Friday, February 26, 2016

Lovin Schwalbe Thunderburt

I have had a relationship with Schwalbe for many years now - at the start, it came out of Mel and I trying a massive bunch of tires from every manufacturer I could find and then settling on using Schwalbe before I ever started a personal relationship (i.e. some form of sponsorship). Since then, their tires remain at the head of the rubbery field and have evolved in cool ways (I talk about riding their Tubeless road tires here). The thing that I wanted to mention in this post was my exact tire setup I used in the Mongolian Challenge, the World 24 Hour Championships and almost all my training in between from Ireland in the winter to 3,300 meters above Addis Ababa (where you really don’t want things to go wrong). 

Racing Ralph on the front,  Thunder Burt on the rear (in either 2.1 or 2.25 depending on what I could get my mitts on).

At the WEMBO 24 Hour MTB World Championships
The Thunder Burt has been a revelation for me - it has a reasonably specific set of use cases but within that, it has continually blown me away. First off I’ll get it out of the way, it is not for wet mud, wet dirt or anytime there is a lot of water and you are not on stony (or tarmac) trails or road. Basically, since Mongolia (aside from the Crocodile Trophy which I used a Racing Ralph on the rear) it has been the only rear tire I used. Why, well, in the dry it rolls super fast, more than enough grip and did I say super fast? Over the last few months as I rode my road bike much less getting ready for the World 24 Hour Championships I still rode a significant number of kilometres on the road (don’t beat up my body all the time), but with the ThunderBurt on the rear, I can more than stay up with the fast roadie rides I join into and at the end of that, tear off into the mountains for more punishment on the fire roads and trails - it has almost left my road bike dormant. In the past, I hated riding my MTB on the road, so draggy, so much noise and so much fast (and expensive) wear on the tires. My last Thunderburt (the one I rode in Mongolia) finally gave up the ghost after 5,000 kilometres of training/racing across dirt, trail and road - yeah - 5,000km and no punctures (it was the 2.1 Snake Skin one - the riding in Ethiopia was very rocky at times so fragile it is not).

Pushing it in Mongolia with the setup
As I say, it wouldn’t be for general Irish/UK winter forest riding, but for trail centres, fire road (any season), road and trails when they are at least somewhat dry it has been magic.

This is how they looked after 1,000km of hard racing (rear)

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