Schwalbe Racing Ralph

A couple weeks in the past, I experienced a second blow-out through the rear tire on my mountain bike. The first blow-out happened two, maybe three, months earlier when a mid-tread knob wore loose and was left flapping by a bit of skin. Covering the wound with a patch on the inside of the tire solved the problem until that second minor explosion when the tube burst through both patch and casing. That was the incentive; time for a new tire. 

The Schwalbe Racing Ralph is very similar to the Kenda Karma that it replaced. Intended for trails with more compacted surfaces, both are made for most of the routes I ride locally, not to mention the paved rides to the trailheads of those routes. Considering my options at the LBS, the Racing Ralph seemed to be the best buy, a balance between function and cost. The Karma's smoother tread profile would slip around a bit on the loose stuff - loam, gravel, decomposed granite, sand, and similar "smaller than chunk" material. With a similar, less-than-blocky profile the Schwalbe will not provide the extra bite you would want to ride on those surfaces, but is certainly more comfortable and efficient when you make tracks across anything more firm. The teeth on the Racing Ralph are kept to the edges, as you can see in the photo, and are there to keep things from becoming too sketchy. A little slippage is one thing, but I wouldn't want to do battle with it all the time. So far the Racing Ralph has been just right.