Schwalbe Addix MTB Tire Compounds | All You Need To Know

Schwalbe doesn’t exactly make it very easy for a customer to find what they need. Navigating the many combinations of names and labels takes a lot of research and time. That’s why I decided to write down the most important facts about Schwalbe’s ADDIX MTB compounds in an easy-to-understand way.

Schwalbe’s latest rubber compounds are labeled “ADDIX”. The four options are designed for a range of riding applications with varying characteristics for grip, durability and rolling resistance. So, depending on the type of riding you do, one compound is more favourable than another.

I wrote a similar article explaining Maxxis MTB tire rubber compounds. But first things first. Let’s cover the basics before we can understand what Addix compounds specifically are.

What is a bike tire compound?

The compound of a bike tire is the rubber material the tread pattern is made of. For mountain bike tires dual and triple compounds are most common, meaning two or three different rubber layers are used to create very specific characteristics for rolling resistance, grip and durability.

So, the compounds have nothing to do with the actual design of the tread patterns, but with how the rubber behaves on the trail.

This is why a rubber compound of a tire tread is arguably one of the most critical part for tire choice. Two tires identical in tread pattern, casing, and size but dissimilar in rubber compounds will perform differently. Even with just different compound layering.

That’s all we need to know for now. For a complete deep-dive, I wrote an entire article all about MTB tire compounds. On to the main Addix-topic.

schwalbe addix compounds color coded from hard to soft
Schwalbe ADDIX compounds are color-coded from hard to soft:
Red for “Speed”, blue for “Speedgrip”, orange for “Soft” and purple for “Ultrasoft”.

What are Schwalbe Addix compounds?

ADDIX is Schwalbe’s current line of four mountain bike tire compound options: Speed (red), Speedgrip (blue), Soft (orange), and Ultrasoft (purple). These rubber compounds are designed for specific types of riding like Cross Country, All-Mountain, Trail, Enduro, or Downhill. They have replaced the previous three compounds labeled PaceStar, TrailStar, and VertStar.

The four classes of compounds are classed relative to each other so you don’t have to deep-dive into the fine details like shore durometer scales (the unit for firmness) and just decide on the level of grip, rolling resistance, and durability you want to have – relative to the type of riding. Downhill compounds are always softer than Cross Country ones.

Usually, tire manufacturers at least tell us the number of rubbers used for the compound layering, like 3C or 2C with Maxxis. But with Schwalbe, it’s unknown how many compounds are used for ADDIX or how the layers of rubber are segmented. If I had to guess, they’re probably dual compounds.

Even with only four labels to cover all MTB disciplines, there are still countless combinations of treads, casings, compounds, tire sizes, and beads. Most of the tires are available in no more than two rubber compound and still a couple of tire casing options. To give an overview, I put all of their tires into one single table for you to help navigate based on the type of riding you do.

Here are all current Schwalbe mountain bike tires sorted by riding discipline:

Schwalbe TireMountain Bike DisciplinesAddix CompoundsTire CasingsTrail Recommendations
HurricaneXC, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, Raceguard, GreenguardHard-pack, Roads
Johnny WattsXC, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, RaceguardHard-pack, Roads
Rock RazorXC, Trail, UrbanSpeedgrip, SoftSuper Trail, Super GravityHard-pack, Roads
Nobby NicXC, Trail, Enduro, DowhillSpeedgrip, SoftSuper Ground, Super TrailAllrounder
Tough TomXC, TrailK-GuardActive LineRocky Alpine
Rocket RonXC Race, TrailSpeed, SpeedgripSuper Ground, Super RaceAllrounder
Racing RayXC Race, TrailSpeed, SpeedgripSuper Ground, Super RaceHard-Pack (Front Tire)
Wicked WillXC Race, TrailSpeedgripSuper Ground, Super Trail, Super RaceAllrounder
Racing RalphXC RaceSpeedSuper Ground, Super RaceHard-Pack (Rear Tire)
Thunder BurtXC RaceSpeedSuper Ground, Super RaceHard-pack, Roads
Rapid RobXC (Cross Country)K-GuardActive LineAllrounder (Rear Tire)
Black JackKids, XC, UrbanK-GuardActive LineHard-pack, Roads
Little JoeKids, XC, TrailK-GuardPerformance LineAllrounder
CX CompGravelK-GuardActive LineHard-pack, Roads
Jumbo JimFatbikeSpeedgripSuper GroundAllrounder
Al MightyFatbikeSpeedgripSuper GroundMud, Snow, Ice
Magic MaryEnduro, DownhillSoft, UltrasoftSuper Trail, Super Gravity, Super DownhillSoft Dirt, Mud
Big BettyEnduro, DownhillSoft, UltrasoftSuper Trail, Super Gravity, Super DownhillHard-Pack, Soft Dirt (Rear Tire)
Dirty DanEnduro, DownhillUltrasoftSuper Gravity, Super DownhillMud
Hans DampfEnduro, DownhillSpeedgrip, SoftSuper Trail, Super GravityAllrounder
Johnny Watts 365E-MTB, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, Raceguard, GreenguardHard-pack, Roads
Smart SamE-MTB, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, RaceguardHard-pack, Roads
Smart Sam PlusE-MTB, UrbanAddix PerformanceDD, GreenguardHard-pack, Roads
Eddy Current FrontE-MTB, Enduro, DownhillSoftSuper TrailAllrounder (Front Tire)
Eddy Current RearE-MTB, Enduro, DownhillSoftSuper GravityAllrounder (Rear Tire)
Billy BonkersDirtjump, Pumptrack, SlopestyleAddix PerformancePerformance LineHard-pack, Roads

Below the four ADDIX rubbers Speed, Speedgrip, Soft, and Ultra Soft are explained.


