German tyre company Schwalbe has been a proponent of tubeless road tyres since the release of the excellent Ultremo ZX tubeless tyre I tested two years ago. Those tyres have now been replaced by the new One Tubeless, which takes the company's top-end race tyre and offers it with a tubeless bead. And the result is a very fast and supple tyre with all the benefits from ditching the inner tube, fewer flats.
Setting the tyre up was easy. I used Stan's new Grail wheelset, a wide profile rim, with the tubeless tape and valve already installed. I simply fitted the tyres, poured in a small amount of latex, and inflated the tyre using a track pump. The tyre popped up onto the rim first time, with the reassuring pop sounds indicating the bead has locked into the rim securely. When tubeless installation is this easy you wonder why everyone doesn't run tubeless, but I know some tyre/wheel combinations can be a little less straightforward. Another member of the road.cc team found it somewhat harder getting one on to a Shimano XT 29er rim, but he also said it was a struggle getting anything on to those - these Schwalbes were by no means the hardest he'd fitted on them.
Schwalbe offers the One Tubeless tyre in a number of width options, right up to 28mm. I chose the 25mm, a popular size these days. I experimented with pressures during the first few rides, in the end settling on about 90-95psi for my 66kg weight, going lower or higher depending on conditions. Being able to run lower pressures is one of the benefits of tubeless - there is no tube to pinch if you hit a hole or crack in the road, so you can safely get away with lower pressures.
The tyre feels very similar to the regular One clincher tyre, with the same grippy yet fast rolling tread compound used across the top of the carcass. The tubeless variant has a wonderfully supple feel on the road surface, tracking the contours of rough roads really well. The tread compound is very durable too, impressive considering it's pitched as a race tyre. It doesn't cut up at all, and even after some of my off-road excursions down bridleways and along the Fosse Way they show no signs of damage. I wouldn't venture off-road on a regular inner tube setup for fear of puncturing, but with tubeless you certainly can do, and these new One tyres, despite being designed for racing, provide impressive durability.
Schwalbe says it has spent three years developing these new tyres and proudly declares the One to be its fastest tyre in its promotional material, saying the rolling resistance of its tubeless tyre is less than an ultralight racing tyre with an inner tube. It's tricky testing rolling resistance in the real world and getting accurate data, but they certainly don't feel slow compared to the regular One tubed tyres when tested on the same bike, on the same roads, in the same conditions. The tyre is substantially heavier, 318g for the 25mm tyres tested, but remember you're losing the weight of the inner tube.
Finally, let's look at the price - £56.99 is a lot of money for a tyre. Tubeless tyres tend to be more expensive than conventional ones - of course you are going to be saving on regularly shelling out for inner tubes not to mention the time and inconvenience caused by punctures. That said, the Schwalbe One is at the uppper end of the scale even for tubeless tyres. In its defence it is a tubeless race tyre and it's also the best riding tubeless tyre we've tested - even better than it's predecessor the Ultremo ZX. It's also worth stressing that £56.99 is merely the rrp, shop around and you can find this tyre for considerably less than that.
With such easy tubeless installation as this, zero maintenance and no punctures, fantastic rolling resistance at lower pressures, fast enough for racing and durable enough for everyday riding with the toughness to tackle more adventurous roads and trails, I'm not sure why I would ever go back to regular tyres with inner tubes. If you're fed up with punctures and have tubeless ready rims (as many new bikes do these days) Schwalbe's One tyres are a good buy.
Schwalbe's racing tyre with all the benefits of tubeless technology plus enough durability for everyday riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Schwalbe One Tubeless
Size tested: 25-622 700x25c - weight is for pair
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This is what Schwalbe say...
Tubeless on the racing bike – the idea as such is not new. Theoretically, there are advantages. But are there also practical ones? Is the tubeless worthwhile in training and competition?
We say Yes. We are absolutely convinced that TUBELESS is the right choice for the racing bike. It is the path into the future
THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVANTAGES OF THE TUBELESS:
Advantage 1: Schwalbe ONE Tubeless is our fastest!
Normally there are two components. Tube and tire are constantly deformed. These flexing movements result in a loss of energy and increase the rolling resistance. If the tube is dispensed with, these negative factors are considerably reduced.
Result: Due to its design principle, the Schwalbe ONE Tubeless is significantly faster! In a direct comparison, the rolling resistance of tubeless tires is, in fact, less than that of a ultralight racing tire.
Advantage 2: Goodbye blowouts
Tubeless tires offer more safety: In case of a puncture, the air does not escape suddenly, but slowly. The crash risk is also distinctly minimized. And no more tubes mean no more tube blowouts. A vital increase in safety for extremely dangerous tube blowouts (e.g., through overheating on long, steep descents, or valves shearing off) are excluded as well.
Advantage 3: Puncture risk virtually zero – with liquid sealant
The Schwalbe ONE Tubeless is seated firmly and tightly. However, we recommend also using our liquid latex sealant DocBlue Professional. For this active puncture protection system functions just as well in racing bike tires as it does in the case of mountain bikes. Virtually all defects are immediately sealed again. Only really serious damage (such as cuts) can still delay the ride.
And what about the weight? The tubeless tire weighs more than a folding tire (tubeless, 305 g / folding tire, 205 g). But there is no tube. If the weight of a standard tube is deducted, the weight of the tubeless is, in principle, identical.
Advantage 4: Less pressure. More performance.
The TUBELESS tire reaches its peak performance with less pressure (1 bar less than normal folding tires). This means improved rolling behaviour, better cornering grip and very good traction. And the rolling resistance remains just as excellent as that of a lightweight racing tire.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Schwables fastest and at the same time most reliable competition tyre
Manufactured in a separate facility built exclusively for the production of this new tyre
Schwalbe One has been used RadioShack Leopard Trek, AG2R and FDJ
Tubeless compatible bead and casing
Available in 700 x 23, 25, 28c
Weighs: 205g - 340g
OneStar triple tyre compound
Max PSI ratings: 70 - 125 PSI
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Not slower than the regular clincher version with all the benefits of tubeless (lower pressures for more traction and no flats)
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I didn't find anything to dislike during my test with them. You can't change tyres as easily and quickly with tubeless, but these are good enough to fit-and-forget
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
With such easy tubeless installation as this, zero maintenance and no punctures, and fantastic rolling resistance at lower pressures, I'm not sure why I would ever go back to regular tyres with inner tubes.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.