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The top 14 best Schwalbe 26 inch mountain bike tires for 2023

In this article I’m going to give you my top picks for the best Schwalbe 26 inch mountain bike tires.

Of all the tire brands, Schwalbe is probably the brand I’ve used most through the years. And yes, that says something. I believe I use them for all of my tubes, and I’ve got tubes 2 decades old that still work just as fine as when they came fresh out of the package. I’ve also used multiple iterations of their phenomenal Marathon lineup, for daily drivers and touring cycles.

After diving more deeply into bike restorations Schwalbe lost a bit of its previous allure. Instead I started using Panaracer, mainly because that brand offers incredibly light true skinwall tires, which simply look awesome on vintage wheels.

Nonetheless, the Schwalbe lineup on this list offers incredible value for money. And it also contains one of my all-time-favorite allround mountain bike tire: the tan wall Schwalbe Nobby Nic.

So without further ado, here the list of the best Schwalbe 26 inch mountain bike tires.

Schwalbe Big Apple

The beaded Schwalbe Big Apple tires is a great value for money and coming in three different sizes, from 2 to 2.35 inches.

It’s not my favorite in the racing department, they’re simply too heavy for that. But as mentioned before, extra rubber does mean more durability in general, and more miles.

So besides already being cheaper than other options on this list, it will last you a long time as well and you’ve got the RaceGuard puncture protection to boot.

Schwalbe Big Apple Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
affordable excellent commuter tire, RaceGuard puncture protection
Reasons to avoid
heavy

Schwalbe Big Ben

The Schwalbe Big Ben is the Big Apple’s brother, which means it’s even heavier. In fact, they’re almost the heaviest tires overall in this list. But on the flipside it does come in a number of brown colors other than black to accentuate your frame and make for a cool retro build. And it’s also reflected in a price which will hurt your wallet the least.

The Plus version is also probably the plushest ride here, but with almost a kilo per tire don’t expect to be flying away went the light goes green.

Schwalbe Big Ben Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
plush ride, extremely durable
Reasons to avoid
heavy

Schwalbe Big Betty

The Schwalbe Big Betty is the go-to rear tire for the Schwalbe Magic Mary. Where the Magic Mary has proven to be among the top tires in terms of traction, when combined with the Big Betty you improve your overall braking power.

It has a horizontal tread pattern to do so, that’s sufficiently spaced to have sufficient clearing characteristics as well when you release the brakes again.

Of all the downhill combinations available on the market today, I can’t think of a single one that beats Schwalbe’s current offering of Magic Mary and Big Betty. It’s one of the beaviest set of downhill-specific tires, that’ll provide you the ultimate in traction.

Schwalbe Big Betty Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Rear downhill tire, fantastic traction
Reasons to avoid
Meant for downhill

Schwalbe Billy Bonkers

The Billy Bonkers is Schwalbe’s answer to the popularity of the Maxxis DTH for pumptrack and slopestyle. They also come in an extremely light 490 grams 26 inch version, making it the perfect tire for fast city flying, gravel and cross country riding.

The Billy Bonkers also comes in a tan-wall version, but you’ll have to stick with a 2.1 inch width, because that’s the only one in Schwalbe’s lineup. The German brand has made a racing tire, which also proves to be very fast and grippy.

It’s a tough choice to make between the two. One isn’t necessarily better than the other

Schwalbe Billy Bonkers Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Very lightweight tire, with tan option available. Great grip, and rolling-resistance characteristics. Fantastic option for MTB builds.
Reasons to avoid
None

Schwalbe Fat Frank

The biggest appeal of the Schwalbe Fat Frank is that they come in a variety of great colors. Besides your standard black, you have, beige, creme and tan options for both tread and sidewall. So if you’re looking to add some design flair to your ride you can get the Fat Frank with a brown tread pattern and creme sidewalls, or entirely creme.

This is not a racing tire as some of others, that are meant for slopestyle and pump track. That means it won’t be faster or lighter than those tires.

They come in a 2.35 inch width version besides the standard 2 inch. So if you can get over the weight of 975 grams per tire you’re in for both a colorful and plush ride.

Schwalbe Fat Frank Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
great for vintage MTB builds, multiple colors available
Reasons to avoid
heavy wired tire

Schwalbe Hurricane

I also decided to include the Schwalbe Hurricane in this list. It’s a shame they don’t sell them in skinwall versions as well. But the tire packs a solid combination of a flat centerline and side knobs.

