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Old 09-22-10, 06:55 AM   #1
Conti
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Ugly cracks on the sidewalls of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres

Hello,

Recently, I discovered some ugly cracks on the sidewalls of the two Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres installed on my bike. I noticed them after having a flat on the rear tyre. Both tyres have the same symptoms. The tyres are 5 months old, and they have only 2.200 km.

I looked on the internet and I read on Schwable's website a new version of the Marathon arrived on the market. It's written :
"In everyday life bicycle tires are frequently ridden with insufficient air pressure and thereby become overloaded. After this kind of "abuse" cracks can appear, so Schwalbe redesigned the sidewall. The tire will now tolerate this "low inflation overloading" for much longer before ugly cracks eventually start to appear."

However, the min pressure written on the tyres is 3.5 bars, and I regularly check my tires pressures and I make sure it's always between 4.5 bars and 5.5 bars

Does anyone go such a problem with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres ? I sent an email to Schwalbe, but I still waiting for their answer.

Thanks !
Nicolas, Paris.
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Old 09-23-10, 02:14 AM   #2
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I have Schwalbe tyres on my older hybrid, they're City Jet's i think, they've probably done about 1000 miles and are cracked all the way around the edge where the tread meets the sidewall, on both sides. I'm not particularly worried about it they've been like that for ages and they're still just thin cracks. If they look like they're starting to open up i'll replace them.
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Old 09-23-10, 02:31 AM   #3
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Me, I'm just moving this thread from Commuting to Bicycle Mechanics, as per OP's request.

But to contribute on topic, I have used various Marathon versions over the years and have not experienced this. I run them at about 80-90 psi. Marathon Racers in my commuting use tend to last only about 2000-3000 kms though, so those get replaced pretty often in any case.

--Juha, a Forum Mod
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Old 09-23-10, 04:49 AM   #4
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Usually, I'd say tiny cracks are not of any concern, but yours do not appear tiny looking at those pictures. I'd say something is not right with those tires, and advise you to stop riding them until you hear back from Schwalbe. You did send them those pictures, did you?
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Old 09-23-10, 07:55 AM   #5
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Usually, I'd say tiny cracks are not of any concern, but yours do not appear tiny looking at those pictures. I'd say something is not right with those tires, and advise you to stop riding them until you hear back from Schwalbe. You did send them those pictures, did you?
I did send an email to Schwalbe 2 days ago. I wait for their reply.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:18 AM   #6
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I think they'll be okay, the rubber is not structural.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:53 AM   #7
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I second the referral to Schwalbe -

I know you said you check and maintain pressure religiously ---- but those sure look like classic low pressure stress!

Ya know, like the guy on his cheap MTB almost running on the rims! Usually on the sidewalk, with the cheapest tires money can buy!

I would think they would be interested in them!
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Old 09-23-10, 10:58 AM   #8
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Where do you store/park your bike? Try to find out if there could be a source of ozone gas from big electric motors nearby as on an airconditioning system fan and even elevator machine rooms. Ozone gas can cause/accelerate rubber degradation. Trashed new tires on my motorcycle within a year an a half parking it next to my apartment's mechanical room in an underground garage. There's a good chance that the manufacturer might give you replacement tires as you do not have that many miles on them and they most likely do not want you to resort to riding their cracked tires as it exposes them to litigation if you get injured. Just make sure you deal with them calmly (working with the LBS you might have bought them from will help too) and not get all hostile about it so they keep the discussion going for a good resolution for both parties.

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Old 09-23-10, 11:16 AM   #9
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What size are the tires that you have? What is the max pressure rating of the tires that you have?

I run on Schwalbe Marathon 700x25C and overinflate them from the 115psi "rating" to 120psi. I typically get 1500 miles before the tread wears through to the "blue" stuff inside. I have not had a problem similar to yours in probably 10 sets of Marathons, although I did see delamination at the bead on one of my last tires... and I think this is due to my overinflation.

I would not ride on the tires you have... safety / personal injury issue.

Good luck getting replacements. I don't think that there is anything you could have done to have caused the problem.
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Old 09-23-10, 11:17 AM   #10
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The cracks themselves are not the ruin of the tire but those cracks allow moisture and grit to reach into the threads that make up the structural belting of the tires. Over time water and grit will rot and cut away at the cords and eventually the tire will fail.

