Now this is an interesting tire, the Hans Dampf Super Gravity 650b/27.5 tire. We have it in this new wheel size but it is also available in 26er. It is kind of an enigma but it makes sense as it has a kevlar bead, a downhill sidewall casing with dual carcass but single carcass under the tread. So what you have is a very supportive sidewall but still a compliant casing under the tread. This not only saves weight but gives the tire a better footprint and traction as well.
It’s a hybrid of a DH tire and XC tires. It’s a patented construction type that no other company has yet to develop. With the construction process you get a tire that is as strong as a DH tire, yet light as a freeride tire. Schwalbe developed this tire with the enduro scene in mind where many riders were opting to use DH tires on a 5-6″ bike because a standard XC/trail tire could not stand up to the abuse of races like MegaAvalanche. According to Schwalbe, the tire was proven to work on the WC Downhill circuit as well. Many of Schwalbe’s sponsored riders were riding and testing this tire in South Africa last year as well as many other WC courses depending on the conditions.
Here’s the basic rundown:
- Revolutionary new tire construction. Developed for Enduro competitions, but also ideally suited for Freeride and Downhill racing.
- Snakebite Protection is as tough as a Downhill tire, yet the tread surface remains very flexible for significantly lower rolling resistance and better riding characteristics.
- All-around SnakeSkin (both in the side wall and under the tread) protects well against cuts and punctures.
- Tires are Tubeless ready. Save the weight of a tube and maintain the weight level of a freeride tire.
- Compared to a Downhill tire and tube there is a weight savings of approx. 800g per bike.
- Size: 27.5 x 2.35
- Weight: 1040g
- Compound: TrailStar
- MSRP: $90.00
Schwalbe also offer the Hans Dampf Super Gravity in a 26″ version so here are those specs:
- Size: 25 x 2.35
- Weight: 995g
- Compound: PaceStar, TrailStar, or VertStar
- MSRP: $90.00
The Schwalbe Hans Dampf is the best 650b/27.5 tire available today. It rolls nicely and it has amazing traction in any condition. Desert rock, rooty forests, slippery rocks are some of the settings where a Hans Dampf can give you more confidence than any other 650b/27.5 tire can.
That’s why we were thrilled to try this latest iteration of the Hans Dampf. It is an honest 2.35 inch and it is big in air volume as well as thread width. To the touch, the sidewalls are very stiff but the the casing under the tread is supple like normal XC tires. We aired it up tubeless and it inflated true with no problems whatsover.
We took it out on the trail and set it at 25 psi. There was a bit of pavement to get to the loamy forest but the Hans Dampf Super Gravity’s rolled fine. The tires were quiet and there was none of that ‘howl’ that you hear from tires that are slower than molasses on pavement. We hit the trail and traction was very confident even on wet rocks and roots. There was no squirm whatsover as we leaned the tire over.
So on ride #2, we took the tires down to 20 psi. Traction improved a bit and the tire still felt sure-footed under hard cornering. Because the sidewall was stiff, there was none of the usual wallowing as the sidewall gives in to cornering loads. The tires were even more compliant through rocks and roots as the low pressure and compliant casing under the tread conformed to the terrain. So two rides so far and it’s the best tire we’ve tried at this weight. We are very excited to push this tire even further on future rides.
The weakness of the Hand Dampf tread durability and price. The Trailstar compound is their medium durometer tire and it is quite grippy but it is not the most durable. Riders in very rocky areas will wear out this tire faster others in its class. Grip performance has its price and that amplifies the other weakness which is the $90 price. That price is in the realm of car tires at Costco so prepare to put a good dent in your wallet if you fall in love with this tire.
Our full review on the 26er Hans Dampf is here.