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Old 03-01-07, 04:52 PM   #1
Banzai
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My new Marathons

For the last couple of years I was riding 700x25 Specialized All-Condition Armadillos. When the time came to get new tires, I caved to the Bike Forums peer pressure and decided to try Schwalbe Marathons; 700x28.

My lord.

These tires are fantastic! They roll so smooth, and it's like the roads just got re-paved yesterday. On my commute there's a road that's particularly chewed up that always rattled my teeth in my head. I made a mental note about a mile prior that I needed to pay close attention on that road to see if I can tell a noticeable difference in the relative "chop" of the ride.

50 yards into that road I remembered that I was supposed to be paying attention. It was that much smoother.

And, believe it or not, they seem to roll faster too. The tires themselves feel lighter, and I used at least one cog smaller on average for every part of my ride than what I usually use.

Two emphatic thumbs up...I'm sold!
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Old 03-01-07, 06:08 PM   #2
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I hear ya - same boat here. different sizes (26") but similar experience.
Time will tell if the 'thons hold up as well as the bulletproof Armadillos
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Old 03-02-07, 11:35 AM   #3
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i have the 28s and dig 'em no flats!
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Old 03-02-07, 06:18 PM   #4
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I got the 26" tyres after using Tioga City Slickers and Schwalbe City Jets and was amazed at how much faster they are even though they were not as supple or light as the others. Done about 1000-1500 miles so far in a year. They should last another 1500-2000 easily.
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Old 03-02-07, 06:23 PM   #5
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Which Marathons did you get? I am thinking of trying Marathon Racers.
I have a pair sitting in the dining room. I am also thinking of sending them back.
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Old 03-02-07, 08:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acroy
I hear ya - same boat here. different sizes (26") but similar experience.
Time will tell if the 'thons hold up as well as the bulletproof Armadillos
Having ridden both for many thousands of miles, I can tell you that there is no comparison. In my mind, nothing even comes close to that Marathon Plus in terms of flat resistance. They weigh a ton, but the ride and wet weather traction is much better than the Armadillos.

No tire is flatproof. I've had two flats on my Marathon Plus' -- a nail, and a construction staple. Either of these would have gone through a car tire. However, the design makes them all but immune to stuff like glass shards and wires from steel belted radials. In comparison, I got dozens of flats each year on the Armadillos -- a month without one was highly unusual.

The only downside to the Marathons is that there is a trick to changing them. The first time it probably took me about 20 min to get it right. I can do it in 5 now. Metal core levers are recommended though.
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Old 03-02-07, 10:36 PM   #7
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How do Marathons corner?
Do the side knobs squirm at all?
Is it a fairly rounded profile with a smooth transition to cornering?

If they corner well, they certainly sound like the tire I'm looking for.
If not, then maybe the Conti Sport Contacts.
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Old 03-03-07, 02:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lambo
How do Marathons corner?
Do the side knobs squirm at all?
Is it a fairly rounded profile with a smooth transition to cornering?
The Plus is a great commuting tire, but it is not a performance tire. In a commuting context, cornering is not bad -- certainly better than the Armadillos.

However, like any high mileage tire, the compound isn't that grippy. If you like to really dig into corners at high speed, you're better off sticking with a racing tire, but then expect to change more flats and get less life out of them.

Having said that, the profile is rounded and smooth enough to corner at a fairly reasonable pace.
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Old 03-03-07, 09:39 AM   #9
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I roll on Marathon non slick 28's and find them very good. They don't flat (yet) and they are OK for longer distance road riding yet just nubby enough to get up and down the fire trails on Burnaby Mountain where I go to school.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banerjek
The only downside to the Marathons is that there is a trick to changing them. The first time it probably took me about 20 min to get it right. I can do it in 5 now. Metal core levers are recommended though.
I'm about to install my first thons soon. Can you explain the trick to installing them?
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Old 03-05-07, 06:56 PM   #11
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There are a bunch of Marathons. Which to people use?

