Schwalbe Tires – Interbike 2012

by Brian Mullin on October 29, 2012

For the 2013 product year, they’ll have most of the model range in 29er sizes (except gravity tires), and 650B will get the Hans Dampf, Nobby Nic, Racing
Ralph, Rapid Rob and Rocket Ron. They are also releasing a new meatier version of the Hans Dampf, named the Super Gravity. All the tires get a new font look, and
Schwalbe is changing their information on the tire, so it’s easier
and more legible to read.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The SG floor model at the show felt soft, sticky and pliable, with a good amount of strength where needed. It should be an interesting tire to try out in the real world, since the normal Hans Dampf is a great all around tire.

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)
  • Sizes – 26 x 2.35 (Pace Star, Trail Star and Vert Star), 27 x 2.35 (Vert Star)

They’ll be offering the following 650B sizes:

  • Hans Dampf SG – 27.5 x 2.35
  • Hans Dampf normal – 27.5 x 2.25 & 27 x 2.35
  • Nobby Nic – 27.5 x 2.35 & 27.5 x 2.25 (not snakeskin)
  • Racing Ralph – 27.5 x 2.25
  • Rocket Ron – 27.5 x 2.25 & 27.5 x 2.1
  • Rapid Rob – 27.5 x 2.25

I have been testing the
Nobby Nic 650B, 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!

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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