By Dave Iltis
I love these tires. I talked with Schwalbe about getting a set of tires that would work well in the Wasatch. A tire that would ride well when the trail is loose and rocky, and when smooth and buffed.
They sent a pair of Hans Dampf’s as a response. They bill the tire as an all-around, jack of all trades tire. It certainly lives up to the bill.
I tested the 29×2.35 tire with SnakeSkin sidewalls and the PaceStar tread compound. The PaceStar compound is a fast race and tour ready compound – durable, but soft enough on the edges for great grip. The tires are only available in a 2.35 width. This is not a bad thing however, as the bigger tire reduces the chance of pinch flats, and rolls over everything.
The tires are listed at a respectable 850 grams – not the lightest, but not bad either. There are lighter cross-country race tires in the Schwalbe line, but they have reduced durability, lower profile knobs, and less puncture resistance. You could still easily race on these.
The tire profile is round, so the cornering is smooth and predictable. They roll easily side to side and make cornering fun. Additionally, the knobs are decent size, so braking is predictable and positive and traction while climbing loose terrain is great. The tire design gave me more confidence in loose terrain. While I was using them for trail riding, I did run across a fellow using them on a jump park bike – he highly recommended them also.
The tires are listed as having good puncture resistance. I couldn’t find specs on which puncture-resistant belt the tires are built with however. Additionally, they are tubeless-easy – just add sealant and the proper rim strip, and you can ride them sans tubes (although I rode them with tubes). They also have SnakeSkin sidewalls for better protection from abrasion.
I tested the tires on several trails in the Wasatch including the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and Glenwild in Park City. They rode well in all conditions (although I didn’t have a chance to try them in mud). It is a great tire, and I would highly recommend it for Utah trails. Rating: 5 stars.