Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro 2011-12 (UPDATE 2)

The Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro is an evolution of their former spike tire series. This version has more spikes, and has a more aggressive side-profile.
The first thing that impressed me was the weight (for the 2.1" version). Considering that the tire has more than 300 spikes, Schwalbe has done a great job of cutting down the weight. The tire is easily installed, but to my surprise there wasn't any tire rotation instruction - you can fit it any way you want. That makes me believe that Schwalbe has missed some optimizing opportunities. The tire itself does rotate a bit slow on the ground, but not so much that it should hinder a potential buyer. In fact, it actually rolls a bit faster than I expected. Its just not a high roller.
The tires grabs onto ice, loose over hardpack-snow, heavy and light snow pretty good. Way better than regular tires especially on the ice. But let me be claer; its not slip-proof - if you dont pay attention, you will end up on the ground. I noticed that the tire isnt optimal when used on newly fallen snow, the tire wants the ground the be hardpacked before showing its true performance, the more hardpacked, the better. The tire does however create better possibilities for faster speed and more control - and a safer ride.
If I was to improve on this tire, I would have made the side-spikes bigger and more aggressive, so that traction on the high speed turns could have been improved.
All in all I see this tire as a winter-tire only, for the xc riders, trail riders, and the AM riders as well. If you are out riding in the snow and ice, and want better traction, then look into this tire. It gets the job done.

So finally had a chance to test this tire on the rear as well. And my thoughts are very positive because of one particular thing: The Ice Spiker Pro tire sticks so well to slippery snow and even pure ice, that it allows otherwise inaccessible trails to be ridden, and that's an important point. Whether its climbing or descending, or even braking, you can expect a surprisingly good performance from the Ice Spiker Pro as a rear tire. Ive added an extra point to the overall score, because of performance and shear value.

Added data for the 2.35" tire. Added data about overall snow performance.

Tested on: Front and Rear
Claimed weight: 695 gram
Actual weight: 657 gram (tire1)
Actual weight: 696 gram (tire2)

Tested on: Front
Claimed weight: 850 gram
Actual weight: 925 gram

Score: 5/6

The 2.35" up front, and 2.1" in the rear. Great combo. Best for hardpacked snow, or ice.
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It might give you a good deal of rolling resistance, but it will keep you on the trail, instead of home.
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It was my impression that Schwalbe was pretty accurate when giving info about their weight. This time however they are a massive 75grams from their claimed weight on the 2.35" version of the Ice Spiker Pro. Perhaps they should re-calibrate their scale.
(click to enlarge)

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