Cross-country has developed rapidly in recent years. Jumps, changes of direction, ramps and root passages - all in rapid succession. The tracks are becoming more complex and faster.
"The tires for these modern routes need to roll extremely easily while remaining reliable and durable." The tread has to perform perfectly on a wide variety of surfaces and in all weather conditions. Cornering, acceleration, grip, rolling resistance and braking performance need to be perfectly balanced", stresses Markus Hachmeyer, Senior Product Manager for MTB Tires. "We could only achieve the perfect solution by developing special tires for the front and rear."
So the new tires are at their best when the two types can work together: Racing Ray is a front wheel tire with excellent steering qualities, while Racing Ralph on the rear wheel provides speed and traction. The new cross-country brothers have very different treads, but with both of them, Schwalbe relies on a new version of the rounded blocks which have already made the Fat Albert duo so successful. Special feature: You can convert forces from every direction into a continuous riding experience, making the tires very predictable. "The tires are very forgiving of any mistakes: they recover quickly from a bump or a swerve", explains Markus Hachmeyer.
Racing Ray at the front: Aggressive tread and good steering
As a thoroughbred front tire, the Racing Ray ensures precise steering response, reliable cornering and confidence-inspiring grip right up to the limit. At the same time, it allows for good and controlled braking under all conditions. The stable, barely deformable shoulder blocks support a direct riding style even during extreme cornering.
Despite its aggressive tread, it rolls smoothly, quickly and quietly – on its near-closed center strip of offset center blocks. With its many lengthwise gripping edges, the tire constantly strikes the right balance between low friction and grip. It is also important not to underestimate the transition blocks in the area between the center and shoulder. Only they enable a continuous gripping edge. The overall open tread pattern ensures good self-cleaning. The Racing Ray is equipped exclusively with Addix Speedgrip compound - for the optimum grip, speed and durability required of a front wheel.
Racing Ralph at the back: Fast and versatile
The new Racing Ralph is more powerful than its counterpart but hits the ground even lighter. The massive blocks in the middle and the well-supported blocks on the shoulder and in the transition area provide multiple grip edges for traction and propulsion. These, together with the open gaps, ensure better grip on roots and edges as well as good self-cleaning.
"The rider can feel how the tire converts the power absorbed directly into forward motion - even at low speeds on steep climbs in wet conditions," stresses the product manager. At the same time the tires roll quietly on an even bearing surface. Since a rear wheel is mainly all about speed, Addix Speed is the ideal compound. Although the new Racing Ralph is designed as a rear wheel specialist, it can also be ridden on the front wheel in very dry conditions.
Both new tires are equipped with Tubeless Easy technology and SnakeSkin, and will be available from specialist bicycle stores from July. Price: 57.90 euro.