Schwalbe Hans Dampf AM/Trail Tire Review

May 20, 2011 at 0:07
May 20, 2011
by Richard Cunningham  
 
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Schwalbe has earned a reputation for producing lightweight, high-volume tires that bring cross-country performance to the all-mountain realm. Aggressive riders who fell in love with the fast-rolling Rocket Ron and Knobby Nic often wished for an armored sidewall and larger tread blocks. Enter Hans Dampf - Schwalbe's do-it-all, all-mountain tire that promises to provide the Wet-condition grip of the Maxxis MInion, and the dry traction of Kenda's Nevegal. If you don't want to read further, Hans Dampf tires rock. Claimed weight of the 2.35-inch Hans Dampf tire is 750 grams, and suggested retail is $90.

<span style='font-size:17px'>Hans Dampf Tire at a Glance:</span><br><br>-Purpose: All-mountain/Trail<br>-Flat protection: Snakeskin armored sidewalls<br>-Features: Triple-compound tread, all-condition design, 67 TPI, 3-ply casing<br>-Tubeless: Tubeless ready<br>-Directional: No<br>-Weight: 750 grams<br>-Size: 2.35-inch<br>-Price: $90 USD
Hans Dampf Tire at a Glance:

-Purpose: All-mountain/Trail
-Flat protection: Snakeskin armored sidewalls
-Features: Triple-compound tread, all-condition design, 67 TPI, 3-ply casing
-Tubeless: Tubeless ready
-Directional: No
-Weight: 750 grams
-Size: 2.35-inch
-Price: $90 USD



Inside the Hans Dampf All-Mountain Tire

Roughly translated into English, Hans Dampf means "handyman" or a "Jack of all trades." What Hans Dampf means to riders is state-of-the-art rubber compounds, molded onto an armored casing, and capped with a time-proven knobby tread design. Schwalbe upgraded all of its off-road tires to tubeless ready, and the added "Snakeskin" sidewall protection makes the Hands Dampf truly tubeless (although sealant is recommended for any tubeless setup).

While Schwalbe designed the Hans Dampf to suit drier conditions, the spiky tread pattern shreds loamy trails.
While Schwalbe designed the Hans Dampf to suit drier conditions, the spiky tread pattern shreds loamy trails.


Rubber Tech: Schwalbe's rubber incorporates a micro-fine carbon filler that toughens the compound without robbing its flexibility. To keep the 2.35-inch Hans Dampf rolling fast, Shwalbe uses its "TrailStar" rubber design - two sticky traction compounds for tread, molded over a resilient, springy rubber base layer designed to retain energy. To provide a measure of durability, the center blocks are a medium/soft compound while the cornering blocks are grippier, softer rubber. To squeeze out a bit more traction on hard-pack surfaces, the tread blocks are siped (split lengthwise) to give the upper part of the blocks more flexibility.

Construction: Schwalbe builds the Hans Dampf tire with 67 TPI (threads per inch) casing fabric using a layering process that provides two-ply sidewalls, with a three-ply layer beneath the tread. A special nylon-fabric protection layer (Snakeskin) is laminated to the sidewall and covered with cross-hatched rubber to guard against cuts and abrasion. The Snakeskin armor is reported to weigh 40 grams, which seems like a good trade off between ultimate rolling performance and rock-garden durability.


Closeup view of the Hans Dampf carcass shows the cross-hatch pattern of the
Closeup view of the Hans Dampf carcass shows the cross-hatch pattern of the "Snakeskin" armored sidewall.


Schwalbe calls the Hans Dampf a 2.35-inch tire. Mounted to an XC width 24-millimeter rim, the casing measures 2.25 inches, and the width of the tire at the edging blocks is 2.35 inches on the money. Mounted to all-mountain-width 28-millimeter rims, the casing measures a full 2.35 inches while the outer blocks measure only slightly wider, at 2.37 inches. We weighed the tires at 755 grams which is nearly identical to a similar-sized Kenda Nevegal and quite heavier than the svelte, 560 gram 2.4-inch Schwalbe Rocket Ron we have been using this season.

