I’ve ridden Schwalbe Hans Dampf tyres in 26in guise (read the review here) in the past and been very impressed with their chunky build and all-round tenacity and finding grip in loads of trail conditions. And now they’re available in 29er size. This is a good thing because until very recently your 29er tyre choice was limited to skinny race whippet stuff.
The Hans Dampf is a full 2.35in wide and uses the same tread pattern as the 26in version. A combination of large shoulder knobs that can really be leant on in the corners and prove reluctant to give up traction too easily. When they do let go they drift controllably. That allows you to really lean on these tyres in the corners, and that inspires confidence.
A couple of rows of widely spaced square knobs along the central section don’t make for the fastest rolling tyre, but there’s loads of traction when for straight line braking into corners, and equally when you get on the power out of corners. A row of angled knobs form a smooth transition from upright to leaning over.
The downside with these tyres is their weight, but they’re right on the money for an all-mountain tyre of this style. They hit the scales at 860g. They’re available in two rubber compounds, PaceStar and a softer TrailStar. I ran the latter on the front and together this proved to be a good combination. The front tyre is noticeably tackier and finds huge amounts of traction when you’re piling through rocks and over roots.
The Hans Dampf is a very good fit-and-forget tyre. I’ve been riding them through the winter where they coped well in most of the mud, with the occasional drift moments. And on the last couple of dry rides, now that spring is here, they come alive on the drier trails. Ideal for those who can’t be fussed with changing their tyres all the time. The name stands for jack of all trades so it’s spot on really.
All Schwalbe tyres are tubeless ready and on a set of Mavic CrossMax ST wheels they popped up onto the rim with the first stroke of the pump. I’ve added some sealant and they’ve been running just fine for the time I’ve had them.
Durability has also proved good. I’ve run them at 20psi, they offer phenomenal grip at this level, and the reinforced Snakeskin sidewall shows no scars of being pummeled. the blocks are showing a good wear, the harder compound of the PaceStar handling the abuse the rear tyre is submitted to.
I summed up the 26in tyres as “fully capable tyre for a range of conditions, with incredible grip whatever the trail throws your way." Riding the 29er version for a few months over the winter, my mind hasn’t changed. There’s a growing number of wider aggressive tyres for 29ers, the Hans Dampf is a top choice.
The perfect tyre for the growing market of long travel aggressive 29er trail bikes.
More information: Schwalbe Hans Dampf 29er
What Schwalbe says:
For a perfect trail ride. Everything has been tuned for control and maximum riding fun. The tread functions with absolute poise and is well behaved in every situation like difficult terrain on singletrack. Grippy TrailStar compound or faster rolling PaceStar as an option for the rear wheel. Light and robust SnakeSkin sidewall. Easy to fit Tubeless Ready. Enjoy the Flow.