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Old 02-25-12, 04:27 PM   #1
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Schwalbe vs armadillo

I'm looking to buy a new rear tire for my regular commuter. I would like something very flat-resistant but hopefully not really heavy. I've used skinny All-Condition Armadillos on a couple of bikes and gotten very few flats. They have held up well and I've been pretty satisfied with them. Now I want to buy a 700x32 or maybe a 700x35, which would have to be a different model if I go Armadillo again. This tire will be used 90% on roads and 10% on dirt/gravel (nothing technical).

I keep hearing good things about Schwalbe Marathon tires, but have never used them. Also, there is a thread going where people are having the rubber separating from the casing on their Armadillos. So here are some choices:

Infinity Armadillo: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=64132

Marathon HS 420 (3 mm "Greenguard" protection, same weight as Infinity Armadillo): http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti...s/marathon_420

Marathon Mondial HS 428 Performance Line (lighter, Raceguard protection, which Schwalbe rates a little lower): http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti...rathon_mondial

Marathon Plus HS 348 (heavier, 5 mm Smartguard protection, a bit more expensive): http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti.../marathon_plus

Then there are Marathon Supreme and Dureme, which are kind of getting out of my price range.

I'm also open to other brands, but these are the ones I've researched the most so far.

Thanks!
Jim
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Old 02-25-12, 04:53 PM   #2
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If you like the Armadillos then I would say use 'em. But, even when I worked at a Specialized shop, I never recommended the Armadillos. I have seen too many separating and I think they ride like bricks. The Schwalbes are heavy, but they ride nice, have great flat protection and last a long time.

If you are still deciding, I would also suggest the Continental Gatorskin. It now comes in a 32mm size.
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Old 02-25-12, 04:56 PM   #3
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After using about 4 tires from 4 brands (Schwalbe, Serfas, Bontrager, Vittoria) my current favorite tire is the Vittoria Ranndoneur.

There's a pro version that's pretty light, and the hyper which is lighter still, but with less effective flat protection (think Marathon Supreme.)
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Old 02-25-12, 06:30 PM   #4
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Have used SMPs on all my bikes for over 3 years. Well over 20,000 miles w/2 flats and one slow leak. On my main loaded commuter I replaced the rear tire @ around 10,000 miles. They're 28mm. The front still has plenty of tread. Have not kept track of the mileage on my fg commuter, but use 25mm. The blue is showing in spots on the rear, so I'm ordering 2 sets from www.biketiresdirect.com in 2 weeks. One set of each size.

The self-rating on the link is very fair. They're not grippy in wet conditions and they are heavy. But, in commuting/utility/touring consistancy is the name of the game not speed. The object is to 'get there'. My 'get there on time' rate has been flawless since investing the SMPs. Made a call in once from the road when flatting, but the change went so smooth it really wasn't necessary. The other time I didn't even bother as it was a nice day and the flat was almost a pleasure to fix.

The slow leak was discovered at the end of my shift on the front tire. Never did find a hole in that tube, so I suspect a little prank was pulled.

My recreational rb is rarely ridden and has 25mm SMPs. When it is used I don't have any trouble keeping up on group rides, though I've only been on 2 since I bought them.
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Old 02-25-12, 06:30 PM   #5
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I also recommend the Vittoria Randonneur Pro. They are relatively light weight and has survived many sand burr thorns without flatting.
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Old 02-26-12, 12:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantPotato View Post
After using about 4 tires from 4 brands (Schwalbe, Serfas, Bontrager, Vittoria) my current favorite tire is the Vittoria Ranndoneur.

There's a pro version that's pretty light, and the hyper which is lighter still, but with less effective flat protection (think Marathon Supreme.)
Based off their website this is reversed. The Pro has double shielding and the hyper has triple shielding.
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Old 02-26-12, 01:34 AM   #7
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Oh well buy both and try them yourself, then you will form a more useful Opinion,
based on your life experiences.
\ lots of touring cyclists bought Schwalbes an went on down the coast
no body sent back complaints or kudos.
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Old 02-26-12, 10:37 AM   #8
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Can't stand the armadillos. The ride like garbage and I had more flats on it than any other tire.

I personally like a high quality race tire like the Michelin Krylion Carbon or Conti GP4k with a Stop Flat Strip in it. I've tried nearly all the recommended flat protection tires except for the Schwalbe.
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Old 02-26-12, 01:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
I'm looking to buy a new rear tire for my regular commuter. I would like something very flat-resistant but hopefully not really heavy. I've used skinny All-Condition Armadillos on a couple of bikes and gotten very few flats. They have held up well and I've been pretty satisfied with them. Now I want to buy a 700x32 or maybe a 700x35, which would have to be a different model if I go Armadillo again. This tire will be used 90% on roads and 10% on dirt/gravel (nothing technical).

