Schwalbe Hans Dampf Review

Pro Reviews Tires

The all condition’s mountain-bike tire, are tubeless ready with a non-directional tread pattern, and uses their tough SnakeSkin sidewalls, and was designed for dry and loose or wet and rooty and rocky terrain. The tires use their Triple Star rubber compound design, specifically the TrailStar version (High Performance Trail Ride Compound). I have been thrashing a set of Hans Dampf’s, which roughly translates to “jack-of-all-trades”, on and off for six months, and they’re a good all around tire with excellent durability. One of the great aspects of this tire is there do it all character, and the outer knobs don’t need to be rolled over quite as far to hook up while cornering and steering. The 2.35-inch tires come in both a 26 and 29er versions.

Schwalbe Hans Dampf
Schwalbe released the sticky TrailStar variant of the Hans Dampf at Sea Otter last year, and then at Interbike, they rolled out two new versions, a cross country oriented PaceStar Compound (harder variant of the Triple Star Compound series) and a single compound Performance series, and the tires retail for $90, $90, $49 respectively.

The tire utilizes a nylon fabric casing, and is constructed with three plies of 67 tpi under the tread, and two plies on the sidewalls. The sidewall has an additional cross-hatched Snakeskin protection layer, to guard against cuts and abrasions, which greatly increase their abuse quotient. The TrailStar is comprised of a base layer, which provides knob stability and good rolling properties, and then a medium soft rubber running down the center knobs for traction, braking and acceleration performance, and finally, a soft rubber on the side knobs for grip in corners and riding over adverse and rocky terrain. In addition, the knobs have sipes (small micro cuts) for better flexibility, braking and grip. They dropped their usual U-Block tread design on these tires, and instead went to a more “enthusiast” oriented functioning tire, that is non-directional, and easier to corner. It was specifically designed for the drier and more technical trails of North America.

Hans Dampf Specs:

  • MSRP: TrailStar $90, PaceStar $90, Performance $49
  • Size: 26×2.35, 29×2.35 (only 26er in Performance)
  • Weight: 26er – 760 grams, 29er 850 grams
  • Casing: 67 EPI, Snakeskin Sidewall on Star versions
  • Compound: TrailStar, PaceStar, Performance
  • Tire Bead: Folding
  • Tubeless Ready on the Star versions

Testing Rig and Terrain
Although I shrive to be objective as possible in all my reviews, tires are somewhat personal, and how they react and work for me, and my local terrain, makes it all the more difficult. So I try to be overly picky, and dig deep into their characteristics, and look for strengths and weaknesses in any terrain and conditions. I tested the tires on my Ibis Mojo HD, which has 6 inches of suspension, in any sort of terrain that Colorado can throw at you. The testing terrain is predominantly loose rocky conditions, with many long steep climbs and descents, rock gardens, slick rock, an occasional smooth singletrack and lots of ugly loose gravel. In the Colorado Springs area where I ride, we have Pikes Peak gravel (pea gravel) on most of our trails, and it’s one of the most nightmarish traction eaters that I have ever dealt with. Cornering, braking and climbing can be a lesson in humility.

1 2 3Next
About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme 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 and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


(Visited 57,124 times, 1 visits today)

Related Articles


NOTE: There are two ways to comment on our articles: Facebook or Wordpress. Facebook uses your real name and can be posted on your wall while Wordpress uses our login system. Feel free to use either one.

Facebook Comments:



Wordpress Comments:

  • provolino says:

    i have put the trail star in front and pace starin rear, is even better!!!!

  • slyfink says:

    I find it strange that this reviewers experience is so different to my own. I ride in the North-East, on a 6″ travel bike. My experience contrasts with this with regards to the rear tire. I found when climbing that it sticks like glue and grabs onto wet roots and rocks like no other tire I’ve tried (Nevegal, High Roller, Albert, Eskar, Conti Vertical Pro, Panaracer Fire). However, the rear tire is dead after two months of use (@ a little less than 2x/week) as I’ve ripped out so many side knobs, some down to the casing. I guess rubber wear is OK, but that’s what makes it so annoying that my $100 tire is now useless when the rubber seems barely worn down at all. FWIW, I ordered these tires with a riding buddy, and his rear tire is in a similar state as mine. I find it very strange that this reviewer, especially in rocky terrain, has not experienced this premature wear. Maybe Schwalbe has modified the construction so it is more robust?

