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Back in May, Dave Arthur reviewed the 25mm version of Schwalbe's One Tubeless tyre and rated it 9/10. Six months on, Schwalbe has really pushed the boat out with a fatter, lighter, grippier model called the S-One. What does the S stand for? Special. The Special One.
For the test period, the tyres were fitted to the frankly lovely Kinesis GF_Ti Disc, around the new Kinesis Racelight Disc wheelset with their 19mm-wide (internal) rims. This combination gave an actual tyre width of 31mm.
The tyres were already on the wheels when they arrived, but I popped one off to see how tricky fitting would be. The answer is – for that rim – not at all. Three normal Tacx tyre levers and job done. They popped home using a normal trackpump too.
One of the marketing highlights of the S-One is the 'Tubeless Easy with Microskin'. Microskin claims to deliver 'tires that can be easily mounted tubeless, while providing some additional benefits: Significantly lighter than previous tubeless tires. Additional improved rolling resistance. All around improved cut resistance. Unlimited high-pressure capability'. It's a 'high tensile micro fabric' that gets bonded between the tread and carcass, making the tyre impermeable to air while improving cut protection. What I can say is that I had to put less routine top-up air into the S-One than its older sibling, the One.
There's also something called 'V-Guard' – 'an extremely cut-resistant hightech fiber makes it possible to ensure even on very light tires an extraordinary high level of puncture resistance'. What's 'extraordinary high puncture resistance'? Well, all I can say is I didn't get a flat over about 500 miles or had to pick anything out of the tyre despite deliberately ploughing through a fair portion of Hampshire's finest autumnal detritus.
The S-One comes in one size: 30mm (30-622, or 28 x 1.20, to be specific). Schwalbe rates it at 50-80psi, meaning on the Bicycling Quarterly Chart Of Wisdom, for the 'optimal' 15 per cent tyre drop you're looking at 55kg on each wheel, max. My go-to pressure on the 28mm One is a 15-lower-than-recommended 65psi, for the 48kg on my back wheel. I've fine-tuned that over the last year, and by golly it works for me in terms of speed, grip and braking, rim or disc. Without thinking, that's what I initially ran with on the S-One. Once used to the bike I dropped that down another 10 and noticed improved grip with no handling drawbacks, settling on 55psi rear, 40psi front.
For those who think it will really make a difference, the S-One is a fair bit lighter than the One it evolved from. The 28mm One was 375g, the new 30mm S-One is 325g. If Schwalbe keeps up this pace of evolution, by March 2021 its tubeless tyres will weigh nothing at all. (Read more about it here.)
The most visible difference to the old One is the dimpled tread pattern. Schwalbe says the tyre is 'A racing tire for the toughest jobs. Tour of Flanders. Paris-Roubaix'. The hills above the Vale of Pewsey hardly rate as kinderkoppen, and with such low pressures on offer it was hard to discern whether the dimples made a difference, even pushed right to the point of locking up, wet or dry. It's kind of a moot point when it's the grippiest tyre you've ever ridden anyway.
Paired with the rather fabulous Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, the S-Ones gave quite unreal levels of stopping power. I'd recommend taking them out and finding the limit, but it's probably going to be a lot further into the pant-filling corner of the envelope than you've visited previously.
But most of the time you're going to be rolling along, and that's where the S-Ones shine. Previous tubeless road tyres were known for a harsh ride because of their stiff sidewalls – not the S-One. They melt around the smallest of road protrusions, giving not only the aforementioned proverbial-to-a-blanket braking performance but also supreme comfort.
Dial in your pressure and road buzz all but vanishes. That's not to say that you can't feel what's going on down there, you just get the message without being jackhammered.
On the S-Ones I cracked a fair few Strava PBs, even bagging a segment top-three on a trip around Rome's ancient wall replete with ancient road surface. IAM Cycling's Sylvain Chavanel took fifth at Paris-Roubaix this year on the S-Ones. I'll take this opportunity to draw a direct comparison between myself and a pro, and agree that across a similarly rubbish Hampshire County Council-malfunded surface, the S-Ones benefit allcomers.
Chavanel's placing pretty much puts paid to the idea that a fat tyre can't be a fast tyre. About 200km of Paris-Roubaix is normal road, so clearly 30mm rubber doesn't hold you back.
At £57 these aren't cheap, but for what you get in comfort, grip and puncture resistance, it's a bargain.
Yet again Schwalbe lifts the tubeless bar with a grippy, light, fast tyre. If you can fit 'em, buy 'em
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Schwalbe S-One tubeless tyre
Size tested: 700x30C
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?
It's a big, fat tubeless tyre that goes on easily, rolls easily and makes you a better rider. It's for anyone who can fit 'em to their bike.
Schwalbe says: "THE SPECIAL ONE. A racing tire for the toughest jobs. Tour of Flanders. Paris-Roubaix. With its large volume and V-Guard protection the S-One is well prepared for such ordeals. You can ride it 'old school' as a handmade tubular or with the most modern Tubeless Easy technology."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
30-622 (28 x 1.20, 700x30C)MicroSkin, TL-EasyOneStarBlack
Size:ETRTO 30-622 (Franz.Bez. 700x30C)
Weight:330 g (12 oz)
Pressure:3.50 - 5.50 Bar (50 - 80 psi)
Maximum load:70 kg
Can't fault it.
This tyre will make you fast.
After two months of rolling over all sorts of nasty surfaces it looked like new.
It's 325g, which isn't bad for a 30mm tyre – remember kids, it's tubeless, and lighter than previous, smaller Ones.
Very, very comfy – especially as you can get down to 40-60psi.
At £56.99 these are not cheap. But then, you'll never have to buy another inner tube, nor stand by the roadside installing it. And what price comfort and speed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These tyres let me go faster, with more comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The size – 30mm is awesome.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Coming at this from a previous convert to tubeless, the S-Ones are easier to mount, fatter, lighter and grippier. If they were cheaper, they'd be a 10.
About the tester
I usually ride: Charge Juicer My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking and Dutch bike pootling