by Wil Barrett
April 19, 2017
Today the German tyre brand, Schwalbe, unveils it’s all-new ADDIX rubber compound. Formulated with a new mixing process that Schwalbe is being quite hush-hush about, ADDIX is a high-end rubber compound that you’ll find on the top-end EVO series tyres including the Racing Ralph, Nobby Nic, Hans Dampf, Rock Razor, and Magic Mary.
There will be four different blends of ADDIX rubber available, with a different coloured stripe running around the circumference of the tyre tread to denote the compound profile. There’s Speed (Red), Speedgrip (Blue), Soft (Orange), and Ultra Soft (Purple).
Previously, Schwalbe has employed single, dual and triple rubber compounds for its mountain bike tyres, with the higher-end EVO series tyres using a triple compound such as PaceStar, TrailStar or VertStar. For the 2018 model year however, those names and compounds are no more, and will be replaced by the ADDIX formula.
There are claims of improved grip and damping qualities across the board, but the main improvement according to Schwalbe’s data is a dramatic improvement in durability – an area that softer Schwalbe tyres (like the Hans Dampf) has struggled with in the past. Whilst sticky and grippy, in our experience we’ve found some Schwalbe mountain bike tyres offer a pretty short wear life (particularly in dry and rocky conditions), and aren’t adverse to having a knob or two ripped off. So an improvement to durability is welcome.
According to Schwalbe, the new rubber compound and mixing process offers dramatically increased flexibility in developing both the tyre compounds and the structure of the tyre itself. Again, they’re keeping mum on the specific details, but they added some images of beakers to the press release, so we’ll take their word for it.
While we initially though this image was taken from our new hipster all-vegan cafe in Todmorden where everything is served in laboratory equipment, it’s actually an ingredient list for the rubber used in a mountain bike tyre. For most tyres, the compound is made up of both synthetic and natural rubbers. That includes sulphur, silanes, oils, carbon black, silica and lots of other goodies. Just like a cake, the quality of those raw ingredients and the volumes you use determines the outcome of the baked product, and whether that tyre is grippy, hard wearing, fast rolling, or otherwise.
“ADDIX is created using completely new formulas. We purchase advanced raw materials, carefully test for quality and diligently source the best worldwide. Basically, we have significantly increased the filler content for silica and we now control the mixing process more accurately than ever before. As a result, ADDIX compounds are characterised by one thing in particular: they solve the trade-off between grip, rolling resistance and wear across a much broader range.” – Schwalbe.
Tyre & Compound Options
The four new ADDIX compounds will be available in a variety of tread patterns, with some tyres offering the option of multiple ADDIX versions. For example, the Hans Dampf will be available in both ADDIX Speedgrip and ADDIX Grip compounds, depending on how sticky you like your rubbers. However, Schwalbe has matched the ADDIX compound profiles to suitable tread patterns. So the faster-rolling Thunder Burt tyre only comes in the fastest Speed compound, while the Dirty Dan only comes in the Ultra Soft compound. Makes the sense.
Schwalbe ADDIX Ultra Soft
Schwalbe states that this is the “ADDIX compound for hardcore use in enduro and downhill“. This sticky compound possesses higher damping qualities over the previous VertStar compound, and apparently it’s even better in the wet too, with significantly improved low-temperature properties. The ADDIX Soft compound is extremely soft to the feel, and it’s uber-sticky property means it increases grip properties over the previous VertStar compound. Despite that increase in grip and damping, Schwalbe claims it offers 112% of the durability over VertStar, so you should get more life out of each tyre.
“ADDIX Ultra Soft appears to stick to the ground, literally clawing its way into the subsoil because there’s only one goal in sight: maximum damping and maximum grip.” – Schwalbe.
Schwalbe ADDIX Soft Compound
With a slightly firmer compound than the Ultra Soft Compound, ADDIX Soft is claimed to offer a more balanced overall ride characteristic with additional speed from lowered rolling resistance. Compared to the TrailStar rubber compound it replaces, ADDIX Soft apparently increases grip by 12%, while significantly boosting durability by 164%. That should mean less wear on the tread over time, and less chance of ripping off cornering knobs. Schwalbe recommends for a faster setup, try the ADDIX Soft on the front, and ADDIX Speedgrip on the back. Or for additional grip and damping, try the ADDIX Soft on the back, with an ADDIX Ultra Soft compound tyre on the front.
“Rides superbly and provides impressively good damping. That’s ADDIX Soft. We’ve dug deep in the tire builder’s bag of tricks to create the perfect balance between the two. The result is a compound that’s amazingly good fun and yet is significantly more durable than the previous TrailStar compound.” – Schwalbe.
Schwalbe ADDIX Speedgrip
This will be the most common compound option from Schwalbe for its 2018 mountain bike tyres. The brand refers to it as “the universal compound“, with a wider range of use that makes it ideal for XC, trail and AM riding. ADDIX Speedgrip replaces the previous PaceStar compound. Compared to PaceStar, ADDIX Speedgrip offers slightly lower rolling resistance (for the same tread pattern and tyre size), while offering 115% of the damping and 135% of the grip. So it’s more comfortable to ride and grippier overall. The biggest difference between ADDIX Speedgrip and PaceStar however is durability. Schwalbe claims ADDIX Speedgrip is 162% more durable than the old compound, which means you’ll get more wear life out of it too.
“Lots of everything: speed, grip and durability. Combining all three characteristics to achieve the perfect compound is almost impossible in theory, but now we’ve done it with ADDIX Speedgrip to an extent that we never thought possible!” – Schwalbe.
Schwalbe ADDIX Speed
This is the fastest ADDIX rubber compound, and is designed for high mileage riders and XC racers. Schwalbe claims that ADDIX Speed offers lower rolling resistance than the previous PaceStar compound, but remarkably, more grip, more damping and more durability again.
“Here’s the answer for those who’d like to go even faster. There’s only one thing that ADDIX Speed really loves and that’s speed. So the rolling resistance has been chopped yet again. It’s lower than the previous PaceStar, but at the same time ADDIX Speed is more durable and more resilient.” – Schwalbe.
The new ADDIX rubber compound will be available in Schwalbe’s EVO line of tyres from June 2017. We’ll be eager to get some test tyres in to test Schwalbe’s claims of increased grip and durability. We’re not so sure about the styling of the coloured stripes on the tyres (and you know you’ve got a friend who’s going to colour match those stripes to their bike!), but if it brings improved performance and better durability from Schwalbe’s previously fast-wearing rubber, then we’re all for it.
For more information, head to schwalbe.com/gb/