Schwalbe Tacky Chan review

by 36

The Schwalbe Tacky Chan has a surprise up its sleeve: it’s less draggy and tiring on autumn-winter trail-enduro rides of decent length.

  • Brand: Schwalbe
  • Product: Tacky Chan
  • From: schwalbe.com
  • Price: £74.99 (29×2.4in, Super DH casing, Addix Ultra Soft compound)
  • Tested by: Benji for 4 months

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Pros

  • Almost mud spike levels of grip
  • Confoundingly fast-rolling
  • Sheds mud well

Cons

  • Tyres ain’t cheap
  • Not available in sub-DH casings yet
  • The name is just… wrong

The Tacky Chan already feels like something of an outlier, even within the Schwalbe family. It doesn’t have an alliterative name (Magic Mary, Nobby Nic etc). And it doesn’t have the same basic knobble array as most modern Schwalbe tyres ie. Wicked WIll, Nobby Nic and Magic Mary tyres all have essentially the same knobble tread pattern, just executed in differing levels of grrr.

The Tacky Chan is very much a whole new thing.

To be honest, I was sort of holding off on reviewing the Tacky Chan until we got hold of less-DH incarnations of it. The Tacky Chan tyres I’ve tested are the Ultra Soft Super DH versions. So yeah, 1.3kg and pretty stiff carcass.

To be even more honest, I was also sort of holding off on reviewing the Tacky Chan because my initial rides were rather… meh. This is not a tyre designed for summer trail bike duties. There’s the Schwalbe Magic Mary and even Nobby Nic for BST biking.

It is only the past few weeks where the Tacky Chan has come into its own. Or revealed itself. And it’s only after back-to-back testing it against other mud/loose conditions that it has made sense. Made sense and deeply impressed.

To cut a long story short, the Tacky Chan is fast mud tyre. It may well be a fast dry-loose-conditions tyre too. I wouldn’t know. I live in the Pennines. We don’t have dry-loose anything.

Compared to established classic mucky rubbers such as the Maxxis Shorty 2, the Michelin Mud, the Specialized Hillbilly and even Schwalbe’s own Dirty Dan, the Tacky Chan is significantly easier on the legs. Despite its weight and its nominal sticky rubber, it zips along amazingly swiftly. You could say that its compound confounds.

I’m not going to try to explain why or how this is. Tyre treads continue to be a total black art of illogicality and contradiction. Looking at the Tacky Chan there’s just no way that it rolls fast is there? But it does. Well, not ‘fast’ compared to a regular all-round trail tyre but way faster than other grippy mud/loose tyres. It rolls pretty much on a par with a similarly Super Soft Schwalbe Magic Mary, for example.

Maybe there’s something about that yawning chasm between the centre tread and the shoulder knobs that helps reduce drag? I have no idea. All I know is that it is bafflingly nippy for such a grippy tyre.

I would however state that I suspect that some of the Tacky Chan’s swift rollingness is purely down to it being slightly undersized. It’s not as gallumping as other brands’ 2.4in models. It consequently feels less squidgy or deformy. Sure, it’s probably less comfy too but I’m not sure there’s a need for comfy when the terrain itself is soft.

This is not to say that it shies away from roots or is jarring on rocky bits. The ramped centre lugs – and the high amount of siping on all the knobbles – does a great job of damping the initial impact of tyre-on-object. Although the Tacky Chan is very edgy-accurate, it can still deal with jittery jarring duties really well.

Overall

Schwalbe understandably make a big play of the Tacky Chan being part-designed by Amaury Pierron (who won several World Cups on these tyres) and how their speed can make the difference between 1st place and 1st loser. But the rolling speed of the Tacky Chan has a much more useful side benefit: less draggy and tiring on autumn-winter trail-enduro sorta rides. It no longer feels like “oh, I’ll put mud tyres on and just session the woods because I can’t be doing with pedaling these rubbers around”. With the Tacky Chan up front (and at the back too if need be) the effort of turning the tyres over and over feels pretty much like regular trail tyres but with far more capability.

