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.
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.
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.