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review

Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite

6
£41.99

VERDICT:

6
10
Super grippy tyres best for those staying off roads and hard paths completely
Excellent grip
Tubeless
Heavy
Hard to seat the bead
Slow rolling
Weight: 
571g

The Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite is the most aggressive in Schwalbe's gravel line, and features larger knobbles not only the other G-Ones but most other gravel tyres as well. This results in excellent grip but increased rolling resistance, meaning they're best for those who venture way off the beaten path – not those thrashing dry, hardpack surfaces at speed.

Available with black, tan or these limited-edition olive green sidewalls, the G-One Ultrabite is unapologetically focused on offroad use, blurring the lines between the G-one gravel and X-One cyclocross ranges even further.

> Find your nearest dealer here

In this 38mm width the G-One Ultrabite has a claimed weight of 530g, but RoadCC's scales of truth say 571g. Compare this to the G-One Bite's measured weight – 455g – and it's apparent the Ultrabite not only gains grip, but also a significant amount of mass.

2020 Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite 700x38 TLE tyre - boxed.jpg

As with many modern gravel tyres, the Ultrabite is tubeless compatible. This is particularly useful as the terrain gets harsher and lower pressures become preferable, as the last thing you want is a pinch flat in the middle of a ride.

Physically getting them on the wheels in both tubed and tubeless scenarios proves easy, but getting them seated is a different matter. If I had to do it again I'd lubricate the sidewalls first – I hear washing up liquid does the trick.

My unlubed attempts on two different wheelsets left me with the Schwalbe writing still tucked inside the rim and, despite inflating them to 70psi (the maximum rating of both the tyres and my offroad rims), they failed to pop out and seat correctly. In the end I gave up and went on a rather wobbly ride, but even this didn't force the beads into place.

> Fitting tubeless tyres – learn how with this simple guide

On a set of 19mm (internal width) rims the G-One measures up accurately at 38mm. On 21mm rims it came up slightly wider at 39.5mm.

On the road the Ultrabite's high weight does impact performance, and it feels sluggish to accelerate. Its speed isn't helped by the added rolling resistance of that tread pattern, either (see Bicycle Rolling Resistance's test for the sciencey numbers).

Grip on the loose

Despite what seems like a pretty negative review so far, the Ultrabite is a good tyre – at least offroad. The large shoulder tread makes muddy corners easier, and the added rear traction really comes in handy. The Ultrabite is perfect if you take your gravel bike to slippy fields or even muddy singletrack.

The ADDIX Speedgrip compound is borrowed from Schwalbe's mountain bike tyres, and gives excellent grip and good durability. I've covered about 600km on mixed terrain – including rocks, tarmac and of course gravel – with no sign of wear or punctures.     

While the Ultrabite can turn a bog-standard gravel bike into a cyclocross or XC bike rival, the tyre's main undoing for me is just how good the other G-One variants are. The G-One Allround, for example, copes with surprisingly loose and slippy terrain, yet rolls far better on asphalt and hardpack; surfaces often found in even the gnarliest gravel rides.

> 26 of the best gravel bike tyres — get the right go-anywhere rubber

At £41.99, the Ultrabite is well priced. Plenty of gravel tyres will set you back more, and the similarly aggressive Teravail Rutland is £60. There are competitive alternatives, though. Specialized's Rhombus Pro 2Bliss is comparable at £42, and almost exactly the same weight, but then it's wider – 42mm.

Overall, the G-One Ultrabite is a very capable offroad tyre that can take a gravel bike into territory more associated with mountain bikes. It comes at the cost of extra weight and rolling resistance, though, and that's not great for speed across hardpack paths or roads. Therefore, these tyres are best suited for riders who spend most of their time on the slippy stuff and want the maximum grip possible.

Verdict

Super grippy tyres best for those staying off roads and hard paths completely

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite

Size tested: 700x38C

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?

Schwalbe says the Ultrabite is for "Gravel without limits. Created for off-road use. The aggressive tread design impresses with its compact 'tape knobs' in the middle of the tread and provides full grip and unrivaled traction. The strong outer blocks provide the rider with safety at all times when cornering."

The Ultrabite is indeed excellent offroad and can push the boundaries of where a gravel bike can go, but this comes at the expense of rolling resistance and weight.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

TLE (tubeless easy)

Addix Performance RaceGuard

Bead: Folding

Weight: 500g (700 x 38mm MicroSkin)

67EPI

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Well made and robust.

Rate the product for performance:
 
5/10

Brilliant off road, but doesn't roll well on harder terrain – which is often a part of gravel riding.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Good.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
4/10

Heavier than the claimed weight, which is already quite high for its width.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Tubeless compatibility means you can run low pressures.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

The price is fairly average, and the ADDIX compound seems durable and should last many miles.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Offroad traction and cornering grip are excellent, but the weight hinders acceleration.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Overtaking mountain bikes offroad...

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

A pain to seat.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

I think they're fairly priced - generally equal to or cheaper than their obvious competitors.

Did you enjoy using the product? Most of the time

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe

Use this box to explain your overall score

They're probably the grippiest gravel tyres I've ever used and excellent off-road, but they're quite heavy, not great on hard surfaces and I found them hard to seat properly. Even with their narrow range of ability they come out overall as above average and a six.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 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, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

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