Advertisement

Sign up for our newsletter

Advertisement

Schwalbe One TLE RaceGuard tyres review

29 Jul 2019
Verdict:

Dependable all-rounder with easy installation, great grip and floaty ride feel, but aren’t the lightest tubeless tyres around

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
• Will add smooth rolling feel to any bike • Great grip • Early trials seem to suggest lifespan is better than many
Against 
• Weight • Only available in 25mm

The Schwalbe One TLE’s sit second in the Schwalbe tubeless tyre range. As such, they ain’t cheap, but put up against the competition, including Schwalbe’s own, they actually present rather good value, with superb performance and minor compromises in spec beyond weight.

I’ll go into this in quite some detail below – installation, construction, comparison, rolling resistance and real-world feel, but if you don’t want to read that far, I’ll summarise now: if you’re looking for dependable, hard(ish) wearing tubeless tyres that will offer your bike a noticeable increase in grip and comfort, you’ve found them.

But be aware they are only available in 25mm, and if you’re a weight weenie or looking for something super racy, there are lighter, more supple tyres to be had in the 250g region versus these at ~350g. Though there will be compromises in lifespans and cost attached for those racier numbers.

Buy the Schwalbe One TLE Race Guard tyres from Wiggle

Installation

First up, fitting, and difficulty thereof – a usual bugbear for tubeless converts and grounds for outright dismissal by naysayers. Here the Schwalbe One’s live up to their TLE initialism, they are genuinely ‘tubeless easy’.

Admittedly they don’t slip onto a rim as easily as some clinchers, but I installed these with just hands and thumbs on a pair of Vision TriMax 30 KB wheels. No levers, just a bit of careful pushing round of the slack and some grunt.

Top tip for tubeless: start opposite, and finish at, the valve when you’re working on the second bead, and use a cloth over the tyre if your skin begins to suffer and slip.

A minute, flexible rubber skirt edges the tyre bead, such that when the beads are sat in the rim-well a proper seal is created with the rim tape. It was then a cinch to inflate the tyres with a normal track pump, with beads clicking into place around 70psi.

The rear didn’t quite seat all the way around on one side, as is usual for brand new tyres (the bead will stretch slightly after a week or so once mounted, making off/on again duties even easier) but again, a bit of coaxing with thumbs – pushing the tyre in and up – and it was there.

Just as a more general point here: it’s always worth inspecting the bead all the way around to check the little moulding line that all tyres have is parallel to the top edge of the rim wall, as sometimes a tubeless tyre can sound like it’s seated, but a portion – most likely opposite the valve – might not be.

With no sealant, the tyres held pressure just fine, and I daresay you could ride them dry no problem. However, the sealant is the boon of the tubeless tyre, so down they went, valve core out, sealant in, reinstall core, re-inflate and job done.

The whole installation process took little more than 20 minutes for both wheels. Longer than clincher tyres, true, but absolutely, completely worth it for the ride quality and the peace of mind self-sealing gives.

Construction, spec and comparison

The One TLE is only available in 25mm as it stands, with a 67tpi thread-count and a 345g weight on our scales – 5g under Schwalbe’s claimed weight, which is refreshing. To put that in perspective: Schwalbe’s range-topping Pro One TLE is 127tpi and weighs a claimed 255g in 25mm (£66.99); its non-tubeless counterpart, the One, is a claimed 225g and 127tpi.

At face value, the lightest 25mm tubeless tyre out there is the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galatick 11Storm at 240g (£49.95 per tyre); the highest thread count tubeless tyre the 320tpi Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ 2.0 TLR (£65).

I’ve given all of those tyres a go and the weight difference between these Schwalbe’s, the Pro Ones and the rest is slightly noticeable in early acceleration phase but negligible once up to speed (though physics says 200g extra on a bike uphill doesn’t help one’s ascending abilities).

The Vitttorias are certainly the raciest feeling tyre, with incredible grip, but they have a much-lessened lifespan because of the cotton construction, which can cut more easily than the nylon in the other tyres, and the non-vulcanised/therefore glued on like a tubular rubber tread, which is softer, making them very much summer/race tyres.

