Schwalbe has reworked the rubber in each of their premium Evo mountain bike tires with a new Addix range of discipline-specific compounds, with each rubber identifiable by the color of its new stripe – red for Speed, blue for Speedgrip, orange for Soft & purple for Ultra Soft. The colored stripe and corresponding label on the sidewall let riders know that they have the best balance of rolling grip, damping, rolling resistance & durability for their chosen discipline. Schwalbe’s core tread patterns and casings remain the same, with their 12 ‘legendary’ mountain bike tire designs each getting the next-gen Addix rubber update that promises performance improvements across the board vs. their current PaceStar, TrailStar & VertStar compounds…
The Addix compounds are said to have been developed from scratch and bring all of their top-level Evo mountain bike tires under the same naming scheme that more clearly defines the dominant performance characteristic for each riding discipline. They also get rid of the naming of tires and single or multiple compound (even though a mix of multi-compound designs seems to be used throughout) as Schwalbe sees that less of the critical factor. Schwalbe tells us that each variant of the new compounds delivers a better combination of the competing traits of grip vs. rolling resistance than all of their predecessors.
Head tire developer Markus Hachmeyer said he is particularly pleased that the new range improves “in precisely those areas where we were seen to have weaknesses. Now we can provide convincing answers, for example about the durability or the low temperature properties of the two soft compounds.”
With Addix compounds Schwalbe promises significantly longer lifespans for their premium tires, while also improving grip and damping characteristics. That is a combination we don’t hear often, as each of those performance criteria are essentially at odds with each other in tire design – one is usually improved at the expense of another. Schwalbe tells us that a lot of that comes down to new and precise mixing tech or natural & synthetic rubbers, that was developed specifically to work with their tire production equipment. Part of that rubber development probably can be credited to having compound guru and self-proclaimed ‘rubber nerd’ Wolfgang Arenz join Schwalbe a couple of years back. We last spoke with him when he was developing rubber at Specialized, and clearly he brings some top-level know-how to the table.
The new red Addix Speed is the premier XC race rubber. It is said to roll even better than PaceStar, while also getting a 25% boost in extended life. At the same time on the other side of the spectrum it claims a 15% improvement in grip, making it the perfect new cross country race tire for mountain bikers looking to add both speed and control. You’ll find speed in the Rocket Ron, Racing Ralph, Thunder Burt, and Furious Fred in both Tubeless Easy & LiteSkin casings.
The new blue Addix Speedgrip becomes the most universal tire covering everything from XC to AM & Trail. It is the compound with the widest range of use and best performance across all conditions. It gets a whopping 62% longer like over PaceStar, while somehow improving grip by 35% as well. It balances that with a small amount of additional drag, but Schwalbe thinks it ends up as the most well balanced mountain compound they have produced to date. Speedgrip is available in almost all of Schwalbe’s tread patterns, including the Magic Mary, Hans Dampf, Rock Razor, Fat Albert, Nobby Nic, Rocket Ron, Racing Ralph, Dirty Dan XC, and Jumbo Jim, also in puncture-proof Apex, Tubeless Easy & LiteSkin casings.
Orange striped Addix Soft tires start to get into the gravity fueled range. Optimized for the most demanding terrain, the new Soft tires bridge the gap between the rideability of a trail riding tire and one designed just to fly downhill. Like the other Addix rubbers, Soft greatly improves on durability (49% better vs. TrailStar) while also getting less rolling resistance AND improved grip. Serving as either an Enduro or DH tire, Soft can also be paired on the front with a Speedgrip tire on the back for tunable balance of fast rolling and grip, or with an Ultra Soft tire up front for track-specific control and improved damping. Addix Soft will come in Magic Mary, Hans Dampf, Rock Razor, and Fat Albert, in Super Gravity, puncture-proof Apex & Tubeless Easy casings.
Addix Ultra Soft
Lastly, the purple Addix Ultra Soft is the pure gravity tire with the maximum of damping for intense DH racing. It gets big improvements in performance in low temperatures making it a more suitable year-round tire, in addition to better all around durability, grip, and damping. Ultra Soft will be available only in Magic Mary and Dirty Dan treads with either Downhill or Super Gravity casings.
Schwalbe Evolution mountain bike tires with the new Addix compounds will be available in bike shops and through regular retail channels starting in June 2017. And rubber specialist Arenz teased that similar shakeups in compound development can be expected from Schwalbe on the road and beyond next as well.