The new Schwalbe Ironman triathlon tire uses a few tricks to reduce drag, including a new compound, narrow width and long groove treads.
Much of the industry is touting the improved aerodynamics of slightly wider tires and rims, but Schwalbe’s saying wider tires aren’t necessarily the right answer with the deeper aero wheels typically found on triathlon bikes. The new Ironman tires are 22mm wide, the result of testing against everything from 20 to 25mm tires in the wind tunnel. From the press release:
“With a width of 22 millimetres, we have tuned the dimensions of the tyre perfectly to suit (triathlon)”, said Christian Lademann, Road/Triathlon Product Manager at Schwalbe. “This saves the athletes a great deal of energy. In the 180 kilometre (Ironman) cycling segment at a speed of around 40 km/h, riders need to produce an average of 300 watts. The new tyre dimensions reduce this by about 10 watts. This saves a whole three minutes in terms of time!”
From there, they looked at the tread and compound…
Schwalbe has made a pretty big deal about their new Ultremo ZX Road Tubeless tire having the lowest rolling resistance of any tire they make, it’s no surprise the Ironman will have a tubeless option. Further enhancing efficiency is a their RaceStar Triple Compound, which puts a harder, faster rolling compound in the middle, grippier stuff on the sides and a third compound under the outer layers that combine to put grip where it’s needed but otherwise make for a fast rolling tire. We’ve tested it on some of their other tires and liked it. The final touch is aero grooves that double as tread and runs down the sidewall.
The Schwalbe Triathlon will be available in May in folding clincher (€45), tubeless (€65) and hand sewn tubular (€85). The clinchers are made to handle up to about 160psi, letting you set them a bit high without worry, particularly good when you have to turn your bike in for racking the day before the big day.