Review: Schwalbe Procore

by David Hayward 0

Rewind to our Issue #101 with this Schwalbe Procore Grinder review

Schwalbe ProcoreI am king of dings, destroyer of rims. My riding lacks finesse, as the dents and flat spots in every wheel I’ve ever owned will attest. in desperation I’d even started experimenting with putting road tubular tyres inside mountain bike tyres. Then Chipps handed me this for my hardtail.

Procore is much better than my bodges because it’s been properly designed, manufactured and tested. An inner chamber, made from a something like a trainer tyre, sits on the rim at high (80 psi) pressure, locking the tyre beads in place. Your tyre sits on top, at pressures as low as 12 psi.

It’s not an entirely new idea, but Procore is the first to have shiny custom components to save weight and ease installation. It has special valves that allow you to select the inner chamber or the tyre, flexible air guides made from something sealant doesn’t stick to, and its own specific tyre levers.

Components for each wheel are clearly set out with an assortment of contrasting colours and markings, making it easy to align, install and check everything. However, the valves do consist of a whole load of nested, threaded parts which can become a bit stiff and require a little care to only unscrew or tighten the part you want to.

Once properly mounted and sealed, I set my tyres to 14 psi and set off for the cruellest local rock gardens and water bars I could find.

On technical climbs, I noticed it making nadgery bits easier, absorbing bumps and maintaining grip. It is, however, draggy on road climbs at such low pressures.

But within a couple of descents I’d started riding my hardtail more like it was a big squishy bike. The sensation of the back tyre bottoming out took a bit of getting used to, but I got lairier with each new descent. Increasingly, I’d just point the bike at stuff and get off the brakes. It never lost a line.

procore-valve

I flatted just once: A tiny snakebite to the inner part during the second day of intentional abuse. A couple of patches applied, and it’s stayed up ever since. And recently, my GPS has shown unsurprising results: slightly slower climbs; much faster descents. I’ve settled on 17 psi for my weight and bike, and the effect it’s had on my riding is absurd. I fear less and brake less. Sometimes I feel the back tyre bottom out, but it doesn’t roll over in corners. Rocky trail problems become things to fly over, and I hadn’t realised just how much I was holding back.

Six months on, I’ve poked at its limits, crashed a bit, and am back in a place where I want to work on technique. I’m certain it’s saved me a bunch of pain and anguish. I used to flat about once a week, but I’ve not flatted in six months. A minor ding has mysteriously appeared on my front rim, but whatever did it, it didn’t interrupt the ride.

Schwalbe Pro Core

Overall: If the extra 200 grams per wheel bothers you, you’re probably not the kind of rider who thrashes their bike through rock gardens hoping for the best. But if you’re from the winch and plummet crowd and you just want to go faster, Procore is probably for you.

Review Info

Brand:Schwalbe
Product:Procore
From:Schwalbe
Price:£159.99
Tested:by David Hayward for Six months

Comments (0)

  1. Probably worth updating: After another year, this is still going strong and still hasn’t flatted. I find installation enough of a faff that it puts me off changing tyres more than a couple of times a year, but it really works and I don’t have to hold back on the hardtail. I only have to check pressures once a month or so.

    People on *cough* forums saying “I’m not convinced, I saw someone on a world cup track with it hanging out” (etc.) say it as if a downhill world cup track is their Sunday ride. It can’t stop you destroying a wheel, but for flat prevention and bead locking, Procore is pretty bulletproof.

  2. I echo this. I burped my front tyre in the alps 3 years ago, dislocating my shoulder and putting me in physio for over 4 months so my experiment with procore started from a bead security/conservatism perspective. I fitted it first to my hard tail (because that’s the first tyre I destroyed after buying the kit) and had good luck with it. Bead security is rock solid. It is noticeably draggier on smooth climbs (tarmac or smooth fire road) and I think I can notice the weight on climbs but overall well worth any compromise. Just last month I fitted procore to my FS as well with new rubber (magic mary/rock razor) and this had been a revelation. Tough to separate the effect of the trail star rubber from the procore (I could up the outer chamber pressure I suppose) but really improved my front end confidence. Where I ride the FS it’s usually at least an hour climbing on broken ish fire roads before the first decent stats, and sometimes 2 hours plus so I put 2+ bar in the rear for the climb and dropped it at the start of the first decent. Then no dragginess. Overall I’d say it’s an effective system. Shop around and you can get it for 100 euros a set…which I think is still to expensive but, as with dropper posts, hold your breath and drop the coin, it’s worth it.