German tire colossus Schwalbe is known not only for their huge tire range, but also for their eccentric product names – and they’re not going to stop their hilarious tradition in 2023. With the new Tacky Chan, they’re unveiling a new enduro- and downhill-specific tire that’s threatening to knock the Magic Mary off its spot as one of the great all-time favourites.
When developing their new gravity-oriented tire, Schwalbe had one goal in mind: creating a new tire that outperforms their evergreen Magic Mary! The development process took nearly 3 years and was heavily influenced by the Commencal World Cup Downhill Team, which includes world-class riders such as Amaury Pierron and Miriam Nicole. The new Tacky Chan was designed for tough downhill and enduro riding, and is suitable both as a front and rear tire. The biggest innovations are the new shape and tread pattern, while the casing and rubber compound have remained unchanged. If you want to delve deeper into Schwalbe’s tire portfolio and learn more about their technologies, you should read our popular tire comparison test.
All available variants of the new Schwalbe Tacky Chan tire at a glance
The new Tacky Chan is available in several different variants, both in 27.5″ and 29″ wheel sizes. Alongside the super-tough Super Downhill variant, there are two more versions with the lighter Super Gravity and Super Trail casings, albeit the latter is not available with the 27.5″ model. Furthermore, you can choose between the ADDIX Ultra Soft and ADDIX Soft rubber compound, although again the second one is only an option with some variants. For example, you can’t get the Soft compound in combination with the Super Downhill casing, and the Soft compound/Super Gravity casing combination is only available in 27.5”.. As a result, weekend warriors who want to run a more robust rear tire with tough casing and a harder, more durable rubber compound, will walk away empty handed. All Tacky Chan variants come in the same 2.4″ width. As for pricing, all models with the robust Super Downhill and Super Gravity casings retail at € 74.90, while all versions with the lighter Super Trail casing cost € 68.90. In terms of weight, Schwalbe’s new gravity tire falls into the same category as its main competitors, with a 29″ Tacky Chan in Super Downhill casing and ADDIX Ultra Soft rubber compound tipping the scales at 1,325 grams. Needless to say, all tires are tubeless ready.
The new Schwalbe Tacky Chan tire in detail
The first thing you’ll notice when fitting the new Schwalbe Tacky Chan is the round, narrow shape of the tire. The centre knobs (or brake knobs) are divided into blocks of 4, with the pattern repeating itself every four pairs of lugs. The centre knobs are slightly sloped – or “ramped” – which is supposed to improve the tire’s rolling characteristics. In addition, Schwalbe’s engineers tried different widths for the centre knobs, which are slightly wider on the Tacky Chan than on the Magic Mary, for example.
The shoulder knobs have a slight L-shape and are arranged in a consistent pattern, which allows them to twist and deform when following the rotational direction. The lugs have small notches which allow them to deform further, increasing stability. On the trail, this is particularly noticeable in the narrow threshold zone between grip and slide. This is exactly what makes it more intuitive than the Magic Mary, which offers a less predictable breakaway point. Moreover, the shoulder knobs are very tall, both on the inside and outside, which contributes significantly to the round shape of the tire. The Tacky Chan forgoes transition knobs altogether, so the side lugs bear all the weight when cornering hard. This also ensures bigger gaps between the centre knobs and side lugs, which adds to the self cleaning properties of the tire.
The Schwalbe Tacky Chan tire on the trail
For this test, we rode the Schwalbe Tacky Chan in Super Downhill casing and soft ADDIX Ultra Soft rubber compound, both front and rear. The tires were paired with DT Swiss FR 541 rims, and tested primarily on the very dry, rough trails of the Schladming bike park.
If you make your way to the top of the mountain under your own steam with this tire setup, you’ll have to work hard, but this is typical of all tires with a soft rubber compound and robust casing. That said, the Tacky Chan rolls better and smoother than most of its direct competitors, especially on tarmac, which is mainly due to the round shape and sloped lugs.
Downhill, the first thing you’ll notice is the insane cornering grip, which is reminiscent of the Magic Mary. However, the Tacky Chan offers a far more predictable breakaway point, which makes it easier to control the bike. In addition, the Tacky Chan develops increasingly more grip when pumping through corners, especially when you push it to its limit . This behaviour clearly reflects the tire’s intended use and target rider type, and as the name suggests, the Tacky Chan only shows its true potential when you ride hard. If you brake (something we don’t expect from someone using Tacky Chans) it generates decent braking traction without juddering, and also breaks away late – and when it does, it always feels controlled. Moreover, it doesn’t rebound too harshly in big compressions, such as tight corners and big drops, ensuring excellent control while at the same time providing sufficient feedback. In a nutshell, the new Schwalbe Tacky Chan always lets you know what’s going on underneath you, and responds quickly to rider inputs, even when pushed to the limits.
Our conclusions about the Schwalbe Tacky Chan tire
The new Schwalbe Tacky Chan unfolds its full potential when pushed to the limit with an aggressive riding style. Its aggressive character lives up to the funky name, while the available casing and compound variants are well suited to the tire’s intended use – no paper-thin XC casings and hard rubber compounds here. Especially when riding hard, the predictable breakaway point prevents you from landing head first in the undergrowth when transitioning between grip and slide.
- Tons of traction in corners
- Improved breakaway point
- Encourages you to ride fast
- No choice of tougher casings with harder rubber compounds
For more information, visit Schwalbe’s website.
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Words & Photos: Peter Walker