Schwalbe Ultremo Test

After all these years of road cycling and mountain-biking you start to believe in “certainties” if it comes to bike equipment and components. Mavic wheels are the best price/quality buy, Formula disc brakes are always reliable and Schwalbe rubbers protect you against all obstacles on your journey.

However the world is constantly evolving and so are the components. I have a tendency to settle with 3 to 4 stars out of five, keeping an eye on the price/quality comparison when buying components and/or tires. I’m not a pro cyclist (otherwise I wouldn’t have to worry about buying my tires anyways) and I learned that slicing of grams doesn’t help if you don’t have the legs during that occasional yearly competition race.

My Cube Agree GTC roadbike has been in decent use during the last year and it came with 23C Schwalbe Ultremo R1 standard tires on the Fulcrum wheelset. After 350k I had to replace the rear tire as I got a rupture in the side wall and my tube was sticking out. Bad luck. In the meanwhile I had purchased a set of Schwalbe Ultremos at 35e/piece, widely advertised as one of the best tyres, so no worries. New rubber and of we go. I’ve used two wheelsets during the last year so until last week the rear tire had only rolled around for 600k. A bit of a surprise yesterday while checking the tires: 2 massive cracks, a strange mini-egg formed shape and a rupture in the sidewall of my tire. That means wearing out two tires in less than a 1000k. I switched to the other spare Ultremo I purchased so let’s see how long this one lasts.

In the meanwhile I rode over 2000k with my basic 20€/piece Michelin Lithiums and 700k with Schwalbe Duranos without – knocking on a big wooden table here – any punctures. And this, on a positive note, is the only good thing about the Ultremos: I never got a flat…

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By Maarten Patteeuw

Maarten is an avid road and mountain biker who lives and breathes everything rolling on two wheels. You can follow his rantings on Twitter by looking for @maapathel.