Schwalbe’s Magic Mary tire has been a dominant force in gravity-focused riding and racing for nearly a decade. Besides casing and compound construction updates, the tread design and tire as we know it has remained unchanged. And for good reasons: the popular knob layout offers exceptional grip and cornering bite in nearly every terrain with ample dead space to clear mud in variable weather conditions. But, like all good things, they eventually change or evolve. Motivated by demands from their top World Cup athletes, Schwalbe has spent the last few years developing its new Tacky Chan model. Built from the blueprints of the Magic Mary and Big Betty, Tacky Chan seeks to deliver peak grip with added stability and control to withstand exceptionally aggressive riding (e.g., Amaury Pierron in Fort William).
- Intended use: downhill and enduro
- 'L' shaped shoulder lugs increase lateral support
- Dual-closed siping on should lugs
- Ramped center knobs for improved rolling characteristics
- Longer braking edge for added control
- Casing options: Super Trail, Super Gravity, Super Downhill
- Compound options: ADDIX Soft and Ultra Soft
- Weight (verified): 1346g (29x2.4" / Super DH casing / ADDIX Ultra Soft)
- MSRP: $104 USD (Super Downhill, Super Gravity) // $98 USD (Super Trail)
If you survey Schwalbe's tire range, you'll notice that most models are in the tenure of their existence. A result of being really stinking good at creating tread designs, casings, and compounds that flourish in various environments, Schwalbe doesn't half-heartedly add models to their portfolio. So when the likes of Amaury Pierron, Myriam Nicole, and Thibaut Dapréla came knocking for a more capable tire than the beloved Magic Mary, Schwalbe embarked on a three-year development process to create their next-best gravity-focused tire.
The goal when developing Tacky Chan was to maintain the grip, traction, and versatility offered by Magic Mary while increasing rolling speed, lateral support, and control. Prototyping and testing began in 2020, and Thibaut first raced the tire at the 2021 World Championships in Les Gets. After countless iterations and adjustments, production samples were raced by Myriam and Amuary for most of the 2020 season, racking up an impressive eleven World Cup victories for Tacky Chan.
The new tread design combines elements of the Magic Mary and Big Betty. The ramped center knobs closely mirror those on the Big Betty, while the size and depth of the should knobs resemble those on the Magic Mary.
Compared to the Magic Mary, Tacky Chan's center knobs are more ramped and slightly closer together to increase rolling speed. However, there is still plenty of open space between knobs to prevent mud from packing up the tire. The should lugs are 20% more stable to improve lateral stiffness thanks to an 'L' shaped design and use less-aggressive, closed siping. Balancing support and compliance of the side knobs was a crucial component of the tread design, as the Magic Mary's double-siped side lugs debatably lack enough support in high-energy situations. Dialing in the feel of the shoulder knobs took the longest during development, but the final design allows the knobs to conform to the ground and hold a line at top speed. Finally, the braking edge is marginally longer on the Tacky Chan to improve traction and control under braking.
Tacky Chan is available in Schwalbe's Super Downhill, Super Gravity, and Super Trail casings in ADDIX Ultra Soft or Soft. 29" models are available in every casing, and 27.5" in Super Gravity or Super Downhill. MSRP depends on casing, with Super Trail models retailing for $98 and Super Gravity and Super Downhill for $104 USD.
We've logged a whopping one ride with the Tacky Chan mounted up front, but plan to knock out more testing as we head into summer and have chairlifts at our disposal. A visual inspection shows promises of a faster rolling Magic Mary with sturdier side knobs and an open design to minimize packing. Like the Magic Mary, the stud-like knobs are prominent and deep, making them better suited for softer soil. We have no reason to doubt any tire Schwalbe develops, and our single ride left us eager to ramp up the speed, hit some proper descents, and see how the Tacky Chan responds when riding at our limits.
For more information, please visit schwalbetires.com