Aside: I bought a folding tire with a Kevlar bead once. It was almost impossible to get on and off the rim - much harder than wire bead. Since then I've shied away from folding tires. Was this a normal experience or an oddball?
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Old 03-05-07, 08:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
There are a bunch of Marathons. Which to people use?

Aside: I bought a folding tire with a Kevlar bead once. It was almost impossible to get on and off the rim - much harder than wire bead. Since then I've shied away from folding tires. Was this a normal experience or an oddball?
I found them hard to mount the first couple of times. However, if you put a little air in the innertube first, I found that they aren't much harder to mount than wire bead tires. You just need to remember that they won't stay in place until one bead is on the rim.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:26 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=banerjek]In comparison, I got dozens of flats each year on the Armadillos -- a month without one was highly unusual.QUOTE]

I run armadillos. I haven't tried anything else, so I can't comment on their relative performance, but in the year I've had them (maybe 1,500 miles), I haven't had a single flat.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:11 AM   #14
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Been riding wire-beaded Marathon Comfort 32mm's (29mm in reality) for a couple of weeks now; a cinch to put on without levers, fast rolling and great grip on wet roads (we've had some real crappy weather). Wear & puncture-resistance : too soon to tell, obviously.
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Old 03-06-07, 03:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeR
I'm about to install my first thons soon. Can you explain the trick to installing them?
I go the Schwalbe "Easy Fit" mounting fluid with them. It helps slide the tires into place, then it supposedly evaporates so that the tire stays in place. One container should last me for years (I only change the tires off to put on my Nokkians), but maybe someone else could suggest a similar homemade remedy.
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Old 03-06-07, 03:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by late
Which Marathons did you get? I am thinking of trying Marathon Racers.
I have a pair sitting in the dining room. I am also thinking of sending them back.
Racers here. I commute, run errands and do semi-light touring with them. I'm happy about handling and the general "feel" of the ride, but things did go from no punctures at all (Marathon & Marathon Plus) to a couple flats in a few months (worn Racers). I have a couple of Racers left, and if their durability decreases equally with mileage, I'll go back to Pluses or similar.

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Old 03-06-07, 05:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john bono
I found them hard to mount the first couple of times.
I've never had a problem mounting Marathons on my various bikes.
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Old 03-06-07, 08:42 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I've never had a problem mounting Marathons on my various bikes.
Me neither. Then again, I always use tyre levers, not just my bare hands. But I have not found the Marathons (any versions of them) to be particularly difficult in that regard.

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Old 03-06-07, 11:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeR
I'm about to install my first thons soon. Can you explain the trick to installing them?
My comments refer to the Marathon Plus. In a nutshell, you will encounter two problems.

The first (and smaller of the problems) is that they will feel very stiff so stretching them over the rim will be a PITA. I recommend using metal core tire levers, though you can make do with the regular plastic ones. If you go with the plastic ones, expect to use multiple levers. I normally use 3 and don't think I could do the job with less than 2.

The second is that they'll want to pop off the rim when you're installing -- I have never had this problem with any tire other than the Marathon Plus. From what I can tell, this is because the blue layer tends to hold the part of the tire that hooks to the rim wider than other tires

I'd recommend that you put the tire on the rim BEFORE you insert the tube (i.e. put one side over the rim, blow a teeny bit of air in the tube to give it some shape, and then put the tube in place). Also, as you work the tire around the rim, expect the tire to pop over the rim on the "back side". I use my feet and my legs in combination with the levers in addition to my hands to keep the tire from jumping off.

It's a fast process once you get used to it, but it's strange the first time. As far as mounting fluid goes, I've found that I don't need it, though I have used spit to help the process before.

My guess is that you'll hate the installation process the first time, but once you're on your bike, you'll be impressed with the ride. I've tried a lot of tires because I have multiple bikes and like to do different kinds of riding. Although I have my favorites, there are a number of racing tires that I'm happy to use.

