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Old 03-27-14, 12:38 PM   #1
byrd48
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Big Apple vs Marathon Supreme

Has anyone ridden on both Big Apple and Marathon Supremes? I have BA now, completely happy, but I'm building another bike and need to choose the tires. The marathon Supremes are lighter by about 25% and more expensive, as in double. Has anyone ridden both? Big difference our not so much?
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Old 03-27-14, 12:46 PM   #2
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I use both on different wheelsets, but not an apples to apples (pun intended) comparison. BA 26x2.35 vs MS 26x2.0 vs MS 700x35 all on the same bike. The MSs roll better on pavement and are much lighter, so I'd go with those for primarily road/paved MUP commuting. BAs are much heavier, but are great for unpaved trails. Dry traction of MS is superior, but not by much. Durability is about the same. Cost, you already figured that out. IMO, the MSs are superior overall, and worth the extra cost.
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Old 03-27-14, 01:26 PM   #3
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Thanks! I must admit that I was hoping the recommendation would be to get the marathons. I may need to print out your response to help bolster my case with my wife :-)
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Old 03-27-14, 01:27 PM   #4
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I haven't tried the Big Apple, but if you are interested in trying out Supremes, i bought some tires from Bike-Discount.de for a lot less than what i could find on ebay or amazon. Shipping takes a while (3-4 weeks), but without any issues. I have Supremes in 700x28, x32 & x50. Smaller ones are lighter and quicker, 2" is comfy but a bit heavy.
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Old 03-27-14, 02:54 PM   #5
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Thanks! I must admit that I was hoping the recommendation would be to get the marathons. I may need to print out your response to help bolster my case with my wife :-)
Ha - I know the "bolster the case with my wife" part all to well. Luckily she is very supportive of me bike commuting so lets some of my spending slide.

I would recommend the Marathon Supremes based on what I know, but not having ridden both of them. This is especially true if mostly on pavement (roads and MUPs). They are lighter and will be faster, have great flat resistance, and are supposed to get great wet traction (I haven't been able to verify this yet). The last was a big selling point for me, as my wife wanted to make sure I was safe riding in the rain. reflective strip on sidewall was a plus too.

I got mine from BikeTiresDirect.com they often have a good sale price on the supremes.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:28 PM   #6
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I haven't tried Big Apples, but I have used Marathon Supremes in 26x1.6, 700x50 and 700x35. I also have a set of 700x32 on the shelf waiting for something else to wear out. So obviously I really like the Supremes.

Looking at the Schwalbe site, I see they rate the rolling resistance of the BA slightly higher than that of the MS, while the weight is the reverse. They rate the MS better for protection and on-road grip. That all seems reasonable.

So, my take on all of this is that if you're going to get wide tires, the BA's are probably the way to go. The MS's won't give you the comfort of the BA's and in the widest size their speed advantage is probably minimal. On the other hand, if you want to faster tires with better flat protection while not completely giving up comfort, the MS's are well worth the money.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:56 PM   #7
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I've got 26x2" Supremes on my Pt Reyes and 26x2" BA's on the Big Dummy. The BA's ride nicer,the Supremes are lighter and stickier.

The PR is all alloy,but playing with the air pressure in the Supremes makes it ride pretty good. If I was going to be riding it every day on bad roads,I would prolly go with BA's. But for just running around town,or riding in the rain,I'd go with Supremes.
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Old 06-03-14, 04:45 PM   #8
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So, I was at a stoplight today and noticed an approx. 1cm gash in my front tire. I know it's not a dealbreaker, but ya know, I know it's there now and I just don't like it! They (big apples) have almost 3000 miles on them, which is not much from what I've read. Curious what others would do.
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Old 06-03-14, 05:40 PM   #9
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The Big Ben/Little Ben are 700C tires with the Big Apple casing. Nice tires if you like the look of the Big Apple but want its comfortable ride with a road bike.
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Old 06-03-14, 06:07 PM   #10
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So, I was at a stoplight today and noticed an approx. 1cm gash in my front tire. I know it's not a dealbreaker, but ya know, I know it's there now and I just don't like it! They (big apples) have almost 3000 miles on them, which is not much from what I've read. Curious what others would do.
Is the gash in the tread or the sidewall? Can you see the tube poking through?