    • Brian Mullin says:

      slyfink => When stuff gets wet on my local trails, the tires get loaded with sand and gravel, making for an interesting combination. I may have gotten lucky with the durability, as many other Schwalbe tires I have used have done the same things yours did, premature side knob cracking and tearing. I got my tires a year ago at Sea Otter? My Big Betty’s were destroyed in a very short period of time, but they did stick like glue on rock. The Hans Dampf did fine on rocks, I am just really picky when I am climbing up ultra heinous rock slabs and stair steps, etc., and didn’t think they were at their best. Wet East Coast roots, not here in Colorado. In direct comparison to Conti Trail King and Schwalbe Big Betty’s, they are not as sticky or pliable (I’ll update the article with the info).

  • Manitoumtbr says:

    Brian,

    So do you prefer the Trail Kings over the Hans Dampf for the riding here on the front range? Trying to decide whether to give the HD a try or stick with the Trail Kings that have made me pretty happy. One thing about the Trail Kings I don’t like is that the non-UST is a real bear to try and seal for tubeless running and the sidewalls aren’t terribly durable either. Seems like the HD’s are better on both counts.

  • Lowball says:

    I’ve found that they really work well with slightly lower psi…I would try somewhere between 28 – 22 if you have rims that are stronger and hand handle a few bad lines here and there. Have them on my 26″ and 29″ bike and they’ve been solid. I’m in the 205 range w/o gear, so running them low with my DTswiss rims I got some flat spots…but currently on my stans rims I haven’t had any issues and I’ve run them as low as 22 in the rear tire…in both wet and dry conditions and in areas like D-Ville, Auburn, and Tahoe. If you do any amount of jumping and are not very smooth then 22 in the rear might be a little light.

    Haven’t had any issues with knobs coming off as of yet. Have ran both the pacestar and trailstar compounds.

    I picked up a set locally for the max mrsp and then also from France for about 75 w/shipping.

  • roll0ver says:

    I’ve been going through many tires over the past year, trying to find a great all-around tire for the conditions I’m riding: which require a lot of traction. I’m less concerned about rolling speed since all the terrain is so technical around me. The HD’s are hands down the best tires I’ve ever ridden – as long as you don’t need a tire that goes super fast. They cost a little more, but the premium is worth it when the tire doesn’t tear on a dull rock like the Nevegals. I’ve also ridden several Maxxis’s – they’re ok, faster but definitely not as grippy.

  • polymathic says:

    Brian, thanks for another great review. Can you give a little more side-by-side comparison between the Trail Kings, since you tested both?

  • Joe G says:

    Brian

    I don’t understand what you mean by “Since there weren’t any rotational or directional arrows on the tire, I experimented with running the siping forward and backwards, and it made a slight difference up front doing it forward, but I didn’t notice any perceptible feel in the rear? Personally, I would just install them, and ignore any slight directionality from the siping.”

    I just got a set that I haven’t mounted yet. As shown in the third photo, the tread pattern looks absolutely identical to me no matter which way they would be mounted, and I don’t see any difference in the siping either…

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Joe, The one currently on the rear of my bike has the siping distinctly in a direction, while the front (as seen in the picture) is a mirror image, and had no direction. It appears to have been a mold difference on some versions. So I updated the article “Depending on the molding of the tire, there may be some slight siping directionality, but I would just disregard it, and install the tire anyway you want.”

  • Miguel says:

    HD’s are awesome Shore winter tires, there is really no comparison… not even close. I run them at 21 psi with skinny tubes and have yet to flat, that’s over 6 months of regular abuse without a flat! $90 is a steal.

  • Brandon says:

    Had my first trail ride on the Hans Dampf yesterday. I picked up a set of the performance version for 27 euro a piece from my local shop.

    They are a ton lighter than the 2.35 Nevegals I was running. I could really tell a difference in weight climbing. Not only did the weight loss make a difference, but they hooked up so incredibly well. I saw roots on the trail that would normally stall me out and cause me to hike the bike, but the Hans Dampf powered up everything.