I keep hearing good things about Schwalbe Marathon tires, but have never used them. Also, there is a thread going where people are having the rubber separating from the casing on their Armadillos. So here are some choices:

Infinity Armadillo: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=64132

Marathon HS 420 (3 mm "Greenguard" protection, same weight as Infinity Armadillo): http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti...s/marathon_420

Marathon Mondial HS 428 Performance Line (lighter, Raceguard protection, which Schwalbe rates a little lower): http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti...rathon_mondial

Marathon Plus HS 348 (heavier, 5 mm Smartguard protection, a bit more expensive): http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti.../marathon_plus

Then there are Marathon Supreme and Dureme, which are kind of getting out of my price range.

I'm also open to other brands, but these are the ones I've researched the most so far.

Thanks!
Jim
On my Hardrock I'd had nothing but good experiences with Armadillo's, but on my Seek for some reason I kept having problems with them. When I'd get a flat they'd literally get ripped apart. I'm now running Continental Gattorskins 700x28 on it and so far knock wood I haven't had any problems with them. But then again I've only put several hundred miles on them.

But so far I'm liking them. One "negative" about the Gattorskins is that the rotation arrow and all of the other markings are VERY difficult to locate and read.

Other than that, as I've said I enjoy their ride.
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Old 02-26-12, 01:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantPotato View Post
After using about 4 tires from 4 brands (Schwalbe, Serfas, Bontrager, Vittoria) my current favorite tire is the Vittoria Ranndoneur.

There's a pro version that's pretty light, and the hyper which is lighter still, but with less effective flat protection (think Marathon Supreme.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby214 View Post
I also recommend the Vittoria Randonneur Pro. They are relatively light weight and has survived many sand burr thorns without flatting.
+4. No flats yet with the Vittoria Ranndoneur Hyper. Very smooth & fast.
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Old 02-26-12, 02:38 PM   #11
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You might want to look at the ribmo tires!
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Old 02-26-12, 11:22 PM   #12
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I've used the Marathon Plus 700 x 25 as a back tire (had good success using cheaper "training" type tires on the front wheel). I don't consider myself a weight-weenie but I felt like I was a little slower the first time I road the tire.

Long-story-short I've ridden the tire hundreds of miles and don't notice that it is slow (I question how "slow" it actually is now anyway). I've had around two flats (one was a metal wire that worked its way through the tire, another was a fish hook that would have practically ruined a cheap tire, or would have required a significant boot). I estimate that within the same miles I probably would have had like 10 times the flats with the training tires I was using on the rear wheel.

As nashcommguy said if the object it to "get there" I can't believe there is a better flat-resistant tire out there. I even think it rides okay, but I'm not very sophisticated when it comes to ride/feel of tires. One has to accept the weight (I think the 700 x 25 is 580 grams). I might even try a (bit) lighter tire like the Armadillo in the future since the Marathon Plus might be overkill for me.
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Old 02-26-12, 11:56 PM   #13
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Generally Specialized , is only thru their dealer chain , Schwalbe sells to more dealers
and so like the local .,. there are Schwalbe and Trek Hardcase and several lesser cost tires..
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Old 02-27-12, 02:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratell View Post
Based off their website this is reversed. The Pro has double shielding and the hyper has triple shielding.
Tripple shielding is a "higher performance" method, or just aramidic/kevlar (fabric.) It's lighter, but less effective at stopping flats.
Double shielding is a fabric layer, with a dense rubber layer, it's heavier and probably has higher rolling resistance, but it's better for preventing flats.
Ultra shielding is a very thick layer of dense rubber, much like what the SMP has. A bit over kill, but the best way to avoid flats as tires go (I like tire liners a lot.)

http://www.vittoria.com/tech/puncture-cut-protection/

Vittoria Hypers are very similar to Marathon Supremes, but have a higher thread count.
Vittoria Randos are a less crazy version of Marathon Plus, somewhere between a HS368 and SMP, but are much more comfortable, and roll better than the HS368's in my experience. I'm guessing they're way more lively than SMP's, but I've not ridden those since they're so over priced.