I know that when I've looked at some Marathons I was amazed at how thick the sidewalls are. Being thicker the rubber is under more stress from flexing at the outer surface. Hence the splitting and tearing that you're seeing. Frankly I'll stick with the thin sidewall tires that don't suffer from such short term damage. This just confirms for me what I've thought all along about Marthons being over rated. There's a lot of other options with strong flat resistant treads that have thinner sidewalls for better overall performance and that won't suffer from this sidewall tearing.
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Old 09-23-10, 11:19 AM   #11
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I had some bigger cracks that that, and someone suggested using Sho Goo on it. I used it and it added many many miles to the tire. The crack did not expenad after using the shoe goo.
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Old 09-24-10, 03:35 PM   #12
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I had some bigger cracks that that, and someone suggested using Sho Goo on it. I used it and it added many many miles to the tire. The crack did not expenad after using the shoe goo.
Nice. I just filed this one away for future reference. This is why I read the commuter forum everyday. One never knows what new tidbit of info will show up here...
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Old 09-24-10, 03:41 PM   #13
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Frankly I think I'd avoid any tire, regardless of how big a brand name on the side wall, that needs to be patched with Shoe-goo to get a full life out of it.

There are so many other flat resistant tires out there which do not suffer from having thick sidewalls that tear like this that I just can't see the appeal of the Marathons. It would be different if this were an isolated case but from the sounds of it this seems to be fairly regular for these tires.
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Old 09-24-10, 05:48 PM   #14
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Unbelievable discussion. bk
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Old 09-27-10, 02:29 AM   #15
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The bike (and therefore the tyres) are stored outside. However, the tyres were 5 months old only, and it didn't rain a lot at that time of year. I don't know of any ozone source gas near the place were I park my bike. However, the city (Paris) is quite polluted.

Since the tyres were mounted on a bike I bought new, I went back to the store. They had a look at the tyres, and decided to replace them. However, they were not able to replace them with Marathon Plus, since they don't get them in stock. They offered me to install two Vittoria Randonneur.

Since I don't trust Schwalbe anymore, I accepted. Ever if those tyres are less puncture resistant, at least they won't explode.

I read on the internet some people got the same problem (cracks on Marathon Plus tyres) and got them replaced by Schwalbe. I sent an email to Schwalbe 1 week ago, and they didn't reply.
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Old 09-27-10, 02:41 AM   #16
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...thick sidewalls that tear like this that I just can't see the appeal of the Marathons. It would be different if this were an isolated case but from the sounds of it this seems to be fairly regular for these tires.
I appreciate the fact that in your opinion Marathons are over-hyped. But exactly how do you go from there to stating this is common occurrence? If that were the case, we should have seen a flood of FAIL reports in Bike Mechanics, Touring and Commute forums at least, if you consider how popular these tyres are.

The Marathon sidewalls, even of the older design, don't routinely tear up like this. According to Schwalbe, if you keep them underinflated (for the load you have), you have a possibility of running into this problem. Underinflating your tyres is a bad idea anyway. OP states he hasn't done this, so in his case it seems he received a faulty tyre.

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Old 09-28-10, 08:34 PM   #17
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Hi, if Schwalbe still haven't responded, The forum member "Kojak" works for them, you could try and PM him
http://www.bikeforums.net/member.php?153248-Kojak
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Old 09-28-10, 08:56 PM   #18
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I appreciate the fact that in your opinion Marathons are over-hyped. But exactly how do you go from there to stating this is common occurrence? If that were the case, we should have seen a flood of FAIL reports in Bike Mechanics, Touring and Commute forums at least, if you consider how popular these tyres are.

The Marathon sidewalls, even of the older design, don't routinely tear up like this. According to Schwalbe, if you keep them underinflated (for the load you have), you have a possibility of running into this problem. Underinflating your tyres is a bad idea anyway. OP states he hasn't done this, so in his case it seems he received a faulty tyre.

--J
Yeah. I've got 5 bikes on either Marathon's or Marathon plus, some as old as 5 years or so. None have shown up with cracks. Of course, I never ride under inflated tires.
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Old 09-28-10, 11:46 PM   #19
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I think it might be simply a bad batch or similar. I've ridden quite a lot of Panaracer made tires, and while most of them were good, once in a while I would get a tire that would get cracks, really bad cracks in the sidewall like on your pictures, and it would start bulging eventually. That would take maybe a few months of riding, then I would buy a new one and no problems whatsoever. I think it's mass production and related errors that are bound to happen, in every batch of every product there will be some that are bad. But, that's what guarantee is for. I wouldn't discount Schwalbe so easily.

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Old 09-29-10, 09:55 AM   #20
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+1 on the bad batch. I am on my 3rd tire and I haven't had any problem. The crack I used Shoe Goo on was not a crack in the tire, it was more of a gash that I received from running over something. The tire was not that old and I did not want to shell out for a new tire just yet. But, the goo helped the tire keep going.
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Old 09-30-10, 12:05 PM   #21
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The picture is difficult to see clearly but small cracks can be something called checking and it can be normal for some tires. It could come from low tire pressure or too heavy a rider. I had checking on a pair of Vittoria Zaffiro shortly from the start and I rode one 8,000-10,000 miles and the other for 25,000 miles. I wouldn't worry about it.
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