The winner of the 2022 downhill world championship, Amaury Pierron, challenged Schwalbe to produce the fastest downhill mountain bike tire. Outcome? Tacky Chan, a completely new tread pattern that has been in development for almost three years.

The task set out by Pierron and his teammates, Thibaut Daprela and Myriam Nicole, was actually a bit more nuanced than that. They asked for a tire that was faster rolling, with a more precise ride feel than the Magic Mary, without giving up braking effect along the way.

prototype schwable dh tire lenzerheide HM 2023 danny hart cube
Danny Hart rode Schwalbe Tacky Chan front and rear on his Cube TWO15 prototype at the opening round in Lenzerheide. Commencal Muc-Off Team’s Thibault Daprela ran a set on his Commencal Supreme DH V5 at Round 2 in Leogang last weekend where he finished 6th, missing out on the podium by just 0:00.012 seconds!

Schwalbe Tacky Chan

In the development of the Tacky Chan, Schwalbe took advantage of the large tread blocks on the Big Betty. No less than twelve cuts of its tread pattern were tested back-to-back by the team in the search for a tire that demonstrated the increased precision drivers sought.

The initial cut taken from the twelve options was similar, but not identical, to the tread pattern launched today. Ramps were added to the central tread bumps to reduce rolling resistance, and the shoulder valves were made 20% more stable than those seen on the Magic Mary to result in increased lateral support. Braking rims were slightly widened and the distance between center studs was increased by 10% to allow each one to “nibble the ground better” – as Jack Reading puts it.

thibaut daprela jack reading talk schwalbe tacky chan commencal muc off pit leogang 2023
Thibaut Daprela and Jack Reading tell us their impressions of the Schwalbe Tacky Chan – click here for details on Thibaut’s Commencal Supreme DH V5 race day setup.

An early prototype of the Tacky Chan was raced by Thibaut Daprela at the 2021 World Championship in Val di Sole. Despite riding well in his qualifying run, Thibaut crashed twice in his final run. While it can be difficult to say exactly what caused a crash, Schwalbe took a long look in the mirror and asked himself if the tire was at fault.

The response from Thibaut himself was that the tire had potential but it would not have made it to the finish line in his eyes. Further refinement was needed – in particular the large rim studs were too stiff, too inflexible and more cornering control was required.

danny hart pro bike check Schwalbe dh tire pattern first ride

From there, Schwalbe made the following key changes:

  • Shoulder windows were reduced in volume, while the brake rim increased by 1 mm
  • An extra sipa was added to give more side bend to the shoulder joints

Schwalbe Tacky Chan: First Impressions

At the launch event in Leogang, we were presented with the Commencal Meta POWER TR. The 140mm eMTB delivers its rear wheel travel through the four-bar contact system and is damped by a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil. His 29″ wheels were home to a set of 2.4″ Schwalbe Tacky Chan tires in the Super Downhill casing with the Addix Ultra Soft compound forming the tread casing.

Schwalbe tacky chan dh tire first ride impression

To get a feel for the tire, we had a mix of fast, super-flattering descents in a bike park and more natural, tight sections of singletrack roots. Trail conditions were very dry; most surfaces were hard packed, with a small dose of loose-too-hard thrown in for good measure.

To be clear; this is not a review. To comment on how the Tacky Chan compares to other tires of this type would be unfair. I don’t often ride in such flattering conditions in a bike park, nor do I often ride electric suspension e-bikes. A set of Tacky Chan tires is on its way home with me, for a back-to-back test in the Tweed Valley.

With that in mind, here are my initial thoughts.

With 17 PSI in the front tire and 20 PSI in the rear, I set off down the Steinberg Line by Fox, a gentle track with smooth, fast bumps and the occasional chance to double up on a few flips. I had a lot of fun and was very impressed with how easy to handle, and even playful, the Commencal Meta Power TR was. But you’re not here to hear about eBikes.

The Schwalbe Tacky Chan wasn’t developed with eBikes in mind – although it is E50 approved – but my initial thought is that it’s certainly not a bad choice. It didn’t take too many turns to get up to a good speed and the tires were stable on the long descent of the park.

schwalbe tacky chan dh tire singletrack rooty leogang
Leogang delivered the coolest trail conditions and the Schwalbe Tacky Chan didn’t let us down

Splashes of tire sealant on the sidewalls indicate that the front and rear tires carried a bit of air in corners, but I can’t say I actually felt those moments while riding the track. It is possible that the tires could have benefited from a little more air. The tire’s precision felt good when pushing the grip to initiate turns, although I wasn’t yet at the point where I wanted to trust the setup with riskier moves on the loose over the hard track.

More confidence in the bike and the tires came on the second day when I rode the same tracks and I had several cases of higher lean angles which caused quite a bit of excitement and worry in equal measure. Nevertheless, the Schwalbe Tacky Chan held the line without drama, suggesting that I was still a long way from finding the edge of the grip.

Schwalbe tacky chan first ride impression

On more natural trails that included looser, less well-supported turns, I felt a bit of blur on the front tire in situations where maybe I wasn’t weighting the front wheel quite as much as I should have been. The front wheel never completely washed, but warning shots were fired, reminding me to load the front tire more to ensure it could claim traction from the terrain.

Jack Reading, a Schwalbe-supported downhill World Cup athlete, said that the Schwalbe Tacky Chan performs best when ridden hard, and my experience certainly matches that.

In terms of wear, the rear tire was starting to lose its brake rims after less than a day of riding in the rink – the photo above is of the rear tire as a reporter who is somewhat more aggressive on the rear tire which is somewhat more aggressive and he won’t remember me saying, heavier than I am .

To be fair, you’re in for a very expensive season in the rink if you want to run the Addix Ultra Soft in the back for the duration. For durability, you’d probably want to go with the faster rolling Addix Soft compound option – but it’s only available in 27.5″ x 2.4″ in the Super Gravity cover. In fact, Tacky Chan launches with only six options, details of which can be found in the table below.

A back-to-back test of Magic Mary vs. Tacky Chan is booked next month. A more detailed, insightful discussion will be provided thereafter.

Price and availability

Tacky Chan tire size Addix compound Cover Required weight Price (EUR) Price (GBP) Price (USD)
27.5″ x 2.4″ Addix Ultra Soft Great downhill 1,250 g €74.90 £74.99 $104
27.5″ x 2.4″ Addix Soft Super Gravity 1,165 g €74.90 £74.99 $104
29″ x 2.4″ Addix Ultra Soft Super burn 1,320 g €74.90 £74.99 $104
29″ x 2.4″ Addix Ultra Soft Super Gravity 1,240 g €74.90 £74.99 $104
29″ x 2.4″ Addix Ultra Soft Super Trail 1,080 g €68.90 £68.99 $98
29″ x 2.4″ Addix Soft Super Trail 1,080 g €68.90 £68.99 $98

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