Schwalbe Ultremo ZX HD Clincher Tire Review
Schwalbe Ultremo ZX- The Ultimate Road Race And Time-Trial Clincher Tire?
As a cyclist we're always tinkering with things on our bikes in the quest of performance. New tires are one of the ways we try to achieve this. We hear reports that someone we know is riding a particular tire, take a look and become interested in trying them out for ourselves.
As a road racer I'm always on the lookout for a performance road racing tire that offers grip, speed and a degree of puncture protection. Here's my review of the latest tires on my race bike: the Schwalbe Ultremo ZX clincher road tire.
The Fast Looking Schwalbe Ultremo ZX Clincher Tire
Grippy Race And Sportive Tires For Speed
As a cyclists we're always going to need new tires at some point in the life of a bike. Nothing lasts for ever and there's lots of choice out there related to riding performance, comfort, speed, and road handling characteristics depending on your riding focus
If you're looking for ultra fast tires for racing events or sportives the Ultremo ZX could be the tire for you.
Ultremo ZX Specification
Tread And Compound: Smooth HS 380 with RaceStar compound
Puncture Resistance: HD Speed Guard high density breaker strip.
Bead: Folding Kevlar
Threads Per Inch: 127 TPI
Sizes available: 700 x 23C
Manufacturer Claimed Weight: 195g
Recommended Pressure: 6,0-10,0 Bar, 85-145 PSI
Why I Initially Bought A Set Of Ultremo ZX HD's
I'm always looking for a great set of tires for road racing or time-trial events
My current road race bike (the excellent Planet X RT-57) came fitted with a set of Schwalbe's Durano tires which I was happy riding, yet felt lacked the racey feel of other tires I've used in the past. Gernerally I've always been a lover of Vredestein Fortezza Tricomptires. They're light-ish, relatively good for puncture protection and provide excellent grip for a season of road racing which in my eyes involves taking bad lines well.
In 2012 I was sponsored by locally based internet retailer Samcycling.com who offered me the choice of their online store with a little bit of discount added in. It felt rude not to at least have an item or two from them so purchasing some new tires seemed a good choice.
At the time Samcycling had just taken an order of Schwalbe tires so it made sense to pick up a set of their race specific tires and see how they rode for the summer, I had a good experience grip wise with the Durano's so felt I would be in safe hands performance wise.
Fast and 'In Your Face' Styling
Lightweight And Fast Looking Performance Tires
When you take the Ultremo ZX HD's out of their boxes there's one thing that hits you visually about them- the logo's are mammoth! Over the years most tire manufacturers names have been pretty low key on the side of the tire but there's no mistaking 'SCHWALBE' and 'ULTREMO'.
Despite the logo's being a little 'in-your-face', they're actually they're actually pretty tastefully done and add a level of class that's rarely visibly seen on a bicycle tire. Thumbs up for the styling from me,
Add that to their relatively light weight and you have a tire that looks fast and will help your wheels roll fast on paper. Manufacturer claimed weight is 195 gram which puts them at a comparable weight versus their main competition ( weighs around 200 gram and Vitoria Open Corsa Evo CX's around 220 gram) Michelin's Pro4 Service Course
A True Test Of Bicycle Tires- Road Racing Performance
Ease of tire fitting
Sometimes bicycle tires simply don't want to go onto your rims. I've had some difficulties fitting Michelin and Continental tires to Mavic rims in the past. Fortunately no issues here. I can actually fit the Ultremo's with my bare hands without the need for tire levers to my Vision clincher wheels.
Road Performance Of The Schwalbe Ultremo ZX HD
I've ridden the Ultremo ZX HD's now for over half a racing season and if I was to describe them in one word it word have to be
"Fast" ...... and in two words.......... "über fast"
On the roads it feels constantly like you have a gentle tailwind compared to how you would expect it to feel which is a credit to these tires.
Cornering feels predictably stable and safe when racing when you need to take poor lines well. In a test by German Tour magazine the ZX's predessoer, the Ultremo was able to handle a 12.5-meter radius turn in soaking wet conditions at up to a best in test 32.9kph. The ZX is stated as having a 15% increase in grip when compared to the Ultremo so the numbers look good too.
For speed and racing performance these are a very hard tire to beat.
Ultremo ZX's fitted to a Planet X RT 57
Ultremo ZX Puncture Resistance
Fast racing tires are great but they're no use to a rider if they're not going to be able to finish an event.
The Ultremo ZX HD features an ultra high density puncture resistant belt as well as a little more additional rubber when compared to earlier versions of the Ultremo. This 'Speed Guard' as Schwalbe call it provides excellent puncture resistance. Schwalbe are renowned for puncture resistance in their touring tires and have used their expertise to great effect.
In 6 months of riding I've experienced two punctures. Both on the rear which is the most typical wheel to suffer a puncture as most of your weight is centred there so rear wheel punctures seem to happen most often.
Would I buy Another Pair?
That's always a tough question when it comes to bike stuff as there are new products coming out all the time. For many established bicycle tire companies, their tire line-up seems to stay pretty much the same year on year.
Would I buy another set of Ultremo ZX HD's? Yes I would. They're fast, grippy and offer good puncture protection.
What would I use them for? I would certainly road race on them. They're a great tire for road racing. I also believe they're well suited to time trial events due to the feeling of speed and low rolling resistance.