Product Review: Schwalbe Smart Sam Performance Tyre

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The perfect choice for those looking for an all-terrain option on a strict budget, the Smart Sam mountain bike tyre rolls easily on mixed surfaces and tarmac. A long-standing model in Schwalbe’s range, its modern tread design has a compact centre for fast rolling and edged outer blocks to enhance the off-road grip.

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  • Tyre Type: Clincher
  • Bead Type: Wire
  • Compound: Addix
  • Casing: 67 tpi
  • Puncture Protection: Yes, RaceGuard
  • Line: Performance
  • Profile: HS476
  • Tubeless Compatible: No

Schwalbe Smart Sam Review:

The tyre comes delivered in a sturdy cardboard box with a simple but strong and secure fitting design. The packaging contains a cardboard insert within which sits the tyre. It is secured to the cardboard with a heavy duty plastic and string seal.

The tyre is clearly labelled with the sizes, but there is no sidewall branding, which is a useful way of ensuring the correct size is chosen.

The tyre supplied is a typical all-round tyre. It has a reinforced sidewall which provides a little more protection against sidewall punctures, and the Cycle/Mountain bike logos give information about its capabilities.

The tread on the tyre is a simple but effective design, which gives a good contact area to the surface and ample rubber to provide a large footprint. The tyre is constructed with a woven core and five ply construction.

The bead is made from wire material and is wider than most tyres. This allows for a secure fit in the rim and also helps to prevent the tyre from deforming over uneven ground.

The tyre features a very thick reflective strip that starts in the sidewall and runs around the base of the tyre. This ensures plenty of low light visibility.

The bead is very large and features an oversize steel valve hole to allow the valve stem to pass through easily. The inner tube is a standard size and fastens securely to the tyre on both sides of the rim with small tacks of glue.

The outer tyre has a very smooth surface and seems to give little resistance to rolling, even in addidtional weight such as mud and dirt.

This tyre exhibits very good levels of grip and suppleness, even when the surface is wet. I haven’t crashed but it feels as if the tyre protects me from riders coming up from behind, providing a good platform for acceleration.

I ride in street shoes and have been using SPD compatible shoes with the SPD cleat added to my pedal. The cleats are compatible but the tread pattern on the inside is visibly different from the old and new style pedals. I found that I had to adjust my foot positioning after switching to the new shoes, although practice will resolve this. The tread pattern also makes it very easy to clip in.

I haven’t found any difficulties in the performance of the rear tyre whilst commuting on my road bike. At 50 PSI it is firm enough to keep hold of the road without any kickback from the rear, which can be caused by excessive pressure.

The ride is smooth over uneven surfaces such as pot holes, and it seems to roll quickly on the road sections, whereas the sidewall follow the surface of the road much better than the cheaper brands

I have put this tyre through a number of routes I frequently take, from sunny tarmac paths, to boulevard, dirt paths, tracks, gravel paths and mud paths.

In all cases the tyre has performed well, picking up a tremendous amount of grip. Challenging corners and surface changes have not phased it, surviving well.

The tyre has survived being knocked over a number of times without sustaining a significant amount of damage.

In mud and wet surfaces, the tyre rolls well through uneven surfaces, providing stability. The thick rubber resists punctures but still has enough flexibility to grip onto mud and dust.

Overall the tyre has put in some solid performances and has stayed the distance well with plenty of miles in. I look forward to trying some of Schwalbe’s more hardcore tyres to see how they can perform.

I would highly recommend the Schwalbe tyre for use on all terrains and cycling surfaces, including commuting on roads and light off-road riding. It provides great grip and stability in a versatile package with a good appearance.


  • Overall good performance in all conditions, stable and smooth upon tarmac, very good grip and rolling ability in off-road conditions.


  • The tyre feels a little heavy, which takes a bit of getting used to.

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Schwalbe Smart Sam Review:

Test Conditions: Road Surface: Asphalt, mixed tarmac/gravel surfaces: Adequate grip on tarmac, excellent grip on gravel; Rain: Adequate grip on wet tarmac, slight slipping on wet gravel surfaces; Grit and dirt: grip is good yet feels as if the tyre isn’t gripping.

Total distance ridden: 1000 hrs

A solid all-round tyre that is reliable and performs well on most surfaces. It feels comfortable and does not cause too much tyre drag on the road, with good grip when cornering. I found the best pressure to be around 60-80 psi, which provides comfort and excellent grip on the road.

On bumpy surfaces provides balanced levels of grip and comfort. I found that the tread is impressive yet the tyre is still quite flexible and smooth, which makes it ideal for commuting on roads.

The thick rubber resists punctures yet also provides a good level of comfort as it rolls quickly. The reflective strip provides good visibility in the dark or poor light, and the tyre as a whole has lasted the distance well.

The tyre is easy to fit, but not without a bit of huffing and puffing. The main challenge is pushing the bead over the edge of the rim. Once pushed down, the tyre is held there firmly by the bead tape.

The tyre deflates very easily and the sidewalls seem to stay round even with a good amount of weight applied.

The tyre features multiple bands around the edge to provide security but also give a good radius and rigidity to the sidewalls. The addition of the additional rubber strips in the middle provides even more protection to the rim, especially if a trapdoor type puncture occurs.

The threads on the valve are very small, but get the valve stem through easily, with the valve also sitting firm in the rim. The markings in the side of the tyre indicate which way round the tyre should be.

The tyre and inner tube can both be fitted without gluing, which can be useful in an emergency. To remove the tyre just hold it at a 45 degree angle with both hands and wiggle it off of the bead.

The inner tube fits onto the tyre easily on both sides of the rim and stays in place firmly. The tyre itself is made of a 2 ply sidewall and a 3 ply compound, with a thicker tread. The compound itself is very smooth and has very good rolling ability. The tyre uses the Addix compound, which is a fast rolling compound that lasts well.

The tread pattern seems pretty standard, with a wide “V” array that increases volume as well as providing good grip. The tread also makes clip-in and traction very easy, particularly on loose dirt. The tyre doesn’t seem to clog up which is great.

The sidewall is very thick and durable, offering more efficient sidewall protection without sacrificing too much weight.

The tyre has worked well on a number of surfaces, including tarmac, light road surfaces, mud, bumpy tracks and loose gravel, including some very slippery surfaces at times.

I have tested this tyre well on a number of surfaces and the only times I have slipped were on some wet and particularly muddy surfaces.

Overall this tyre is very smooth and does not “catch” when cornering quickly.

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Written by Jahanzaib

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