The side knobs means the tire is more versatile than the average slick, opening up the possibility to take your bike offroad and away from the beaten path.

If you want to keep a MTB look for your tires without sacrificing too much speed on the road, this is the perfect tire for you. Especially if you like the occassional trail as well because of the added grip.

Schwalbe Hurricane Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Great allround gravel and light XC tire, with an affordable quality.
Reasons to avoid
None

Schwalbe Kojak

When used in their 26 inch variant, the Schwalbe Kojak feel very similar to WTB’s ThickSlick: almost no profile, the same width, but slighter lighter at 570 grams. So if you don’t like the screaming white branding of WTB, sporting a couple of Kojaks will be more your thing.

Schwalbe Kojak Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
affordable slick, very lightweight
Reasons to avoid
None

Schwalbe Magic Mary

The Magic Mary is Schwalbe’s grippiest tire from their entire lineup. It performs both brilliantly as a downhill tire, but is just as effective for allround trail riding in brutal conditions.

It has top-of-the-line traction combined with super fast rolling characteristic and a good feel for the trail at high speeds. If you want to be in the moment and experience flow going down sloppy slopes the Magic Mary delivers big time, with virtually zero cons.

Good braking power, allround riding characteristics in dry and wet conditions, this is Schwalbe’s top tire for all-mountain, enduro and downhill, no matter what the conditions are.

Schwalbe Magic Mary Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Very grippy, go-to gravity tire, solid braking power, 4-season downhill tire
Reasons to avoid
Meant for downhill

Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS469

The Schwalbe Marathon Supreme is meant for speed with hardly any profile at all on very light tires.

It’s a great fast-rolling commuter and touring tire, that offers excellent puncture-resistance characteristics as well.

Though it might not be the flashiest tire on the market, its appeal lies in its ability to crunch many miles. So even though it might not be the most affordable tire on the market, the ROI is high nonetheless.

Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS469 Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
fantastic grip, durable and puncture-resistant, fantastic lightweight touring tire
Reasons to avoid
None

Schwalbe Nobby Nic

The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is the best allround trail tire from the German manufacturer. If there’s a tire that could rival the dominance of the Maxxis DHR and DHF and its omnipresence on the trail, it’s this one.

It’s tread pattern provides loads of grip and traction. Its allround nature means it’s just as good in the front as it is in the back. And it’s also often seen as a grippy front tire for aggressive XC riding, with a faster and lighter tire in the back.

You can go up to a size 2.35 if you want to and it’s also the only tire that comes in a 26 inch tan version. So if you’re looking for a solid allround setup, meant for every conceivable condition, dry and wet, hardpack and forest trail, and you want to ride a tan version, this is the tire for you.

Schwalbe Nobby Nic Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
High quality fit-and-forget allround trail option. Loads of sizing / compound combinations possible. Can be used both front and rear for trail riding, or front for XC.
Reasons to avoid
None

Schwalbe Racing Ralph

Schwalbe’s lineup consists of a number of highly specialized cross-country tires. The Schwalbe Racing Ralph being one of them.

As stated on the website, the Racing Ralph was designed for the rear. That’s because it has the shallowest center tread pattern, making it perfect for riding as fast as possible in dry conditions.

Although it’s meant for a combo setup with a grippier tire in the front, you could actually use it as a dual setup when bikepacking or gravel riding instead of pure XC racing.

If you want to ride as fast as possible, and maintain that speed when cornering, I suggest pairing it with a grippier front tire. You can opt for the Racing Ray, Rocket Ron, or Nobby Nic. With the Racing Ray offering the least amount of grip and the Nobby Nic the most. The Rocket Ron sits in between the three.

Schwalbe Racing Ralph Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Fantastic rear XC tire. Low weight, and super fast. Combine with Racking Ray, Rocket Ron, or Nobby Nic for a grippier setup.
Reasons to avoid
None

Schwalbe Racing Ray

Where the Schwalbe Racing Ralph was designed as a rear tire, the Schwalbe Racing Ray is meant for the front. It also means that one of the most obvious choices for a Schwalbe cross country setup would be the combination of the two.

And it seems that the combination works for a lot of people better than ever. with great braking power and traction in the back and great traction and grip in the front, even for wet conditions.

