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Product Review: Schwalbe Big Ben MTB Tyre (RaceGuard)

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Boasting RaceGuard technology for puncture protection you can rely on, low rolling resistance and comfort on rougher terrain, Schwalbe brings you its Big Ben MTB Tyre. Ready for all surface types, it’s even E-Bike compatible to withstand the extra torque from bikes with powerful electric motor assistance.


  • Tyre Type: Clincher
  • Bead Type: Wired
  • Compound: Endurance
  • Casing: RaceGuard
  • Skin: Light skin
  • Pressure: 2.50 – 5.00 Bar (35 – 70 psi)
  • EPI: 67
  • Profile: HS439
  • Certification: ECE=R75
  • Maximum load: 130kg
  • Tubeless Compatible: No
  • Weight: 745g (26oz)

Schwalbe Big Ben Tyre Review:

The Schwalbe Big Ben is one of Schwalbe’s latest additions to their excellent Big Ben range of tyres and if my initial impressions are anything to go by, this will be a worthy addition. Straight out of the box, the tyre is well presented, looking good and classic in design. It’s all black, with a black tread and a ‘Big Ben’ branding on each sidewall along with ‘Big Ben’, ‘Schwalbe’ and ‘G-One’ written across the central tread section.

The casing is well built, and there’s a well-made reinforced construction strip across the tyre wall. The tread features a fairly large selection of different-sized tread patterns separated into blocks, each design is well defined and there are no signs of the rubber of the centre tread being ripped off and layering into other blocks. Further, there’s no signs of any stitching being ripped or fraying (which I’ve seen on some other brands in the past.) Overall, the tyre is strong and the joins look well put together… so far so good.

The Big Ben has also been designed with its HS440 casing in mind, giving the tyre some extra toughness and strip protection against side walls being cut down the centre. In terms of inner tubes, there’s a couple of options in the Elite versions of the tyre that are compatible with Schwalbe’s tubeless system (a Maxxis tube will also work). Those of you with the non-Elite versions of the Big Ben can use either an Elite tube or the Schwalbe Standard tube (both will need to be cut to size), I’ve run plenty of times with the Standard tubes already.

Coming up to a good first impression, but is there any issues that arise on the road? Well, I have run the Big Ben a few times now and I really can’t fault this new tyre. Even off the bike, it looks good and the tread is even and the tyre has a great design. But, we all know that the proof is in the pudding on these things, and after getting the tyre on and breaking it in, it’s ready to take on some singletrack.

With the tyre at a good pressure of 80 psi, it crawls up over root and rock obstacles with great little resistance and not much rolling effort, certainly a lot less to get up that same obstacle compared to a standard Race King for example. The Big Ben also has a very good biting edge, with the side knobbles really latching on well, giving the tyre good edge grip and a surefooted feeling in rougher terrain, which is a change from some other tyres that sometimes feel a little slippery in those situations.

I’ve only had to use the tyre’s puncture protection once due to an obstruction on the trail. It wasn’t a field point stone that punctured the tyre, yet it seemed to have more resistance to punctures than most tyres I’ve tried.

With over a thousand miles on the tyre at the time of writing, I can confidently say that I haven’t had one issue with it and I’ll happily continue to run these on my commuter bike until they wear out. They’re holding up really well and look to have plenty of life in them yet.

In conclusion, the Big Ben is an excellent tyre and hopefully it’ll continue this way for quite some time. I highly recommend these even for trail centre riding, and it’s a great tyre that I just wish I’d known about sooner.

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  • Lightweight
  • Excellent resistance to puncture
  • Grippy centre tread
  • Resistant to cuts
  • Good bite


  • Rear could be a little lighter
  • Slightly slippery feeling on dry hard-pack

Slightly misses out on an Excellent rating because of the slippery feeling on hard pack: The tyre has a great design and it’s great at cornering and tackling the trail centre trails it’s targeted at, but I’d have liked it to have a little more confidence on hard-pack. In the past, I’ve also found that in dry conditions where there’s no mud, this can feel a little slippery too. It’s an extremely minor issue, and in all honesty I’ve only noticed it once or twice in the months that I’ve been riding the Big Ben. However, I wanted to make a point of mentioning this here.


  • Big Ben HS439
  • Weight: 745 grams (26 oz)
  • Tube: Standard or Elite (choose above)
  • Maximum load: 130 kg
  • Tubeless ready: No


What is The Bike Radar review system?

Our Verdict

  • Ride: 4.5 stars
  • Handling: 4.5 stars
  • Value: 5 stars
  • Overall: 4.9 stars

The Big Ben is an excellent tyre which looks great and performs well. It’s hard to fault it at this price point and you’re sure to be well covered for distance with its wide tread pattern and puncture resistance. Highly recommended.


  • Performance: 4.5 stars
  • Handling: 4.5 stars
  • Value: 4.5 stars
  • Overall: 4.9 stars

The Big Ben is an excellent tyre which looks great and performs well. It’s hard to fault it at this price point and you’re sure to be well covered for distance with its wide tread pattern and puncture resistance. Highly recommended.

Read more reviews or buy here

Written by Mark Adams

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