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Review Info

Brand: Schwalbe
Product: Tacky Chan
From: schwalbe.com
Price: £74.99 (29x2.4in, Super DH, Addix Ultra Soft)
Tested: by Benji for 4 months

Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Viewing 36 posts - 1 through 36 (of 36 total)
  • Schwalbe Tacky Chan review
  • Andy_K
    Full Member

    I laughed out loud when they reveiled the name, I love it.

    tomparkin
    Full Member

    The name is weirdly quite problematic inasmuch as you’ve got to actually pedal around with it blazoned on the side of the tire :-/

    Tacky “anything” is going to be hard to spin in Schwalbe’s normal namescheme, notwithstanding it’s desirability in terms of tire properties. Tacky Terry, anyone?

    IDK why they didn’t do the obvious and go with something like “Audacious Amaury”.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    Ive been running these a while now and I would say they’re a fast dry/middling conditions tyre thats really surprisingly good in the mud, as opposed to a mud tyre thats fast, but either way, a really good all round tyre. My new favourite for most conditions.

    I’m running Trail soft rear, trail Ultra soft front FWIW.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    I might want these. My trail bike has to cover some ground and it’s a chore with my current Maxxis jobs.

    v7fmp
    Full Member

    are folks running these on the front or rear?

    Is it a Magic Mary alternative? Or a Hans Dampf/Big Better alternative?

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    From my experience:

    Its faster than a mary on the front, less mud grip, more dry grip.
    Its faster than a rear betty, less braking and climbing grip, better cornering.

    So if you want max wet grip I would still go MM Fr, BB Rr, but if you want more speed in more conditions, TC Rr with either TC Fr or MM Fr.

    Hans Dampfs are never great at everything.

    Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    Interested in these, was the tyre only used as a front for the review?

    Not available in sub-DH casings yet

    I see Merlin have them in stock in Super Downhill, Super Gravity and Super Trail though Super Trail in soft not ultra soft.

    Edit: Thanks Ben, that answers my questions. Merlin also have some Hans Dampfs super cheap but I just know they are a false economy.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    I bought my Trail soft/Ultra combo from a regular supplier so they’re out there.

    honourablegeorge
    Full Member

    benpinnick

    From my experience:

    Its faster than a mary on the front, less mud grip, more dry grip.
    Its faster than a rear betty, less braking and climbing grip, better cornering.

    So if you want max wet grip I would still go MM Fr, BB Rr, but if you want more speed in more conditions, TC Rr with either TC Fr or MM Fr.

    That make a lot more sense, Ben’s review describes the Mary as more of a summer tyre than the TC, but that’s a much more aggressive tread, according to Schwalbe the Tacky Chan started life as a cut-down Betty so would never expect it to be as grippy as a Mary.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    I actually have a 29*2.4 Trail ultra soft I used for photos if anyone wants it – never been outside 🙂 #stealthad

    chakaping
    Free Member

    I’d like to try one, but my front tyre line-up is pretty stacked as it is with the Hillbilly, Verdict, Vigilante, Butcher, Wild Enduro, Minion DHF and others all doing sterling work in various conditions.

    Most of those roll fine, but I tend to go for a lighter carcass with insert. It’s a stiff carcass that can make a tyre feel super-draggy IMO.

    Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    @benpinnick I may take that off your hands if it hasn’t been snapped up already

    whatgoesup
    Full Member

    When will they launch the Sticky Vicky ?

    devash
    Free Member

    @whatgoesup – beat me to it, although I was thinking “Sticky Sue.”

    daviek
    Full Member

    I’m thinking devash has never been to Benidorm

    mboy
    Free Member
    benpinnick

    Full Member

    Ive been running these a while now and I would say they’re a fast dry/middling conditions tyre thats really surprisingly good in the mud, as opposed to a mud tyre thats fast, but either way, a really good all round tyre. My new favourite for most conditions.

