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  1. #1
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    Marathon supreme, 1.6 vs 2.0-any perceptible difference in ride quality or speed?

    Title pretty much says it all. I'm using a 26" wheel.

    Ordering puncture resistant tires, and from what I've read the marathon supreme are the best at avoiding flats.

    But what size to order? Does it matter?

    Thanks y'all.

  2. #2
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    2.0 will have better ride quality.

    1.6 will be faster.

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    Senior Member bconneraz's Avatar
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    I've been having the same debate; I'm leaning towards the 2.0 as that's what my Big Apples are, and I like the ride quality. Hopefully someone who's ridden both sizes will chime in.
    ISO- 1989 Schwinn Cimarron

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    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
    2.0 will have better ride quality.

    1.6 will be faster.
    1.6" will be lighter,but not necessarily faster. Actually,the thinner tire will also be shorter,so you will actually be reducing your gearing a touch.

    I've got Supremes in 26x2" on my all-alloy Pt Reyes. I had some 1.5" WTB's but these ride much better. If I had a steel or carbon fork,I'd prolly go narrower.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes/Novato,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

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    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    I went with MS in 26x2.0. Nice rolling tire that handles unpaved trails very well. 1.6 would probably be a touch faster, but for commuting, not significant.

  6. #6
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    I went with MS in 26x2.0. Nice rolling tire that handles unpaved trails very well. 1.6 would probably be a touch faster, but for commuting, not significant.
    Just to be clear:

    As far as rolling resistance goes, the wider tire (at the same pressure) will be faster. Given that you probably aren't running the wider tire at the same pressure, which is faster becomes more cloudy, but it is not at all obvious that 1.6"s will roll faster than 2.0"s
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    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Just to be clear:

    As far as rolling resistance goes, the wider tire (at the same pressure) will be faster. Given that you probably aren't running the wider tire at the same pressure, which is faster becomes more cloudy, but it is not at all obvious that 1.6"s will roll faster than 2.0"s
    It's not all about rolling resistance. You'll probably run the narrower tires at higher pressure, there will be less wind resistance, and they (and the tubes) will be lighter, so overall, a bit faster. However, the opposite would be true on unpaved trails, for example, where the larger tire would be better.

  8. #8
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    It's not all about rolling resistance. You'll probably run the narrower tires at higher pressure, there will be less wind resistance, and they (and the tubes) will be lighter, so overall, a bit faster. However, the opposite would be true on unpaved trails, for example, where the larger tire would be better.
    Yes, it's not all rolling resistance. The difference in aerodynamics between the two tires (given the speed of somebody who'd be using the tires is going to be tiny.

    And weight is almost completely a red herring.

    So, it's not all rolling resistance, but it's all rolling resistance.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Reducing weight is good if you have to go up hills.
    Also, you can accelerate faster which can be good when you enter intersections where the light just turned yellow, passing other cyclists etc.
    OR, in city traffic where you are frequently speeding up/slowing down.

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    Senior Member JReade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
    Reducing weight is good if you have to go up hills.
    Also, you can accelerate faster which can be good when you enter intersections where the light just turned yellow, passing other cyclists etc.
    OR, in city traffic where you are frequently speeding up/slowing down.
    The difference in the tire weight is just a hair over a half a pound. I'm not sure I would notice the half a pound on my commuter.
    Jesse

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    Well weight you have to rotate 'counts' for more. Still, I'm ~220 on a ~35 lb bike sitting upright. Conditions permitting, I find 15mph to be very comfortable. Not sure I should really worry about small amounts of weight here. Maybe when I've lost 40lbs and am on something sportier than a comfort bike...

    in hindsight, given that I'm working up to a 16 mile commute one way...it would have to be a really significant difference in speed to meaningfully matter more than a long stoplight will. So kind of silly for me to ask, I guess.