Addix Speed is Schwalbe’s hardest MTB tire compound designed for Cross Country (XC) mainly and also All-Mountain Trail. Marked by a red stripe, these tires roll fast, last long but don’t offer much grip. Ideal for XC races or urban riding.

It’s basically the replacement for the previous PaceStar compound with slight improvements in terms of rolling performance, durability and grip, which are usually opposing characteristics.

Rubber CompoundRolling SpeedGripDurability
ADDIX Speed 110 % 115 % 125 % 
PaceStar 100 % 100 % 100 % 
Addix Speed compared to its predecessor, the Schwalbe Pacestar compound.

ADDIX Speedgrip

Schwalbe’s Addix Speedgrip is a harder but versatile MTB tire compound used for Cross Country (XC) and All-Mountain Trail riding. Marked by a blue stripe it leans more towards grip at the expense of more rolling resistance for a good all-round compound.

Because of it’s characteristics, it’s a popular choice for front tires while Speed is more for rear tires. It has noteworthy improvements over the previous PaceStar compound in terms of both durability and grip, which are usually opposing characteristics.

Rubber CompoundRolling SpeedGripDurability
ADDIX Speedgrip 94 % 135 % 162 % 
PaceStar 100 % 100 % 100 % 
Addix Speedgrip compared to its predecessor, the Schwalbe Pacestar compound.


Schwalbe Addix Soft is a softer, but durable MTB tire compound used for Enduro and Downhill mountain biking. Good grip at the expense of rolling speed makes it a popular allrounder for technical terrain. Marked by an orange label, it’s often used as a rear tire or in hard-pack conditions.

Due to the grip and durability, it’s a great choice for E-Mountain Bikes, that don’t need a low rolling resistance. It has good improvements over the previous TrailStar compound in terms of durability and rolling performance. Even in colder temperatures, this compound is working well all year round.

Rubber CompoundRolling SpeedGripDurability
ADDIX Soft 120 % 112 % 149 % 
TrailStar 100 % 100 % 100 % 
Addix Soft compared to its predecessor, the Schwalbe TrailStar compound.

ADDIX Ultrasoft

Schwalbe Addix Ultrasoft is the softest tire compound designed for aggressive Enduro and Downhill mountain biking. Often used as a front tire in difficult terrain or mud, it offers the most grip, which comes with more rolling resistance and less durability. Marked by a violet stripe, it has great low-temperature properties for traction in all conditions and seasons.

Rubber CompoundRolling SpeedGripDurability
ADDIX UltraSoft 110 % 106 % 112 % 
VertStar 100 % 100 % 100 % 
Addix Ultrasoft compared to its predecessor, the Schwalbe VertStar compound.

What is Schwalbe ADDIX Performance?

The Schwalbe ADDIX Performance Line of bike tires is characterized by a single compound option, that’s hard and durable, as well as different tire casing options than the top-tier EVO-Line. Despite the name, those tires aren’t necessarily performing better. They’re just using a different design without the latest technology Schwalbe has to offer.

The only compound is a regular “Addix” that’s not designed for a specific type of riding. As it’s most comparable to the harder “SpeedGrip”, it’s not recommended to use for more aggressive Downhill riding in difficult terrain.

Performance Line tires come in alternate tire casings named “Performance”, DD, Greenguard and Raceguard. They’re are available in both Tubeless Easy (TLE) and Tubeless Ready (TLR) and with folding or wire beads.

What is the Schwalbe ADDIX MTB EVO-Line?

Schwalbe’s EVO-Line of bike tires includes all that are available as ADDIX compounds and in their latest tire casings. They are the best Schwalbe has to offer, specifically designed for specific types of riding and terrains.

They’re usually only available as folding bead and tubeless casings.

Choosing the best Schwalbe tire compound for you

There is no do-it-all perfect tire for anyone, and neither is there a compound to do it all. Grip and Traction of softer rubbers are directly opposed to rolling speed and durability of harder ones.

So, go by the most important characteristics first. For all-out Cross Country racing with long uphill passages under time pressure, shaving seconds off with a hard SPEED compound may be the way to go. At least in the back wheel.

For more mellow XC riding or long All Mountain tours, a SPEEDGRIP may be more preferable. Especially on the front wheel, where cornering lugs need to dig into the ground.

Enduro riders who focus on the downhill parts of a ride, are better suited with a SOFT tire. At least in the rear. For difficult conditions an even softer tire may be appropriate.

The ULTRASOFT compound is for those riders that need their tires to grip at all costs. Reliability in traction rather than durability is the name of the game.

Still, the other piece of the puzzle is the actual tire casing, which is responsible for puncture protection, damping and the tire width. More on that topic and why casings matter, here.

What not to consider:

In order to pick the best option, focus on the most important characteristics you’ll want from a mountain bike tire. For the sake of simplicity, eliminate the damping variable from the compound decision as that’s the casing’s and tire pressure’s job.

Damping is usually not a key property for the compound of a tread pattern, but rather the tire’s casing. So it’s weird that Schwalbe chooses to highlight the damping in their compounds. Even according to their very own numbers, there’s not a big difference in the overall damping between compounds. So we can safely ignore that variable.

For a complete list of all the MTB rubber compounds of the major tire brands right now, check out this article.

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