Schwalbe Procore review

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Product Full Name: Schwalbe Procore tubeless dual chamber system

Retail Price: £156.99

Available From: Schwalbe UK

The ultimate tubeless set up

Designed to offer maximum traction on the trail, combined with tyre stability and puncture resistance, this dual chamber tyre system makes an incredible difference to ride quality. Read on for our Schwalbe Procore review…

Punctures are the bane of any decent ride, and have largely been eradicated by using proper tubeless tyres and sealed rim designs like Mavic’s UST system.

Whilst it’s very effective and removes the hassle of inner tubes, tyres can still burp in aggressive manoeuvres and there aren’t many tyres available that offer enough sidewall rigidity for predictable low-pressure support without opting for wider rims.

Schwalbe Procore Review

The complete Procore kit includes everything you need to convert a normal rim system to a tubeless Procore system. All you need is a set of decent tyres to make the most of it. The components are available as spares separately too. Prices are TBC but currently as follows: Inner Procore Tyre £43.99 | Inner Procore Tube £14.99 | AirGuide £2.09

The Schwalbe system is effectively a tyre inside a tyre. The inner tyre is run at a very high pressure which holds the outer tyre firmly in place and minimises the chance of the rim striking the ground. The outer tyre can then be run at much lower pressures because it has a progressive core.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 12.49.00

You can see how the system works in this simple diagram – a firm progressive ‘pro’ core, and a supple outer tyre offer the best of both worlds. The motorcycle world have been using similar designs to good effect for some time.

Originally the design used two separate valves, but it would have involved people having to drill out their own rims or buying purpose made rims. To get around this, and to separate their design from the dual chamber Nuetech motorcycle design, Schwalbe have developed a clever single valve that feeds both chambers.

Schwalbe Procore Review

Left image – with the main valve screwed down you can inflate the inner tyre. Right image – if you unscrew the main barel air is bypassed through the holes at the base of the valve. The red AirGuide collar locates over this, and allows air to pass from the inner tube to the outer tyre. Neat system.

Available for 26, 27.5 and 29in wheel sizes, Schwalbe Procore comes as a complete kit ready to retrofit to your bike. All you need is a set of decent tubeless compatible tyres, and a compatible set of rims – which need to be a minimum of 23mm internally.

The system weighs approx 200grams per wheel and is made up of the following:

  • 2 x Procore inner tyre
  • 2 x Procore inner tube
  • 2 x Procore AirGuide
  • 2 x 60ml Doc Blue tyre sealant

Installation and set up
We tried the Procore system with differing rim sizes – the narrowest being Mavic Crossmax XL with an 23mm internal width, and the widest on an Easton Heist rim with a 30mm internal size.

Schwalbe Procore Review

The Mavic Crossmax XL is the minimum 23mm internal size required for the Procore system, and even at this size we found installation a little tricky. The wider the rim, the easier you’ll get things in place. We did struggle to seat the bead on one tyre in testing, and had to use soap and water – take care if using rims this narrow.

You mount the Procore inner tyre on the rim, and with the AirGuide around the tube, install the tube as you would normally – ensuring the red guide matches up with the hole in the inner tyre.

Schwalbe Procore Review

You can see the hole in the internal tyre where the air is released in to the outer tyre. It looks complicated but works really well – provided you don’t attempt to install tyre sealant through the valve which would clog it up.

You then install the tyre and sealant as usual, being careful not to pinch the tube inside the inner tyre.

The inner tyre is then inflated to 3bar/43.5psi, which holds the outer tyre bead in place – before inflating the outer tyre. We needed to use the supplied Easy Fit liquid, as couldn’t get the tyre to seat properly first time on the minimum size rim. Using wider rims makes installation far easier.

Once your outer tyre is seated properly, you inflate the inner tyre whole hog to 6bar/90psi – then you’re ready to experiment with the outer tyre.

Schwalbe Procore Review

Once the inner tyre is seated you install the outer tyre. Use the supplied Doc Blue tyre sealant – or any other quality sealant like Stans NoTubes and mount with care.

How does it feel on the trail?
Starting at 20psi, the first thing I did was hit a few turns deliberately hard. With the narrower rim, the tyre still rolls around, but much less and feels a lot more controlled. Some riders won’t want to go as low as this – and some will be able to go a fair bit less. Although venturing as low as 16psi, with the Crossmax XL wheels I found 20psi to be the sweet spot for my style and weight – approx 200lbs. I could however, drop a few pounds lower with the wider Easton Heist rims as the tyre support is increased.

Schwalbe Procore Review

My first time using the Procore set up was on the Shimano XT presentation in Les Arcs, where we raced an Enduro on the same trails as the Enduro 2. Riding blind with soft tyres was a perfect test – my team mate Jake punctured and finished a stage on the rim, whilst I got away with late braking in to rough stuff and more than a few questionable line choices. Procore saved my ass! Photo | Michael Kirkman

I did find that I preferred to keep the front tyre a little harder than the rear – perhaps because I like the feel of a tyre cutting in more than deforming – but the ability to go super low is there and in certain conditions the available traction is crazy. Wet roots and slick lime stone are no longer terrifying – the extra traction gain and sure footed ride is incredible.

But the ride feel is just one thing – the real high-light is how you can ride the rough stuff.

Hitting rock gardens hard didn’t make rims bang and thunk on the floor – instead you can just feel a firm resistance as the inner tyre absorbs those impacts. Entering a rough section of trail without thinking about rim damage totally changes the way you can approach the rough. It makes you feel like you’ve suddenly developed World Cup pace as you suddenly don’t care about your wheels. It’s amazing.

And it definitely has an effect on the rear suspension too – those times when you harshly bottom everything out can make the bike buck awkwardly. Procore definitely adds progression to the end of suspension and tyre travel  – giving a predictable feel. It really smooths things out and opens up a lot of new set-up opportunities for different conditions.

We say

We’ve been riding the Procore system for a couple of months now, and have spent three weeks of that in the Alps – and have not suffered a single puncture or problem.

Alp D’huez is notoriously rocky in places and can be super hard on bikes – but whilst others I rode with were pumping in well over 40psi, I kept my tyres soft and made the most of the comfort and grip. I completely trust the system – it’s a brilliant innovation.

Schwalbe Procore really is a game-changing product, but is best aimed at racers and those riding in places with extreme terrain as it’s not cheap.

On home turf I rarely go low enough in pressure to justify having Procore as I need to ride to and from my local spots, but for trips abroad it’s an invaluable set up that I’ll always want to use.

If you struggle to justify the money for a full set-up, consider going halves with a riding pal and just setting your rear wheels up initially…

 

What do you think of the Procore system? Let us know in the comments section below…

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