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XX4.EIGHT/AEIGHTTECHBLOG – SCHWALBEBIKETYRES

This year we’re very proud to be once again supported by Schwalbe Tyres. All of our 2024 CØLLECTIVE will have access to the very best tyres that are available, across all disciplines. Here’s a quick run through what we’ve got and what we’re going to use them for...


First up, why Schwalbe? Glen: I’ve been using Schwalbe for racing and riding for over 20 years and for 3/4 of that time I’ve been buying my own tyres, regardless of brand. I’ve experimented with and have even been sponsored by other brands during that time, but I consistently returned to Schwalbe for the best mix of lightness, grip, speed and comfort.



When I set up my own business, servicing and building bikes, I made the decision to never recommend parts or services that I wouldn't use myself - that includes brands we’re sponsored by, and so here is our choice of the very best gravel, mountain bike, and road tyres which we’ll be using this season;


G One Bite. My favourite “all-rounder”. My gravel bike has definitely had more use than anything else over the last five years and more often than not, it’s been rolling on the G One Bite. I’ve tried rival brands and some have been okay, but the 40mm version of this tyre is the one that I would recommend to anyone if you can only have one, do-it-all, gravel tyre. The open tread patten clears mud nicely, the row of outer blocks provide stability when cornering and the carcass is supple enough for long days out. I commute on it, I train on it, and for the last two years it’s completed most of my events without skipping a beat. This year the team riders will use it for mixed race conditions, guiding and for training. Pip has just fitted these in 650b form, in the hope that the weather is turning in our favour!



G One Ultrabite. This one sits somewhere in between a mountain bike tyre and a gravel tyre. It’s really useful for building confidence as the grip levels are so high. Compared to the Bite, the Ultrabite has taller outer blocks for maximum control. We’re using this tyre in 650b x 50mm size to give our gravel bikes a mountain bike feel, for when we’re slightly unsure what the fastest option will be, or if it’s somewhere we haven’t ridden before. The extra volume means we can run these almost at mountain bike pressures, so they work equally well in dry dusty rooty conditions.


G One R. The Gravel Race tyre. We’re using these in 45mm x 700c size for fast dry days on the gravel. I’ve recommended these tyres to several racers last year, (including Jesse, who won Badlands on them) and I’ve had nothing but great feedback. Testing them for myself has proved that they are very capable in all but the muddiest conditions! They use the SUPER RACE carcass, which is Schwalbe’s fastest carcass. And the rubber compound and tread ensures the best possible traction. To me the tread is very similar to the new Racing Ralph/Ray mountain bike tyres, so it’s easy to think of them as baby mountain bike tyres aimed purely at racing! In thee 45mm size you can even run them at trail centres, but flat out races like The Gralloch, The Traka and Unbound is where they will shine.


Racing Ray. Speaking of which, on the front of our mountain bikes we’ll be running Ray, again when the weather dries up a bit! This tyre has only been out for two seasons but has won just about everything, from World Champs all the way down to grassroots races. It has very precise dependable steering and the center blocks are designed to give maximum grip during heavy braking - it’s a tyre which loves to go fast. We’ll be running both the 2.25 and the 2.35 versions this summer. Henry and I will be using this on the front for XC racing.


Racing Ralph. Ray’s partner in crime - designed to compliment Ray with everything you need in a fast rear tyre. It comes in a couple of Addix Compounds, but on the rear we’ll be using just the fastest one! This pairing is perfect for UK NPS racing, regional racing and trails. Again, Henry and I will be clocking up the miles at Bedgebury, and in any Southern XC, or NPS that we enter.


Nobbie Nic. We have Nic ready for the front wheel for wet days and for training - It’s been on the front of my mountain bike for the last five months! It’s not specifically a wet weather tyre, I’ve just found that that is where it excels, at least in our region. It has relatively aggressive square side lugs, which really dig into the Sussex clay well, and the smaller lugs in the center clear the mud well, helping the tyre to grip. Could be used for Enduro, but best suited to trails and wet races in our opinion.