    I guess I'll get the 2.0. I should probably err on the side of ride quality given that I'm struggling with carpal tunnel, even disregarding the likely negligible difference in commute time.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JReade View Post
    The difference in the tire weight is just a hair over a half a pound. I'm not sure I would notice the half a pound on my commuter.
    If you can't, there's seriously something wrong with you.
    On my "grocery getter", I went from 1.95 to 1.75 to 1.5 to 1.25"
    There was a noticeable improvement every change, else I wouldn't have kept changing.

  13. #13
    Senior Member JReade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
    If you can't, there's seriously something wrong with you.
    On my "grocery getter", I went from 1.95 to 1.75 to 1.5 to 1.25"
    There was a noticeable improvement every change, else I wouldn't have kept changing.
    Half a pound. You feel faster if you only half fill a water bottle? So much can change with tire sizes in general, pressure, casing, diameter, etc. I'm not discounting the perceived difference between tires, but I'm not going to say that the half pound on my 40 pound loaded bike is noticeable. What's your limit to "noticeable/not"? 1/4 pound?
    Jesse

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    Oh, man. Every year there's someone claiming that bigger fatter tires are actually faster somehow, and every year there's someone who actually tries it and finds the obvious - that a 2.0" tire is definitely slower than a much thinner 25c tires in the same size and of the same quality.

    Can't say what I would choose if I had carpal tunnel, my bike was already 35 pounds, etc. Jeff Poulin's first response post, in my opinion, was really the most accurate -

    2.0 will have better ride quality.
    1.6 will be faster.

  15. #15
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    Half pound less rotating weight might be noticeable if you have to do a lot of start/stop or sprints between lights. Once you are moving I don't think you would notice at all.

    An advantage of the 26x2 is you can run them at a higher pressure for less rolling resistance if your roads are good and drop them down a bit when the terrain is rough. That would be less of an option with the narrower tire. I have had instances where my MS 26 x 2 with a bit less air has let me ride faster on rough roads.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JReade View Post
    Half a pound. You feel faster if you only half fill a water bottle? So much can change with tire sizes in general, pressure, casing, diameter, etc. I'm not discounting the perceived difference between tires, but I'm not going to say that the half pound on my 40 pound loaded bike is noticeable. What's your limit to "noticeable/not"? 1/4 pound?
    *sigh* Every time there's someone trying to use hyperbole. Rotating weight (like on the outside of the tire) has noticeably more effect than weight sitting on the frame. On top of that, a fatter tires rolling resistance is worse. I say that because I've ridden both side by side - despite the repeated attempts to claim it isn't true, a fatter tire definitely rolls slower than a skinnier tire. There's more of it in contact with the ground.

    Most bikes (though apparently not the OP's) are also usually more around 20 pounds, not 40 pounds.

    Tire size will be less of a factor (assuming you're getting slicks, knobbies are way slower) than several other things - the shape you're in, whether your bike is the right size and you are fit ok for it (seat height can make a huge difference). Someone who bikes every day and is in shape will be faster on a fat 2.0 size tire than someone who's out of shape, only bikes rarely riding a skinny tire.

    But yeah, if you've ever ridden them back to back, a fat 2" tire is always somewhat slower than a skinny 25c or so tire.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonatageek View Post
    That would be less of an option with the narrower tire. I have had instances where my MS 26 x 2 with a bit less air has let me ride faster on rough roads.
    I've seen that to, but to be clear (at least in my case) we're talking very rough roads. Like roads with some serious constant potholes, or usually actual dirt roads.

  18. #18
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    Paul the Northern Ohio area always has some stretches of road in almost moonscape condition. This year it looks to be much worse. The harsh winter has really done a number of the roadways to the extent that I have seen at least a half dozen cars with busted tie-rods this year, when in a normal year I might/may/probably don't see one.

  19. #19
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Someone who bikes every day and is in shape will be faster on a fat 2.0 size tire than someone who's out of shape, only bikes rarely riding a skinny tire.
    Can't keep count of the number of skinny tire road bikes I pass every day on my "fat tire" MTB, particularly in the spring when folks are just dusting off their bikes. This morning, a guy on a Trek road bike - not commuting - passed me, soon slowed down to my pace, then I slowly reeled him in and finally dropped him. Never had a chance. I wasn't even trying - just riding my pace. All that winter riding pays greater dividends than any tire ever could.

