Team rider Finn Tennant has been the subject of some product testing for Schwalbe Tires with the BIG BETTY Super Gravity Evo...
I’ve been lucky enough to have Schwalbe's new 29er Big Betty Super Gravity Evo inflated on my rear wheel recently and I have been putting it through its paces, so here are my first impressions…
Schwalbe aimed this tyre at the burly end of the mountain biking spectrum, as a rear specific number to be paired with a Magic Mary up front. The thinking behind the new Big Betty is to tailor the all-rounder Magic Mary platform with rear tyre specific improvements, so that each of the two contact points to the ground are better suited to the demands required of them.
A front tyre with narrower knobs, fairly closely spaced gives great traction without folding in corners or clogging up in tacky conditions, whereas the massive side loads put onto the rear tyre in fast berms tends to fold the tyres knobs over, and a locked rear wheel on slippery steep descents will clog up faster than the front.
So, the aim with the Big Betty was to increase support in corners, give better mud clearance and more braking traction at the rear end. To achieve this the Big Betty has beefed up side knobs, with more even spacing between them and a much wider set of center knobs in a 2-2-1 configuration rather than ordered 3-3-2 like the Magic.
Once I'd given the tyre a thrashing it was clear these objectives had been achieved, firstly, I could pump through berms much harder, generating more speed, without shralping or folding the knobs over, I tried this in tight slower berms and fast open corners with the same result. Secondly, the wide centre knobs had a similar effect on braking, the increased braking surface provided great traction and over hard ground the thickness of the knobs made for a sharp and confidence inspiring initial bite, without the back end trying to skid and step out. I believe the braking felt more controlled because the stronger knobs made the bite point of the back brake feel more consistent and predictable, so I was able to keep my rear wheel rolling more of the time. As for mud clearance, it does what is expected, more space between the knobs sheds the mud out of the back tyre faster, giving more consistent grip.
"The Big Betty will be staying on my bike for sure, this is my new go to, all-rounder set up!"
In summary, Schwalbe has hit the nail on the head with this one, the combination of a Magic Mary up front and Big Betty out back feels like a really refined combination. The handling is balanced with both tyres smoothing out the differences in the conditions they are asked to perform under. More support in the rear tyre gives more predicable handling in corners and on the brakes whilst the Magic Mary, being more complient, gives that extra grip over obsticals and slippery surfaces for maximum front-end control."
Massive thanks to Schwalbe Tires UK for sending us the product to review and test !