This review is for those who spend all their time pointing their bikes down hill; for those who live for the double diamond; and for anyone who is confident at the sight of mega gnarly rock strewn terrain. Yeah, that’s right, this is for the crazy people who call themselves downhillers or freeriders.
Schwalbe just introduced a new dry tire, the Wicked Will ($83.55 MSRP) for riders who love to toss their bikes down the nastiest terrain you can imagine. The new “Curve Claw” blocks on the sides of the tread produce a tremendous amount of cornering grip and the low block design makes this a very fast rolling tire. The Wicked Will tire is perfect for those who find themselves bombing down high speed runs with tight and twisty hardpack berms.
These heavy weight tires (1370grams each!) are clearly designed to be ridden downhill and looking at them they’d be right at home on a dirt bike. Installing the Wicked Wills took 3 tire irons and a bit more work than usual due to the tight fit, two ply construction, and stiff side walls. I added a little soapy water to the sidewalls to seat the beads perfectly on the rim and went with 35 psi in the front and rear. As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing any tires and make adjustments for your own preferences. Now for the fun part!
Tracking down the slopes with the Wicked Wills was great thanks to the extra mass of the tire which helped me keep the bike pointing in the right direction. Pedaling hard on the flats, these tires didn’t skip a beat and kept me moving to the next section without slowing my momentum or shimmying side to side.
Taking the Schwalbe hard into corners was awesome – I couldn`t believe the amount of extra traction that these tires delivered compared to the previous set that I had on! Coming off the corners I almost forgot that I needed to slow for upcoming technical trail features (TTFs). I really appreciated the stability the Wicked Will tires offered as they minimized unwanted side to side movement and kept my steering on track.
Under braking the tires held up well and did not lock up unexpectedly. Even when braking on very hard surfaces such as rock and hard roots the tires did well at stopping without slipping too much. On the rare occasions when the tire did start to slip, the tire never moved sideways. Rather it just locked and remained on line.
The Wicked Will is a great DH-specific tire that will get you down any slope with ease. The super tough sidewalls help prevent snake bites due to bashes from rocks or logs (I did lots of that on the slopes) and the slipped knobs and curve claw blocks on the sidewalls will keep you on your line with laser-like precision. If you give these tires a shot you won’t be disappointed!
My overall rating:
5 out of 10 for climbing
9 out of 10 for cornering
8 out of 10 for rolling and efficiency
7 out of 10 for loose condidtion
10 out of 10 for hardpack
9 out of 10 for stopping in a straight line
Specifications from Schwalbe:
- Downhill, Double Casing, Wire Bead
- 26 x 2.50 only
- Gooey Gluey compound
- 1370 grams
- 20 – 50 psi
- 2 x 67 EPI (TPI)