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Thunder is Light-ning.
Schwalbe's tire lineup is relatively clear and linear, with models that make it fairly obvious what their intended place or purpose is upon first sight, with little need for more research. We like this about Schwalbe's approach, and a great example of this is the Schwalbe Thunder Burt Tire. Designed as a hybrid between the virtually slick Furious Fred XC tire and the Racing Ralph technical trail/XC tire, Thunder Burt toes the line with a tread pattern that can fly over hardpack but still handle semi-loose and loamy terrain.
This light and fast tire, coming in at roughly 395 grams, makes it ideal for racing and going fast in dry, hard conditions. The tread pattern Schwalbe used is its PaceStar Triple Compound with a hard center tread that gets progressively softer compounds toward the edge. This provides faster rolling characteristics with excellent cornering traction. The minimal centerline tread means low rolling resistance, and, with the U-block shoulder tread, it still holds its own in the turns or in deeper loose stuff. These tread blocks are angled toward the outside of the tire and work to counteract the lateral forces endured when cornering in order to maintain traction and to keep the bike stable. Schwalbe's EVO compound is the lightest and fastest it makes, while the SnakeSkin version is a bit heavier, with the tradeoff being added protection against punctures. We'd recommend the latter for tubeless setups.
- Item #SCH001I
- Q & A
Dry conditions only
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I have a set of these on a spare set of wheels for my cross country bike. They perform well in dry conditions. I had a not so good experience after riding through a stream on a local trail. When pedaling out of the stream onto slick rocky surface there was absolutely no traction at all. The rear wheel simply spun and the front washed out. Definitely for complete dry conditions or tacky dirt. From my experince, these will not perform well in any slick conditions.
Minimalist at its best
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
The Thunder Burt is a great rear tire for buff and dry trails, especially if you are looking to drop some weight. The center portion rolls quickly, while the edge knobs hold tight in the berms. This tire also does well as a gravel grinder.
Although I am typically not a fan of Schwalbe because of the horrific luck I've had with cuts, the tread pattern of this tire looks ideal for long gravel grinder races like the Leadville Trail 100. That race I have done, and if there tire were around in 2011 I would have considered it. The other part is that it's a 29er, which is the only wheel that should be ridden at those types of races. Does anyone have first hand experience?
At 395g its one of the lightest Schwalbe has made so I'd think it was a little more of a gravel grinder/ leadville raceday tire as well. Very curious to see what people have to say. Hopefully they've strengthened the sidewall but then again, there's always the snakeskin version.
I road the thunderburt with snakeskin front and back at leadville in 2014 as well as Cedar city fire road race, as well as Corner canyon in draper, UT (packed dirt mostly, not many roots). Smooth tire. No flats or sidewall punctures. Schwalbe says it rolls faster than fast freddy, which if true, is amazing given the much better traction i think.
Riding around 80miles a week it lasts about 6-8weeks it seems. Not super durable.
Disclosure: i tend to run shwalbe tires almost exculsively and favor fast rolling tires.