Schwalbe MTB 2013

27.5 29er Tires

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 reduced 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.

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.


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  • Bob says:

    “They have bumped up the rolling resistance by 15% due to redesigned center knobs” I hope they meant they reduced rolling resistance, right?

  • Nurse Ben says:

    Is the Hans Dampf SG going to have a larger casing than the standard tire? Any idea when it’ll be available?

  • Brian Mullin says:

    NB: They should be available in Sept time frame, but it might be later. The carcass might be a bit fatter since it has the extra layers, but I think it will be about the same? I’ll have to wait until Interbike or so to measure one!

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