Super Gravity: Revolutionary carcass technology for mountain bikes.
Light as a freeride tyre, rugged as a downhill tyre: this combination of properties marks out the Super Gravity version of Hans Dampf, which is the first tyre to be brought onto the market with new carcass technology. Schwalbe engineers took methods used in the motorcycle tyre industry and developed them further to build a completely new type of carcass. Its construction is so revolutionary that Schwalbe has decided to patent it.
The Super Gravity version of Hans Dampf defies the threat of punctures – and still offers extremely responsive handling. Weighing just 995 grams, it copes effortlessly even with uphill sections. As a Tubeless Ready tyre it can be fitted without a tube, thereby saving another 200 grams or so. "Lively and sensitive" is 2011 World Champion Danny Hart's verdict on the new Super Gravity technology – and he is already riding it regularly in Downhill World Cup events. Freeride, enduro, downhill – the worlds of MTB sport are not as clearly defined as those of tyre technology, where, up until now, riders have had a choice between a downhill and a freeride version. Both types are in demand for the new enduro races, which are becoming ever more popular in Europe and the US, and freeriders also appreciate a high level of puncture protection. "The new version is ideal for enduro races," explained Markus Hachmeyer, Schwalbe's Senior Product Manager. "The Super Gravity technology combines the best of both worlds. We are absolutely convinced that this technology has a great future and we will continue to build on it."
Patent taken out on tyre construction:
The new tyre was to be rugged but at the same time it was to remain light and agile. Schwalbe constructed a completely new carcass to make sure of delivering on both fronts. As a rule Schwalbe uses dual casing, i.e. a double carcass construction, for a downhill tyre. This effectively consists of four layers that overlap under the tread to form a total of six layers. For the Super Gravity version, Schwalbe based the carcass design on the turnup process, a method used in the motorcycle tyre industry. Again a dual casing is used, but this time the individual layers only overlap at the sidewall rather than having the conventional overlap under the tread. The result is still four rugged layers at the side, but only two under the tread, which means four layers fewer than you get with a tyre purely for downhill! To make this casing cut-resistant as well, Schwalbe's engineers coated the entire carcass with a layer of SnakeSkin. This flexible and tough mesh is extremely cut-resistant without having a negative impact on rolling resistance. Because Super Gravity technology is so extraordinary, Schwalbe are now patenting it.
"Solid at the sides, but light in the middle, with little material under the tread. That allows the tyre to adapt itself gently to the terrain," was how Markus Hachmeyer summarized the properties of the Super Gravity carcass.
The wire bead was another example of how the tyre was tweaked to make it lighter. "Some riders wrongly believe that wire beads are more rugged than folding beads. That is completely wrong: aramid is even stronger and in addition it is light and foldable," Hachmeyer explained. "A new tyre with a folding bead makes more sense and means it can be made significantly lighter." So the wire bead gave way to the aramid bead.
The Pinkbike scales never lie, 952grams on the dot.
Because the tyre, weighing 995 grams, can be used without a tube – the weight already includes the 60 milliliters of sealant – this represents a total saving of 800 grams per bike, compared with using dual ply downhill tyres. The weight reduction is particularly effective at the periphery, on the rotating mass: "There is no better place for reducing weight on a bike than on the outermost parts, the rotating mass. After all, this mass has to be got moving every time there is a change in speed," commented Hachmeyer.
The developers also took a close look at the apex, a sidewall reinforcement above the bead. This small wedge, which is also used to strengthen all automobile and motorcycle tyres, plays a key role as regards the tyre's sturdiness in the bead area. This is because the forces that puncture a tire are most powerful just above the bead. The new apex, with its harder rubber mix and modified shape, counteracts these forces. "A puncture is now most unlikely to occur," said Hachmeyer reassuringly.
By borrowing know-how from motorcycle tyre technology, Schwalbe has managed to synthesize the downhill and freeride specifications to create a new top-class tyre. Super Gravity embodies the desired properties to such an extent that the tyre is the best choice not only for downhill and enduro races, but also for freeriding. Hans Dampf Super Gravity is available in the VertStar, TrailStar and PaceStar rubber compounds and also in all popular sizes – and that includes the 650 B.
You name it, this tyre has it..
The downhill commitment of a world champion, with this tyre, Schwalbe wants to continue its successes of the past three years in the Downhill World Cup. Last year Danny Hart's crowning achievement and reward for his dedication to downhill biking, was to become World Champion on Dirty Dans. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Schwalbe sponsors various teams, including MS Mondraker, Scott11, Giant and Devinci, and as part of its "First Ride Development Program", the company works closely together with riders to test rubber compounds, carcasses and technologies. The teams certainly appreciate it. Lukas Haider, manager of the MS Mondraker team, commented: "With Schwalbe what you get is performance, motivation to innovate and personal support. Riding Schwalbe tires gives us a measurable advantage that money can't buy."
Is this the best all round tread money can buy?
650B size will be available end of October. Other sizes will be available next year. Retail price tbc but around £55-£60 each.
Si Paton.. Checkout the Halo British Downhill Series Face Book Page
Thanks to Schwalbes Dave Taylor for sending these tyres over to Pinkbike.