Schwalbe makes some great tires. Their casing material, tread compounds and quality control are all top notch. They even have great names; the Racing Ralph, the Furious Fred, Magic Mary. For what the G-One series lacks in crafty naming it makes up for in variety, there are 4 different tread patterns all using round knobs of different sizes and spacing. The fastest in the series is the Speed with tiny knobs so closely pack together that it forms a light texture across the tire. The All-Round has slightly larger knobs equally spaced across the tire from shoulder to shoulder. The Bite has significantly larger knobs closely packed across the center and more spaced out on the shoulder. The UltraBite has the largest knobs with more space between them especially on the sides of the tire. If that didn’t provide you with enough choices each tire comes with different materials options, different tread compounds as well as different diameters and widths. For this test I used the less expensive Preformance tire materials with Raceguard and the Addix rubber compound in a 700x38c size.
While Schwalbe tires are made in Indonesia they are still very German. I would stereotype German tires as being very precisely built. They run very true with no bumps or deformities in the tread, measure narrower than their listed size and they fit very tight on the rim. This last one was especially true with my test tire, while it only took one tire iron to get it on it took two tire irons and multiple obscenities to get it off. It also required some soap on the bead of the tire to get it to seat properly on the rim as per the included instructions. There is even a suggested rotating direction on the tire for front or rear usage which seemed like a joke at first but on close inspection the center tread has a hint of an angle to it which may justify their rotating direction but it seemed altogether very German.
Mounted on a rim with a 19mm internal width the G-One Bite has a nice round profile with a smooth arc from shoulder to shoulder. As a front tire out on the road the tightly spaced center knobs were quiet and had very low rolling resistance but as soon as the bike leaned over “The Bite” kicked in. The knobs didn’t flex or give much but they made a mean growling noise on the pavement and let you know there was some grip there. The difference between the smooth center and the knobby shoulders was distinct but not too abrupt. As a rear tire the G-One Bite had less rolling resistance than I expected, not much different than the very slick tires I am used to running. It took a few degrees more lean angle for the bite of the side knobs to kick in with the G-One Bite on the rear but it still put out a disrinctive growl when leaned over on the pavement.
The effectiveness of “The Bite” was somewhat reduced by their narrower than advertised size coming in at 36mm on a 19mm internal width rim. Hard cornering in the rough resulted in the tire digging in at normal air pressures while at lower pressures it gave some more bite, but felt unstable out on the pavement. The traction on the rear was good, but not amazing perhaps because of its small contact patch across the center due to its very round profile. On rutted terrain the G-Ones did some very nice work with the side knobs grabbing hard and pulling the bike out of the ruts even with some intentionally sloppy bike handling. The mud shedding abilities didn’t quite live up to expectations but then I rode through some peanut butter like mud to test them and that is asking a lot from any tire. The mud did come off after getting up to speed on the pavement which isn’t a given with mud like that. Setting up this tubeless ready tire proved to be a breeze after learning to use a little soap to lubricate the bead as per the instructions. It mounted up with just a floor pump on the first try.
The Schwalbe G-One Bite is capable all-around tire ready for what ever you can throw at it. With its slick rolling center and grippy bite it could be best suited to rides that include fast hard pack or pavement mixed with loose, rough, muddy or rutted sections. It would make an excellent cyclocross racing tire especially for the slippery off-camber sections the cyclocross race organizers love where “The Bite” could really do its thing. I liked the Bite best as a front tire because it’s round profile provided good bike handling feel and while the G-One Bite doesn’t shine at any one application it does a lot of things well and sometimes that is just what you need.