In the past I've patch the tread of a tire with Shoe Goo. It worked, but I was never really happy with it. It left a small bulge that bugged me.

The other thing I've done, which might even work with a sidewall tear, is to just put a standard tube patch on the inside of the tire.
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Old 06-03-14, 07:41 PM   #11
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The gash is in the middle of the tread. I know there is a protective lining, and I have definitely ridden over broken glass and no flats in the 3k miles that I've owned these tires. So maybe the tire is telling me that it already saved me once?
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Old 06-03-14, 07:43 PM   #12
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I have not looked at racers. It's a 26 inch urban commuter and tourer
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Old 06-03-14, 11:03 PM   #13
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Trying putting a piece of white paper between the tube and the tire where the cut is. If you can't see it when the tire is fully inflated, I'd say you don't need to worry about it (but don't leave the paper there).

When I used Conti Gatorskins, they typically had cuts like that all over the tread after a couple thousand miles. I don't see it so much with my Marathon Supremes. I don't know why. I haven't used Big Apples.
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Old 06-05-14, 04:49 PM   #14
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Also,

Two levels of Big Apples.
Regular wire bead
And
Performance Line

Rolling the 26X2.15 Performance Line BA's on one bike, here.
Love them. Cush ride, surprisingly fast when up to speed.
Only 2 flats in 4500+ miles on this set. Often fully loaded, all conditions.

Haven't tried Marathon Supremes, yet. Everyone I know that rolls them, loves them. Including Austin bike cops. Considering running the MS on my CX700 next tire change. However, also love the higher end Continental Travel Contacts in 700X37 that I have been running on that bike for the last 2+ years. Great tire in nearly all conditions. Bought/used 4 of them on this bike. Zero flats, all conditions, urban, loaded touring, on/off road. ZERO !

Might try the Big Bens on the 26" bike next time around. Bit more tread than the standard BA's for off tarmac use.

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Old 07-22-14, 07:15 PM   #15
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So I finally ordered then and rode the commute for the first time. About two months back, I ran over a large nail which lodged itself in the rear tire (big apple). It took some force to remove the nail, but no flat! 600 miles later and still no problem. But I leave next eek on a 4 day tour, and while I'm sure the big apples would be just fine, I went ahead and bought the marathon supremes anyway.
Now for the comparison...
First impressions. The appearance of the ms seems a bit lower quality. The logo looks like it is screen printed on and is all one color. The big Apple lettering and balloon bike logo definitely looks more polished. The reflex stops also did not align well at the point where the two ends meet.
Holding one in each hand, the weight difference was not really noticeable.
The ms is made in Indonesia. Nothing against Indonesia, but for some reason, I thought Schwalbes were hand made in Germany. Our at least I thought the big apples were.
Now for the ride... The ms does seem to roll faster as it is advertised to do. How much faster? Not a lot, and I'm comparing them to tires with 3300 miles on them. They do seem to be more responsive, where the big apples seemed to want to hold a straight line, the ms is quicker to turn, both in response to the road and the rider, so it's good and bad I guess. The biggest difference seems to be that the ms, at the same air pressure, absorbs more road shock. I weigh a buck 50 and run the front tire at 50 and rear at 58. With the ba, anything above that would cause the bike to really bounce on bumps, etc. But the ms seems to absorb more of the shock at that pressure, so that is good.
As for durability, I'll need another year (hopefully not less) for that comparison.
As for value, the ba are $37 and the ms $60. I'm not prepared to say at this point that the ms is not worth it, but the immediate reaction is that they are not almost twice the tire that the ba is, so I would say that the ba is the most bang for the buck.
Also, the ms will not support a sidewall dynamo, while the ba will (it even has grooves in the sidewall just for them), so the ba gives a good bit more versatility.
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Old 07-23-14, 04:39 PM   #16
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The biggest difference I've noticed between BA's and Supremes is panic braking in the rain. That's why I commute on Supremes.
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Old 07-23-14, 09:53 PM   #17
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One other observation on the livery.. The tire says Schwalbe on one side of the tire, with the top of the letters pointing to the outside of the tire. On the opposite side, it reads Marathon Supreme, but with the top of the letters pointing to the inside of the tire. Big deal, so what? Well, when the tire is positioned such that Marathon Supreme is at the top, it's upside down! It just looked odd, so I looked at the tires on my cars and other bikes and sure enough, it seems to be universal, always print the words such that you can read them when they are at the top of the wheel (top of the words point to the outside of the tire). How did they miss this? Maybe I got a misprinted set (I ordered from Amazon and they didn't mention anything about being second quality). The Big Apple does not print on opposite sides, it just reads Schwalbe Big Apple all together, pointed towards the outside of course. And they even threw in a second color (blue) on the balloon logo.
Is it an obsessive compulsive observation? Maybe, but at 60 bucks a tire, you want to like to look at them and they should look tight. Did they take similar shortcuts in other parts of the manufacturing process, I'm hoping not 60 miles in 2 days now and they do ride great, so I guess that's what really counts, but it's their top of the line product and I think they really skimped on the finishing touches...
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Old 07-23-14, 10:41 PM   #18
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Continental joined the balloon tire market this year with their new Retro Ride line.

