Back in 2015 we first reviewed the Schwalbe S-One as it was then called, and it was a revelation: fast, grippy, comfortable. As a 30mm tyre it wouldn't fit in every frame, but our advice was: If you can fit 'em, buy 'em. Fast forward to 2018 and I'm riding the new 40mm, 650B G-One Speed, which is every bit as good, and highlights the benefits of Road Plus, as we're now contractually obliged to call 650B, as well as any tyre I've tried.
- Pros: Fast, grippy, comfortable, good puncture proofing
- Cons: A bit expensive (but worth it!)
The S stood for Special: it was The Special One. And it was and is a special tyre: masses of grip, loads of comfort, faster rolling than any big tyre has any right to be. It's great. This 40mm version is a welcome addition to the range, and Schwalbe's website suggests that 50mm and even beach-friendly 60mm versions are in the offing.
The G-One Speed is built around a Microskin casing, to make it tubeless ready. Microskin is a fabric layer that's added to the carcass that helps it to hold air without a tube, especially at high pressures. It doesn't make the carcass stiff or heavy like a butyl layer can: these G-Ones feel very flexible and the sidewalls are especially compliant. Underneath the triple compound OneStar rubber tread there's another fabric layer, the V-Guard, which protects against punctures from road detritus. Of course tubeless tyres are supposed to seal around small holes, but the less of them you get in the first place the better.
Fitting the G-One Speeds to a set of carbon Reynolds ATR wheels was a cinch. I used a Bontrager TLR pump and got both of them up first time, without having to resort to the Airshot, which is the second wave of tubeless attack round here. A bit of Schwalbe's Easy Fit Mounting Fluid on the beads helped to seal them.
Once up, they held air very well. I find that you have to check pressures more frequently with tubeless tyres than with inner tubes, but these G-Ones are among the better ones I've tried.
The stated pressure range for these 40mm tyres is 50-70psi; the maximum I put into them was 60psi, which for a carcass that big feels pretty rock hard. They were better at 50psi, where they felt more comfortable without seeming to sacrifice any speed. And they have speed in abundance – these are quick tyres. On a rolling treadmill in a lab I'm sure they'd give away some ground to a race-bred 25mm slick but on British lanes, with poor tarmac, and rain, and mud, they're every bit as quick. You don't have to worry about picking your line, and you're a lot less beaten up at the end of a long ride.
I've taken the G-One Speeds down the crappiest, thorn-strewn lanes I can find, and bunged them into potholes with gay abandon. That's where they shine. My unscientific testing (looking at times on Strava, using the same bike with different wheelsets) concluded that the 40mm 650B tyres weren't measurably slower than the 30mm 700C ones. Obviously there are a lot of factors I can't control there, but the take-home is that these feel like road tyres, not like balloon tyres. They're fast, but they're also comfortable.
If you're heading to more varied terrain you can drop the pressure. I've run them at 30psi on mixed on/off-road rides and they offer loads of grip and comfort on towpaths and the like. They're not aggressive enough to cope with proper singletrack, but for more graded gravel riding they're excellent. The dimpled tread offers prodigious levels of grip on most surfaces without feeling like it's robbing you of much speed, even on the rare stretches of smooth tarmac round here.
And I haven't had any punctures, no matter what pressure I was riding them at, or what surface I was on. Or, at least, any that have resulted in a tyre going down. And it wasn't for want of trying either.
People have been banging on about 'bigger is better' for a long time now: remember when it was about 25mm versus 23mm? The reality now, though, is you can get tyres that feel fast, are supremely comfortable and offer brilliant levels of grip that are much, much bigger than that. You won't be able to fit this 40mm tyre into a road frame, but if you have an all-purpose bike that you want to predominantly ride on the tarmac, and you're looking for something fast, supple and grippy, look no further.
Brilliantly capable big-chamber tyres for fast riding on a wide range of surfaces
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Schwalbe G-One Speed MicroSkin TL-Easy Folding Road Tyre
Size tested: 40mm wide
Tell us what the product is for
Schwalbe says: "Unleashing profile and breathtakingly fast – especially when large volume counts. As a 30mm wide road race version with V-Guard protection, G-One Speed is a tire for the real tough jobs. It can be ridden as a handmade tubular or with the most modern Tubeless Easy technology. But it is also a guarantee for maximum speed in the extra-wide 60mm execution – of course not only at the fascinating Dutch beach races."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Size: 40-584 (27.5 x 1.50, 650B)
Construction MicroSkin, TLE
Puncture protection: V-Guard
Well finished, easy to fit.
They're all the things you want from a tyre for tarmac and graded surfaces. Fast, grippy, comfortable.
The compound is the same as the smaller G-One Speeds; in my experience it's good for about 3,000-4,000km on tarmac.
Light for a big 650B, but not light when compared to a smaller chamber tyre.
As comfy as any road-orientated tyre I've tried.
Not cheap, but on par with other top quality tyres. Given the performance, they're worth the money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fast, grippy, comfortable, no punctures to date.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A bit spendy, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
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 overall score
They're great tyres. Go and get some. It'll cost a fair bit, but they're worth it.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.