Tread design: Hans Dampf tread is a modified version of the textbook moto-inspired staggered-block pattern. This is a good thing, because this design spreads out acceleration and cornering forces over a number of tread blocks at any given lean angle. The rounded tread profile and generous number of transition blocks ensure that there will be no surprises when laying the bike over into turns. Hans Dampf tires are nearly spikes, with 3-millimeter center blocks, 4-millimeter transitions, and 6-millimeter-tall edging blocks.



Ride-Testing Hans Dampf Tires

With the snakeskin sidewall protection, Hans Dampf tires are stiff-feeling at lower air pressures, so it will take some experimentation to get the perfect air pressure. We settled on 22psi up front and 24 in the rear. We ran the tires with tubes to evaluate them against Schwalbe's direct rivals in the AM category (Kenda Nevegal and Maxxis Minion).

Mounted to wider freeride/AM rims, the Hans Dampf casing measures a full, 2.35 inches and the tread pattern fills out a bit.
Mounted to wider freeride/AM rims, the Hans Dampf casing measures a full, 2.35 inches and the tread pattern fills out a bit.
.

Rolling resistance: Soft rubber, a stiff casing and big tread blocks are all ingredients that slow a tire on flat, hard surfaces. Schwalbe's Hans Dampf feels a bit porky on pavement, but perks up once it hits dirt. There is no change in rolling resistance as the bike is leaned over in a corner, or gripping an off-camber surface. This is a good thing, because most tires with spiky, soft edging blocks (Minions) are draggy when tipped on their sides. Given the fact that Schwalbe chose such a blocky tread pattern, one would expect the Hans Dampf to growl on hard surfaces, but it is silent - eerily so - even at high speed.

Climbing and Braking Traction: Wet or dry, if you didn't make it up the hill, it was probably your fault. Same with braking, there are no directional arrows on the tire, so we set the tread-block sipes facing the braking direction. As expected, the grippy Schwalbe tread pattern allowed us to squeeze the brake levers with authority on almost any terrain without foolish lockups. That said, a rounded tread profile, combined with a carcass on the stiff side, create a tire that is sensitive to over-inflation. If you insist on riding at 40 psi, only the tread on the crown of the tire will be touching the earth, so the tires can slip while climbing or braking. Get the pressure close to the mark, however, and the Schwalbes feel invincible.

Cornering: Schwalbe specifically designed the Hans Dampf to perform on drier, technical trails in North America and Pinkbike can report that this is the case. Grippy tread blocks find their way to traction on almost any surface. Hans Dampf gripped wet rocks, cracked clay, rutted gravel and loose-over-hard soil without unsettling the rider while cornering. No-worry transition tread kept us waiting for an unplanned slide that never came when we first laid the bike over. When the tire does exceed cornering traction, its a nonevent. The grip maintains a certain G-force and when the slide stops, the bike rolls on like nothing happened. In short, the Hans Dampf tread pattern is very forgiving.

Durability: So far, so good. The miles are piling up on two Hans Dampf-equipped test bikes and the tires still look new. No flats, no sidewall damage, and no torn tread blocks.

A rounded tread profile and well-spaced intermediate blocks make for smooth transitions from straight-line braking to leaned-over cornering. Siped tread blocks add grip.
A rounded tread profile and well-spaced intermediate blocks make for smooth transitions from straight-line braking to leaned-over cornering. Siped tread blocks add grip.


What Could Be Better?
Big, square-edged crown blocks molded in a soft rubber compound are great for climbing and braking - but that is also a recipe for a slow-rolling tire. While the Hans Dampf rolls at least as fast as its popular rivals, we couldn't help wondering that if we shaved a millimeter or so off the top tread blocks and angled the leading edges (ALA Kenda Nevegal), if the Hans Dampf would become the "Rocket Hans."

What Pinkbike Thinks About Hans Dampf
We like riding Schwalbe's big-volume all-mountain tires, but have complained about the short life span and the small tread blocks of the lighter weight models we've tested. The Hans Dampf has silenced our criticisms about durability and set a high bar for how much traction one should expect from a 2.35-inch all-mountain/trail bike tire.

