Germany company Schwalbe makes the bold claim that its brand new One tyres are the fastest they've ever manufactured. In testing it certainly lived up that heady claim. I found it a tyre that feels extremely rapid with good traction in a range of conditions and boasting impressive puncture protection and durability.
The new tyre is made with Schwalbe's new OneStar triple compound rubber, which they've developed solely to reduce rolling resistance. The development process involved some 50 prototypes before it was rolled out publicly for the first time at last year's Tour de France. They're now available to the public in a wide range of sizes, up to 28mm and in clincher, tubular and tubeless.
I tested the 23mm clincher version. Testing tyres, especially when it comes to assessing their speed and rolling resistance, isn't exactly easy. Away from the controlled envireoment of a lab, I did some simple coast down tests and compared the One against Michelin's Pro4 Service Course and Continental GP4000S II of the same width, on the same wheels in the same conditions and using the same section of road. Though basic this simple test did show the One to just edge ahead in speed.
In normal use, riding the tyres daily in training, the 167km Liege-Bastogne-Liege sportive and a road race, the tyres really impressed. It's the sensation of speed and lack of resistance that is most noticeable. In a range of conditions too they show incredible performance, from sun-baked to rain-sodden roads.
As well as impressing with their speed, the One tyres also demonstrate assured traction, whether the road surface is dry or wet. The tread compound shows good grip when cornering, especially high speed banking corners and steep narrow descents where you place a lot of faith in your tyres to do their job well.
The Schwalbe Ones have a supple feel too, and have noticeably more give in the carcass than other tyres at similar pressures. They're rated up to 145psi, but you'd be daft to inflate to such pressures if riding on most typical UK roads. A more modest 85-95psi, depending on conditions, proved the best pressure for my weight. This showed them to cope well with all manner of road surfaces, and despite the small 23mm volume, they provided good bump absorption on rougher roads.
They're light at 214g on the road.cc scales, and interestingly they are heavier than Schwalbe's own Ultremo ZX tyres. The gains in rolling resistance compared to those outweigh the slight weight penalty though. In reality you're not going to notice such a negligible weight difference.
Underneath the tread is a V-Guard break strip and, touch wood, I've not yet had one puncture in about 600km of riding. The tread shows little sign of abuse; there are no cuts or holes to speak of. Considering this is a racing tyre, designed for competition use, that they've coped with daily training in all weathers is impressive. The wear rate appears to be following a good trajectory so far.
The tyre is also available in 25 and 28mm widths, and Schwalbe do a tubeless version in each of those widths too. They also offer tubular version in 22, 24, 26 and 28mm widths. I've been so impressed with this 23mm non-tubeless tyre, and based on my positive experience of the Ultremo ZX Tubeless, that I look forward to testing the wider tubeless versions.
Very fast, supple and durable tyres with great puncture protection
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Make and model: Schwalbe One V-Guard
Size tested: 23-622 folding
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?
The new racing tyre is called Schwalbe One. The name alone indicates how significant this new tyre is for the bicycle tyre manufacturer based in the German town of Reichshof. It is produced by Schwalbe in a high-end factory set up exclusively for the manufacture of this new top-class tyre. The Schwalbe One will make its debut appearance at the Tour de France, where Teams RadioShack Leopard Trek, AG2R and FDJ will be equipped with it as they line up at the start.
With its Schwalbe One the company is underlining its major objectives in cycle racing. "Schwalbe One is the fastest and at the same time the most reliable competition tyre we have ever produced," emphasized Holger Jahn, Managing Director Technology at Schwalbe. From September it will be available as a folding tyre, tubular tyre and in a tubeless version.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Schwable's fastest and at the same time most reliable competition tyre
Manufactured in a separate facility built exclusively for the production of this new tyre
Schwalbe One has been used RadioShack Leopard Trek, AG2R and FDJ
Available in 700C x 23, 25, 28mm
V-Guard puncture protection
OneStar triple tyre compound
Max PSI ratings: 85 - 130
Fantastic speed and performance, very low rolling resistance.
After some 600km they show no signs of cuts or holes.
There are lighter tyres if weight is a big concern, but they're certainly not heavy.
For a 23mm tyre they offered a surprisingly high level of comfort.
£45 is top-end money but this is a high performance race tyre and you get stonking performance for the money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A brilliant tyre for fast riding and racing.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Speed, durability and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I can't think of anything.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.