Schwalbe Racing Ray Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Extremely fast front XC tire, super fast setup with the Schwalbe Racing Ralph
Reasons to avoid
none

Schwalbe Rocket Ron

Both the weight and tread pattern puts the Schwalbe Rocket Ron squarely into XC territory. The evenly spaced knobs mean you always hold contact with the ground ensuring a low rolling resistance.

They are small as well, which means you need to look for the Nobby Nic if you want a more allround and grippy trail tire. But if you want a bit more speed the 640 gr. for a 2.35 inch version you can run two of these.

You should be able to confidently do light trail riding in loose and wet conditions with these tires, and the XC-oriented tread pattern combined with either the Super Ground or Super Race compound will provide you with the speed you need.

It’s worthy to note that the Schwalbe Rocket Ron performs really well in the rolling resistance department, as do all Schwalbe tires. So it’s both light and fast.

Schwalbe Rocket Ron Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
great allround XC tire, perfect for gravel and bikepacking, very fast tire
Reasons to avoid
- None

Schwalbe Super Moto-X

If you want to go really wide with your tires then the Schwalbe Super Moto-X is what you need. Make sure your frame and fork actually fits the enormous 2.4 inches before placing the order though. You wouldn’t be the first with rubbing problems. And that your rims aren’t too narrow. You don’t want the tire to blow of the wheel as well.

Schwalbe Super Moto-X Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
balloon tire
Reasons to avoid
might not be compatible with your rims, very heavy

Specifications Schwalbe 26 inch mountain bike tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
Buy at Amazon
Schwalbe Big Apple
26×2.00
50-559
675
Black
Black/reflex
ADDIX
RaceGuard
wired
Schwalbe Big Apple
26×2.15
55-559
710
Black
Black/reflex
ADDIX
RaceGuard
wired
Schwalbe Big Apple
26×2.35
60-559
780
Black
Black/reflex
ADDIX
RaceGuard
wired
Schwalbe Big Ben
26×2.15
55-559
760
Black
Black
 
 
wired
Schwalbe Big Ben
26×2.15
55-559
910
Brown
Brown
 
 
wired
Schwalbe Big Ben
26×2.15
55-559
910
Creme
Creme
 
 
wired
Schwalbe Big Betty
26×2.40
62-559
1040
Black
Black
ADDIX Ultra Soft
 
tlr
Schwalbe Billy Bonkers
26×2.10
54-559
490
Black
Black
ADDIX
 
foldable
Schwalbe Billy Bonkers
26×2.10
54-559
490
Black
Tan
ADDIX
 
foldable
Schwalbe Fat Frank
26×2.35
60-559
975
Black
Black
SBC
K-Guard
wired
Schwalbe Fat Frank
26×2.35
60-559
975
Brown
Creme
SBC
K-Guard
wired
Schwalbe Fat Frank
26×2.35
60-559
975
Creme
Creme
SBC
K-Guard
wired
Schwalbe Hurricane
26×2.10
54-559
620
Black
Black
 
 
wired
Schwalbe Kojak
26×2.00
50-559
570
Black
Black
ADDIX
RaceGuard
foldable
Schwalbe Magic Mary
26×2.35
60-559
1210
Black
Black
ADDIX Ultra Soft
Super Downhill
tlr
Schwalbe Magic Mary
26×2.60
65-559
1320
Black
Black
ADDIX Ultra Soft
Super Downhill
tlr
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme
26×2.00
50-559
560
Black
Black
ADDIX
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Nobby Nic
26×2.25
57-559
720
Black
Black
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Ground, E-50
tlr
Schwalbe Nobby Nic
26×2.35
60-559
810
Black
Tan
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Ground, E-50
tlr
Schwalbe Racing Ralph
26×2.25
57-559
610
Black
Black
ADDIX Speed
Super Ground, E-25
tlr
Schwalbe Rocket Ron
26×2.25
57-559
585
Black
Black
ADDIX Speed
Super Ground, E-25
tlr
Schwalbe Super Moto-X
26×2.40
62-559
1095
Black
Black
 
 
wired

Bicycle tire puncture resistance

EXO, GreenGuard, AGC, AEC, ATC, do you ever get confused with all the jargon related to puncture protection. I know I did? That’s why I’ve written a separate article about puncture resistance technologies. That way, you’ll be able to better understand what’s out there and if it’s worth your money.

Johan van Seijen

FoundeR Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.

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