The new thing in downhill biking is called enduro racing, essentially it’s a downhill XC race, combining the flow of XC with steeper terrain, over a longer course. In some places (Europe) the races cover terrain that is really rugged, almost off piste, so tire abuse and failure is a real problem. No one wants to run 1500gm DH tires because these races are long and require significant amounts of pedaling.
In the past year or so, bike companies like Schwalbe have been releasing tires that are essentially beefed up XC tires, having armored sidewalls and added rubber, all in a lighter weight package than a DH tire.
I recently picked up a Schwalbe Hans Dampf Super Gravity Trailstar 2.35" tire. Sadly this tire is only available in 26" and 27.5" (650b), so I decided to go with the 650b and build a new wheel. Schwalbe makes four Super Gravity tires, all are available in 26" and 27.5", but only the Magic Mary is available in 29".
First look at this tire, it is much beefier than a standard Hans Dampf (HD), the sidewall is double thickness like a downhill tire, a thick kevlar cord serves as the bead, the center rubber is also thicker than an HD. Weighing in at 1040gm it is ~200 gms heavier than an HD, which accounts for all that extra rubber and casing.
In contrast to a Duro, though the HD SG is listed at $90, I paid much less than retail for this tire, so don’t get stressed over the price, it can be found on sale. At ~500gm lighter than a Duro, this may be the next best thing in “skinny” muni tires. I run a standard HD 29 x 2.35 now and it has a similar volume to a Duro, but the knobbies are a little narower on profile; the Duro is not really a 3" tire anyhow. In the Trailstar the HD SG rubber is a similar durometer to a Duro; and it feels very sticky out of the box.
I won’t be able to ride this tire until next week as I am still waiting on my new rim to arrive, so I’ll post pics and a ride review next week.
Here’s a link describing the Super Gravity tire series.
If anyone has experience with other Enduro tires, please post a review, this appears to be where DH tires are going, and it may end up being a good tire for folks looking to go lighter than a Duro without losing the strength and stickiness of the Duro…