Over the past year, the Schwalbe Procore system has sparked mass discussions amongst riders – mainly because it has been so hard to get hold of, and no one has really been able to give a definitive opinion. A few weeks ago we got our hands on a Procore system and now, having ridden with it, it’s time for us to give our take on these dual chamber tubes.
What is Procore?
Riding tubeless is brilliant! It really is, but it does unfortunately come hand in hand with certain disadvantages such as burping and dented rims if you find yourself going full gas over a root garden while running low air pressures. However, help is at hand with the launch of Procore, or so Schwalbe assure us.
Procure is particularly interesting as it consists of two air chambers; the inner, smaller chamber sits directly on the rim, protecting it and keeping the tyre fastened securely. This makes it possible for the outer chamber to be ridden with a significantly lower air pressure (0.8-1.3 bar) without running the risk of burping, and simultaneously offering more grip, traction and suspension cushioning.
However, it’s the second air chamber that boasts more benefits: firstly, riders who until now have always ridden heavy double carcass tyres, ie SuperGravity tyres, can now run far lighter single-ply tyres without the fear of puncturing. Secondly, even if you do lose air in the main chamber, the resulting much flatter tyres can still be ridden without damaging the rims.
The advantages in brief
- Lower air pressure = more grip
- Increased comfort due to the cushioning with the low pressure
- No risk of burping or snake bites
- The inner chamber protects the rims from dents
- Still capable of riding the tyre even if air is lost
Setting up Procore
At first glance, it looks like a lot of hassle to set up Procore, but once you familiarize yourself with the set then it’ll be a remarkably quick process. The set contains all of the necessary parts, so all you personally need is a pump, the tyres, and a wheelset with an interior rim diameter of at least 23mm.
Watch Steffi Marth in action showing you how to set up Procore
Unlike the first prototypes, the final version of Procore features just one valve, which accesses both chambers to fill them with air. Schwalbe recommend 4-6 bar for the inner chamber and 0.8-1.3 for the outer. During our rounds of testing, we ran approximately 6 bar for the inner and 1.0-1.3 bar for the tyre itself.
On the trails
Let’s keep it short and sweet: Procore is absolute madness! And for multiple reasons! The grip, cushioning and resistance to punctures all perform phenomenally!
Now let’s enlighten you with the details: during our rounds of testing, we ran a Schwalbe Magic Mary at the front, and the new Nobby Nic at the rear. Both hoops rolled on Syntace W35 MX rims with an interior diameter of 28.5mm. We filled the inner chambers of both wheels with 6.0 bar, and the front’s outer chamber with 1.1 bar, while the rear got 1.3 bar. These figures proved ideal for us during the entirety of the testing. As the air pressure was lowered, the handling became sloppier, and with higher pressure we sacrificed the benefits created by the Procore system.
Procore’s advantages are unmistakable from the very first metres; the bike just clings to the ground. Particularly on rocky and rooty trails the tyres remained glued to the ground, offering notably more grip and comfort than regular tyres. When braking the bigger surface area led to increased traction and the braking distance appeared to shorten by around one quarter.
Alongside the directly tangible benefits while riding, Procore does provide yet another extremely important benefit: namely, impressive resistance to punctures! It wasn’t until the Trail Trophy round in Latsch that our attention was really drawn to the feature – as the stages are raced blind without any prior training, many riders ended each stage with a spare tube in their hand and a ton of puncture complaints at the end of the day, while our editor Christoph was able to smugly declare his race had been defect-free – wrong line choices aside! On post-work rides and weekend jollies, we definitely learned to appreciate the hardy nature of the Procore.
But this almost sounds too good to be true, so what’s the catch? Well, firstly, there’s the extra weight, which you can relativize in a direct comparison to a SuperGravity tyre. After all, you can ride a much thinner tyre carcass with Procore and still have a better pinch-flat resistance. Then there’s the case of rolling resistance. With an air pressure of more than 1.0 bar, this wasn’t noticeably higher than any ‘regular’ tubeless wheel, but once the pressure is below 1.0 bar it is certainly palpable. Riders who frequent trails littered with berms and jumps are likely to criticize the slightly unpredictable nature of the tyre.
If grip, comfort and puncture-resistance are key to a happy rider, then you’ll love the Schwalbe Procore system. At 195 € and 200 g per wheel, Procore is neither cheap nor lightweight, but the performance gains are massive – especially on descents! If you’ve got the extra cash and the wide rims measuring a minimum of 23mm, then what’s stopping you from hitting those Strava downhill KOMs and QOMs? For those who prefer downs to ups, give the Schwalbe Procore a try – after all, you can’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
More information on Procore can be found:: schwalbe.com/procore
Words: Christoph Bayer | Pictures: Christoph Bayer/Manfred Stromberg