For a day in, day out race bike, then, I’d opt for these One TLEs. They will last longer and cost less to replace.

Rolling resistance

Judged just by the numbers, these Schwalbe One TLEs are slightly behind the very best tubeless tyres out there, but they compete well on price, and while weight is always a consideration, the One TLE’s do very well in rolling resistance tests.

They come sixth in the tubeless tyre rankings on Bicycle Rolling Resistance (a comprehensive independent testing site) and 19th when clinchers are thrown into the mix. Tests show a rolling resistance of 11.8w (again, for context, the Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ 2.0 TLR win out at 7.0w, which makes sense given their exceptionally high thread count – more tpi generally means a more supple tyre means lower rolling resistance).

Or look at it another way, the One TLE’s are the fastest tubeless tyre once the very top tier, and thus most expensive, manufacturers’ offerings have been discounted.

Again, that’s a pretty big piece of supporting evidence for those happy to compromise in certain areas – weight and suppleness – but not compromise.

Real-world usage

Tubeless tyres do leak air more than butyl inner tube tyres, even with the best installation and a lot of sealant. Don’t ask me why, but it just seems to be the case in my experience.

I, therefore, found myself topping these up by 5-10psi every week or so. Considerably less than a tubular or latex tubed tyre it must be said.

I plumped for a don’t flat if you can possibly help it set up, and ran these with twice the amount of sealant as is recommended by Schwalbe, 60ml in each, not 30ml.

In my mind, that means some can be lost to the initial sealing and but leaves lots sloshing around to seal any punctures and also means going longer between having to uninstall, clean and refill. With the best will in the world, sealant always dries in the tyre eventually.

However, six weeks in and plenty of crappy city road commuting, I’ve had no punctures nor are there any visible surface cuts. This is likely largely due to the thicker tread, which is where much of that extra 100g per tyre comes from.

To put that in perspective, I’ve had similarly good experiences with Hutchinson’s top and second rung Galatiks and found the Pro One’s more susceptible to puncturing and tread wear – albeit they seal as well as any tyre unless the cut is too big – beyond about 3mm.

Vittoria’s tyres are the most fragile of the ones mentioned, but the trade-off again is a floaty feel and more assured cornering grip.

To my mind, tubeless tyre’s biggest win is the ride quality. Lower pressures are no problem – no tubes to pinch flat – so there’s more scope for more comfort, and since there is no tube to deform/rub against the deforming tyre (deformation leads to energy lost through friction leads to increased rolling resistance) there is a real feel of easy rolling to a tubeless set up.

It’s in this regard the One TLE’s excel, they lent even my harsh old alloy commuter a whole new level of smoothness, and when being pushed on a race bike they tracked road undulations very well, providing a feeling off surety beyond the reach of most clinchers when cornering fast.

There is still something about the very best tubulars that feels even better than a tubeless tyre, but the tubeless surely win out every time for the non-pro rider.

Puncture a tub and chances are you’re calling a taxi, and you may well end up having to buy and glue on a new one when you get home. Puncture a tubeless tyre and you probably won’t even notice.

Buy the Schwalbe One TLE Race Guard tyres from Wiggle

That said, the rolling stock weight can be felt in comparison to lighter setups. A top-line clincher plus super-light tube is in the region of 240g, even the lightest tubeless including 30ml sealant and valve pushes 280g; as set up with 60ml sealant these One TLE’s are close to 420g each. So there’s a big increase to weight right there.

But the trade of with puncture protection and longevity is worth it for anything other than your summer-Sunday best race bike.

Conclusion

While there are undoubtedly better performing tubeless tyres out there, once you factor in price and longevity there are few that can match the Schwalbe One TLE. Hutchinson perhaps with its second-tier Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm, but they’re £17 dearer per tyre than the Schwalbes, and I have heard good things about Continental’s GP5000 tubeless tyres (which will be up here on test soon.

But for the price – and of course, shop around and you’ll find them even cheaper – the Schwalbe One TLEs are nigh-on exemplary.

Price: 
£54.99 each

Read more about: