Posts in Category: Gear Reviews

Schwalbe Big Apple for commuting – long term review

I originally purchased the Schwalbe Big Apple tyre in Autumn 2010 – so I can confidently say that I can provide a long term review.

What can I say about the Schwalbe Big Apple? I was attracted to big, smooth tyres as I was keen to experience a cushioned ride that was also smooth.

I knew that big tyres were good at giving a cushioned ride, because I started commuting in 2009 on a mountain bike with 2.3 inch knobbly tyres on it. These tyres did take the bite out of cracks and potholes, but they were so hard to push around and could make cycling un-enjoyable on occasion… I wanted a tyre that gave me schock absorption but didn’t have high rolling resistance.

In come the balloon bike type tyres, such as the Big Apple. I purchased a black Schwalbe Big Apple in ETRTO 50-559 size (or 26 x 2.00 inch) This tyre has good volume at 2 inches wide, but at the same time it doesn’t grip the road quite as tightly as an off-road tyre, and hence gives a cushioned as well as a much reduced rolling resistance.

In terms of comments for this tyre, I struggle to think of any! I will tell you why this is a good thing – clearly I have mounted the tyre onto my wheel and I haven’t had to give it a second thought ever since! At first – I did notice that the bike rode much easier and I was happy with that. Over time, the tyre has simply turned into a good, reliable performing tyre. I ride with a lot of my weight on the saddle, and I also mount panniers onto my rack, so the back wheel and tyre take a lot of abuse. The Big Apple stood up to all that for 2.5 years,and very well – might I add.

You’ve guessed it by now, I’ve never had a puncture with this tyre. It’s been used every day for 1 year and then used once or twice a week for the past 1.5 years.

Understandably, after all this time, the central band of tread has worn quite a bit, and there are a few cuts present as well:

Schwalbe Big Apple tread - section 2

The following is a close up of the logo and as you can see, this is the older style of Big Apple which has the old design of tread on it:

schwalbe big apple logo cropped

This is how the tyre looks when it’s mounted on the wheel:

Schwalbe Big Apple tyre on back wheel

As you can see, my wheel and cassette and not faring very well, but the tyre is still going strong. Hopefully this image gives you a good idea of the volume that is available for shock absorption.

Now, I have had half a dozen different tyres – which have pros and cons compared to the Big Apple. I will be reviewing these in due course.

The main thing that the Big Apple has over other tyres is it’s good performance over a large period of time.

I liked this tyre so much, that I have decided to put my money where my mouth is, and get a pair for my newer and main commuting bike. Brown is the new black:

Schwalbe Big Apple Brown New Tread

The tyre has ETRTO sizing of 55-559 (so 5mm wider than the previous one) – or if you want the size in inches, it’s 26 x 2.15 inches. I mounted the logo over the valve hole a bit more centrally this time as well:

Schwalbe Big Apple Brown Logo

After my birthday – which is when a certain someone will get me another of these tyres as a “surprise” present, I will have a matching set and I take these tyres out for a good old ride I will let you guys know how I get on with a set of these larger Big Apple tyres. It will be the first time that I will have a matching set of tyres on my bike.

Over the last 2.5-3 years I’ve been experimenting with various tyres – which generally means that buy one tyre to try out, and I try it on the front and the rear, and see how I get on. Consequently I haven’t had a matching set of tyres on my bike ever since I decided to try out various tyres.

Now, however – it seems that I have settled with the Big Apple as a nice commuting tyre. It’s not as heavy as the seemingly indestructible Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour, which is what I have on my main commuting bike at the moment – so I’m hoping that these will allow me to get to work that little bit quicker.

The Big Apple is much lighter than the Marathon Plus, whilst having proved that in terms of puncture resistance, they’re perfectly adequate for London roads.

Watch this space!