Schwalbe Hans Damf Tire Review…

Rear Hans Damf with tubeless plug...

Rear Hans Damf with tubeless plug…

I’ve been riding Schwalbe Has Damf tires on my Pivot Mach 6 for a bit over a year now [say 6 months x 3 rides a week with winter off] in the 27.5 x 2.35″ size. I wanted an aggressive yet light tire that could handle our often wet rocky and rooty steep techy trails. Low rolling resistance and fast acceleration were important as well since we have very rough trails that you are constantly slowing down and speeding up on as you overcome each tech section.

These tires come in two different compounds:

  • Trailstar [Softer – Better Grip] = Front
  • Pacestar [Harder – Faster] = Rear

They both both weigh ~800g and cost ~$90USD. The tread is not front/rear specific.

My Pivot Mach 6...

My Pivot Mach 6…

Initially I tried two of the softer compound tires front & back. This was during a particularly wet slimy part of the year and they really impressed me with how they stuck to the trail like velcro. As the trails dried out I swapped in a harder compound rear tire and rode like that through the summer. There was no noticeable change in grip, but conditions were not as demanding in the traction department.

These tires mounted up tubeless like champs on my 35mm wide Light Bicycle carbon rims. I’ve had zero tubeless hassles or issues. I did puncture one rear through the tread hammering a rocky descent. It was a sad way to lose a nearly new tire, but based on the conditions, how I was riding and the fact these are light tires it wasn’t unreasonable. On the plus side I have not had another flat despite continuing to ride hard.

From strictly a performance point of view these tires are great. I’d give them the nod over my other go to aggressive mountain bike tire the Continental Trail King. The TK’s are a tad less grippy and 25% heavier.

Side knobs 50% severed...

Side knobs 50% severed…

The main downsides to the HDs are that they are pricey and not as durable as the TK’s. After a summer of riding I tore the side knobs right off the HD’s. So that’s a $90 rear every 3 months or so. :(. Contrast that to getting 12 – 18 months out of a rear $56 Trail King.

I’m not one to save a few bucks on tires as they are the most important component on your bike for performance and safety, but the difference in performance between HD’s and TK’s isn’t that much yet the cost/month difference is staggering.

Schwalbe these are great tires, but you need to make them last at least twice as long!

2 thoughts on “Schwalbe Hans Damf Tire Review…

  1. “Like Velcro” is what everybody says about the Hans Dampf tires. The deteriorating knobs are well documented elsewhere. I don;t especially mind if the knobs wear quickly from the top down, as each knob supports a lot of force on its own compared to more tightly spaced tread patterns, and the outer rubber is quite soft. But the fact that the knobs also tear away from the casing at the base is the real tire killer. I lost both of my HD tires prematurely last year as the casing was compromised and the tubeless seal was broken when knobs tore away. Both tires were worm considerably, but I was hoping for another 1-2 months of use.

  2. I was doing well for a while and started to think I would have a HD success story, but that may have been due to the wet conditions I started using them in being kind to the rubber due to lack of traction. As things dried out and traction increased so did the cornering forces on the outside knobs.

    I want to think Schwalbe has got to be redesigning those outside knobs so they don’t rip off the casing so easily.

    I’d happily pay $90 for them if they wore evenly across the whole tire.

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