With 2014 knocking on our doors, we seized the opportunity to test Schwalbe’s new tire, Thunder Burt, designed for cross-country racing, probably the main reason why it features such low weight figures for all 3 wheel sizes, namely of 370 grams (26 inches), 385 grams (27.5 inches), and 400 grams (29 inches).
As for us, we took the 27.5 inch version for a spin, mainly because it has a different tread pattern which is more easy to evaluate in this size. Later on, we found out that our evaluation problems were only in our heads, as the Thunder Burt proved to be very fast on the trails we rode on. Actually, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that only a slick tread tire can be faster than our test subject. And maybe Schwalbe’s Furious Fred may perform better in terms of speed, but it lacks the grip of Thunder Burt.
Worthy of mention is the fact that Schwalbe didn’t only propose a new model through Thunder Burt, but also came up with a seemingly new concept, that its competitors don’t go by. The new tire features very small knobs on the center, while the side ones are prominent, in order to deliver that extra grip. Don’t expect to feel the grip of a model like Hans Dampf though, because this feature of the Thunder Burt is performant when speaking in terms of cross country mountainbiking. To further complete the tire’s image, we would add that at a 2.0 bar pressure, 66 knobs are permanently connected to the ground, which ensure optimal traction when riding uphill.
On dry ground, it’s hard to imagine that you can find a lighter and faster tire than Burt, but the going gets tough when water comes into play. Passing over rocks becomes difficult, while roots prove to be too much, eventhough only a few tires can really offer consistent help in this matter. The same goes for muddy corners as well.
To cut the long story short, Schwalbe created an excellent set of tires for cross-country racing in dry conditions. On the other hand, if weather conditions get hectic, you should have a spare set of mud tires around. Coming back to Thunder Burt, the rolling speed is simply impressive, and so is the low weight, and if you seek extra protection, there is a version available with thicker sidewalls that adds 60 grams to each tire.
Weight: 385 grams/piece (27.5 inches size)