Syntace x Schwalbe dual chamber mountain bike tire system allows super low air pressure

Schwalbe has partnered with Syntace to offer a dual chamber mountain bike tire system. Technical details aren’t fully released yet (look for those by Eurobike this August), but the concept is fairly straightforward: Put two separate air chambers in the tire. One’s for higher pressure to keep the bead firmly seated on the rim, preventing burping and squirming. It also prevents the tire from compressing too much and hitting the rim on the ground, which could cause snake bites and pinches.

The other, on the outer edges, safely goes as low as 14psi. This lets the tire mold around the terrain for insane traction and smooth ride feel. They say it not only provides better control, but also more speed.

The concept was initially developed at both companies independent of each other, but they’ll work together to bring it to market. Schwalbe will handle the marketing and production, suggesting the bulk of the science is in the tire insert, leaving the rim to simply provide two valve holes.

The system, which should work with any conventional tire and rim, assuming there are two valve holes in those conventional rims. Expected weight is under 200g, making it perhaps more suited to downhill and enduro efforts, where gravity is providing a bit of assist.

UPDATE: Schwalbe’s PR man just rang back with a bit more info: “Basically there’s an inner tube, but it’s not really a tube, it’s a new construction process. You can pump up to 60psi into the interior chamber and as low as 12psi on the outside, though it’s a bit squirmy that low.” Essentially, it’s a second chamber that uses that high pressure to provide the above mentioned security benefits by pressing the standard tire’s bead harder into the rim’s hook, but only takes up about half the total volume. They can’t say more than that until the patents are final. In the meantime, check out Nuetech’s similar (but Schwalbe says different) system for motorcycle tires to get a visual.

Full PR below…

PRESS RELEASE: Schwalbe and Syntace are pooling their knowledge and resources to develop a revolutionary idea for mountain bikers – a dual chamber tire and wheel system.

With a dual chamber system it will be possible to ride with very low air pressures and consequently, to improve tire performance enormously. Independent of one another, Schwalbe and Syntace had the same idea, but now the two companies have decided to join forces and further develop the system together.

With low air pressure, off-road tire performance improves significantly. The tires can adapt better to the terrain and react far more sensitively; they roll more easily over uneven ground and provide more grip and control.

Riders cannot risk riding on standard MTB tires with less than 20 psi because the possibility of snake-bites is simply too great. And with the current trend toward wide wheel rims, the trail performance of the wide tires at low air pressure is improved, and has become less “spongy”, but the risk of snake-bites remains the same.

The solution is a dual chamber system.

The dual chamber system has an additional air chamber inside the tire. This inner chamber is filled with high air pressure and effectively prevents the tire hitting the edge of the rim. At the same time, the inner system also secures the tire on the rim and prevents the dreaded “burping” (a loss of air) of the tubeless system in the case of low pressure. Depending on the situation, the air pressure in the outer chamber can be reduced to 14 psi without running any risk.

Schwalbe will be responsible for the production and marketing of the dual chamber system and it is expected to be compatible with conventional tires and rims and weigh less than 200g.

All test cyclists to date have been thrilled with the new possibilities:

  • At 14 psi, the tire grip is incredible. The contact surface is very large and the tires seldom, if ever, slide on loose ground. Even on the roughest terrain, the tires literally stick to the ground.
  • The tire is the most sensitive cushioning element on the bike. The extra cushioning and traction because of the low air pressure leads to much better control over the bike and allows distinctly higher speeds.
  • All this without the risk of snake-bites. Dented rims become a thing of the past. Significantly lighter tires can be used in even the toughest conditions. And in addition, the additional air chamber has excellent emergency running characteristics.

With the combined efforts of both Schwalbe and Syntace, the dual chamber system will reach market maturity by Eurobike 2014 with precise information regarding design, pricing and Patents pending.


  1. Kyle on

    You know when something is good, and they you make it ‘better’ by adding more good things and they all of a sudden… BAM it’s worse? I would LOVE to ride this and see what it’s all about, but I can only imagine that the price of this system will be astronomically expensive, and who else but Syntace is going to start drilling extra holes in rims?

  2. tbender on

    This is an interesting concept and I want to be clear upfront that I’m very much in favor of pushing new ideas and concepts forward. Also, I certainly haven’t had the chance to ride/service this system and I’m sure my questions will be answered once having the chance to ride it and when more info is available.

    So now instead of having one tube, the user has to deal with 2? And since when does a tube “burp” air from the tire? Are there that many that don’t ride tubeless systems that are willing to add this weight and complexity? The idea of eliminating “burping” and pinch flats are great, but this is already a non-issue when running a solid and well set up tubeless system.

    It’ll be interesting to see more on this system and how the industry embraces it, but for now I feel it leaves a lot of questions!

  3. Marshall Hance on

    You could glue closed cell foam to the inside of your tire for the same effect. This might be hard to grasp, but it’s true.

  4. endurobob on

    I feel like Schwalbe could have taken all the R&D money used for this and put it into making a tire that lasts for longer than a couple months. Don’t get me wrong, I love the tread patterns on Schwalbe, the hans dampf/nobby nic are two of my favorite tires ever grip-wise. I don’t use them, because even with the snakeskin sidewall and the harder rubber compound, I shred them to pieces in sometimes as little as a month.

  5. buriedundersnow on

    Rad new technology. Very interested to see it in person. Best part about this design is avoiding dented rims. Don’t know if i buy into the lighter casing argument – yet. I do buy the unseating/burping argument though. Seen dudes go down hard when they’ve unseated a tire. My guess Syntace and Schwalbe will meld their products together to develop a “system” series wheelset. Just a guess….