Discover more about Schwalbe's tubeless ready tire lineup and if you have any thoughts, we'd love to hear what you think about Schwalbe's new Hans Dampf tire design.
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65 Comments

  • + 45
 I'm not usually one to complain about prices but for 90$ a piece I can get car tires...
  • + 13
 nice car tires at that.
  • + 6
 Pretty much, not doubting that any of schwables offerings are great. I'm just not willing to pay what they're asking for them when people are winning championships on vastly cheaper rubber.
  • + 12
 @ undercoverfreak. It is true, but you are missing something. With the money you spend on your dh bike (in case you have one) you could have bought a motorbike 125cc.
  • + 1
 maxxis tires like the ardent, high roller, minion in the 3C compound cost upwards of $100 a tire out of the distributer books at the LBS around here, not that we pay that price but thats distributer retail...
  • + 7
 Nothings worse than cheap tires on a nice bike. So cancel dinner with your wife/girlfriend and buy yourself some Shwalbe's. I've never bought a tire that retailed for less than $90... And I don't race.
I would definitely like to give these tires a shot once my current treads wear out.
  • + 1
 Maxxis used to be cheap, this was the reason I just looked at them as THE BEST, quality was best if not the best (ok maxxis weights are a bit behind Conti and Schwalbe. Even last year I paid 28£ for Highrollers 2,35" UST per tyre. Right now same tyres are on 25% off sales for 35£ -> WTF?! Better Contis and Shwalbies allways had prices over the roof >40 even 45£ but at least Contis are handmade in Germany. Schwalbe are a tiny bit cheaper but are a regular far east production - I don't know where the price comes from?! Now this tyre will be like 50£ + in Europe, I find that ridiculous.

In Poland Maxxis prices were crazy, at least for 1plies, all like 25$ or less. I hope it doesn't change. In Sweden though, Schwalbe Rocket Rons UST cost like 150$ and even a sunday warrior will wear them out in half a year! Fk me...
  • + 0
 $90 hahahahaha your having a laugh! go and buy some crossmarks instead, so much cheaper and the fastest tyre ive ever used. + youd have enough change for a night out on the piss or a car tyre aswell....
  • + 2
 lets put it this way... look at the cost of a performance tire for your car... tires for my truck cost upwards of $200+ if you want you're vehicle to preform well under most conditions why would you buy the cheapest tire? sure you could spend 100 dollars on a tire for your vehicle put will it preform the same as a high quality performance tire? I look at it the same way for bikes, why would you skimp out and buy a cheap tire with a bad rubber compound that will not preform the same as a quality tire with compound that is good for all uses... would you expect it to preform the same way... maybe, in reality will it?
  • + 5
 Benjiscott82 - You use crossmark in UK? That tire in wet is bullocks! You would do better with some 2,5" dirt street tyre on lower pressure. You can't climb that on wet roots and stones at all.
  • - 3
 your assuming that it rains every day in the UK, and that i ride them in the wet. it doesnt rain every day and i use advantage and highroller like any other sensible person for tacky ground. i dont ride in ubermub, not my kinda thing.

crossmarks are absolutely excellent for trail centres and compact ground, fast as f***
  • + 0
 @sidermang

I can get a Maxxis "performance" dirt bike tire for $60-$70 USD
  • + 2
 mark up on all tires in canada is rediculous all schwable tires, maxxis tires, conti tires are all being marked up 15-30% over the next year here because of rising oil prices or some shit like that, a bunch of bull shit making importing goods like tires more expensive
  • + 3
 $62.95 shipped. Cheapest I could find them online.
www.dealdynamite.com/hans-dampf-pacestar-free-shipping
  • + 1
 here in Europe these Schwalbe tires cost under 45USD and the performance series ( which are the best ones for normal riders ) are under 20USD!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 "Schwalbe's do-it-all, all-mountain tire that promises to provide the Wet-condition grip of the Maxxis Minion" - Really? I thought Minions were pretty poor in the wet, didn't fling claggy English sh1t quick enough, the Muddy Mary is my tyre of choice, I'm not into changing tyres unless I have to so they fit the bill perfect for me.

$90 Euro's I assume is the RRP, I paid £35 delivered per tyre for Wicked Will DH yesterday which according to xe.com is $56each.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 wanna know a secret about the best high performance / affordable tubeless tires for all-mountain bikes?

