Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: Schwalbe Fat Albert Rear 2.25 Evo 2010

Schwalbe has made this light weight AM rear-specific tire to compete with whats on the market. With its big size, and snakewall sidewalls, it has the potential when looked at quickly. Schwalbe has made it very lightweight as well, so its definately of interrest for those who want to shed some unwanted grams of their AM bikes.
If you are riding loose over hardpack, plain hardpack, or on soft soil, then this is a pretty good performing tire, for everything else, the tire underperforms. This tire will dissapoint when things get tough and demanding, climbing on rocks, stones, roots is handled very poorly by the Fat Albert, and if conditions are wet, well prepare for a very frustrating ride - its that bad.
For starters the lugs are not direction-optimized very well, and are pretty small, and that has proven to be a weakness when things get tough. The side lugs are just not aggressive enough to get you round corners with such speeds as certain Maxxis tires. This tire got cut up all over when beating it on the rocks, on the technical trips. Now I know that any tire could suffer this, but I didnt have this problem with any other tire - in such extend. Fat Albert is also very prone to snakebites.
The braking and drifting is unpredictable, and I never really understood how the tire would behave when braking hard, sometimes it gave a nice drift, other times it just washed away, putting me in an unwanted game of guessing. Schwalbe promises long living lugs, but it wears down at the same rate as any other good tire out there, so dont expect it to last longer than what you are used to.The rolling ressistance is there, but its not that big, so I rate it medium, its not a highroller, but it wont drag you either.
I see this tire as a summer-tire, for easy and dry conditions, for the trail rider, and the AM biker, that doesnt get himself into too difficult rocky trails and stays at home when things get wet. Unless you are absolutely obsessed with weight savings, or dont ride demanding climbs, or rainy trails, stay away from this tire, there are other better alternatives that will get you there faster, and more secure.

Size:2.3" (Snakeskin)
Tested on: Rear
Claimed weight: 650 gram
Actual weight: 654 gram
Score: 2/6
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I could document aleast 2 more holes, some of these has penetrated all the way through the carcass.
(click to enlarge)

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