    I’m running Trail soft rear, trail Ultra soft front FWIW.

    benpinnick has it…

    Those of you wanting to purchase a Tacky Chan off the back of Benji’s review might be a bit misled. It’s a fantastic tyre for sure, but it came about as a result of the Commencal/Muc-Off team predominantly wanting a “faster Mary”… That was the main design brief initially. Along the way, various prototypes were built and tested, and this is the tyre they ended up with…

    All of the marketing for the tyre so far has been based upon its DH pace… But trust me when I say, it’s a fantastic UK trail tyre in the lighter casing versions (which are out there with distributors and shops, just not in vast qty’s yet). Yes, it behaves differently to a Mary at the extremes of conditions (it’s not as predictable as a Mary when it’s really muddy/sloppy, but it’s more predictable than a Mary over firm ground and hardpack/rock), but there’s a lot of crossover too where if you were running a Tacky Chan in place of a Magic Mary, most of the time you wouldn’t notice the difference except in rolling speed… The Tacky Chan is considerably faster rolling than a Mary! REALLY noticeable in fact…

    are folks running these on the front or rear?

    Is it a Magic Mary alternative? Or a Hans Dampf/Big Better alternative?

    You can run either end… Or both… Depending on what you want to achieve.

    I’d suggest as benpinnick has done above, a soft compound rear and an ultra soft front will make a good all round UK trail combo with the softer compound up front… Alternatively, as Amaury Pierron typically does, you could run a Magic Mary up front for that ultra predictable front end right into the slipperiest conditions with a Tacky Chan on the rear for quite a bit more speed and a minimal loss in grip… Or you could run one on the front of your trail/xc/downcountry/whatever the latest marketing term for just riding trails in your local woods is bike, in combination with say a Nobby Nic or even a Wicked Will on the rear, for that business up front party out the back type setup.

    From my experience:

    Its faster than a mary on the front, less mud grip, more dry grip.<br style=”box-sizing: border-box; –tw-translate-x: 0; –tw-translate-y: 0; –tw-rotate: 0; –tw-skew-x: 0; –tw-skew-y: 0; –tw-scale-x: 1; –tw-scale-y: 1; –tw-scroll-snap-strictness: proximity; –tw-ring-offset-width: 0px; –tw-ring-offset-color: #fff; –tw-ring-color: rgb(59 130 246 / 0.5); –tw-ring-offset-shadow: 0 0 #0000; –tw-ring-shadow: 0 0 #0000; –tw-shadow: 0 0 #0000; –tw-shadow-colored: 0 0 #0000;” />Its faster than a rear betty, less braking and climbing grip, better cornering.

    So if you want max wet grip I would still go MM Fr, BB Rr, but if you want more speed in more conditions, TC Rr with either TC Fr or MM Fr.

    Hans Dampfs are never great at everything.

    Again spot on… Though I will caveat that better riders than you or I have won EWS races with Hans Dampf’s F&R in the past!!!

    molgrips
    Free Member

    How does it compare in terms of speed to my tyres which are (looks up on web…)

    Front Tyre: Maxxis Assegai, 29”x2.5 WT 3C MaxxTerra/EXO+/TR

    Rear Tyre: Maxxis Dissector, 29”x2.4 WT 3C MaxxTerra/EXO+/TR

    Rubber_Buccaneer
    Full Member

    @molgrips no personal experience but I think Pinkbike’s review may cover that for you

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    Looks very much to me like a DHF outer tread, and close to Dissector inner tread with a few Assegai mid blocks.    As I have a DHF already I won’t bother spending £75 to replace it, but its an option when the DHF is done for, even perhaps as a pair.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    I described them to someone like dissectors on steroids. They roll like a dissector, but have way more grip as it gets wetter. Assegai is more like a Mary, reliable grip but rolling speed is sacrificed (alot in the case of the Assegai maxx grip!)

    hardtailonly
    Full Member

    I demo’d the forthcoming Aeris AM at Hamsterley the other week (so @benpinnick ‘s bike at a guess), running the Tacky Chan. Coming from Maxxis DHF 2.5 MaxxGrip up front, and a Dissector MaxxTerra out back, these tyres zipped along at an unbelievable pace. They felt quite firm (compared to the Maxxis, I’ve no personal experience of the MM/BB etc), but also really pinned and direct on trail/hardpack surfaces, berms etc.

    I only had very limited experience in the mud, I tried a couple of steep off-piste lines but these were above my talent-level in terms of sketchy greasy roots so can’t really comment on their ability in the mud.

    jamesmio
    Free Member

    @benpinnick Thanks for the review.