Specialized Control Purgatory front

Specialized Control Eskar rear (wetter conditions / more aggressive)
Specialized Control Captain 2.2" rear (drier conditions / hardpack)

made by Cheng Shin (Maxxis) but 1/2 the price of Maxxis in the UK, and loads of tech in the 'control' tires (dual ply, 60tpi, tubeless membrane, folding kevlar bead)

Specialized tires come up huge for the 'given size' the Purgatory, Eskar and Captain 2.2 are the same volume size as Maxxis 2.5" !!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Man I hope these are better than the Nobby Nics because they are god offal when cornering! I was racing in semi muddy conditions and I couldn't keep any speed up because the dang things would just slide out ever time you tried to turn!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I'm in my 4rth pair of Hans Dampf tires and disagree in the durability aspect of this review, I don´t race, I’m just a weekend warrior and I have to change my rear tire every 4 to 6 months, for me that is really low term durability.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Costing is what it is!... Just buy what you can afford/justify... Wink
These are great tires and I want a pair of Hans Dampfs on my bike asap!
You know, theres a lot of work involved, in making a tire... youtu.be/IXdEJxoBytU
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Just got these tires and had fun on some snowy trails. Mind you, the trails were thick in snow but a nice thin layer of it and these tires handled as if there were no snow on the ground. I love these tires...gives me that extra confidence in dropping in rooty descents and turning quickly on some nice berms. It's a bit heavy and slow rolling but I forgive it for it's ability to grip so damn well. If I want pure speed I'll swap out to my Nobby Nic's or WTB Wolverines. Highly recommend these tires.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I like the sound of these, I was wondering how they perform on off camber large, slick, or wet roots? I ride trails that are seriously rooty and often are wet, and, or muddy...so I need tires that will hold their line in these situations?...some feedback would be great...
  • + 1
 I have this same question. I had a pair of the older Alberts, and they were really good on anything dry, but the compound was too hard for wet conditions, and on wet rocks and roots they were quite simply horrible. I too ride on lots of wet roots and rocks. I'm curious about their new Trailstar compound and how it compares to Maxxis' 42a compound, Kenda's Stick-e compound, and/or Specialized's 55/65 compound, and even the Conti's Black Chili... Richard or Mike, can you comment?
  • + 1
 You wanna try the Muddy Marys in Triple nano , a tire for damp thru to sloppy crap , I love them ! They dont hold up to well on dry hard pack though , a little to tall knobbed I think.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I've never had a problem with nobby nics so I think I'll stay with the old faithful as I wasn't aware that many people had issues with nics in the first place? Can anyone enlighten me to their own gripes on the nics and not schwalbes advertised claims?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Been ridding them for the past 3 weeks and they just smoke every other tire i had before ( Minion and Nevegals )
as far as price goes I got mine for around $65 each and i think they are def worth it,I am not sure about durability
I guess time will tell.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I use Nobby Nics Double Defense 2.25 as a XC/Trail tyre in tubeless setup - super expensive, but comparing to any offer from Maxxis, they are amazing. At least in wet and semi-dry they just rip. Nothing comes close I believe, even Contis, even though the're at the same feather weight, their knob design sucks. Older Mountain Kings were shyte even in black chilli compound as soon as thigns got a bit sketchy. NNnics evo DD clean out from mud fast, accelerate really well, roll even better, braking/climbing on wet roots is top notch, and on top of that they are tubeless ready and have the best cut protection ever. Full-on UST version is completely unnecessary.

