Schwalbe Wicked Will 2021 Mountain Bike Review

Schwalbe Wicked Will 2021

Reviews / Tyres

Schwalbe 71,288

At a glance

Schwalbe sent us two pairs of their latest Wicked Will. They sit in between the full XC style Racing Ralph and the more knobbly Nobby Nic. Ideal for trail bikes and that new downcountry thing those marketeers keep talking about.

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If the name Wicked Will sounds familiar, you’re right. Back in the days of 26’’ tires Will was already part of the Schwalbe family. After a short sabbatical, it has returned as their new All Mountain tire to sit in between the Racing Ralph and Nobby Nic.

For the moment, the Wicked Will is available in three different tire casings. The Super Trail has more flat protection, the Super Race as it’s most lightweight version and the Super Trail that sits in between.

The Super Ground weighs in at 920 grams on our kitchen scale. Slightly off from the claimed 830 grams, but we did have pre production samples. The Super Race version claimed weight comes in at 820 grams, in real life however it was slightly lighter at 807 grams. Win some, lose some!

All of the Super Race, Ground, and Trail tires are part of the Schwalbe Evolution line and will sell for 62,90 EUR / 72,79 USD / 62,90 GBP a piece.

About the brand

Founded in 1922, Bohle is the parent company of the brand ‘Schwalbe’, and one of the oldest and largest tire producers in the world. The production is done in their own factory in Indonesia which employs more than 3000 people.
Sustainability is high on the list for the tire maker, and they are involved in various projects from the Orangutan Survival Foundation to the Fair Rubber NGO. They incorporate recycled rubber in their products where possible, have an innertube and tire recycling program in place and even the Eurobike Booth is made from recycled and FSC materials.

Out on the trail

First up to test were the Super Race tires. That term lightly scares me, as I weigh 85kg and love rocky trails. It is more than natural that I had to run these tires with slightly more pressure, but the casing is really supple. On the trail you noticed it really smoothing out the small stones, roots and other irregularities. Climbing grip was impressive and even on the descents Will was holding its own. Of course the lower thread height means you compensate in terms of braking and hard cornering capabilities. But the lack of rolling resistance made it great on hard pack straight stuff.

When switching to the Super Ground setup, I had a little more confidence when hitting the more spicy sections of the trail. Not only did the sturdier sidewalls offer more puncture protection, they also felt more solid when cornering as the tire did not fold over as easily.

The side knobs clinged to the ground when cornering and the center blocks gave enough traction / braking power on moderately steep trails.

When things get moist, Will quickly reaches his limits. The knobs are spaced well, but the lack of height hampers them from getting traction when it gets really muddy. More a dry weather tire, but no need for a pit stop when you get caught in a rain shower.

Verdict

Although I loved the fast rolling character of Will, I would love to see a little more grip on the front end for my type of trails. If you predominantly ride smooth, trail center / purpose built trails however, Will definitely is your guy.

I reckon combined with a  Nobby Nic up front, this Will (pun intended) make a great combo for the not-really-enduro rider. And I will definitely keep Will on my rear wheel for the foreseeable future.

As usually with Schwalbe, the 2.4 tires end up being quite narrow compared to other brands. Good news is they will also be available in 2.6 for both 27.5 and 29 wheel sizes. Don’t rush to the shop just yet, as with many of the bike products these days there are some delays in production. Expect to see them in the shops in the beginning of 2022.

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This review was in Issue 66 of IMB.

For more information visit Schwalbe

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By Jarno Hoogland
Jarno's life has revolved around two wheels ever since he swung a leg over his first BMX at age 4. After a BMX and DH racing career, he moved on to work for bike shops, distributors and brands before ending up in the editors seat at IMB. Based in the ultimate testing ground in the Swiss mountains, he runs his guiding operation and makes sure every IMB issue is filled with top notch content.

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