Schwalbe Procore: First Impressions

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One of my most developed *cough* “bike skills” is smashing the rear wheel of my hardtail into stuff, usually just enough to ding the rim but not destroy the wheel. A few weeks ago, Chipps handed me a 26 inch Procore set; here’s how I’ve been getting on with it.

Procore
The nifty blue sticker reminds you that you’ve got a special (and presumably expensive) dual valve fitted

For those of you who’ve been hiding under a rock rather than making unwise, ambitious line choices over them, Procore is a system developed by Syntace and Schwalbe, designed to prevent pinch flats and burps in tubeless tyre setups. We first saw tales of it last year. An inner chamber sits on the rim at 65 – 85PSI, locking the tyre beads in place and protecting the rim from impacts. In turn, that lets you run silly low tyre pressures, down to 11.6PSI if you so desire.

Because it involved a tube, an airguide, an inner tyre, the actual tyre, and then sealant, installation sounded a faff. If anything though, I found Procore made tubeless setup easier: Many tyres are a tight fit on the rims I run, but the inner chamber gave the beads an extra push outward. One went up without even having to soap it. The kit is well designed and comes with straightforward instructions, along with little stickers to put around your valves. I’m not sure if those are for showing off, or just in case someone else is going to work on your bike. Perhaps they’re for forgetful riders who’d otherwise plunge a big anchovy-laden spike through the lot while repairing a tubeless tyre.

As soon as it was installed, I pumped the inner chambers up to 85PSI, let my tyres down to 14, and set off for the cruellest local rock gardens and waterbars I could find. That first ride was a 55km loop taking in a lot of the downhill runs around Todmorden and Hebden Bridge. It took a while to get used to the sensation of the back tyre bottoming out against the inner one, but after feeling it against a rock at speed and realising the tyre wasn’t going down, I got more confident and took bigger risks with each descent.

From the second descent on, I was deliberately letting the back wheel hit stuff in ways that have destroyed tubes, tyres and rims for me before. Hairy line choices were suddenly rendered sensible. More than once I expected to drop off a high line, but the bike just kept tracking along edges. I laughed like a maniac all the way down Pecket Well, feeling glued down to whatever line I chose. The only thing I’ve ridden with as much grip is a fatbike, and Procore is more fun.

Procore
Despite the supplied ‘Easy Fit’ and tyre levers, it really was a simple process (if you follow the instructions)

Eventually, after much trying, I did flat. It took two days and 70km of deliberately clumsy riding, and even then I rolled home on a soft tyre rather than it completely going down. The inner chamber seemed to have lost some pressure over time, so in hitting something hard I’d managed to put a tiny snakebite in it, at the same time nicking a sidewall badly enough that it took a few minutes to seal properly. Since the inner chamber of Procore seems to basically be a road tube with a special valve, the repair was simple and I’ve been careful to check my pressures before each ride since. I switched back to riding with some care and slightly higher pressures; there have been no more flats, and no significant air loss over time either.

So there we go. It’s not indestructible, but riding it so far has been a lot of fun. I’ve adjusted my tyres to a better all round feeling 18PSI, because anything lower created an unpleasant pogo effect on climbs. If I were doing uplift, I’d happily go back down further though, because the grip is phenomenal. Low tyre pressures can have some other beneficial effects too: more grip climbing and braking, and noticeably smoothing out a little trail chatter on the hardtail too.

I’ll be testing this long term to see how it holds up, though so far it’s been superb. Nothing is indestructible, but on the first ride I pushed this way beyond anything I’d do to a normally set up pair of wheels. Tyre pressures are always a compromise between grip and other factors, but by giving some protection against flats, I’ve found Procore certainly expands the range of pressures I can choose to run without worrying.

Procore

Comments (13)

  1. Sounds like good kit 🙂

  2. I recon a ghetto version would be pretty easy, just need to drill your rims out……………just like the early 90’s

  3. Does this run with existing tyres, rims and Stans tape installed?

  4. oxym0r0n: Should do, Procore doesn’t require any special tyres or rims, just a minimum internal rim width of 23mm. This test setup is running on Spank Subrosas with my own combination of several tapes.

    The Schwalbe tape pictured is high pressure tape, so you might need an equivalent of that in the appropriate width for your rims to make sure the spoke holes hold up.

  5. (Oh, for a few people who were curious on Faceboook: the tyres I’m running on this setup for now are Maxxis Exo, not dual ply. They lost a little air in the first week, but the inner and outer chambers are now retaining pressure; left them for a week and when I got back the tyres were within a single PSI of where I set them, inner chambers had lost no more than 5 PSI).

  6. Price and actual weight.? Oh, and max rim width..

  7. Schwalbe said in a recent “Ask Us Anything” they’d tested it up to 40mm internal width rims, though obviously I can’t vouch for that personally.

    The UK RRP is £156.99. Afraid I’m not going to dismantle this just to weigh it for you right now, but they claim around 200g per wheel.

  8. had a couple of short runs in Garda on the new magic Mary 2.5’s they were phenomenal. My guide reckons they might be the next uppy downy seat post. I. e. everyone complains of cost but become the norm.

  9. Do be clear pro cored magic Mary’s 🙂

  10. £200 sheets for inner tubes how is that possible.

  11. Doh 156 sheets for tubes thats madness

  12. As mrkbutty says – it’s not £156 for some tubes, it’s £156 for an easily-perceived improvement. Certainly more obvious than what some people pay for Kashima coating, or some weight savings.

  13. Sure it’s only a matter of time before other manufacturers work around the patent and have their own cheaper versions out there. Schwalbe probably just trying to recoup as much cost as they can.

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