However I can that in proper mountains NN is not gonna work too well, and heard that alpine terrain rips them to shreds. Maybe this Hans Dampf tyre will be better, though when things get really rough I think nothing will ever replace 2-ply. Tyres are all about location location location
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I don't think these are available in the UK yet? People who've been riding them, how do they compare to Maxxis? I've been riding high roller rear and minion front for a long time now and it works great as an aggressive AM set up, as I like to chuck myself down the hills as well as be able to climb them! Schwalbe tyres are expensive over here, £46 a tyre average.
  • + 1
 CRC do most of them for 35 quid now
  • + 1
 Buy them from germany if you're in the UK
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i'm running a Conti Gravity in 2.3 with 1 ply and steel beading on the rear (2.4bar) it's not the UST or Tubeless version but I run it tubeless. it grips amazingly and I've never had the back end get sketchy on me and our terrain where i am is all quartz and jasper and striated rock with sketchy marbled hardpack, had to 'noodle' a tear on one of the cornering blocks and that's the only fault it really had, it's done well over 1200km's off road only (i don't do road or pavement) and seems to be about half way through it's life. i've been thinking about changing over and trying a Shwalbe to replace it early next year but at that price i don't think so, even 'expensive' Conti's are better value for money, the average price of a schwalbe tire in this country is $100-$120.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Since the Big Betty 2.4 didnt fit in the rear of my bike (too big) and the Fat albert is ok, but scary when wet, i think these definitely has to be a great option for my rear, im gonna give it a try!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 ok descent tire, but 90$$ for a 750 gr. peice of rubber, no matter what "technology" goes into a tire is it really worth almost 40$$ a pound ???
[Reply]
  • + 1
 has anyone tried the Performance compound?? Particularly has anyone tried the Performance compound in a tubeless (with sealant) setup??
[Reply]
  • + 1
 damn.... what a name.... probably won't by em just for that , review sounds nice though but HANS DAMPffffff ? what were they thinking?
  • + 1
 they are trying to catch the american market, Schwalbes odd naming convention is usually funny, if you live in europe or are german, the name hans dampf (whch literally translates to something like "humid Hans") is coined to get the american attention, what other name more german than Hans??? pack in a bavarian shirt style carton and there you have a connection to the oktoberfest, which almost anyone, particular in USA can relate to. And this tire was supposed to be designed for "american conditions" I guess they where thinking about californian conditions.

Marketing... can be weird O_o
[Reply]
  • + 1
 $90 Hahahahahahahahahaha. I buy Maxxis and Geax on sale for $19 and they are probably equal or better. What a fargin rip off. I thought Spec. tires were expensive at $70.
  • + 1
 let us now where, I would like to try some dh geax tires..
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I bet u will find these for like 70 euros a pair on some webshops in the future
[Reply]
  • + 0
 $62.95 shipped. Cheapest I could find them on the web. a href="http://www.dealdynamite.com/hans-dampf-pacestar-free-shipping">ebikestop.com/a>
[Reply]
  • + 0
 $62.95 shipped. Cheapest I could find them on the web. \a href="http://www.dealdynamite.com/hans-dampf-pacestar-free-shipping"\>ebikestop.com\/a\>
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I now have a set of these. Came on my new Jekyll. LOVE them. silly grippy.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 What is the purpose and difference in compound: TrailStar, PaceStar?
Thanks!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 $62.95 shipped. Cheapest I could find them online.
www.dealdynamite.com/hans-dampf-pacestar-free-shipping
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I use Hans Dampf as front tire on my OneTwenty, like it so much!!! Works well on dry\wet conditions.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i need these tyres in my life
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I have the Muddy Mary triple nano jobbies with gold lettering are these also built to be tubeless ready?
  • + 2
 bigburd, the MM that you have is meant to be used with a tube. It would have a Tubeless Ready logo on the side otherwise. Gold letters were on all of the Triple Nano tires.
  • + 1
 Thanks Jo , i'm guessing they will be fine as long as I use some sealant aswell?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I wonder if there will be bigger sizes of the Hans Dampf, DH/FR Versions??
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Strong enough for the mega? It's either this or dual ply maxxis at 1kg!
  • + 1
 Use it for the Mega! I'm sending a couple sets with some riders from WA over there. Perfect for that race.
  • + 1
 Not tempted to put some racing ralphs on the back for less drag?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Or should I try one of those new tiogas psycho genius??
[Reply]
  • + 2
 These tires are perfect.
  • + 1
 Yes just brought a new pair
[Reply]
  • + 1
 i would buy a continental tyre if it was gonna cost that much !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Cool snake skin tyres....would like to have that on my 4X4 lol...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think I'll stick to my $40 Maxxis Minion 2.5.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 sounds a good tyre
[Reply]

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