Tire manufacturers like Schwalbe are always improving their mountain bike tire designs. Which is always great for us riders. With a caveat. Because constantly advancing technologies and changing product names are hard to keep up with.

It doesn’t help that brands like to use many made-up names, accronyms and technical abreviations to often describe the same things. And Schwalbe is no stranger to those either with Addix, Super, EVO, Performance, Snakeskin, Apex, TLE and so on.

But don’t worry, only a couple of those are worth knowing and actually important to tire choice. The most important information you need to know to make an informed tire selection is this:

This leaves a cut-down selection of tread patterns in various tire sizes to choose from. Here again, it’s easy to filter by the style of riding and the trail surfaces. Even optimal tire widths are somewhat ranged by MTB discipline.

How to pick the right Schwalbe tire

A quick disclaimer: There is no single perfect tire for any condition and riding. It’s always a compromise between traction and durability, weight and protection, or compliance and stiffness. So knowing what you need from a tire is half the battle.

Here are the basics: As a general rule, Cross Country tires require lighter casings and harder compounds, while Downhill tires need to have stiff casings with soft rubber. For All-Mountain and Enduro there’s room to play around depending on the types of surfaces you ride.

Since Schwalbe has some tread patterns available, that look and work very similarly, but differ in the casings and compounds they come in, it’s best to start from another direction. This way any overlap doesn’t become confusing

Below I provide a list of all current Schwalbe MTB tires with their respective options they come in. This lists also MTB disciplines, which is crucial for tire choice.

1. Select for type of riding

In any case, it’s best to start with the MTB riding discipline to narrow the selection down initially. Then pick one of each of the remaining compounds and casings that matches the type of riding. Aggressive downhill or long XC rides where rolling performance is key.

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Rough terrain and big impacts, or …
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… soft dirt and smooth trails. // Martin Fabian

2. Combine front and rear tires optimally

Know hwo you want each to perform. Generally, front tires need to corner and brake better, while rear tires need to withstand more abuse. In other words: softer casings and compounds up front, harder ones in the back. Many riders also pick different tread patterns front and back, but that’s our last step.

3. Pick the casing

With knowing what each wheel needs to handle, pick the casing accordingly. This is the basis for the tire and may also dictate the compounds and treads available.

schwalbe Super Race
The Super Race casing
schwalbe Super Ground
The Super Ground casing
schwalbe super downhill
Super Downhill casing

Front tires require more compliance and have to endure fewer impact forces.
Rear tires bear most of the weight and take huge impacts.

From soft to hard, Schwalbe casings are:

  • Super Race: Cross Country racing
  • Super Ground: Light-duty trail and Cross Country riding
  • Super Trail: All-around trail riding
  • Super Gravity: Enduro, DH, and e-bikes
  • Super Downhill: Downhill racing and long-travel e-bikes

Find more on these casings below or in the dedicated article explaining all current Schwalbe tire casings.

4. Rubber compound

Select for the most important characteristics of the rubber actually making contact with the ground. It’s a compromise between traction or rolling resistance and durability – or soft and hard compounds.

From hard, fast rolling to soft, grippy Schwalbe Addix compounds are:

  • Speed: XC racing
  • Speedgrip: XC and Trail
  • Soft: DH & Enduro rear tires
  • Ultrasoft: DH & Enduro front tires
schwalbe addix compounds color coded from hard to soft
The Schwalbe Addix compounds are color-coded from hard to soft.

Find more on these casings below or in the dedicated article explaining the Schwalbe Addix compounds.

5. Tread pattern selection from the few options remaining

By this point, only a couple of tire treads should be up for debate now. This is a choice largely depending on the trail surfaces you find yourself on mostly. Rock slabs, loamy dirt, root carpets or hard pack dirt. The choice is yours, and Schwalbe has treads designed to perform on each.

If you want to know what to look for in a tire tread and how they’re designed to work, this article all about MTB treads may be for you.

If you are interested in checking out the full range of Schwalbe MTB tires, you can find pretty much all variations in their amazon store or over at Jenson.

Table of 2023 Schwalbe Mountain Bike Tires

Find out the actual tires suitable for your riding discipline first before getting into the details like available casings. Those will be dependent on the type of riding.

To provide an overview, here are all current Schwalbe mountain bike tires sorted by riding discipline:

