Tire Review: Schwalbe One Tubeless

Tire Review: Schwalbe One Tubeless

Tire reviews are challenging simply because in order to be really valuable, you have to use a tire for a long time. I've recently done that with a pair of Schwalbe One tubeless tires, so here's the review.

First off, a confession: I initially chose them because tan wall was a hard must for this set of tires. I just like the look, and wanted it for this year's primary tires. While we're on the topic of aesthetics, this bike just came back from a quarantine-cation in the boonies of Maine and hasn't been washed, and the skewer blade is in the wrong spot because the bike came off the car on Sunday night and I put the wheel on in the cold and dark and hung the bike up in the shed. Yes, those are 9 year old BB7s and at this point I've got them working perfectly. There are many other brakes out there that work differently and/or better, but I have these and I am cheap. This is a nearly 10 year old HOT BUNS bike that they're on, which I love dearly and enjoy on every ride in spite/because of its age and wear and quirks. 

Road tubeless is the eternal question these years, huh? After a few seasons of "no thanks," I thought it was time to re-up and use it again to see where we are. And since it will be asked, my general status has been that <25mm tires is a hard no on tubeless, 25 is a toss up, and 28 or bigger has been primarily tubeless territory. The tires these replaced are 28mm GP4000s (that are actually like 32) so this hasn't been a hard hard rule, but a good guideline.

Initially, I used them on RCGs, but then I switched them to Cafe Racers (shown) when I put some gravel tires on the RCGs for a trip I took in the summer. Cafe Racers and RCGs have the exact same rim bed. The set up was easy both new and after some use. We still have conversations with people who struggle to install tires on tubeless rims, and it's all in the technique which is shown in this old video we did. If you don't do it like that, you'll struggle. In this case, the tires began to inflate from the first pump of a floor pump, and seating and sealing were easy.

The Ones are a step down from the Pro Ones in terms of performance orientation, trading a bit of speed/cornering grip/suppleness for a bit of puncture resistance and durability. This is a trade I usually hate, and feared in this instance. Instead, the Ones feel shockingly lively, comfortable, and fast. The lab tests show a few watts of difference between these and the pure race-grade tires. While I'm sure I can't pick out those few watts in blind testing, I sure can pick out a dead and sluggish feeling tire, and I'd have fired these in short order if they felt that way. They so don't.

The grip is really good, I've taken all of my reference turns at full rip and there's full confidence. The Addix compound on the outer layer is what the top tier Schwalbes use, and the tread pattern (which does absolutely nothing for grip, btw) is the same as on Pro Ones.

You can notice a bit of squaring off in this front tire. This is because I'm an idiot and am always in a hurry. When I put these tires on these wheels after the mentioned trip with gravel tires, I put the rear tire on the front and vice versa. This is a thing you normally avoid, but wanting to avoid reinstalling the whole deal, I called it a test instead. This is what the tire looks like about 2800 miles in, having been used almost equally as a rear and a front. If I keep this tire on the front, it easily has twice that use left in it I think. New England roads are not silky smooth, and these have seen plenty of dirt and gravel as well. 

On the 21.5mm internal Cafe Racer/RCGs, these have grown to just a bit over 30mm wide. I generally use them at about 60 psi front and 65 to 70 rear. That might sound high to some and low to others, but at my 167ish weight it seems just about perfect. I've screwed around with it a lot, and this pressure gives fantastic comfort (I can stand up straight immediately after an 80 mile non-stop ride!), and feels fast and responsive. 

How many Stanimals are in them now? Well they'd really be "Orange Seal-imals" because that's what we use, but when I swapped them in the summer there weren't any. So either there's something to the "V-Guard" flat protection or I've just been lucky. 

Final score: for the purposes I chose them, they're perfect. If I raced, I'd use Pro Ones instead. Because I want to ride a lot on great feeling tires yet have them last and not get flats, I wouldn't have any reason to choose a different tire. 

Unfortunately, as with half of everything in the bike universe these days, Schwalbe Ones are out of stock for an indefinite period. Once they return to regular availability, we will happily add them as a product choice. But for now there's no use putting them up there only to mark them out of stock with no ETA. 

A glamour shot from the "cabin in the woods quarantine-cation." Southern end of Acadia Park Loop, looking west. Beautiful place. 

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Do you use 23mm or 25mm sized rim tape for your RCGs/Cafe Racers?


I have the Pro’s 23mm on my older narrow rims – they actually inflate to like a 25mm width – and because the 23mm are always on sale! I go up to 100psi plus rear and 95psi front – no issues – and yes the ride feels totally racer – but then I’m only doing 20 to 30 mile rides tops. Definitely top off the juice every 6 months-ish when you notice them needing pumped up more than every 3 days.

David Webber

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