The Schwalbe G-One Bite SuperGround SpeedGrip tyres are easy to set up tubeless and offer good amounts of highly predictable grip on hard surfaces and those with a layer of loose debris over the top. The rolling resistance feels quite reasonable too, so longer stints on the tarmac don’t prove to be a drag. It’s worth noting that the tread pattern can be quickly overwhelmed by sloppy mud, so this isn’t a one-tyre all-year solution.
Easy to set up tubeless
Good speed on the roads
Good grip in dry and dusty conditions
Low profile centre knobs can be quickly overwhelmed in muddy conditions
By Stefan Abram
The Schwalbe G-One Bite Super Ground SpeedGrip tyres are nominally the second most aggressive in the German brand’s gravel tyre range. But don’t be fooled, the line-up is heavily tipped towards smoother and slicker rubber – the “Bites” themselves are still much more of a two-season tyre than a fit-and-forget, four-season type deal.
A name as long as the one bestowed upon these tyres deserves a bit of an explanation. The “Schwalbe” part is pretty straightforward, but…
- G-One: This designates that the tyre falls into the gravel range. There’s also X-One, which are tyres for cyclocross and Pro One, which are the performance oriented road items.
- Bite: This is the name of one of the four gravel tyres. In order of increasing ‘gnar’, it goes: Speed, Allround, Bite, Ultrabite.
- SuperGround: This refers to the 67 TPI casing, which was formally known as TLE (TubeLess Easy) but has since received an update and so needed a new name to differentiate it.
- SpeedGrip: There are four “Addix” compounds Schwalbe uses in its performance off-road tyres. In order of increasing tackiness they are: Speed, SpeedGrip, Soft, UltraSoft. But unlike with the MTB tyres, most of which are offered in multiple different compounds, the gravel tyres are only available with the SpeedGrip compound.
So, with the nomenclature out of the way, let’s get onto the specifics of this G-One Bite.
The Construction: Schwalbe G-One Bite SuperGround SpeedGrip
While some brands have taken to offering gravel tyres in just a single size, Schwalbe has lived up to its reputation of catering for a ride range of widths. Although the selection isn’t as staggering as the many, many different sizes the Marathon touring tyres come in, you still get three widths in 700c (40, 45 and 50mm) and two widths in 650b (50 and 54mm) – which should suit most people’s needs.
Quite different again to most tyres out there, the tread pattern employs cylindrical knobs, as opposed to the more angular and blocky designs more commonly seen. The reasoning behind this is to offer grip which is more consistent and predictable at a wider range of angles, helping to keep control in the corners.
The centre knobs are tightly packed down the centre of the tread and measure about 1.5mm tall. Moving out towards the shoulders, the knobs start to thin out a bit, increasing their mud shedding capacity and their ability to hook up into shifting surfaces. The shoulder knobs themselves are about 2.5mm for added ‘bite’ when banked over in the corners.
Popping the G-One Bites onto a set of DT Swiss G-1800 rims, they didn’t put up any more of a fight than you get with some clinches – so no bloodied thumbs or swearing in frustration. When it came to inflation, they were a tiny bit harder to seat than the G-One Ultrabites in the previous TLE casing.
But to be fair, the Ultrabites were so good that although I forgot to add sealant to one of the wheels, it was only when swapping the tyres onto a different set of wheels a few weeks down the line that I realised. So, all in all, the new SuperGround casing of these tyres made for a pretty fuss free setup.
When it came to the riding, I found the G-One Bites perfectly pleasant to pedal on the road. Naturally, they are a little slower rolling than something narrower and slicker, but yet still fast enough that I’d more than happily use them on the road for rides which are more about distance than speed.
To elaborate a little, although the Ultrabites aren’t bad on the road for their grip – and didn’t make the tarmac sections between the trails a frustration – I’d still be looking fervently to change tyres at the prospect of back-to-back 100 mile days as part of a bikepacking trip. Whereas with the Bites, although something slicker and slimmer would indeed be faster, I still wouldn’t really feel the need to swap them out for a ride like that.
Off-road and on hard surfaces, such as bone-dry earth or rocky shingle, the grip was most impressive. On those surfaces where there’s a loose topping over a hard base, the predictability of the tyre meant that even when slipping about sideways, I always knew just where the limit was and how close I could go.
The shoulder knobs, although more pronounced than the centre tread, aren’t quite as aggressive as you get on some intermediate gravel tyres. But I found that in many cases this actually made it easier to take the corners hard. With the more linear transition, as opposed to a binary switch, you get a feel for how the tyre is hooking up which provides the confidence to lean in a little more and take the corner tighter.
The shallowness and tight spacing of the centre didn’t lend itself to riding in sloppy, muddy conditions, however. The back tyre would have a predilection to spin and there wasn’t much in the way of steering response – floating down the descents, it was much more a case of just holding to see where you end up.
It’s not a particular criticism, more an observation. A road tyre isn’t any the worse because it can’t handle a rooty trail. It’s just worth noting that, although these tyres are the second most aggressive in Schwalbe’s gravel line, they really are suited to spring and summer riding and aren’t ones for the gloop of the winter.
With an RRP of £60 the Schwalbe G-One Bite SuperGround SpeedGrip are a premium tyre. The Panaracer Gravelking SK TLC gravel tyres are just £44.99 and are excellent value, offering good grip, fast rolling speeds and durability.
At the other end of the scale, there’s the handmade Challenge Getaway tyres which were incredibly supple, offering comfort far in excess of what you would expect from a 700x40c tyre – which is the only size offered. However, they are quite hard to set up tubeless and they are expensive at £83 each.
The Schwalbe G-One Bite SuperGround SpeedGrip tyres are an excellent two-season tyre, offering good levels of highly predictable grip on both hard and loose surfaces. The rolling speed on tarmac is really quite reasonable too, increasing its versatility. Tubeless setup was very straight forward, as we’ve come to expect from Schwalbe. Do bear in mind, though, that the tread does get quickly overwhelmed by sloppy mud, so don’t expect them to be able to do year-round duties.
|Sizes||700c x 40, 45, and 50mm; 650b x 50 and 54mm|
|Measured width||44m in 700x45c|
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