Does the Schwalbe Procore live up to its lofty claims of increased grip, improved comfort and no more punctures?
While it stops short of promising world peace, Schwalbe’s dual-chamber Procore system advertises some lofty claims — increased grip, improved comfort and an end to pinch flats and burped tyres. It does this by mating a high-pressure inner tube to a regular tubeless-ready tyre.
Watch: How to get the most out of your tubeless setup
You then run different pressures in each chamber in order to do different jobs: the inner tube providing protection and security, while the tyre gives extra grip and comfort.
Procore looks one-piece, but is in fact a bit like a Russian doll, with three components inside one another. Within the tyre you have a tough, blue casing (similar to a road bike tyre) enveloping an inner tube with a special valve.
I rode an early version of Schwalbe Procore back in June 2014, mated to Schwalbe’s Hans Dampf tyres, running 17.5psi front and 19psi rear. My test loop included proper alpine terrain, with big rocks, loose turns and fast, wide-open singletrack.
Quite frankly I was blown away. The grip was astounding and the extra comfort made it feel like I had the best suspension ever. I could throw caution to the wind and seek out the roughest lines with no fear of pinch flats or rim damage.
A year later I finally got my hands on the production version. Installation was easier than expected, taking around an hour. It’s more fiddly than going tubeless, and it’s critical to make sure your rims are at least 23mm-wide internally, but the fact that you can seat the tyre with a mini-pump eases much of the pain. The total weight per wheel is around 230g, which might sound like a lot, but it wasn’t noticeable while riding.
In the months that followed, I raced Schwalbe Procore at the Scottish round of the EWS, I rode it on day trips to Bike Park Wales and I hammered it on my local trails in the Surrey Hills. As promised, pinch flats became a thing of the past, and I never once heard the dreaded clang of rim on rock, but I also never experienced the euphoric injection of confidence and grip that had been such a revelation back in the Alps.
Watch: How to fix a cut tyre
And I began to find weaknesses in the system — running less than 20psi on fast, flowing trails with berms and jumps caused the tyres to squirm excessively. And when mounted to a 29er, the extra rotating weight made the bike sluggish and cumbersome. All of which counteracted any improvements in traction and puncture resistance.
So, would I recommend Schwalbe Procore? The answer depends entirely on geography. On rocky terrain running 27.5in wheels, I’d be all over it like a rash. Likewise, it would be the first thing in my bike bag for a trip to the Alps.
But, if you regularly ride trails that boast good dirt, or built features, the pendulum swings the other way, and you’re basically left with extra weight, additional cost and greater complication.