Schwalbe Ultremo R.1 folding tyre  £39.99

8/10

Not the most durable clinchers out there, but grippy and very, very fast

Weight 188g   Contact  www.greyville.com

by Mat Brett   October 12, 2010  

Cube Litening Schwalbe Ultremo tyres

If you’re after a lightweight clincher that really zings along the road, Schwalbe's Ultremo does the business – it’s been one of our favourite race tyres for a while now.

Our R.1 pair (that’s R for race, by the way) hit the road.cc scales at just 188g apiece – slightly higher than the manufacturer’s claimed 180g, but still extremely light. As the weight suggests, there isn’t a whole lot of material used here – the nylon carcass is fairly fine (127 TPI) and the smooth tread isn’t that deep at all. Schwalbe use their High Density Guard in these, which is a densely woven puncture protection belt, but in our experience these tyres don’t offer the best defence against flats – like a lot of skinny race tyres.

In terms of durability, the Ultremo is never going to be up there with a deeply treaded tyre but it does okay considering its lack of weight. The surface can cut up on gritty and gravelly roads so we wouldn’t fit them for everyday use but you’ll get enough miles out of them if used selectively for racing/sportives.

The Ultremo really performs when it comes to grip, though. If you think the ultra-smooth surface is going to slip all over the place as soon as the road gets wet, think again – that’s a myth. This tyre is surprisingly sure-footed in a whole variety of conditions. We used a set of Ultremos in the Bristol Belter sportive, for example, when it rained pretty much start to finish, and we felt confident enough to attack even the fastest, bendiest descents full on. They’re very impressive on that front, allowing you to push things just a bit more than normal.

Schwalbe reckon the grip is partly down to nano-sized polymer base and fillers in their Triple Nano Compound. Whereas the particles in previous compounds were 200 nanometers in size, they’re now 10 nanometers. Make sense? Basically, smaller particles make for a higher surface area in contact with the road and improved grip. The road.cc microscope isn’t quite powerful enough to tell, but what we do know for sure is that these tyres are good for keeping you rubber-side down even when road conditions are sketchy.

On top of that, the best thing about the Ultremo is its speed. This is a really fast tyre. It’s light, for a start, and that most definitely helps. Plus, that Triple Nano Compound reduces the internal friction within the rubber, lowering the rolling resistance. That’s what Schwalbe tell us anyway. They also say that the flexible fabric coating reduces rolling resistance by a further 10%.

We don’t know how much difference this technology makes, if truth be told, but these are certainly fast. You just know when you’ve got some quick tyres on… and these sail along. Combined with that grip we mentioned before, this is the reason why we keep coming back to the Ultremos for race day.

The Ultremo R.1 comes with a foldable Kevlar bead, it’s available in a variety of colours, and you can pump it up to 145psi. It is available in 25 and 28C widths too and the price is okay for a good quality clincher. Schwalbe also do an Aqua version specifically intended for use – you guessed it – in the wet, and a DD model which comes with a SnakeSkin fabric to provide protection against cuts.

We also hear that Schwalbe are increasing the amount of material used in each tyre for 2011, upping the weight slightly to 195g apiece, which should improve longevity.

Verdict

Not the most durable clinchers out there, but grippy and very, very fast

road.cc test report

Make and model: Schwalbe Ultremo R.1 folding tyre

Size tested: Black

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 say, "Created using new construction principles and with new high tech materials. Rolling resistance and weight have been radically reduced! Improve your personal best by a factor of R."

Essentially, it's a lightweight road tyre that's at its best for racing and/or sportives.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
6/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, I have done in the past

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, I use these all the time for races and sportives

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 190cm  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

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: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I have a pair of these in 25 mm and another pair in 28 mm, currently in my tyre "bottom drawer". Inflated on my rims the 25 mm measures 23 mm and the 28 mm measures 26.5 mm wide.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1347 posts]
12th October 2010 - 23:56

26 Likes

I've got some on a Felt F55 and they make me go faster without having to train! True!

Actually, they are great tyres and have worn well on rough Cotswold roads.

solentine

posted by solentine [91 posts]
13th October 2010 - 20:09

23 Likes

I ride these tyres on my daily 20mile commute and found this review to be spot on. Yes indeed the tyres are very very quick. I thought the speed was down to me but alas. I've suffered the odd puncture as the review suggests but you come to expect that. They grip better than you'd expect in the wet. Great tyres.

posted by Cuba [3 posts]
14th October 2010 - 21:23

25 Likes

I've been using the R1 for Triathlons for the last few months... WOW! They are fantastic tyres, very very fast with a fantastic feel.

The review is spot on, they really keep sticking in the wet as if it's not wet! Used for the Tatton tri which was a was out, I had so much confidence in the corners.

They can be had for quite a lot less than the price up there too.

posted by cp [7 posts]
15th October 2010 - 9:03

21 Likes

Just got a pair to put on my dura ace 7850's - ridden them twice, yeah they do make it feel easier.

CP - is the tatton tri worth doing? I nearly entered but baulked at the £60 for a sprint price tag.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
15th October 2010 - 10:28

24 Likes

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