Schwalbe has just come out with a tubular version of their popular Racing Ralph cyclocross tire and mountain bike tire.
Called the Racing Ralph HT, the ‘cross version has a very wide 32mm casing, just shy of the new 33mm UCI limit, and an approximate weight of 390g. The forthcoming MTB version is a 26×2.0 and weighs 540g. Both will retail for $145.
Both tires use their exising Racing Ralph tread pattern, the new triple compound PaceStar rubber introduced around Interbike time and have their synthetic EVO casing. Schwalbe says they took a l0ng time to develop the tubular version because they couldn’t find a factory that could produce it to their specifications. Hit ‘more’ to see why and glimpse a few more pics…
Basically, the test samples Schwalbe received from the third party manufacturers weren’t holding up to their testing standards. When we spoke to their North American OE manager Henry Horrocks about the tires, he said the issue was the way the tread was glued to the casing…it wouldn’t ever fully cure, which had the tread and/or base tape delaminating from the casing.
None of the third party manufacturers would change their compounds or procedures, so after two years Schwalbe finally decided to manufacturer the tire themselves. They’ve built a new tubular tire production facility in Indonesia next to their clincher factory, and the new facility will make their ‘cross, mountain bike and road tubulars in the future.
In a quote on Bikeradar, Horrocks says the tires are basically watertight thanks to the synthetic fibers, latex tube and latex coated sidewall and base tape, which he says doesn’t need to be scuffed up to properly adhere to the rim surface, allowing it to remain completely sealed.
Schwalbe is also developing a new latex tube that uses a similar process to their butyl tubes that results in more consistent wall thickness like traditional tubes, but maintains the superior rolling resistance and deflection of latex.
We’ve got a set of the new ‘cross Racing Ralph tubulars coming later this month for review.