Tested : Pete’s Schwalbe Big Betty First Ride Review.

The Schwalbe Big Betty has reprised its role in the German MTB line-up to complement the ever popular Magic Mary in the range.

Pete got his hands on a pair of the Schwalbe Big Betty in the Super DH casing, one of six casings that Schwalbe now offer and onto the big enduro bike they went to see what they could and couldn’t do.

Key features:

  • 29 x 2.4″
  • ADDIX Ultra Soft/Soft compound
  • Folding bead
  • 6-layer Super DH casing
  • 1450g
  • £64.99 (Ultra Soft), £62.99 (Soft) RRP
  • Schwalbe.com

The all-new Schwalbe Big Betty takes the shoulder knobs of the Magic Mary and adds a new centre tread with alternating single and double blocks with long leading edges, the aim being to provide fast rolling and some serious cornering capability. The blocks themselves have been designed to shed mud, and offer a solid combination with the Magic Mary.

Getting the Schwalbe Big Betty tubeless was child’s play. The first inflated without sealant beautifully and haven’t leaked or burped since. The casing is obviously heftier than most tyres I’d normally run, so I did have to swing off the bead to get it on the tyre. That should mean it won’t roll off the rim any time soon.

While I wouldn’t normally run a downhill casing on a tyre, on a bike like the Specialized Enduro, you can get yourself into situations where something like a Super Gravity casing might struggle, so they certainly didn’t feel like overkill. With the 6-layer casing offering some serious protection, you can run the tyres pretty soft without feeling like they’re squirming or rolling on the rim.

With a Super Soft out front and a Soft on the back offering some serious traction I opted to bump the pressure up to get the tyres rolling faster. Normally this would lead to me sliding out on rock and root, but the tread and compound combination doesn’t seem to want to give up grip lightly, and you can hit a root-infested off-camber with confidence.

Merida Big.Trailtea

The first test for the Big Betty was a sopping wet, freshly cut trail that really doesn’t like tyres that don’t shed well. Tread tends to disappear as it packs up with dirt on this end of the woods, and I was surprised to see the Big Betty clearing nicely despite the low speed. Roots didn’t seem to be much of a concern either, and you can really attack a trail with this tyre.

Second outing was a large Scottish mountain. The surface here mostly natural and all rock of various sizes. Whatever the mountain had to throw at me, the tyre hooked up. More than a few times I winced as I saw an edge that would kill most tyres only for the 6-layer casing to simply shrug it off.

Despite some serious action, the Schwalbe Big Betty isn’t showing any sign of wear, even on the rear and the sidewall looks like new. They have definitely been a fit and forget item, but bolting downhill tyres onto a big enduro bike might just do that.

I’m looking forward to putting plenty more miles into these things, as the traction available is definitely up there with the best.

What do we think?

Schwalbe have done what many other tyre manufacturers haven’t recently, which is simply design their own version of an existing tyre, and done it well. The Big Betty is a tyre for people that want big traction on a variety of surfaces. It also comes in enough casings and rubber compounds that you’ll find the one you need.

Most might simply go for a Super Gravity Soft, but it’s been amazing turning my brain off with some downhill rubber and attacking sections with the protection and grip on offer.

We love:

  • Serious grip
  • Carcass feels sturdy yet supple
  • Fast rolling

Could do better:

  • 1450g is weighty even for a downhill tyre

Check out the full Schwalbe Big Betty range on their website here.

Read our product development interview on the Schwalbe Big Betty on our Features page here.