Schwalbe MTB 2013

by Brian Mullin on June 11, 2012

Schwalbe is headquartered in Germany, and has been making bike tires
since 1973, and unlike many competitors, they don’t make tires for cars,
motorcycles, etc., only bikes! They have their own factory in Jakarta
Indonesia, which puts them in close proximity to the rubber plantations
for increased inefficiency (less shipping, fuel costs, etc.).

For
the 2013 product year, they’ll have the complete model range in 29er
sizes, and 650B will get the Hans Dampf, Nobby Nic, Racing Ralph, Rapid
Rob and Rocket Ron (shown above in that order). All the tires get a new
font look, and Schwalbe also is changing their information on the tire,
so it’s easier and more legible to read.

On
each side of the tire is a section of icons and text, which gives
detailed information of the tire’s construction and compound (Pace Star
3), product line (Evolution), and variants (Tubeless ready and Snakeskin
sidewall), etc.

The Schwalbe mountain bike product suite is divided into three quality groups: Active, Performance and Evolution.

  • Evolution Line. The very best possible. Highest grade materials. Latest technology.
  • Performance
    Line. Excellent quality for intensive use. Best deal for your money.
    Now with dual compound for even better performance.
  • Active Line. Reliable brand quality. Now with KevlarGuard as standard protection belt.

Rocket Ron
The lightweight Rocket Ron gets a major facelift this year, in what
they like to call ‘The Next Generation’ version. They have bumped up the
rolling resistance by 15% due to redesigned center knobs, added
stronger side knobs for less squirm, and all the knobs get three micro
V-grooves each, for increased grip, control and wet adhesion, while
retaining good strength. In addition, the tread pattern has been
subtlety tweaked, and the knob height has been decreased. The sidewalls
are lightly textured, thicker and have a uniform surface for increased
toughness of their 127tip casing, and to assist with tubeless ready
mounting.  They’ll be in available in 29″ (2.25  & 2.1), 650B
(2.25)and 26″ (1.85, 2.1 & 2.25) sizes.

Hans Dampf
The new Hans Dampf Super Gravity was designed for Enduro and
Megavalanche competitions, which are quite big in Europe, where the
riders tend to use downhill tires for the protection they offer in
rugged and punishing terrain, where sharp rocks and heinous conditions
can destroy normal tires. The Hans Dampf SG is not only made for DH race
conditions, but it will appeal to All Mountain and Freeride usage.

The
inner construction of the Super Gravity Hans Dampf is interesting and
unique, and combines their casing, sidewall protection, Kevlar bead and
stiffening inserts in a synergistic manner for extreme toughness,
strength and flexibility, yet still remain moderately lightweight. The
red is the normal casing, and the yellow is their Snakeskin sidewall,
while the blue is a rubber insert. In a nutshell, they have a pseudo
single-ply setup through the tire body and tread, and two-ply up along
the sidewalls, along with a rubber insert along the bead, all bound
together as a tough tire sandwich, which is light and flexible. Having
the Snakeskin wrap all the way around helps with punctures and cuts, in
addition to its usual sidewall placement, which now gets doubled. The
rubber insert adds a great amount of stiffness and strength to the
sidewalls, making the tires downhill like, but without wire bead issues.

The
wrap-around Snakeskin offers downhill protection, while the
construction method gives a flexible and resilient tread for excellent
handling characteristics, in what they call “tough as a downhill tire,
light as a freeride tire.” The tubeless ready design weighs a
respectable 1000 grams, which is about 800 grams less than a full on
downhill beast with a tube, which is a great reduction in unsprung
weight. It’ll be available in their Triple Star Compounds (Pace Star,
Trail Star and Vert Star), and will come in 29 x 2.35, 650B x 2.35 and
26 x 2.35 sizes.


SG highlights:

  • Folding Tire
  • Tubeless Ready
  • All around SnakeSkin
  • Strong Apex
  • Flexible Tread
  • 1000 gram weight
  • 800 gram weight saving over dh tire
  • Triple Star Compounds (Pace Star, Trail Star and Vert Star)

650B
For the initial September launch, they’ll be offering the following
650B sizes:  Hans Dampf SG & normal (27.5 x 2.35),  Nobby Nic (27.5
x 2.35), Racing Ralph (27.5 x 2.25), Rocket Ron (27.5 x 2.25) and Rapid
Rob (27.5 x 2.25). I have been testing the Nobby Nic 650B for about a
month, and I am quite happy with the tire. It’s easy to set up tubeless,
has good traction and durability, though it’s not the stickiest tire in
their line-up it has performed admirably. I can’t wait to try the Hans
Dampf SG!

29er
As stated earlier, they’ll offer the
29″ size in almost every model of their MTB range. They did a large
study and made some interesting findings about the characteristics of
this tire size. They measured rolling resistance with a power meter test
using their 29er tires, on different terrain and obstacles, and it
showed they rolled 5-6% faster than a 26″. They also asked 50 test
subjects for their judgement or ride experience in a 26″ vs 29″
comparison, in relation to wheelspin, somersault, holding a downhill
line, safety, ride performance, comfort and optic. In every category,
the 29er tire always came out top.

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