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

26er 27.5 29er Tires

By Brian Mullin and Francis Cebedo

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. It’s nice to see Schwalbe stepping up to the plate with a big chunk of their tires in the popular new 650B/27.5 size. 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.

The most exciting news of all is that Schwalbe is embracing the 650b platform and offering many different tires. Often with a new platform, the best tires are always the last to adopt the standard and early users are left compromising with tire designs that over four years old.

Mtbr has been given the opportunity to test the Hans Dampf, Nobby Nic and Rocket Ron in the 650b wheel size. These tires are some of the best available to day and even the most demanding consumer will be pleased with one of these offerings.

First observation is the tires are huge. All three tires mentioned have big volume with wide profiles and a tall casing height.  This is significant since the 650b wheel size is only 40% of the way between a 26er and 29er tire. And in the early days of 650b tires, most were low volume and low profile to fit them in 26er fork or frame.  Schwalbe has done away with this ‘retrofit’ requirement and created some of the biggest 650b volume tires around.  This will enable better adoption of this wheel size as users are able to fully realize the upper limit of the 650b tire diameter.

Here are the weights of the three 650b tires:

Hans Dampf 650b – 818 grams

Nobby Nic 650b – 717 grams

Rocket Ron 650b

The weights go from 818 grams for the Hans Dampf and a ridiculously light 498 grams for the Rocket Ron (with light casing).  All are big volume tires so these weights are quite impressive.  The Hands Dampf is the true leader of this crop because 650b has set the bullseye on the All Mountain 5-6″ travel bike.  And for this category of bike, there are few tires that excel as well as the Hans Dampf. Here is a tire with superb grip and predictability.  And to top it off, it rolls pretty darn well as the knobs are closely spaced and the casing is supple.

The Rocket Ron is just a headshaker with it’s huge girth but featherweight numbers at 498 grams.  The knobs are short and the side wall is very thin.  So we dare not set it up tubeless. But we’ve used it with tubes and we have been shocked so far by its performance.  Get the pressures right and it rolls and corners very well.

So there is the exciting line of 650b tires we’ve tried so far from Schwalbe. We’ll let Brian Mullin explain some more of the technology behind these designs.

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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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