Schwalbe G-One Allround: A Game-Changing Plus Tire
Cass’ world is rocked – relatively speaking – by Schwalbe’s G-One Allround, a tire that will transform sometimes slovenly ‘plus’ bikes into fast, gravel-munching machines…
2021 update: This year, it appears that the 27.5×2.8in version of the G-One Allround is only available in the heavier, DD/RaceGuard/TLE version (11600953.01), with a claimed weight of 850g. While this is significantly more than the LiteSkin version I tried, I imagine it’s still a very capable, general use tire that’s lighter than most other options on the market. The price is $56.
It’s good to have your preconceived ideas challenged, right? For instance, I’ve always favoured a semi-knobbly tread on my tires for bikepacking; I figured the time I spend on pavement is minimal, so I’ll take the hit in efficiency when I occasionally end up riding blacktop.
Then I received a set of 27.5″ Jones C-Rims to test out (more on those later) shod with Schwalbe’s G-One Allround tires. In swapping them out, the weight of the wheelset dropped by a whole 1550g (3.4 lbs), the majority of which is rotational, so especially noticeable when you kick up a bike to speed. Granted, some of that was in the carbon rim itself, as well the use of lighter hubs and spokes. But with almost a 900g (2 lb) saving in rubber, a good chunk of it was the tires. I hopped on the bike. Took a few pedal strokes. And shot forward.
Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the G-One family of tires, there are various treads on offer, each with their own model name – Allround, Speed, Bite, and Ultrabite. Each tread pattern is available in a different range of rim sizes and widths and compounds. Prices vary too. I’m focusing on the Allrounds, as they’re the only ones in a real ‘plus’ size width, namely 27.5 x 2.8″. I tried the Liteskin version, which is a claimed 655g in weight and costs $85/tire. There’s also the DD Raceguard, which is 855g and a more wallet-friendly $56/tire.
As I mentioned, I generally favour a tire with more aggressive side knobs. However, with plus tires being so much wider than other mountain biking tires, there’s not always the need for quite such a chunky tread. Sometimes less is more; shallower knobs can help reduce the potential of a big volume tire to roll when cornering. In the case of the G-Ones, the ‘micro bobble tread’ isn’t exactly deep in the grand scheme of things, though it’s notably more pronounced than the same tire in a 700x35mm or 38mm flavour. It’s enough to allow predictable, consistent, and safe cornering on even relatively loose gravel roads.
I rode my set from spring through to summer, initially on New Mexican and Arizonan dirt roads (both rocky and well packed) and then on European gravel bikepacking routes, many of which include as much as a 50% ratio on paved, minor backroads – the tertiary roads on a route like Valencia’s Burrally see hardly any traffic at all, making them far more suited to an off-road bikepacking route than you might expect. I also stuck with my Jones and G-One combo at a Roughstuff gathering in Wales. There, they made me feel a little guilty: the bike was quick on the road – allowing me to stay within the peloton of fast and light gravel bikes – and then, thanks to its confidence-inspiring tire volume, encouraged me drop everyone on the trails (not very good form, I know). In the Liteskin variety, at least, their reduced weight is noticeable enough to really change the character the bike, especially when unladen. It felt considerably more peppy to ride.
In short, where I might normally have cursed, I found myself enjoying paved roads for what they were – a fast and fun way of linking gravel sections – instead of wishing them away. And when the terrain did become rowdy, it was simply a case of airing down the tires a little. Yes, a lighter, slimmer wheelset might have felt even better in certain conditions, but I think its benefits are more incremental than you’d expect. And in my opinion, they’re largely overshadowed by the gains of a large volume tire off-road, which is where we mostly want to be, right?
There’s good news when it comes to tire-wear, too. After several months of use, mostly loaded, these tires have held up incredibly well. I chatted to Andy Cox, aka @doubletrackfanatic and @europeandividetrail, and after a couple of years of riding this way and that across the dirts roads of Europe, he concurred. Andy claimed to have even eeked 10,000km of mixed terrain out of a set. Granted, he ran them until the last iota of life had been squeezed from them, but still, that’s quite something. In terms of running tubeless, the tire walls feel robust, even on the lightweight version. I noticed some peeling of the branding over time, but it didn’t affect the integrity of the tire or cause any sealant to weep.
In fact, I liked them so much that it was somewhat grudgingly that I eventually removed them, mainly because I was headed to the Peak and Lake District, where a chunky tire is definitely preferred. For a while, I simply ran a knobblier tire up front and left the rear as it was, given the dry and dusty summer conditions.
Bear in mind that fitting these tires will likely drop your BB a touch, and it’s something I noticed on rocky singletrack. But seeing as they’re primarily intended for reasonable-quality dirt roads, I don’t see it being an issue. And note that the rocky singletrack itself wasn’t an issue, as long as conditions were dry. Speaking of moisture, you’re probably best of steering well clear of the G-Ones in muddy conditions. Between their wide volume (plus tires have a tendency to plane through mud, not dig in and bite) and shallow tread, gloop is not where they want to be.
Widthwise, I ran mine on Jones C-rims that measure a massive 49mm internally, and they fit better than I expected. They’re pretty much true to size too: 72.5mm (2.85″) on the C-rims, so likely a little less (but a touch taller) on WTB Scrapers. In any case, they’ll mount perfectly on rims between 30 and 45mm in internal width, ensuring you have sufficient sidewall stability. I didn’t have any issues in setting them up tubeless, either, even with a standard floor pump. I ran them between 15-20 psi, though they have a recommended rating of 20 psi minimum.
Aside from the Jones SWB that’s pictured, I could see this as a fantastic tire to throw on the Surly Bridge Club I reviewed a while back. I’m sure it would have a similar effect and turn it into a fast, gravel munching machine. I wish they were available as a 29 x 2.6 or 2.8″, as I can think of a lot of other bikes that would benefit from them for dirt road bikepacking. As it is, they max out at a 2.25″. The G-One Speeds, on the other hand, aren’t available in a 27.5 x 2.8″, but can be found in a 29 x 2.35″.
As you can see, the 27.5 x 2.8″ version packs small, making it a good spare tire on a long trip. I’ll be stockpiling them if they ever get dropped from Schwalbe’s line!
- Tires tested Schwalbe G-One Allround 27.5 x 2.8″
- Weight 655g (claimed)
- Price $85/tire
- Manufacturer’s details Schwalbe
I’ll go all out and say that these tires have redefined what I believe a plus bike is capable of (enjoyably, at least). When folks have previously insisted, “Those bikes must be hard work on paved roads,” I’ve grudgingly admitted it’s true, pointing out that pavement isn’t the place where a plus bike shines, and that yes, asphalt stints can be a chore. But thanks to Schwalbe’s G-One Allrounds, I can now claim that a 27.5+ bike is one of the most versatile bikes you can own, covering everything from paved and dirt road riding to ‘proper’ mountain biking.
I’d consider them ideal for almost any long-distance dirt road tour, particularly where paved surfaces – of all qualities – are likely to play their part. Obviously the looser the terrain, the more you’ll benefit from a tire with a more aggressive tread pattern, particularly at the front, such as a WTB Ranger Tough. But for the vast majority of what many of us end up riding – namely decent forest roads, some roughstuff, and the inevitable pavement bouts – these tires are absolutely perfect.
Now go try out a set and see for yourself!
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