Rocket Ron. Probably the most versatile do-it-all mountain bike tyre in the Schwalbe range. The Ron can handle being on the back of the bike in the rain and on the front when it’s dry. For long races where the weather might change this is our tyre of choice. If you could only have one tyre this is it and is the number one tyre we stock in the workshop! There are several different mixes of compound and carcass, to get the tyres working perfectly for you, your bike, and the trails you ride!


In Henry’s video ( https://www.instagram.com/aeightbikeco/ ), he’s using the Super Race Compound and the Evo Carcass.


Thunder Burt. Our final mountain bike tyre in our armoury is a very special one. It’s risky, is extremely low weight, with very low rolling resistance, but when conditions are right this thing flies! We’ve got a very special project coming up which will be centred around this tyre! Keep your eyes peeled for something to appear from the ÆIGHTMANUFACTØRY workshop very soon.


Pro One TLE. “Combining ‘souplesse’, speed and control at the highest level. The best road bike tire Schwalbe has ever developed”, is what the blurb on the website says - and we agree! Jesse has just converted his training and his racebike over to these tyres and used them for his first two Nat B’s in the last few weeks. I’ve been running these since they first came out and they are my go-to choice. Light, fast but more importantly than anything; dependable grip. The compound is perfect!



We also have the non-tubeless version which we’ll be using for training, along with Schwalbe Aerothan TPU tubes. Our youngest rider in the CØLLECTIVE, Theo, is currently testing a new set and will give us his feedback in the next week or two. These are highly puncture-resistant, very light and extremely elastic which allows the tyre to behave almost like a tubeless tyre. Aerothan inner tubes are about 40% lighter than Schwalbe extralight butyl tubes!


Like all Schwalbe bicycle inner tubes, the Schwalbe Aerothane is also 100% recyclable and thus contributes to greater sustainability and a closed cycle of recyclable materials. Through the Schwalbe tube recycling program, the Aerothane tubes can also be easily returned to Schwalbe and reused after reprocessing. You can find out more about sustainability and recycling at Schwalbe here!




If you’re interested in building your own wheels or a bike for off-road or road please get in touch via the contact form or the contact details on the website (www.aeightbikeco.com).



Photos and words by Glen Whittington

Video by Henry Weaver



2024.RIDERS - GLENWHITTINGTON

#aeightracer – Glen’s an ex-racer who still finds time to ride bikes as much as possible - follow his adventures on Instagram. He started racing in 1998, initially specialising in XCO, Marathon and Solo 24-Hour Mountain Bike. He became a mechanic in 2002, working in shops and also for professional race teams. During this time he spent more time racing ‘Cross and Road, and then also TT. In 2013 he built his first bespoke steel frame and then spent several years at Roberts learning the art. Since then he’s designed his own range of bikes, frames and wheels which he now offers to the public, alongside servicing and race support, as part of his ÆIGHT brand - you can find his business Instagram account here.



GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO RACE WITH US?

We’re always looking for riders to be part of our ÆIGHT CØLLECTIVE. The #aeightbikeco is about doing things a little differently - Rather than a jersey being the common theme, we kit our riders out with bespoke steel bikes and handbuilt wheels made in our Sussex workshops, the ÆIGHT WHEELWØRKS and the ÆIGHT MANUFACTØRY. We then support each other at events and races regionally, nationally and internationally - whether that’s for mountain bike, ‘cross, gravel, crit, road or TT - it’s what we call, the #aeightbikeco


The best part is that we’re not asking you to leave your team or club - that includes racing in your club/team kit. We’ve got certain brands that we work with, mostly so we can standardise shared equipment, but your own sponsors and clubs are almost always welcome. We have some strict qualifying criteria but don’t be put off by this – if you’re interested in being part of the #aeightbikeco then please get in touch by emailing your racing CV to eightbikeco@gmail.com


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