    @larsv – Although I’ve not personally ran the Nuetech system, friends that have experienced mixed results and success.

    Will be watching the funny papers for additional details on this one for sure.

  6. ginsu on

    @Brandon – Saw the pic and that was exactly my thought as an mech. engineer. They run diametrically opposed valves with race wheels for cars because dynamic imbalance is amplified at high rotational speeds, manifesting in a very discernible wheel vibration that comes through to the steering wheel…but, this is probably not an issue with the low rotational speeds on a MTB wheel. My main contention with the grouped valve location for MTB is user confusion, and just plain aesthetics.

    Found the patent for this design is actually dated 1998! Glad this finally made it to market, hopefully it is a success. If this is the exact same design there are some pretty detailed drawings on how the system works, so if you are curious, I would check out the following link:

  7. ginsu on

    Just found this patent which is related to this design as well. I hope Schwalbe has a materially different design, or purchased these patent rights as it looks to me like there could be some infringement here. This patent is from 1993! Interestingly, with this design they have the diametric opposition on the valve stems!

  8. spokejunky on

    Like the idea of securing the bead. Wonder how much weight will be added with the extra materials. Or if you can now use less on the sidewall now that there is an ‘innerstability’ tube.

  9. MaLóL on

    I bet this was the back then secret weapon of Nicolas Vouilloz in the 90’s, when he had two valves per wheel… Maybe he just had 2 tubes at once inside… hum…

  10. JC on

    Yep, no luck on the MX bike with Nuetech MX system (18″ Rear wheel). I constantly burped air during GNCC races and practice. The system works ok if you ride easy but square edge bumps and rocks break the bead every time. Definitely felt like I wasted my money. That said, DH bike don’t put nearly the pressure on the tire/rim interface that a MX bike does. It may very well work with Bicycles.

  11. shredder on

    ive seen mx setups useing something called a moose tube aka a closed cell foam tube and ive even seen people put tennis balls inside their mx tires .. i guess its more for the real competition scene like enduro and downhill , thats where a flat tire is the difference between finishing or dnf .

  12. Miles on

    If it truly allows for any tire and rim (w/ two valve holes drilled) to be used this might have a fighting chance of catching on. My main qualm at this point is how the inner tube reduces volume in the tire, so lower pressures will feel that much squirmier. Seems like wider rims (~40mm like Derby) offer most of the same advantages but without the extra weight and complication.

  13. Barrier Kult on

    I was one of the first riders in Canada using the Nuetec “tubliss” system. I used it for a season with mixed results. When it worked, it worked as advertised. But, moto tires get holes in them … alot! Be it from knobs getting ripped off or just from punctures, it became too much of a pain in the ass. The fortunate thing is you could ride out on a flat.

    For MTB’s, it should work better because we clearly don’t puncture as often. The biggest disadvantage of mtb tubeless set ups are burping out air. This system will eliminate that.

    I’m guessing $150-$180 for the kit w/o tire.

  14. ramelzer on

    Back in the late nineties early two thousands Michelin had a very similar system they were using with a select few of their sponsors athletes. It consisted of a tubular type tire that was inside the tubless tire. When it was inflated it would push the beads of the tore against the rim creating a seal and preventing the tire from coming of in the event of a flat. It would also protect the rim from contact damage. I am sure some of you have seen this up close, you could tell these tire system!s apart by the large alloy cyclindar that was installed on the rims 180 deg. from the valve stem. This cylinder covered the valve for the inner tire creating an air tight seal. In the following image you can just nearly see the cylinder her the seat stay on the rim.

  15. David on

    I vaguely recall a closed-cell foam strip that you put in the center channel of the rim, which stuck up high enough to prevent snakebite. Would that do something similar to what this system does?

  16. em2 on

    ghetto style

    drill an extra valve hole to your rim , get a road tubular stuffed inside your tubeless …
    pump the roadie to 80 psi and the “main” tire to 20

  17. Gummee! on

    I’ve been contemplating something like this for a while. Tubliss for motos has made some inroads into off-roading: for example

    It makes sense ’cause motos have the same problem with pinch flats that bicycles do, but they’re a bigger PITA to change.

    You can’t really run the valves 180deg apart because of the seam in the rim. I guess you *could* drill the valves at 90deg to the seam.

    Hope it works. When it becomes more widespread, I’m game to give it a try.

  18. ginsu on

    @em2 – I like the ghetto style, although it seems like it would be hard to find a road size tube for a 26″ wheel. Yes, still rockin’ the 26er and I won’t ride tubeless specifically due to burping.

    @dmx – Good point, hard to imagine it’s been over twenty years since good ‘ole ’93.

    Right now, I’m running tubes with removal valve cores and injecting them with a bottle of Stan’s before inflation. I can’t really run super low pressures, but I haven’t had a single flat on one of these, even in the desert with all the thorny bushes and cactii!

  19. Eric on

    Agreed w/ some others…why not put the valves opposite each other? Put ’em both at 90* from weld/seam and it’ll not only keep things aesthetico-theoretically balanced and reduce user confusion, but it’d also put both valves at the same easiest access points in the lacing patterns.

    Sure, if you needed to fiddle w/ the pressure in both the bead lock and tire, you’d hafta cross back and forth sides of the wheel and maybe rotate it, but eh–trade-offs.


COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.