Schwalbe TireMountain Bike DisciplinesAddix CompoundsTire CasingsTrail Recommendations
HurricaneXC, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, Raceguard, GreenguardHard-pack, Roads
Johnny WattsXC, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, RaceguardHard-pack, Roads
Rock RazorXC, Trail, UrbanSpeedgrip, SoftSuper Trail, Super GravityHard-pack, Roads
Nobby NicXC, Trail, Enduro, DowhillSpeedgrip, SoftSuper Ground, Super TrailAllrounder
Tough TomXC, TrailK-GuardActive LineRocky Alpine
Rocket RonXC Race, TrailSpeed, SpeedgripSuper Ground, Super RaceAllrounder
Racing RayXC Race, TrailSpeed, SpeedgripSuper Ground, Super RaceHard-Pack (Front Tire)
Wicked WillXC Race, TrailSpeedgripSuper Ground, Super Trail, Super RaceAllrounder
Racing RalphXC RaceSpeedSuper Ground, Super RaceHard-Pack (Rear Tire)
Thunder BurtXC RaceSpeedSuper Ground, Super RaceHard-pack, Roads
Rapid RobXC (Cross Country)K-GuardActive LineAllrounder (Rear Tire)
Black JackKids, XC, UrbanK-GuardActive LineHard-pack, Roads
Little JoeKids, XC, TrailK-GuardPerformance LineAllrounder
CX CompGravelK-GuardActive LineHard-pack, Roads
Jumbo JimFatbikeSpeedgripSuper GroundAllrounder
Al MightyFatbikeSpeedgripSuper GroundMud, Snow, Ice
Magic MaryEnduro, DownhillSoft, UltrasoftSuper Trail, Super Gravity, Super DownhillSoft Dirt, Mud
Big BettyEnduro, DownhillSoft, UltrasoftSuper Trail, Super Gravity, Super DownhillHard-Pack, Soft Dirt (Rear Tire)
Dirty DanEnduro, DownhillUltrasoftSuper Gravity, Super DownhillMud
Hans DampfEnduro, DownhillSpeedgrip, SoftSuper Trail, Super GravityAllrounder
Johnny Watts 365E-MTB, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, Raceguard, GreenguardHard-pack, Roads
Smart SamE-MTB, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, RaceguardHard-pack, Roads
Smart Sam PlusE-MTB, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, GreenguardHard-pack, Roads
Eddy Current FrontE-MTB, Enduro, DownhillSoftSuper TrailAllrounder (Front Tire)
Eddy Current RearE-MTB, Enduro, DownhillSoftSuper GravityAllrounder (Rear Tire)
Billy BonkersDirtjump, Pumptrack, SlopestyleAddix PerformancePerformance LineHard-pack, Roads

Tip: Navigate this list based on the type of riding you do. Besides tire names and MTB discipline, it also lists casings, puncture protection and rubber compounds.

What’s Schwalbe EVO Line?

Schwalbe’s EVO-Line of bike tires includes all that are available as “ADDIX” compounds and in their latest “Super” casings. They are the best Schwalbe has to offer, specifically designed for specific types of riding and terrains. They’re only available as folding bead and tubeless casings.

So, the EVO label’s only additional information provide is that you’re looking at the current best models.

What’s Schwalbe Performance Line?

The Performance Line exists parallel to the EVO line and is generally cheaper, heavier and less performant (ironically enough). This due to only one “Performance” compound and casing used. So fine-tuning to specific needs isn’t possible. They’re also the only Schwalbe tires available with wire beads.

For some types of riding like Dirtjump, Pumptrack and commuting this makes tire choice even easier.

Tire Casings: Schwalbe Super Line

The casing is the central structure of any tire. It’s important to choose the right one and to match it with the a matching compound. Schwalbe doesn’t let you stray off-path luckily and only offers optimised casing and compound combos.

For the fundamentals of what a bike tire casing even is, I wrote an entire article about MTB tire casings. Here’s how the Schwalbe “Super Trail” is built up:

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Schwalbe’s line of “Super” casings provides the best match for each type of MTB riding, from Cross Country to Downhill and everything in between. So, depending on the type of riding you do, only one or two casings make sense to pick.

Schwalbe MTB tires come in the 5 casings Super Race, Super Ground, Super Trail, Super Gravity and Super Downhill (from light to heavy-duty). Those are each a combination of the actual polyamide cloth casing and the puncture protection inserts like Snakeskin, Apex, Chafer and Raceguard.

They differ in the number of carcasse layers used in the casing and in their inserts for flat resistance. The result is various characteristics in stiffness, comfort and flat protection.

Puncture Protection

The added flat tire protection isn’t something you can actively select for, unlike with other brands like Maxxis’ casings. With Schwalbe tires, casings and protective inserts are combined into the five combinations of the Super Line. This eliminates one decision entirely.

This is a welcome change, which takes tire choice to its basics and makes it far less uneccessarily complicated. If you still want to dive deeper, follow the link provided above explaining all Schwalbe casings in detail.

https://suspensiontraveler.com/schwalbe-mtb-tire-casings-explained/

Rubber Compounds: Addix Line

ADDIX is Schwalbe’s current line of four mountain bike tire compound options. The four compounds are: Speed (red), Speedgrip (blue), Soft (orange), and Ultrasoft (purple), for specific types of riding Cross Country, All-Mountain, Trail, Enduro, or Downhill in the same order.

schwalbe addix compounds color coded from hard to soft
Schwalbe Sddix compounds are color-coded from hard to soft.

Four compounds is not too few and not too many to induce decision paralysis. Combined with five casings, there are enough combinations to find your ideal tire combo for front and back tires.

Most of the tires are usually available in no more than two rubber compound and casing options. If you want to learn more about the Addix compounds in detail, follow the link below:

https://suspensiontraveler.com/schwalbe-addix-mtb-tire-compounds-explained/

Note: Schwalbe has changed their line-ups and names a couple of years back. So the names used in this article are the only current ones, other like PaceStar, TrailStar, VertStar, DoubleDefense and the like are far outdated and not available anymore.

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