    If one was looking to pinch a Magic Mary off the front of his Forge hardtail (trail centres, long/xc style days out and full-suss deputising duties) and transplant it onto an Aether 9 (enduro/off-piste/rougher stuff), a Tacky Chan might make for a really quite nice replacement by the sounds of it?

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    Maybe there’s something about that yawning chasm between the centre tread and the shoulder knobs that helps reduce drag?

    This on the DHF makes it drifty when not leant over. Is this not drifty, seeing as nobody mentioned it?

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Coming from Maxxis DHF 2.5 MaxxGrip up front, and a Dissector MaxxTerra out back, these tyres zipped along at an unbelievable pace.

    That’s a fast pair of tyres anyway.

    I suspect the bike you were demo-ing was quicker than yours?

    mboy
    Free Member

    This on the DHF makes it drifty when not leant over. Is this not drifty, seeing as nobody mentioned it?

    Every 5th set of centre knobs is suitably wider, filling some of the void…

    The problem if you don’t have enough of a void is that it can make it difficult to engage the side knobs, so the tyre feels like it doesn’t have enough edge bite. The problem with too much of a void is that “will it, won’t it” corridor of uncertainty experience where the tyre drifts off centre until leant over enough to find the edge bite.

    It works well for me. Possibly not quite the 100% level of predictability on the front as with a Mary in typical UK conditions, but the trade off is more rolling speed…

    oceanskipper
    Full Member

    When will they launch the Sticky Vicky ?

    Or the Stuck Norris perhaps?

    sirromj
    Full Member

    What bike for Trackie Stans?

    bikesandboots
    Full Member

    I described them to someone like dissectors on steroids. They roll like a dissector, but have way more grip as it gets wetter.

    Anyone thoughts on these vs Conti Xynotal as a better Dissector for the rear?

    About to put a Kryptotal Re on for the winter, but I’ll need something for next spring-autumn.

    squealer
    Free Member

    I’ve been running a super trail ultra soft tacky Chan for a while now on the front and as above it’s really really good.  Incredible amounts of grip so far on the trails and it rolls so fast. 

    coming from a conti argotal I’m not sure it’ll be quite so good in proper winter conditions but is better at everything so far. 

    Northwind
    Full Member

    Looks pretty ace- anyone compared it with the Conti Argotal yet? They don’t quite seem for the same job but the Argotal is “mud tyre but randomly fast and good at hardpack” so maybe some overlap.

    (for me the argotal enduro/soft’s made a lot of tyres pointless, it’s totally my one to beat now)

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    I described them to someone like dissectors on steroids. They roll like a dissector, but have way more grip as it gets wetter.

    Do they have better slidey manners than the dissectors? Really liked mine til it broke traction but then it was like an old DHR, just all over the place.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    Those are my first “trail” tyres and I can’t believe what you lot consider quick. They’re pigs, but then, I’m used to XC tyres.

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    That will be the Assegai @molgrips. That’s a slow roller for sure.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    Good to know. Perhaps I’ll bin that first as at £75 a pop I may only be able to afford one…

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    Do they have better slidey manners than the dissectors? Really liked mine til it broke traction but then it was like an old DHR, just all over the place.

    Much better. And they grip roots/rocks really well due to the Ultra Soft (but not especially slow) front.

    Northwind
    Full Member

    Awesome, thanks Ben! Will definitely give one of these a try at some point.


    @molgrips
    , we’re just coming into the season where Assegais are probably at their best- they’re at the wet end of the allrounder thing so a mix of hard trails but also chopped up mud might make you appreciate them more, up til now it’ll have been mostly just wasted energy.

    (IMO they’re just not that good, not in maxxterra anyway. Just a kind of cursed mix, you’ve got not especially grippy rubber, but wet-oriented tread, which could be pretty much designed to make you shit your pants on wet greasy rock. And also cloggier in the wrong mud than either a spike or a dhr2. So you give up quite a lot of true allrounderness, and what you gain is more wet grip but untrustworthy. I reckon a lot of the sales are dependent on the name on the side)

    molgrips
    Free Member

    I have little confidence in my Assegai.  The first time I rode that bike I laid it over into a rooty 90 degree corner as I was used to doing on my Patriot with Hans Dampf and it wiped out instantly and I almost died. From then on I felt very nervous and unstable on it.

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