Schwalbe Addix Compound

Words by Drew Rohde // Photos by Trevor Lyden

After unveiling their latest advancements in rubber technology last spring, Schwalbe has spent the rest of the 2017 season touting their new Addix compound. While most people do not deny Schwalbe’s ability to create tires that deliver traction and championships, the durability of their tires has created a slight dilemma with consumers and their wallets. Forking out big bucks for a tire that would look beat-down within a hard weekend of bike park riding isn’t something a majority of mountain bikers can afford– at least not ones like us. Using completely new formulas, new mixers and new processes, Schwalbe set out to deliver the traction they are known for with the longevity consumers had been longing for. Read on to see if they succeeded.

The Tech

Back in 2015, Schwalbe tasked a 30-person team to create a new compound– Addix. Two years and countless tires later, Schwalbe was confident in their new compound and invited a select group of media representatives ride the tires for the first time. You can read that article here and learn as much about the new compounds as Schwalbe’s engineers were willing to share with us. Though Schwalbe’s previous compounds offered plenty of traction, the brand saw room for improvement and made a major investment in research and tooling. The primary component of that investment was the purchase of a 1.5-million dollar rubber mixing machine. Having the utmost control over ingredient temperature, mixing time and mixing rates is absolutely critical for producing the highest quality rubber.

The Addix name refers to the new breed of rubber recipes, but within that family are sub-categories of compounds designed for different usage. The different compounds are easily identified by a colored stripe around the tire.

Schwalbe Addix Compound Diagram

Addix Speed (Red)
The hardest rubber compound of the group, Speed, is intended for XC use. It also has the least rolling resistance and longest lifespan.

Addix Speedgrip (Blue)
Intended for all mountain, trail and enduro rear tires, Speedgrip is the second hardest rubber compound and offers a good balance between grip, rolling resistance and wear. Speedgrip offers 135% more grip and 162% more durability when compared to their outgoing Pacestar compound.

Addix Soft (Orange)
This compound is designed for all mountain, enduro or trail front tires, or those wanting extra grip. While the rolling resistance is higher than the Speed or Speedgrip compounds, traction is greatly increased and the rubber offers far more damping ability. Tire life improved 149% over the previous soft rubber compound.

Addix Ultra Soft (Purple)
Ultra Soft is intended for gravity use, and while it has a relatively high rolling resistance and shorter wear life compared to the other Addix compounds, it is incredibly soft, grippy and offers superb damping characteristics. Lifespan increased 112% over the previous gravity compound, which is impressive considering how supple it is.

Depending on the tire’s intended purpose, Schwalbe has paired each tread pattern with a selection of different casings and Addix compounds. The table below summarizes the array of casings and compounds offered for each tire as well as their intended riding genre.

The Dirt

Schwalbe tires have been on quite a few of our test bikes over the years and while we’ve always enjoyed their traction, we’ve also been thankful that we didn’t have to pay to replace them. Being the skeptics we are, we half expected this new “magic” formula to be a marginal improvement in longevity with about the same performance we’ve grown to expect from Schwalbe. Admittedly, we were completely off. We wish it was that easy to tell our girlfriends we were wrong. The Germans put us in our place and washed that taste of skepticism right out of our mouths.

We received multiple sets of Addix-equipped tires to both our Oregon and SoCal locations and testers in both locales agreed that traction and lifespan are greatly improved. Our preferred setup was a Hans Dampf rear and Magic Mary front, 27.5 x 2.35 in the Addix Soft compound. The NW crew selected the Super Gravity casing as we were making a group trip to Whistler for a week of bike park riding. Schwalbe also made a slight change to their Super Gravity casing, which resulted in zero flat tires across six tires! Based on our previous experiences, we were very impressed with the increased flat protection.

Having ridden both the Magic Mary and Hans Dampf countless times in their previous rubber offerings we felt quite versed in their abilities and weaknesses. Over the last few months we focused on those areas and found a very different experience in tires we thought we knew. Rolling speed is a tough thing to judge on the bike as so many variables come into play, but the tires seemed to carry a bit more speed than their predecessors. Where the tires really stood out was in the wear department. Hopefully that statement doesn’t distract from the impressive traction they offered but, Schwalbe tires always did pretty well in that department so that sort of goes without saying.

The tires photographed for this review have been ridden hard, climbed up thousands of feet on paved road and spent five days in the driest, roughest Whistler Bike Park we’ve ever seen. That last part alone was enough to make Schwalbe’s old tires look beat, but not the Addix versions. Incredibly, they still look new and perform better than the old tires ever did.

Schwalbe Addix Compound

The Wolf’s Last Word

If we had to pick one it’d be wow! Schwalbe made some major investments in both man-hours and machinery to step up their compounding and it worked. Often times brands claim to have developed new technology in a familiar package that offer minimal on-trail changes. That is not the case with Schwalbe’s Addix compounds. Our only real critique is that the tires are still very spendy, roughly $25 to $30 more than a comparable Maxxis or the Kenda Hellkats. Traction improvements alone make the Addix Soft tires a worthwhile recommendation. When you exclude the price tag and take into account the improved puncture resistance on the Super Gravity models and the incomparable improvement to wear-life, we can’t think of a reason not to recommend Schwalbe’s Addix tires.

Price: $98

We Dig

Superb Traction
Damping Characteristics
Super Gravity’s New Puncture Protection

We Don’t

Still Cost $100

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