Last edited by MilitantPotato; 02-27-12 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 02-27-12, 05:57 AM   #15
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Personally, I don't think cheapies like Kenda tires are that bad. I've been riding on 700x28 Kenda Kwests (OEM for my bike) and I've only gotten 3 flats in the 7000km I've ridden - and Shanghai streets are certainly not friendly to tires, what with cracks, potholes, and large amounts of debris. I have no plans to change to a more expensive tire, given how well these ones have treated me.
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Old 02-27-12, 08:30 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by MilitantPotato View Post
Tripple shielding is a "higher performance" method, or just aramidic/kevlar (fabric.) It's lighter, but less effective at stopping flats.
Double shielding is a fabric layer, with a dense rubber layer, it's heavier and probably has higher rolling resistance, but it's better for preventing flats.
Ultra shielding is a very thick layer of dense rubber, much like what the SMP has. A bit over kill, but the best way to avoid flats as tires go (I like tire liners a lot.)

http://www.vittoria.com/tech/puncture-cut-protection/

Vittoria Hypers are very similar to Marathon Supremes, but have a higher thread count.
Vittoria Randos are a less crazy version of Marathon Plus, somewhere between a HS368 and SMP, but are much more comfortable, and roll better than the HS368's in my experience. I'm guessing they're way more lively than SMP's, but I've not ridden those since they're so over priced.

You're right!
Would have never guessed that triple shielding is less than double, leave it to the marketing department...
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Old 02-27-12, 08:42 AM   #17
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Schwalbe vs Armadillo? Is there even a question?
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Old 02-27-12, 08:40 PM   #18
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Personally, I don't think cheapies like Kenda tires are that bad. I've been riding on 700x28 Kenda Kwests (OEM for my bike) and I've only gotten 3 flats in the 7000km I've ridden - and Shanghai streets are certainly not friendly to tires, what with cracks, potholes, and large amounts of debris. I have no plans to change to a more expensive tire, given how well these ones have treated me.
I put a set of Kenda Kwests on my 3 speed commuter bike. So far, they have performed admirably, especially for tires that cost less than $15 each. I have the bigger 700x35 tires, and they roll surprisingly fast. I've already hit a fair amount of glass, and they've held up well. In my case, the true test will come this summer when we start getting sand burr thorns.
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Old 02-27-12, 09:39 PM   #19
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I run 70X32 Schwalbe marathons. just the standard Marathons w/o any guard. Mixed pavement and gravel under a fat guy and no flats yet. I run 90R/84F.
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Old 02-28-12, 03:07 AM   #20
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If wear-life and flat protection are your main concerns (and they probably should be for a commuter bike) use the Schwalbe Marathon plus. I've seen 10000+ miles on the Mara+ on numerous occasions.
Downsides: They are heavy, costly, and can be tough to get on some rims.
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Old 02-28-12, 03:54 AM   #21
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while touring in Texas, i ran over an armadillo with my Schwalbe shod bike. so... Schwalbe = 1, armadillo = 0.
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Old 02-28-12, 05:11 AM   #22
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I have lost track but I think I have about 3k miles on my Schawlabe Marathon Plus. Not a single problem, and they are not wore enough to even think about replacing them yet. The reason I went to them was I probably had 20 flats a year before.
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If wear-life and flat protection are your main concerns (and they probably should be for a commuter bike) use the Schwalbe Marathon plus. I've seen 10000+ miles on the Mara+ on numerous occasions.
Downsides: They are heavy, costly, and can be tough to get on some rims.
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Old 02-29-12, 11:35 AM   #23
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Durano Pros- Best flat resistant tires I've ever ridden. two flats, 7,000 + miles
Krylion's - Second best, they flat more, but man they roll forever.
The first gatorskin I had was amazing, every one I've bought after it (2 times) flatted just as much as any other tire. Not sure if they changed something, but whatever, fool me once...

I've also ridden the Ultremos - they are silky smooth, but I've only ridden them in fundraising rides, and the occasional race where I get to see how old and slow I still am. They have been flat free as well, however they only have around 400 miles on them (give or take).



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Last edited by josephjhaney; 02-29-12 at 11:36 AM. Reason: Math was off for my Durano's total mileage. 2 tires, both used on the rear.
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Old 03-01-12, 07:04 PM   #24
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Thanks everyone for all the suggestions! I ended up ordering a Marathon Plus for the primary commuter, and a regular Marathon for the rear wheel of my new Motobecane Fantom CXX (the CXX will get used on dirt paths occasionally in addition to road riding, and Schwalbe rates the Marathon slightly higher than the Marathon Plus for off road).

I'm now intrigued with the Vittoria Randonneur Pro as a lighter, faster rolling road-only tire that is still very flat resistant. I'm going to keep that in mind if I find that the Marathon Plus feels too heavy/sluggish.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-02-12, 12:14 PM   #25
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Next time around, you could throw this tire on your list to consider. It's a fairly heavy tire (especially considering this is in the race portion of our catalog), but will roll nicer than the Marathon or Marathon Plus. It has a very similar puncture protection belt as the Marathon Plus, but in a "race" style tire with a dual compound for better conrering grip.

http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti...es/durano_plus
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