Schwalbe Tacky Chan Super Trail tire review – versatile, grippy and fast

The downhill version has already seen success at World Cup level, and the lighter, more supple-cased trail option gives the best of both worlds with predictable high levels of grip in a fast-rolling package

Schwalbe Tacky Chan Super Trail tire on a bike
(Image: © Neal Hunt)

Bike Perfect Verdict

With genuine World Cup credentials and a lighter but still robust carcass, the Tacky Chan is a great tire with seemingly endless grip that rolls well and performs best with an aggressive riding style.


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    Great grip levels in a wide variety of conditions

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    Rolls well for a grippy tire

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    Lots of feedback

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    Great all-round front tire

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    Clears well in wet and muddy conditions


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    Premium price

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Schwalbe has a history of amusing product titles but the Tacky Chan could be the best one yet. It was developed in conjunction with the Commencal Downhill team, with Amaury Pierron and his teammates having lots of input and proving it to be one of the best mountain bike tires out there for racing at the highest level. The trail version took a little longer to arrive, so how does it perform away from the race track?

Front wheel of bike with Schwalbe Tacky Chan tyre and grass behind

The Schwalbe Tacky Chan Super Trail, possibly the best name for a tire ever (Image credit: Neal Hunt)

Design and specifications

The Tacky Chan comes in both 29” and 27.5” diameters and a 2.4” width that is true to size on a 30mm rim as tested. It has multiple casing options, the Super Downhill, Super Gravity, and the Super Trail, and it's available in either the Addix Soft or Addix Ultra Soft compounds. I have the Super Trail version in the Ultra Soft variant on test, which I paired up with a Wicked Will on the rear. As they all use the more robust “Super” category of casings, they all weigh over 1kg with published weights from 1,080g to 1,320g, and mine came up at 1,138g for the 29in version.

Schwalbe's latest gravity tire is designed to sit alongside the venerable Magic Mary and longstanding Big Betty, offering a different option for riders who want a more precise front tire, similar to the Maxxis Assegai. Both of its stablemates are over ten years old, and riders' expectations of equipment has changed a lot in that time, so the Tacky Chan is Schwalbe’s answer.

Closeup of Schwalbe Tacky Chan tyre on bike

The edge knobs are an L-shape developed with the Commencal Downhill team to increase braking traction and corner feel (Image credit: Neal Hunt)

The tread pattern visually sits between the two other options in the Schwalbe range but uses an L-shaped shoulder lug, which was developed using various molds and differing profiles for the Commencal downhill team until they reached the ideal compromise. The corner edges are said to be around 20 percent stiffer than those found on the Magic Mary, and the L-shaped lugs help to increase its braking profile and improve its control when slowing down. They don’t add too much stiffness though, as that can limit cornering grip and control when you're pushing hard in turns.

The team also wanted the tire to be faster, so Schwalbe has used ramped center knobs, which though not unique to them, do help to create a relatively fast rolling tread pattern, and if it's good enough for them, then it's more than adequate for us mere mortals.

I had the Super Trail version, which is the lightest of the three options, but it was more than tough enough for my local rocky trails that usually make short work of flimsy sidewalls. Despite the trail name, these felt more like an enduro tire, offering plenty of feedback, especially at lower pressures, but they have a solid feel to them. Schwalbe suggests running higher pressures on the downhill variants, though I found going down to 21 to 23psi worked best for me and my local conditions.

It is worth noting that Schwalbe is also actively trying to build its green credentials. Not only is the Tacky Chan made using fair trade rubber, but they also offer various used inner tube and tire recycling schemes in Europe, which is a genuine step in the right direction.

Closeup of Schwalbe Tacky Chan tyre

The ramped, well-spaced center knobs do a good job of reducing rolling resistance (Image credit: Neal Hunt)


Fitting was as straightforward as any other Schwalbe TLE tubeless setup. They went on to my DT Swiss 1900 rims easily and inflated the first time with a standard track pump. I’ve yet to experience any burping or excessive pressure loss throughout testing, either.

I have had plenty of time and varying conditions to put the Tacky Chans to the test, and I've yet to find anything they don't hook up well in, from early fall/autumn loam to winter mud and even dry, dusty trails after prolonged cold weather dried out my local trails. It is worth noting though, I didn't get a chance to test in really deep, sloppy, muddy conditions, as locally, it's pretty sandy and rocky. The tread pattern clears well, so I've no reason to think it wouldn't perform well in deep mud, if not as well as a specific spikier tire like a Maxxis Shorty.

Schwalbe doesn't give any specific conditions in which the tire should excel, just that it's 100 percent optimized for precision, which I think is a pretty perfect way to sum up the tire's qualities. The square profile meant a slightly different feel when leaning over in a corner compared to a rounder profile like the Magic Mary, but it’s barely perceivable. The Tacky Chan's stiff but not too solid side knobs do a great job of finding traction and giving plenty of feedback, allowing you to push them as far as you dare, especially on off-camber surfaces.

It is the sort of tire that really benefits from an aggressive riding style, with plenty of weight and force being pushed through the front to make the most of the grip on offer. It took me a little while to really get used to how much grip was available, but the harder you push, the more there is, encouraging you to pump and push the bars constantly.

The Tacky Chan rolls surprisingly well for such a robust trail tire, obviously not XC fast, but the difference in rolling resistance from the Maxxis Minnion DHF it replaced on my bike was very noticeable. It held up well, too, with no obvious signs of wear and no damage to the sidewalls, which is quite something, as my local trails in and around Sheffield are notoriously rocky and tough on tire sidewalls.

Schwalbe Tacky Chan tyre on bike wheel

The purple logo and strip on the tire show that these are the Ultra Soft Addix compound (Image credit: Neal Hunt)


I've yet to find a surface where it hasn't performed well. Obviously, my skills and speed are far below the likes of Amaury Pieron and his teammates, but between them and the folks at Schwalbe, they really have created a brilliant all-round trail and enduro front tire.

A relatively high rolling speed and pinpoint accuracy make the Tacky Chan a great choice for aggressive trail and enduro riders. Its combination of downhill levels of traction when pushed hard, combined with a lighter, more responsive carcass, makes it the perfect front tire option for 85 percent of trail conditions. 

The only downside I have found is the high cost, with the suggested retail price being $98, but that's about standard these days for a high-end tire, and there are deals to be had if you shop around. 

Tech specs: Schwalbe Tacky Chan Super Trail tire

  • Price: $98.00 / £70.99 / €68.90
  • Sizes: 27.5 x 2.4in, 29 x 2.4in
  • Casing options: Super DH, Super Gravity & Super Trail (Super Trail tested)
  • Compound options: Addix Soft and Addix Ultra Soft (Addix Ultra Soft tested)
  • Weight: 1,138 grams in 29 x 2.4in Super Trail version
Neal Hunt
Freelance Writer

Neal has been riding bikes of all persuasions for over 20 years and has had a go at racing most of them to a pretty average level across the board. From town center criteriums to the Megavalanche and pretty much everything in between. Neal has worked in the bicycle industry his entire working life, from starting out as a Saturday lad at the local bike shop to working for global brands in a variety of roles; he has built an in-depth knowledge and love of all things tech. Based in Sheffield, UK, he can be found riding the incredible local trails on a wide variety of bikes whenever he can