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I was taking part in the London to Brighton ride, and my road bike was out of action. Therefore, it was down to my trusty mountain bike to get me there. But completing the ride on knobbly tyres would prove a lot of effort, and wear out my perfectly good tyres. So, it was time to invest in some slicks....
A friend recommended these to me. Schwalbe are most certainly a name you can trust when it comes to tyres. In fact, after having numerous problems on my road bike with Continental tyres (constant punctures everytime I rode it), I fitted a set of Schwalbes and had no problems. I think they may even be bullet proof! (OK, maybe an exaggeration, so don't try dodging bullets with them!)
Schwalbe usually means quality, and that certainly what you get. But where there's quality, there's a price tag. Schwalbe certainly are extortionate with their costs though, and they have something for every budget. Now, looking for tyres for London to Brighton, I didn't want anything too expensive. Especially as I would use them for commuting, and having to replace them every so often would add to the expense. I actually picked these up for £13.49 each from Wiggle. Generally speaking, they cost around £15. I consider this to be a reasonable price. In fact, it represents great value for money.
So, you've now purchased a reasonably priced set of tyres. Thats all well and good, but what about performance? Well, these bad boys don't dissappoint! I opted for the 26x1.90 option, but they also come in 26x1.5. I would go for the 1.5's, as these would have a little less contact with the road surface. However, these give a lovely ride. The road handling is excellent; they really give you confidence in the corners and never feel like they'll slip away from you. But just because they're grippy, doesn't mean they're not fast rolling. These are a dream. It was easy for me to zip along at a good, steady 15mph. They actually make this rather satisfying zip noise at about 20mph! In fact, you'll find you don't have enough gears on your mountain bike for these tyres!
These are a nice, robust tyre. They are wire beaded and have puncture protection. And when Schwalbe say puncture proection, they mean it! I've started using these tyres for commuting and road training while my road bike is out of action. They've seen about 900 miles since I bought them, and not once have I had a puncture. Surely this is divine intervention! Me using the same tubes for 900 miles?! But it's true. Nothing will get through these awesome tyres. Plus, using them in the slightly wet conditions is not a problem. The groove pattern gives a decent amount of grip in the wet.... well, not super wet conditions, but fine for moderately wet roads. They're also OK on slightly loose stuff and hard-packed canal paths. Just be more careful on these surfaces in the wet.
I have read reviews where people say that these are a pain to fit. Take it from me, the man who is useless at changing tyres, they are so simple a three year old could do it! I flick between these and my knobblies weekly, and they just don't present any problems.
As for availablility, you'll have no problems getting your hands on these tyres. All the major cycling retailers will stock these, or at least be able to order them in. My advice is look online; most internet only retailers will do these at a discount rate.
Overall verdict... Awesome! These tyres are reasonably priced, and represent great value for money. They are long lasting and puncture resistant. They are fast rolling and very grippy. An absolute essential tyre for commuting. Would recommend the 26x1.5 over the 26x1.90f, purely for the extra speed, but that's rider preference. Seriously though, don't look elsewhere, buy Schwalbe City Jets for your mountain bike, and you'll be communting with confidence and ease!