a lot of shaking and frequent re-pumping are not required. Compared to classic tubeless tyres, it is far easier to assemble.
MicroSkin: New key technology for Tubeless Easy
MicroSkin is the development which makes the difference compared to previous Tubeless tyres. The patented construction consists of a high-tensile micro fabric which is vulcanized together with the rubber compound and the carcass. MicroSkin envelops the entire carcass and facilitates a fault-free Tubeless Easy operation for high pressure tyres, not unlike SnakeSkin on an MTB tyre.
The new TUBELESS tyre is a new experience
With the new PRO ONE, the tubeless tyre provides ambitious sportsmen with significant benefits: It is faster, safer and lighter. All of those who have been able to ride with the PRO ONE have been impressed and immediately convinced. This is because the TUBELESS tyre with the PRO ONE does not only promise an advantage, the TUBELESS tyre with the PRO ONE is also a cycling experience.
In simple figures: The new Schwalbe PRO ONE is 25 percent lighter than the previous tubeless tyre. The new PRO ONE is faster. The rolling friction measurements show almost 25 percent less than a comparable folding tyre and over 40 percent less than tyres which are similarly resistant to puncturing, such as the DURANO. This is joined by an all-round superior level of cut resistance.
These are very fast tyres, as proven by the pros in the Tour Down Under.
Once you've got the tyre pressure right, these feel amazing.
They may not be cheap, but they are so amazingly good.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Once they are bedded in, the grip and comfort is unbelievable. They are the best tyres I've had the pleasure of riding.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort, speed and grip.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The bedding-in period. For the first 65 miles or so, which for me happened to be all on wet autumnal surfaces, the lack of grip can be a bit disconcerting. When it kicks in though, it is amazing.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Indubitably
Use this box to explain your score
These are by far the best tyres I've had the pleasure of riding. While there is a niggle with grip for the first few rides, the comfort, grip and sheer speed more than make up for it. Thoroughly recommended.
About the tester
I usually ride: All of them! My best bike is: Cannondale CAAD10
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking