Schwalbe’s New Hans Dampf
Words by Drew Rohde
We recently had the opportunity to mount some new Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires on our trusty Commencal Meta AM. It’s our third set of tires on the bike so we’ve got a pretty good base on what the bike is capable of. With dirt conditions looking good, we took the fresh meats out on some local trails for a proper introduction.
We’ve had many good rides on the last generation of Hans Dampf tires over the years, but durability issues and some edge knob folding on hard-pack corners kept it from being the truly awesome tire Schwalbe believed it could be. They went back to the drawing board and began designing the new Hans Dampf.
While the similarities are visible, the differences are notable and they certainly seem to be the improvements riders had been hoping for. The new Hans Dampf is a notably more aggressive tire than its predecessor. Knob height is a bit taller and the alternating double-block center design features a semi-open arrangement down the center. Schwalbe claims the design helps the tire shed mud in nasty conditions, which we’ve yet to verify.
Moving out to the transitional blocks, the elliptical arrangement gives the tire a constant contact patch with the ground. Unlike some tires that feature a float/drift channel with aggressive shoulder knobs, Schwalbe’s Hans Dampf features predictable and constant grip in every part of your cornering lean. If you’re a rider that doesn’t like that floaty zone between center knobs and the shoulder, then you’ll like the predictability of the Hans Dampf.
When you’ve got to really lean ‘er over beyond the transition blocks, alternating large and small shoulder knobs are designed to keep you on track. One of the complaints outside of durability was with the shoulder knobs and how they would squirm or fold. Schwalbe has reinforced the new, larger blocks to hold shape better and have a more predictable break away point.
Thanks to Schwalbe’s very impressive Addix compound released last year, the Germans knew that durability and wear would no longer be an issue. It was time to make the Jack-of-all-trades tire Schwalbe wanted all along. Our time on the new Hans Dampfs is still too short to comment on wear but we have definitely spent more than enough time on Addix-built Magic Mary and Nobby Nic tires and have been very impressed. To learn more about Addix compounds visit our story from the Schwalbe media camp here.
Schwalbe will offer the tires in a variety of sizes from 24- to 29-inch, including a 2.8” wide version. Addix compounds offered on this tire will be Speed Grip and Soft. There will be two casing options available, Super Gravity and Apex.