For commuting on wet surfaces that are covered with sharp debris, I'll only ride the Marathon Plus until someone who's used them tells me they've found something better -- I have yet to find something that even comes close. At 740g for 700x28, they're definitely not for weight weenies though.
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Old 03-06-07, 11:34 AM   #20
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no one has mentioned that you can feel a little vagueness in corners on the marathon plus from the blue strip.

it seems like the tire just rolls around a little bit when cornering. nothing to be at all concerned about, but it just feels a little wierd after coming off normal road tires.

that said the blue strip seems to work wonders on flats, dosen't seem to effect rolling resistence much, and generally makes the tire feel much more supple/comfortable over bumps than any other tire of similar size i have used before.

i use the plus 700x28 exclusively on the back of my wet weather commuter bike and will continue until someone shows me something that works better. it may be overkill for the front in my opinion (since most of my flats seem to occur in back regardless of the tires i use).

finally, i don't find them harder to mount than any other kevlar tire..

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Old 03-07-07, 04:06 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banerjek
My comments refer to the Marathon Plus. In a nutshell, you will encounter . . . .
Thanks for the warnings. I mounted mine the other day. It was not as difficult as I first feared - just different.

Besides following your advice I noticed something else:

When I was mounting them I realized that other tires I’ve used seemed to have more sidewall. Other tires seem to look like a U with the sides as long or longer than the tread part. The Marathon Plus tires seem to be more like a ( not much side wall - just the tread and the bead.

The problem for me was not getting the bead over the rim as much as getting the ( to close up more like a < so that the beads would come closer together to fit inside the rim. I laid the wheel flat on the table and with my tire iron pushed straight down on the bead, moving the iron around the tire. This worked the bead into place. When I got 90% around the wheel I had to use 2 irons to pry the last of it into place. Even there, it is was more of a ‘squeeze it into place’ than a ‘stretch it over the wheel’ than other tires were. When mounted the tires look like they have a lower profile – kind of like those modern sports car tires.
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Old 03-07-07, 07:30 PM   #22
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Leave for a few days...and I come back to tons of good info on my praise of Marathons.

Mine are standard Marathons. No plus, or anything "extra". I've been on multiple rides with them, and they are NICE.

I had zero trouble mounting them...the Armadillos were SO much more difficult than any tire I'd ever mounted that these were a piece of cake by comparison. Pretty much just fingers all around. Had a bit of issues around the valve stem making certain the bead was properly seated...the bead was a little splayed out from shipping, and I'm used to mounting a narrower and far more rigid tire.

Anyhow, the overall impression is still two emphatic thumbs up. I should have bought into the Bike Forums "hype" long ago...I did with my Brooks and it is fantastic...what took me so long with the Marathons?
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Old 03-07-07, 08:01 PM   #23
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So, I've moved from Bontrager RaceLite Hardcases (meh) to Conti Gatorskin Ultras, which I love. Next on the list to try are these and the Vittoria Randonneurs. Thoughts between these 2?

Also, what is the "blue strip" to which folks are referring. I don't see any (in this pic anyway) blue strip or do I have the wrong tires?



Edit: These also look like they would not roll as smoothly as Gatorskins. Again, I haven't tried the Marathon Pluses.
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Old 03-07-07, 08:03 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banzai_f16
Mine are standard Marathons. No plus, or anything "extra". I've been on multiple rides with them, and they are NICE.
Hi,
there are 8 different marathons. None are just a marathon.


# Marathon Cross
# Marathon HS 308
# Marathon HS 368
# Marathon Plus
# Marathon Plus ATB
# Marathon Racer
# Marathon Slick
# Marathon XR

You could prob look at the website and figure out which one you have. Might help
if you ever want to get another.

http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/road_tires
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Old 03-07-07, 08:07 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbojeff

Also, what is the "blue strip" to which folks are referring. I don't see any (in this pic anyway) blue strip or do I have the wrong tires?
Hi,
the blue strip is a thick gel like material under the tread. It is heavy, but looks
like it would prevent most punctures. You can see the Smartguard at the bottom of the page.

http://schwalbetires.com/tech_info/tire_construction
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