Schwalbe Magic Mary | Mountain Bike Tire Review

a dirty schwalbe magic mary on the pavement


The Magic Mary has been a staple of Schwalbe’s tire lineup for as long as I can remember and has always been hailed as one of the best trail-riding tires on the market.

It’s best known for offering a confidence-inspiring grip in all weather conditions, and the rounded profile with extensive knob coverage is predictable when cornering and braking. That performance, however, comes at the cost of high rolling resistance and weight if you opt for the stickier rubber and thicker casings.

detail of magic mary mountain bike tire review

In this article, we’ll be looking at what kind of rider is going to love this tire the most, which conditions it excels in, as well as all the different combinations of casings and rubbers you can choose from.

Tech Specs

Schwalbe’s entire lineup of mountain bike tires is based around their “Super” casings and “Addix” rubber compounds. Schwalbe uses some various jargon which may be confusing to some. We made is easy for you to learn all about "Super" casings and "Addix" compounds. The Magic Mary follows suit but isn’t offered in every combination of casing and rubber.

You’ll be able to find the Magic Mary in their two highest grip compounds, the Addix Soft and Addix Ultrasoft, as well as their three most supportive casings, Super Trail, Super Gravity, and Super Downhill.

addix soft on schwalbe magic mary  review
tread pattern of a schwalbe magic mary

Schwalbe makes the intention of this tire pretty clear by only offering it in these higher-performance casings and rubber compounds. They’re probably doing this to allow the tread pattern to shine through and not be held back by its construction. The Mary is offered for 29" and 27.5" wheels in both 2.4" and 2.6" widths, and I’ve gotten the chance to ride a couple of versions of the coveted tire.

First, I had the Addix Soft rubber and Super Gravity casing in the 2.4" widths, and then I switched over to the Addix Soft rubber with the lighter Super Trail casing in the wider 2.6" widths. Both of these tires were mounted on the front of my Transition Spire, where I did my best to give them a wild ride, so let’s check out how they performed.

Magic Mary On-Trail Performance

I’m not sure how I’ve managed to ride bikes for as long as I have without ever trying the Magic Mary, but its cult-like following had me very excited to get it in the dirt.

Performance In Ideal, Dusty, and Muddy Conditons

It's first test was out at Silver Mountain bike park in Idaho, where we got a healthy amount of rain the night before heading out. In the morning we were treated to a mixture of mud, loam, and what felt like the slickest roots in the country. This bike park has quickly become one of my favorites with its diverse mix of trails. It’s got everything from classic bike park jump lines with massive corners to fresh tracks that get put in every season with nice soft dirt to cut lines into.

I instantly felt at home on the Magic Mary, and it was more than happy to lean over to those side knobs and hook into the berms. As you load the tire into the corners you can really feel the different tread patterns of the side knobs versus the center knobs and it’s as close to being on rails as I’ve come on two wheels. The Magic Mary also has enough space in between the knobs so riding through a muddy section won’t clog up your tire for the rest of the trail. It seemed like mud never stuck around for long before flinging off every which way, making room for a fresh tenant on every rotation.

Unfortunately, conditions aren’t always perfect, and we’ve had a summer full of dusty blown-out trails here in Bellingham, which have been very reminiscent of my old home trails back in Southern California. These conditions mean you’re pretty much always on the absolute edge of grip, where you’re depending on every little knob to do its job. The Magic Mary still absolutely held its own in these conditions, but it had me wishing that the knobs were either a bit closer together or slightly larger just to close the gaps between them a bit. In these conditions, we don’t have to worry about clearing mud, so I think it’s more important to have more knob coverage relative to the surface area of the whole tire.

Predictability and Braking

Because the Magic Mary does have an even coverage of knobs across the entire tread, it offers an incredibly predictable transition between the center knobs and side knobs even in these skittery conditions. You won’t have that heart-stopping moment of drift between leaving the center knobs and catching the shoulder knobs that I’ve felt on some tires. The Magic Mary has an even distribution across the whole tread, you’re never going to have an unexpected loss of traction.

When braking, those meaty center knobs are happy to dig into the ground instead of breaking traction and initiating that slide. It’s not going to brake as well as something like a Big Betty that has those massive center knobs that look like they were modeled after boat anchors, but the Magic Mary does offer plenty of braking traction, especially for a front tire.

My Ideal Mary, Casings, and Width Comparison

After running this tire in a couple of different configurations, my dream Magic Mary would have to be the Addix Ultra Soft rubber with a Super Gravity casing in the 2.4" widths. I may not have gotten a chance to try the Ultra Soft rubber just yet, but I’ve been super impressed with the level of grip as well as the longevity of the Addix Soft rubber. I think it would be worth trading a bit of that longevity for an even grippier front end, which is never a bad thing.

During my whole time on the Magic Mary, I haven’t gotten a single flat tire or any issues with slow leaks. I’ve been very happy with both the Super Trail and Super Gravity casings, but have preferred the more damped feeling that I get from the Super Gravity construction. I don’t have an issue with either version rolling over in corners, probably thanks to the CushCore Pro in there adding that sidewall support, and I’ve noticed it the most on harsh landings. I don’t feel the tire rebounding quite as aggressively with that more supportive layup, letting me stay more composed on the big hits.

The biggest difference I felt between the two Magic Mary’s that I rode was the difference between the 2.4" and 2.6" widths. I initially spent time on the 2.4" and didn’t expect to feel much of a difference when I switched over to the 2.6". They were both mounted on the same DT Swiss EX 511 rim with a 30mm internal width and a CushCore Pro tucked in there, and I immediately felt like I was riding on a balloon compared to the narrower width. The larger air volume of the 2.6" Magic Mary gave me a wallowy feeling that just felt less precise when I was hitting compressions and didn’t give me as planted of a feel. I believe this is due to the air in the tire acting as an undamped spring, which got in the way of my suspension doing its job as effectively.

Who Is The Mary For?

The Magic Mary is a seriously universal tire because of how many configurations it comes in. It’s right at home on the front of a trail bike in the Super Trail casing, on an enduro bike in the Super Gravity casing, or on a downhill bike in the Super Downhill casing. As long as you’re happy to put up with the high rolling resistance that you should expect from a performance tire, there aren’t many people that I wouldn’t recommend this tire to. It’s versatile enough to perform excellently in the wet and the dry, and dependable enough to take to your next race.

I will say that it leans towards wet weather performance rather than dry because of the larger spacing between the knobs. That said, I would run this tire in any kind of dirt condition because of its overall predictability.

Unless you’re riding in the deepest mud that warrants a Schwalbe Dirty Dan or are exclusively riding in bone-dry dirt all year long, then this tire is perfect for you.

Fox Speedframe Pro Helmet - The Lost Co. - Fox Head - 25102-001-S - 191972352348 - Black - Small
Sold out

Got questions? Feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call!




Tor Weiland



Bellingham, WA

Current Bikes: Transition Spire

Bike Size: Medium

Favorite Trails: Oriental Express, Galbraith

About Me: Hailing from the sunny landscape of California, Tor headed north and landed here in the cloudy town of Bellingham, WA. His riding style is "PINNED" and he loves to scope out those seemingly impossible triples. He loves riding and also loves sharing his experiences with others. You can catch Tor in front of the camera or behind the keyboard, but best of luck catching him on the trail!