Schwalbe Big Ben vs Schwalbe Shredda Evo and Almotion

Recently, I’ve switched from my usual Schwalbe Big Ben tyres all around, to supposedly faster Schwalbe Shredda Evo (in 50-507) at the front and Schwalbe Marathon Almotion (in 55-559) at the rear of the blue Sprint.
These are just my unscientific impressions after using the Shreddas for 450km at the front and the Almotion for a bit over 1,000km at the rear.

The Schwalbe Big Ben (Performance Line)
BigBen

I wrote about the Schwalbe Big Ben already here and here. Its my standard tyre on my unsuspened tadpole trikes. Great traction and good comfort at lower tyre pressure. Certified throughout Europe for tyres used on ebikes capable of a top speed up to 50km/h (‘E-Bike 50 ready’). In essence a very light moped tyre with tremendous grip.

The Schwalbe Shredda (Evolution Line)
shredda

The Schwalbe Shredda Evo is a BMX tyre build for low weight and maximum speed. No puncture protection or ebike rating. Just a 127tpi carcass mated with Schwalbes finest rubber and a relatively fine thread pattern. It is equally at home on gravel, light snow or the road and offers great traction. Clearly better traction on gravel and wet roads than the already outstanding Big Ben.

While the Shredda Evolution Line ranked in several rolling resistance tests as one of the fastest 20″ tyres in its 50-406 size, the same tests and anecdotical evidence from members in the German recumbent forum suggested running at temperatures around freezing is not the strongest suite of the Shredda. It looses noticeably in the speed/rolling resistance department at chilly temperatures. In its 50-507 size, like tested, the Shredda Evo is probably the fastest 24″ tyre available (when temperatures are above 15°C).

Choosing the ‘right’, fast Shredda is not plain obvious, since Schwalbe offers it in two versions.
The fast, expensive (€50), 127tpi carcass, tubeless ready, folding, ‘Evolution Line’ version, build to leave your contenders in the dust, and the cheaper (€20), wire beat, every day, ‘Performance Line’ version with a more pedestrian 67tpi carcass. The ‘slow’ Shreddas where still a smidge faster in rolling resistance tests than the Kojak, though.

The Schwalbe Marathon Almotion
marathon_almotion

Schwalbe promotes the relatively new Marathon Almotion as a light and fast, tubeless ready touring tyre with high puncture resistance, equipped with their high-end ‘One Star’ rubber compound. Schwalbe rates the Almotion as a ‘E-Bike 25’ tyre (for Pedelecs with 25km/h top speed). A rolling resistance test of the Almotion in 40-622 size is reasuring.

At the same tyre size and air pressure, it’s a bit more comfortable than the already pretty nice Big Ben. Traction on wet roads is at least equal to the Big Ben if not slightly better. On gravel and off-road, the Big Ben with its slightly coarser thread got a bit of an advantage, though. Like the Land Cruiser, the Almotion seem to slip more gracefully and provides a bit easier handling when pushed too hard on cold, wet roads, compared to the Big Ben.

How did they behave?
I couldn’t find a clearly discernible speed increase of these faster tyres compared to the Big Ben at temperatures between -5°C and +5°C. I did find the Shredda (as well as the Almotion) provide even better grip and traction on wet roads than the Big Ben. You don’t get twice the grip for twice the money, but the better grip was clearly noticeable when I pushed the trike at high-speed around tighter corners.

So far, very nice tyres! The Almotion on the rear wheel seems to be a pretty good match to the Shreddas at the front. Just the lack of noticeably lower rolling resistance at cold temperatures (compared to the Big Ben) gives a slightly nagging feeling. Don’t forget, these tyres cost 50 bucks a piece, while you can get a Big Ben for around 20 bucks.

Since Spring is still slightly chilly here, I went back to using the Big Bens for my daily commute and will try the 24″ Shredda / 26″ Almotion combo again when temperatures settle above 15°C. Then it will hopefully be more clear whether the Big Ben is such a great tyre or the Shredda/Almotion are just a bit more susceptible to colder temperatures.

That wouldn’t be a phenomenon unheard of: All tyres get slower at lower temperatures, but the plain old Marathon GreenGuard is known to have way less increase in rolling resistance when temperatures drop under 5°C, than most other tyres.

All images: Schwalbe

Update Nov 5, 2016
Somehow I failed put the Shredda Evo’s and Almotion back on the trike to conclude my test at warmer temperatures. Has to wait till spring 2017.

I did however got a set of the cheaper Shredda ‘Performance Line’ tyres in 50-507 size and used them from mild temperatures around 20°C, to more chilly 2°C the other day on my daily commute. While the ‘cheap’ Shredda isn’t exactly a slouch and offers similar great traction as the Shredda Evo, around 5°C it suddenly seems to loose a bit of speed and gets a bit more slippery on wet roads. Traction is still pretty good, though.

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