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Schwalbe Muddy Mary – Gear Shots

A Tire for 90% of Circumstances?

Words by Tim Coleman. Photos by Tim Coleman and Greg Tubbs.
July 4th, 2013

The Schwalbe Muddy Mary has been around for a number of years now. The popularity of this tire at local West Coast / World Cup races has steadily increased, so I was eager to try a set out. The variant tested is the 2.35” DH casing Vert Star. Weight is a claimed 1190 grams. Schwalbe markets the tire as their “Grip Monster” with an “aggressive intermediate profile”. Apparently the Muddy Mary has an “extremely broad spectrum of use that covers 90% of all circumstances”. The marketing drivel left me skeptical.

Schwalbe, Muddy Mary, review, gear, tire, tires, 2.35, vertstar, Tim Coleman

The Muddy Mary’s mounted up on the trusty Aurum and ready to eat up some Cypress gnar.

Before I go any further I’m going to have a bit of a rant. Trying to figure out Schwalbe’s compound and marketing system left me more confused than Rob Ford in an ethics hearing. The tires are available in Vert Star, Trail Star, Pace Star and OCR, but I couldn’t find any information on Schwalbe’s website on what any of those mean. After scouring the interwebs I found that “Vert Star” is the softest, “Trail Star” is in the middle and “Pace Star” is the hardest / most durable / fastest rolling. OCR appears to be an OEM tire. I couldn’t find an actual durometer rating for any of the versions. Dear Schwalbe; whoever wrote this, needs to be fired.

Schwalbe, Muddy Mary, review, gear, tire, tires, 2.35, vertstar, Tim Coleman

I like Schwalbe’s graphics. The waffle pattern casing seemed to be stiffer than most and resistant to any abuse I’ve thrown at it so far.

First impressions left me underwhelmed to be honest. The Schwalbe side walls seem a bit stiffer than comparable Maxxis, Kenda and Specialized tires, so even though I inflated to the same pressure the tires felt a touch firmer. I ran a little less air in the Schwalbes than I’m used to achieve the feel I liked and haven’t had any flats so far. For some reason it seemed like the Muddy Mary’s took a good three runs before they shed their mould release and softened up, with the grip from the tire increasingly significantly after each run. After a couple runs I measured the tire softness with a durometer and found the tire averaged about 44 Shore A all over, which is similar to a Maxxis Super Tacky.

Schwalbe, Muddy Mary, review, gear, tire, tires, 2.35, vertstar, Tim Coleman

The Muddy Mary from Schwalbe certainly looks the part, with numerous edges designed to create traction in a wide variety of conditions.

Once scrubbed in and properly inflated the Muddy Mary’s were impressive. I can see why they’re so popular. The cornering and braking grip was excellent, and the tires rolled surprisingly well considering how aggressive they are. The tires were very easy to ride up to the limit, with the tire providing lots of feedback that the limit was nearing. Once the limit of grip was exceeded the resulting slip was gradual and predictable. The Muddy Mary’s also seemed very forgiving when muddling up braking and cornering allowing the rider to push a little deeper in braking. Schwalbe’s comment regarding “90% of all circumstances” is likely not far off, with the Muddy Mary performing well in a wider variety of conditions than I thought possible. I’ve ridden the Muddy Mary in soft muddy conditions all the way through to drier loose bike park type conditions, and the tire remained very predictable throughout. Colour me impressed.

Schwalbe, Muddy Mary, review, gear, tire, tires, 2.35, vertstar, Tim Coleman

After 5-6 days of riding the Muddy Mary was showing some signs of wear. The tire is still producing excellent traction however and will keep you NSMBers posted on longer term durability.

I’m really struggling to come up with negatives for this tire. They likely roll slower than a more dry specific tire like a Minion DHF, but that is expected considering it’s a more aggressive tire. The compound isn’t quite as soft as a Maxxis 3C, and as such there is slightly less grip on wet roots and rocks. The upside of the firmer side knobs is that they seem more durable and hold their shape when cornering on firmer ground. The Muddy Mary’s aren’t cheap, but so far they seem worth every penny.

Photo 5

This rooty slippery corner at the NW Cup was no match for the Muddy Mary’s. Photo: Greg Tubbs

In a good number of days on the Muddy Mary’s, undoubtedly they are “Grip Monsters”. This is a wonderful aggressive tire that offers excellent levels of predictable grip, and in a wider range of conditions than I thought possible in single tire. They’re expensive with pricing usually north of $100 and use the most confusing marketing scheme ever devised. I’ll keep you NSMB readers updated with a longer term review later in the summer, but so far I wish I had an extra set of hands to rate these 4 thumbs up.


Schwalbe tires have a loyal following… are you one of the converted?

  • vorlaz

    You can order these and all other tires directly in Germany where they are *much* cheaper. Shipping to Canada isn’t that expensive at http://www.bike-components.de for instance.

  • Oldfart

    I’ve tried a number of Scwalbe tires for XC and road. For slower speed XC technical I like the Nobby Nic, racing Ralph is good too when it’s firmer out. Tried the Fat Albert on the Nomad because they are pretty light and I have steep climbs ti ride in Whistler. Side nobs are too flexy and I was loosing them. All were under cut from wear. Turn hard on a firm surface and the back end would kind of swimmy like psi was too low. I liked the traction from Hans Dampf but slow rolling and too heavy for my tastes.

    I have a bunch of time on their new tubeless road tire. Mounts easy and ride is phenomenal.

    Their nomenclature though. God dang it is so German. Of course they aren’t the only manufacturer with goofy names.

  • craw

    I replaced the stock front tire on my Enduro with a Hans Dampf and haven’t looked back. It’s been a long time since I had such a round front tire. I swear I can feel the individual knobs hooking up as I drive into corners. I’m looking forward to trying some Schwalbes on my DH bike.

  • ibeaver

    good review… but they are very soon replaced by the “magic marry”… an even better tire :-)

  • LostBoyScout

    The trailstar/pacestar/vertstar naming isn’t perfect from an intuitive point of view but I don’t mind it. Once you get into multi-compound tires you can’t really just print the durometer anymore (though interesting the reviewer was getting consistent duro throughout), so you need a different naming convention.

    I for one like the most recent Schwalbe labelling system – four squares that detail all the pertinent info about the particular tire. It might be the neat freak engineer in me.

    • morgman

      Pretty well everything you do is the neat freak engineer in you!

  • gwh

    One thing worth mentioning on these is the sizing, the 2.5 sized tire is absolutely massive when compared to a 2.5 Maxxis.
    I read on your blog you were planning a comparison to the HR2 and Minions?

  • Timmigrant

    Stay posted gwh,further reviews are coming.

    Also good catch on the sizing. The 2.35″ Muddy Mary’s are big, and similar to an old 2.5″ Maxxis tire. The 2.5″ Muddy Mary’s are massive and similar to a 2.7″ Minion DHF in size. That said I found the new 2.4″ Maxxis tires are likely closer to the Schwalbe and Specialized measurement scheme, with those being closer to the older 2.5″ variants.

  • syngltrkmnd

    I’ve found the Muddy Marys to have a very, very firm sidewall as well, though they do surprisingly seem to work well in a lot of conditions. I don’t think I’ve ever pinch flatted with them, either. They seem to wear out a bit quicker than DHFs and Minions but they are a very well made tire.