SCHWALBE ROAD CRUISER TYRES
700x32C (32-622) 544g (as tested) £19.99 each
Aimed primarily at the urban commuter, Schwalbe’s Road Cruiser tyres are made from their new “Green Compound.” So, you can be an eco-traveller on eco-tyres. As ever, Schwalbe cover all bases, and these come at a very nice price, too. Overall, they meet their design brief very well. They’ve certainly made a good impression on my mixed-surface commute.
Pros: offers a good deal more than its urban-commute ID might suggest, at a very tempting price.
Cons: I’d pay a bit more for stronger anti-puncture protection.
First up, I was struck by the supple feel of the tyre, something you don’t always get with commuter orientated tyres. The tread pattern is well-defined, though, as you’d expect, not aggressive. We are talking road and cycle track territory as the primary market
What makes the Road Cruiser a new departure is the construction of the tread using only renewable and recyclable rubber and polymers. At present “Green Compound” is only available in black, and on the latest (2019) incarnation of the Road Cruiser. They aim to use it on more models in their active range, and then, well, who knows.
The Road Cruiser is a wired, twin skin, directional tyre, coming in at sizes between 12 and 28 inches. 50epi places durability above rolling, and Kevlar Guard puncture protection rates 3/7 on Schwalbe’s own scale; but Schwalbe have pretty exacting standards. Both should be more than adequate for the job, though some might go for goo-filling, especially on the winter commute.
Pressure range is from 65-95psi, that’s 4.5-6.5 bars. That’s a pretty sporty top end for what’s described as an “urban” tyre. It is not as inflated as Oxford’s Mojo Stamina’s 110psi top end, but outdoes Vee Tire Co’s Easy Street. So what you have is lively maximum with a suitably low 65psi for grippier road holding.
White walls would not usually be my first choice, but these are every striking indeed and add a good deal of presence. Other colour walls are available. In addition, there’s a dynamo track. OK. There’ll be those who wonder why we still need those, but the cheap and cheerful bottle dynamo still has its place, and not just amongst the retro fraternity.
There’s and official 80kg weight limit per tyre, suggesting decent carrying capacity.
Fingers and thumbs only slipped the Road Cruisers onto my Mavic and Ryde Sputnik rims without any fuss. Easily seated, the supple side-walls mould into the rims very comfortably. On the commute, that can be a real plus; no blood, sweat, or tears, and no offence to passers-by. Removal is easy, too, but you’ll need a basic tyre lever or two, at least.
Puncture Protection 3.25/5
Given local farmers’ November hedge-flailing making this open season for punctures, it’s not surprising that I, unluckily, picked a hawthorn special on the rural commute.
Condemning the Road Cruiser for that wouldn’t be fair – it isn’t the first and won’t be the last. On the same front, others have been luckier and not picked up so much as a holly leaf. Fact is ‘testing’ for puncture resistance is just a matter of good or bad fortune.
They’ve not succumbed to more urban detritus on more traditional urban work runs. Mind you, given the price tag and the tyres many qualities, I’d be prepared to fork out a bit more for tougher protection.
Bearing in mind that this is a new compound, it is more than usually difficult to prognosticate. There’s no obvious distress two hundred miles in, but at this stage, reporting back later is the best we can offer. Schwalbe describe it as “good” which by their standards means they’d expect many miles of happy cycling.
Setting off at 85psi on a twelve-mile commute consisting of road, crushed lime towpath, tarmac cycle lane, and country lanes, I was immediately struck by the supple, spritely persona. How Green Compound contributes to this, I could not say, but there’s nothing sluggish or unresponsive about these. True, we aren’t in real gravel or TT territory, but we are in post-work fun country.
Braking was sure; cornering steady; and no hint of slip on those naughty raised ironworks. Nor did they rebel when hitting thirty metres of bottom-bracket-deep floodwater. We scuttled through mud and deteriorating surfaces. I’ve done similar on other commuter tyres, but without that safe-as-houses feeling.
Given my fourteen stone weight, dropping down to 70psi for the same trip was not so successful, and that’s when the hawthorn monster struck. Until then, the ride had been sturdy and worthy – much more what I’d expect from an urban/commuter tyre.
Up at top pressure, Michael reports that they’ve managed his country skedaddles along roads topped with a jus of dung and muck better than he has any right to expect. He puts this down, in part, to the fixed-wheel machine he was on. These are clearly tyres that will take you well beyond the urban plod.
Loaded up with shopping, they handle soundly when kept toward the top-end of the pressure range. I’d happily take these for a light-weight weekend tour, or even cart heavier gear when with a slower group, such as the rest of the family.
Frankly tyres of this quality at this price are a snip. They’re cheaper than Vee Tire Co’s Easy Street and certainly compare well, especially when under load for a few days away, and for control when things get really dirty on the road. Oxford’s Mojo Stamina come in a couple of quid cheaper, but, in my opinion, are significantly more limited on winter country lanes or slimier cycle paths or canal towpaths.
Even so, search through some on-line retail sites, and you may find more bomb-proof Schwalbe models, such as the venerable Marathon Plus, at only a few quid more. Mind you, reputation has these as less amenable to lever-less fitting and, having used them for years, I’m not sure they are much sprightlier, although their touring capacity is their greatest merit.
Tioga’s City Slickers officially a little pricier, but, in our opinion, the Road Cruisers handle better in a wider range of contexts.
Your eco-street-cred may or may not be important to you – but the Green Compound is far from the only enticement offered by the Road Cruisers. You might be seduced by their supple-feel; tempted by the price; inveigled by their willingness to go beyond what it says on the label. Really good tyres for daily driving or light-weight weekends away, especially when you might fancy a little impromptu diversion off the straight-and-narrow commute.