Over the years, we’ve ridden – flatted – more tires than we can count. In those decades we’ve seen advancements from heavy duty tubes, Mr. Tuffy Liners to tubeless tires and now a wide variety of sidewall technologies designed to offer a prescribed ride feel and performance for different disciplines of riders. While it’s all neat and fun to look at cutaways and graphics showing aramid layers and fancily named sidewall marketing bits, today we’ll be bashing into curbs with Schwalbe employee Sean Cochran, to see just how different each casing’s construction is when the rubber meets the road, or trail. So, if you’re looking for help on how to pick the best tire casing for you, or if you’ve ever wondered just how different each casing is when met with an abrupt edge, this experiment is one you won’t want to miss.
For this experiment we opted to work with Schwalbe to run the test on every one of their MTB tire casings. While you may be a die-hard Maxxis fan or love the new Continental offerings, fear-not because just about every mountain bike tire brand out there have a similar range of tire casings from XC to DH, and the results will likely be similar to what you’ll see here.
Each casing has a specific application and priority on the trail. From one end of the spectrum to the other you’ve got cost savings, weight, compliance to improved support, impact absorption all the way to flat out durability and protection against the biggest obstacles at the highest speeds. Most riders likely fit in the middle, but you’ll be happy to know that there are a lot of options in this range that will be great for you and your riding style.