The tires look positively cool with their moto-inspired casing.
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Old 07-24-14, 01:27 AM   #19
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The Big Ben/Little Ben are 700C tires with the Big Apple casing. Nice tires if you like the look of the Big Apple but want its comfortable ride with a road bike.
Big Bens also come in 26 x 2.15" and 26 x 2.35 inch sizes. If I understand it correctly, the Big Bens are basically Big Apples with a little deeper tread for better off-road use, although the Big Bens also come in cream, grey, and brick colors, and IIRC, the non-black tires have a slightly lower flat protection. The only Marathon I've ridden was a plain (non-Supreme) one that was very heavy, so I can't really compare Big Apples to Supremes, but I will say the Big Bens have been good for me.

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When I used Conti Gatorskins, they typically had cuts like that all over the tread after a couple thousand miles. I don't see it so much with my Marathon Supremes. I don't know why. I haven't used Big Apples.
I had the exact same experience with my Gatorskins, great at first, almost cut to ribbons by six months of continuous use (about a thousand miles for me that year), only tire I've had cut up anywhere near that bad from the tiny shards of glass and tiny triangular rocks that are usually the cause of my flats.
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Old 07-24-14, 05:48 PM   #20
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I see this is an old thread, but I found 700x40 marathon supremes to not be remotely comparable to 26x2.0 BAs (80% of the width but maybe not 80% the volume, not even 80% of the awesomeness). The BAs I thought had a sweet spot at 40psi but were just fine down to 25ish, the 40mm supremes seemed to want to be pumped up to at least the upper quintile of their recommended pressure range. I love the 2.0 BA and keep those on my all weather commuter, and I have 2.35 BAs on a tandem which are much more than 118% as awesome as the 2.0s. But my road bike I have downsized to 28mm supremes and I like those a lot but I keep them pumped up pretty high and they are just not in the same category of tire.

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Old 07-24-14, 06:12 PM   #21
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I don't ever see much love for standard Marathons. I have 26 x 2.0 on our grocery getter, cargo, all about town tandem. Usually keep them at 60psi. Let them go down to about 35psi (3 mo.) and start over. Have had these 4 years. Put Mr. Tuffy's in them after one year. Maybe a flat every 6 mo? 700C x 28mm Marathons on club ride tandem and main commuter. 20" x 1.5" Marathons on folder. Price is same as Apples and flat resistance is IMO very adequate. First Marathons I ever had were rated 110psi. Newer ones from Indonesia rated 100psi. Maybe even 95psi, I can't remember.

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Old 07-24-14, 08:39 PM   #22
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I see this is an old thread, but I found 700x40 marathon supremes to not be remotely comparable to 26x2.0 BAs (80% of the width but maybe not 80% the volume, not even 80% of the awesomeness). The BAs I thought had a sweet spot at 40psi but were just fine down to 25ish, the 40mm supremes seemed to want to be pumped up to at least the upper quintile of their recommended pressure range. I love the 2.0 BA and keep those on my all weather commuter, and I have 2.35 BAs on a tandem which are much more than 118% as awesome as the 2.0s. But my road bike I have downsized to 28mm supremes and I like those a lot but I keep them pumped up pretty high and they are just not in the same category of tire.
There have been several comparisons I've seen of BA vs MS of different sizes, but not a direct comparison of the same size, which is part of why I felt the need for a lengthy review. I am liking the tires, aside from my issues with the livery, still not as much bang for the buck as the big apples
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