Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires, the jury is in: Mt. Dora trail report.
Yesterday I decided to head over to the Mt. Dora MTB trails to see how my new Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires performed there (my initial report after riding at Wekiwa State Park can be found here). Wekiwa was a good test of the tires’ performance in sand and over roots, and overall I was impressed with how the tires behaved in those conditions.
Mt. Dora’s fast and flowy main loop along with the new tight, technical and hilly advanced trail placed the tires in a completely different riding environment and presented them with an entirely new set of challenges. I ride at Mt. Dora a lot, and I knew going in that I was either going to love or hate these tires by the end of the ride…
The first section of trail I rode was the tight and winding Gravity Destroyer downhill. Due to some weird Strava/GPS glitch, my recorded time was ridiculously fast and not accurate (I have a support ticket open with Strava), but what I can say without any shadow of a doubt is that the tires absolutely rocked. I felt like I was carving the corners faster than I was ever able to before; each time I took a corner my confidence in the tires grew, and I was able to go even faster. I really wish I knew what my real time was.
Next I did seven laps on the main trail, and I absolutely hammered the 4th lap for time. My existing PR on that segment was 7m11s, which I set back in October of last year. As I rode that 4th lap as fast as I could go, I was astonished by how light my bike felt, and how incredibly well the tires tracked and gripped. There is a lot of “brown ice” (dead leaves and pine needles) on the trail right now, and that stuff is normally a factor when cornering at high speed; not so yesterday. I never even once felt my tires lose their grip, not even for a second.
My time on that 4th lap? A new PR of 6m55s. That would have been a new KOM, too (I’m currently second on the leaderboard), but Strava didn’t match the segment. Grrr. Not a great day for Strava yesterday for some reason. I’ve got a ticket open, but I’m not holding my breath. If they can’t match it up, I’ll go back and ride that time (or better) again. 🙂
Anyway, I beat my best time yesterday by 16 seconds, and I did it riding in sub-optimal trail conditions. While my conditioning is good right now, there’s no question that the tires (both their weight and their trail performance) played a significant role in the time I rode.
No issues so far with punctures or physical damage. Also, the tires are now fully sealed (this required a little extra TLC), and they lost no air pressure on yesterday’s ride.
While I obviously can’t speak to the longevity of the Rocket Rons, from a performance standpoint I can say without any hesitation that they are by far the best mountain bike tires I’ve ever used. Their performance on the trails yesterday far exceeded my expectations. Yes, the Rocket Rons are fairly expensive, but as long as I don’t have issues with flats these are now my tire of choice.