Sharkskin Schwalbe is a 20% faster German gravel bike tyre

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Schwalbe latest tyre is designed to bring road bike speed, to gravel bike riders. (Photo: Schwalbe)
Schwalbe latest tyre is designed to bring road bike speed, to gravel bike riders. (Photo: Schwalbe)
  • Kansas isn’t a traditional cycling destination of choice. But the Midwestern state has a significant network of gravel roads.
  • It hosts the world’s most regarded gravel race, a brutal day of riding on the Kansan plains.
  • German tyre brand, Schwalbe, used the weekend’s Unbound Gravel event to show a rapid new product.

The Unbound Gravel route starts and finishes in Emporia, Kansas, totalling 322km and 2956m of climbing. It is very much the pinnacle of gravel bike racing.

Events like Unbound Gravel serve as excellent accelerated testing and product development opportunities. Especially for cycling tyre brands.

Schwalbe is one of the world’s most recognized cycling tyre brands. And for those gravel bikers who need to go fast, there’s a very racy new option.

The G-One RS is claimed to have 20% less rolling resistance than Schwalbe’s other gravel tyres. In theory, these tyres could have you going 20% faster, in ideal conditions. Or using 20% less pedalling effort to attain the same average speed.

gravel bike
The angled sharkskin tread pattern works in both directions, for greater speed or traction. (Photo: Schwalbe)

Like a slick tyre - but tougher and safer 

What makes this new Schwalbe gravel tyre so fast? Look at the tyre’s centre surface, and you’ll notice that it has virtually no tread blocks. Schwalbe’s designers opted to create a sharkskin tyre surface. The result is minimal rolling resistance but without the traction loss risk of a slick bicycle tyre on gravel or mud.

The G-One RS has a minimalist sharkskin tread pattern. You could run one at the front in a conventional 'forward' orientation, paired with a 'turned-around' G-One RS at the rear.

Without sacrificing too much rolling speed, this combination should provide more traction in wetter or looser gravel riding conditions.

Schwalbe tyres
Some of the Wilier team riders at Unbound Gravel, were rolling Schwalbe G-One RS tyres. (Photo: Schwalbe)

Three sizes 

High-speed gravel road descents are where things can get sketchy in loose corners, triggering rider anxiety. The G-One RS has adequately sized alternative shoulder tread lugs, to ensure that when you lean the bike over to change direction, it settles into a secure foundation of tyre grip and feedback.

After the weekend’s Unbound Gravel debut, Schwalbe has confirmed that its G-One RS tyre will become available for global distribution in August.

There will be three casing widths: 35-, 40-, and 45mm. Weights vary from 410-505g, depending on size.

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