I’ve been super happy with Hans Dampf 2.35 as a front tyre but thanks to BikeBox (the Australian distributor for Schwalbe) I have the opportunity to test the Nobby Nic 650b Snakeskin 27.5×2.35. According to Schwalbe:
[The Nobby Nic has been an] All round favorite and for many years a serial winner of MTB tire tests. Why? Nobby Nic is unbelievably versatile. The tread offers unbeatable control in any conditions. Thanks to its compounding and construction at the highest Evo level it is light and fast in competition. This astonishing performance makes it a true “Allgrounder”.
Like the Hans Dampf, Schwalbe classifies the Nobby Nic as an All Mountain/Enduro tyre. The Nobby Nic 2.35 weighs in at 685 grams, 130 grams lighter than my Hans Dampf 2.35 – that’s a considerable reduction in rotating mass. When fitted on the Flox Ex rim the Nobby Nic is a smaller tyre than the Hans, evident by the increased fork clearance.
Going from the Hans Dampf to the Nobby Nic I couldn’t help but be reminded of an earlier swap from over-sized Purgatory 2.4 to the lean Purgatory 2.3. In fact looking down at the Nobby Nic while riding it looks quite similar to Purgatory and the similarities don’t stop there. The Nobby Nic felt much like the Purgatory 2.3 through corners which IMO is a very good thing! The outer rows of knobbies dig in reliably, encouraging you to weight the front tyre.
Having come from running the Hans on the front of a Mojo HDR what I do miss with the Nobby Nic is the confidence inspiring and forgiving ride only a larger tyre can provide. If I was to head out to a Super D trail I’d consider putting the Hans back on, not really because the Nobby Nic couldn’t do the job, just that I would feel more confident with the Hans. But for everyday riding around Central Vic I’ll take the Nobby Nic with its reduced weight and Purgatory like cornering performance any day!