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New Review: Schwalbe Sammy Slick 700×35

I long for a good file tread.  One that provides minimum rolling resistance but good cornering grip.  Not asking for a lot, right?  Right.

I’ve long enjoyed the Challenge Griffo XS for training, but cornering with that is akin to riding road tires on ice.  The casing is supple so the ride is smooth, and man does it roll fast.

Not long ago I put a fair number of miles on the Clement LAS, which was awesome.  Great volume, very fast rolling, supple enough, and a nice shoulder that provided some great grip.  Come to think of it, my only complaint was that I was never able to set them up tubeless, but they weren’t rated for that anyway.

So here I am, with a file tread I like, but that doesn’t mean I should stop there.  Schwalbe’s Sammy Slick appealed to me because of the shoulder it offers as well as the luck I’ve had in the past setting Schwalbe tires up tubeless.  I haven’t tried that yet, but the tight bead of these tires I’m hoping will easy to seal up.

The tires are labeled as a 700×35, but set up on my Mavic R-SYS SLR’s the casing measured a tiny 31mm, the widest point on the tread was a dismal 32.8.  Bummer since I was digging the idea of a 35mm tire.  Even more of a bummer, the tires are very short, meaning they have very little volume.  Advertised weight was 360g, mine were 325g and 355g.

On a very smooth course, I could see these tires being exceptionally fast.  Unfortunately, on a bumpy course the lack of volume would either force you to stay with low pressure and risk a pinch flat or raise the pressure and forgo grip and comfort.

I’m only a couple of rides into these tires, but so far I can say they roll exceptionally fast when the going is smooth.  The shoulder also grips quite well for a file tread, even when I was doing some hot laps at my favorite hidden gem along the North Branch Trail which offers up a lot of gravel.  The tires are pretty light, so they do spin up fast.

The Sammy Slick strikes me as the perfect tire for The Des Plaines River Trail or if you find yourself hitting some gravel roads.  You’d fly on a smooth and grassy cyclocross course, especially if that course offered some off-camber turns where most other people running file treads would find themselves slipping around.  Unfortunately because of it’s narrow size and small volume, I wouldn’t recommend these on a bumpy course where the risk of pinch flats would be very high.

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