The new 235-gram tire is 70 grams lighter than the old Schwalbe One tubeless tire (click to enlarge).
Though it's been around for several years, road tubeless technology simply hasn't taken off like its off-road brethren. Skeptics (ourselves included) have shied away from technology that eliminates tubes - and pinch flats - but is often accompanied by a weight penalty, lower ride quality, and increased hassle factor. The gain was simply not worth the loss. (Read more about the road tubeless debate here.)
Schwalbe is trying to alter that perception. The German tire maker (which only makes cycling products) recently launched the new Pro One, a tire it says will change the way we look at road tubeless.
The new 235-gram "Tubeless Easy" tire is 70 grams lighter than the old Schwalbe One tubeless tire. Schwalbe also says the Pro One is faster than all its other tires, producing 17 watts of rolling resistance compared to 19 watts for the One tubeless, 22 watts for a One with a tube, and 29 watts for the more robust Durano with a tube. (These numbers are based on 23mm tires. The Pro One will also come in 25mm/255 grams and 28mm/275 grams options.)
Still, like many others, Schwalbe admits to initially being skeptical of road tubeless technology. But after what it says was several years of meticulous exploration, they claim to have come up with a solution to address those pitfalls.
Skeptics (ourselves included) have shied away from technology that eliminates tubes - and pinch flats - but is often accompanied by a weight penalty, lower ride quality, and increased hassle factor (click to enlarge).
Tubeless tires offer clear advantages in speed, comfort, grip and puncture resistance, says Schwalbe. And this applies not only off road, but just as well on the road. There is no friction between the tire and tube, and that reduces rolling resistance. That means tubeless tire set-ups can be ridden at lower air pressure without sacrificing performance.
This, adds Schwalbe, brings advantages in comfort, but also provides more consistent control in critical situations and on rough roads. Instead of a sudden loss of air, sealant quickly plugs punctures, which obviously increases safety, especially if you happen to be in the middle of rapid dirt road descent.
Schwalbe says it's achieved all this in part by using what it calls MicroSkin construction, where fishing line-like monofilament synthetic fabric is woven into the tire's sidewall to ensure air tightness and improves cut resistance.
And although some sealant is still necessary, the new Pro One is also easy to inflate without subjecting the user to an extensive conversion process with lots of shaking and repeated pumping, which was often the case with other tubeless set-ups.
Along with the new Pro One, Schwalbe also rolled out a host of other tubeless tires, including one for rough Roubaix roads (Schwalbe S-One, 310 grams), a cyclocross model (Schwalbe X-One, 360 grams), and a gravel grinder (Schwalbe G-One, 410 and 450 grams). Exact pricing has yet to be released, but expect these new tires to be in the $80-$90 range per tire.
Schwalbe also rolled out new Roubaix, cyclocross and gravel road tubeless tire options (click to enlarge).
It's also worth noting that Schwalbe is getting some buy-in at the professional level. The tire manufacturer sponsors five pro teams, including four that are racing in the ongoing Tour de France (Ag2r, FDJ and IAM Cycling and MTN-Qhubeka). It's unlikely all (if any) of those riders are running tubeless for Le Tour, but Schwalbe claims its pros have tested the technology at both this year's Tour Down Under and Paris-Roubaix, where Swiss national champion Martin Elminger finished fifth on the Schwalbe Pro One instead of the wide-width tubulars that are the norm for the brutal race with extended time on rough cobblestone roads.
Until our test pair arrives, it's hard for us to offer too much input or analysis. But we're certainly rooting for road tubeless to succeed. In this day and age there's just no reason any of us should still be messing around with tubes.
For more information visit www.schwalbe.com.