    Decending was also a great improvement. It was a familiar trail and the corners I would normally be cautious on I was able to push it harder. I didn’t wash out on the rocky/gravel corners.

    I am so impressed with the cheaper “Performance” version of the tire. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be running these tires exclusively for a long time to come.

  • Jordan SMoke says:

    I ran the Hans Damf on the front for the last 2 1/2 months and all the side nobs are tearing out. I ride a lot so not too crazy but normally the nobs on my front tire dont rip off. In addition i have been through 5 schwalbe tires dampf, noby nic, and racing raplph in the last 3 months, a little rediculous too me. Race day only tires in my opinion.

  • Harold Doughty says:

    Great comprehensive article Brian. I’ve run and love Schwalbe tires on my mountain bikes since living in Switzerland. Had been wonder how the HDs perform.
    For those of you that are interested, you can buy them (and a lot of other components) from Germany a lot cheaper at http://www.bike-components.de. A set of 2 HDs with Pacestar/Trailstar will cost you about $100 including shipping to the US. The guys there are great and I’ve never had a problem with them (I’ve bought thousands of $ in parts there over the years).

  • Georg Schacht says:

    One of the best reviews on tires I have found. These tires are VERY stiff due to sidewalls and I found running on a wide rim (Easton Haven) and lowering the tire pressure to 23/26 PSI -front/rear works well for me. The performance over wet roots and light mud keeps me upright and in a vertical position at all times. Front traction (or lack of) is very predictable and the rear is fine for the trails I ride – Portland, OR summer and winter – wet, light mud and roots to dry loose to hardpack with some rocky areas. I had many scary times on Conti Mountain Kings, especially on roots and wet conditions. I run tubeless with Stans – easy mounting. The selling price has come down so they are about the same as a Conti and I will pay premium to stay upright. Bottom line: These tires need to be run at 23/26PSI (tubeless) or they ride very hard and many of the good qualities are masked. My riding weight is about 182 LBS and I ride a Diamondback Mission (6 inch rear travel).

  • guitarjoh21 says:

    Hans is my new friend. Put one up front and love it. Going to use it with a variety of rears on my XC/AM hard pack specific wheelset. Getting another for a rear on my DH wheels with a Maxxis Minion 2.5 up front. Just the all purpose tire I have been looking for. Picked it up at Wheel World for $37 and couldn’t be more pleased.

  • Roberta says:

    Had my first trail ride on the Hans Dampf yesterday. I pieckd up a set of the performance version for 27 euro a piece from my local shop. They are a ton lighter than the 2.35 Nevegals I was running. I could really tell a difference in weight climbing. Not only did the weight loss make a difference, but they hooked up so incredibly well. I saw roots on the trail that would normally stall me out and cause me to hike the bike, but the Hans Dampf powered up everything.Decending was also a great improvement. It was a familiar trail and the corners I would normally be cautious on I was able to push it harder. I didn’t wash out on the rocky/gravel corners. I am so impressed with the cheaper Performance version of the tire. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be running these tires exclusively for a long time to come.

    • mykel says:

      I have had HD since their release (TrailStar)
      I have no issue with knob tearing or premature wear.
      (Granted these are trail tires not gravity)
      As for size – I disagree that they are not big…their huge.
      They are bigger than my DH BigBetty’s.
      HD=2.5″ BB=2.45″ both measured after mounted for a couple weeks.
      Overall a tossup between the Conti RubberQueen and the HD for best all-round trail tire IMO.
      michael

  • Maxman6000 says:

    I’ve had these on my mojo HD for the last two month and love them.
    In Perth it’s dry, dusty, loose gravel and in some spots really rocky.
    Handles all these conditions and has pulled me out of some tricky situations hooking up when I thought I was gone.
    A couple riding buddies also swear by them.
    Great tyre!

  • Herls says:

    Have been running HD’s on the front and Nobby Nics on back for approx. 12 months – most impressed with the combination – HD’s hookup well and take front on hits without any trouble. NN’s climb well – and hang in on corners

  • Cleatus says:

    Running a trail star front and pace star rear. The tires perform great .. but after only about 8 or 9 rides the knobs are tearing on the front and back! Very disappointed. Considering how expensive these things are I’ll be riding Nevegals from now on. I work at a bike shop so I won’t recommend these tires anymore either.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*