Schwalbe 2013 Tires – Hans Dampf, Rocket Ron, Nobby Nic

26er 27.5 29er Tires




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.


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.

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)

Rocket Ron
The lightweight Rocket Ron gets a major facelift this year, in what they like to call ‘The Next Generation’ version. They have decreased 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.

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.

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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  • evasive says:

    By “complete model range” in 29″, does that include the Muddy Mary, and the SuperGravity Hans Dampf?

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Sorry, none of the gravity tires (including Hans Dampf SG) will be in the 29er size. I fixed the article…”For the 2013 product year, they’ll have most of the model range in 29er sizes (except gravity tires)…”

  • Jimbo says:

    I had a pair of Knobby Nics once and they were the shortest lived tire I have ever had. Not impressed.

  • Skidad says:

    Hey, I’d like to know how you like that Magura fork pictured on the Mojo. NN looks like it JUST clears the arch.

    I have some new 2.35″ NN with Snakeskin on the way from Germany (great prices too) at this moment. Hopefully I wont have the same result as the post above.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      There isn’t much room above the NN 2.35 tire on the Magura TS8 150, and it took lots of outings before the paint on the more forward arch wore away from wet rides (no worries on loss of strength, since it’s only the paint). I like the fork a lot, and it’s plush, smooth and has a great feel. When the fork is used as with 650B tire, it’s supposed to be used with a smaller tire then the tall NN 2.35.

  • DoISmellBacon says:

    Hey Brian, I’ve seen you mention that the Nobby Nic is really big….maybe a little too close for comfort on the back of your HD….. Is this the 2.35 with Snakeskin you’re referring to, or the 2.25? Has anybody seen a 2.25 NN yet?

    • Brian Mullin says:

      I haven’t tried the 2.25 NN. The 2.35 NN SnakeSkin barely fits in the rear of the HD, and it picks up too many rocks, and when it rains or snows it can chews things up, and quickly wear through any tape protection. To me, the 2.35 NN is a no go on the rear of the HD.

  • Jon Zechmeister says:

    The Nobby Nic is the worst tire I have ever owned! Not recommended for any type of terrain……I will stick with Kenda Navagal.

  • Sean says:

    I had a 26×2.25″ NN earlier in the season. No snakeskin. Lasted 3 weeks before the sidewall was fraying and tearing.

    Been running Hansies f&r ever since. knobs are starting to peel off like pencil erasers. Great tires other than the price though. Worked well setup tubeless too until I got a puncture and sealant culdn’t seal it.

  • dmx1 says:

    Have been riding the Rocket Ron in 26×2.25 tubeless. Crazy licht and very fast. But stay away from sharp rocks or concrete edges.

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