The Schwalbe Wicked Will is a new model that we have tested in the Super Race version. It has proven to be a tyre that combines an impressive mix of abilities, creating a versatile tyre that feels fast enough for long days in the saddle while still providing excellent grip.
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The Wicked Will is a new tyre in the Schwalbe range for 2022, released with a single 2.4” width in both Evolution and Performance lines. Each has different compounds and execution types on offer. The version tested is the Super Race, which is the lightest option with a claimed weight of 820g. Of the pair we have on test, one came exactly on the claimed weight and the other just a little over at 844g. Compared to other models within the Schwalbe line-up, it is most similar to the Nobby Nic but with a slightly closer tread pattern.
The Wicked Will is available in a single width of 2.4” and uses the Schwalbe ADDIX SpeedGrip compound. This compound is denoted by the blue stripe around the circumference. The tyre is aimed for XC, AM and Trail use, replacing the PaceStar compound. The Super Race tested is only available with the transparent tan sidewall colour, which differs from other tan wall options as it shows the actual tyre carcass and is not simply painted on.
Mounting the tyres to use tubeless was a piece of cake, with very little effort required to install the tyre. They inflated without any hassle with just a standard track pump needed. I tested the tyres on two wheelsets. The first is a narrower cross-country focused wheelset with a 22.5mm internal rim where the tyres inflated to 2.25". The second is a much more trail-friendly wheelset with a 30mm internal rim that inflated to 2.42". So, for those with narrower rims, be aware they may not inflate to the stated width.
The tyre's tread pattern has a few standout features like the tightly spaced side knobs and the centre tread. This results in a dramatic ramped profile in the rolling direction, with a more typical vertical drop at the rear of each. I have been using the tyres on a standard cross-country bike on a wide range of surfaces from tarmac to rocky trail centres and muddier, more natural terrain.
I was immediately impressed with how well the tyre rolled smoothly and quietly from the first ride. While it is not as quick as more cross-country race-focused tyres, for the size and style, it far exceeded my expectations given the size of both the tyre overall and the depth of the knobs.
Riding off-road, the grip uphill was always excellent, never having issues with slip or skipping, even on steep, loose tracks or muddier terrain. While I could feel the heavier weight of the tyre compared to the lighter tyre it had replaced on the bike, ultimately, it is not intended as a full-on cross-country race tyre.
The tyres give plenty of reassurance when riding typical Welsh trail centres with a firm rock-based surface. The grip is progressive as you lean the bike into the corners and load up the edge of the tyres, feeling confident in the wet and dry. The carcass feels reasonably soft and supple for the Super Race version and should suit riders who are not overly harsh on tyres. While it does contain the Schwalbe Snakeskin layer, the other versions of the tyre feature extra puncture protection layers that will help further. The Super Trail is the strongest casing available for the Wicked Will. This has an extra carcass layer, additional sidewall protection, plus the Super Ground construction, which effectively is a middle ground that features the extra sidewall protection layer above the Super Race version.
Riding in sticky or thicker mud, the closely spaced tread holds onto the mud a little more than an open or more aggressive tyre would. If you ride somewhere where consistently muddy, better tyres are available. Personally, I see two main users for this tyre. Those who typically ride in locations where it is firmer year-round, where an aggressive tread to cope with mud or soil is less of an issue. And riders, like myself, who enjoy longer rides, occasional summer racing and then switching to Wicked Will for autumn and winter, when speed is less important and grip more valuable.
Value & verdict
While £63 is certainly not cheap for a single tyre, it is competitively priced against the competition, like the Maxxis Dissector 3C Maxx Terra Exo at £75. There are cheaper tyres available for similar styles of riding, including the Onza Porcupine, although Jim was less convinced by the performance when he tested it.
There is a lot to like about the Wicked Will, especially if your usual riding conditions suit the slightly more packed tread design. It rolls incredibly well for the size and weight. While there are better tyres for more gravity-focused riding and softer terrain, if you want a tyre for big days out, the Wicked Will feels smooth and quiet but gives a consistently good grip on rockier trails.