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    My commuter is a Surly Karate Monkey (29'er) with 8 speed IGH and dynamo front hub. I'm generally hauling a laptop + change of clothes + lunch in a pannier on the back rack. Total weight of the bike + stuff is north of 40lbs. Total bicycle commute distance is 20-32 miles depending on train use. I ran the 50mm (2") Marathon Supremes for about 1000 miles, and then switched to the 40mm (1.6") Supremes. The average speed increased about 1mph with the smaller tire (yes - you have to correct the speedo for the smaller tire) with no discernable decrease in comfort. You can easily tell the effort is less with the smaller tire compared with the larger tire. I now have about 5000 miles on the 40mm tires. I experienced 1 flat with the 50mm and 3 flats with the 40mm tires (all rear tires). I've kept the 50mm's for back-up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonatageek View Post
    Paul the Northern Ohio area always has some stretches of road in almost moonscape condition. This year it looks to be much worse. The harsh winter has really done a number of the roadways to the extent that I have seen at least a half dozen cars with busted tie-rods this year, when in a normal year I might/may/probably don't see one.
    Ha, you know, I was originally going to write only dirt roads, but then I thought about it for a sec and realized that there probably are some places with old not-very-well-maintained roads and such that really end up being the same thing...sorry to hear you have to deal with them. :-)

    My road bike even with 23c tires is fine on both paved trails as well as crushed limestone trails we have here. But I've tried riding it on a genuine dirt road, and that's the point where a fatter tires ability to take up the constant bumps would definitely make it faster, because I was dragging to get anywhere. I can imagine that a really poor road could get that bad... :-(

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    Can't keep count of the number of skinny tire road bikes I pass every day on my "fat tire" MTB, particularly in the spring when folks are just dusting off their bikes. This morning, a guy on a Trek road bike - not commuting - passed me, soon slowed down to my pace, then I slowly reeled him in and finally dropped him. Never had a chance. I wasn't even trying - just riding my pace. All that winter riding pays greater dividends than any tire ever could.
    Haha, oh yeah, whenever I commute it's always those "jerks" () riding upright bikes with fat tires that are easily going faster than me. It's because I commute on bike when it's convenient and I feel like it, whereas they ride everywhere they go every day. Being in better shape does always trump tire choice for speed.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JReade View Post
    Half a pound. You feel faster if you only half fill a water bottle? So much can change with tire sizes in general, pressure, casing, diameter, etc. I'm not discounting the perceived difference between tires, but I'm not going to say that the half pound on my 40 pound loaded bike is noticeable. What's your limit to "noticeable/not"? 1/4 pound?
    I don't fill my water bottle more than I'll need, WHICH IS typically 1/2 liter.

    I'm an old guy with emphysema. On a day that I'm trying to log a lot of miles, I do notice a couple oz. less in my tires. it's a cumulative effect, fatigue wise.
    Although I try to ride at a constant cadence/speed, head winds, traffic, intersections etc. may momentarily slow me down where I end up accelerating again.
    Sometimes I push just a bit too hard and I have to slow down to get my air back.
    Going from my 35mm tires on hybrid rims to my 25mm tires on my hand built Sun Rims M13II's made the difference between a 50 mile day and a 70 mile day.

    And to those that pass me with fatter tires-
    I hope you feel real good about passing a 66 year old guy on a hybrid with emphysema, bad knee & bad back that may have already logged 40 miles that day. You are certainly "special".

  24. #24
    Senior Member JReade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    *sigh* Every time there's someone trying to use hyperbole. Rotating weight (like on the outside of the tire) has noticeably more effect than weight sitting on the frame. On top of that, a fatter tires rolling resistance is worse. I say that because I've ridden both side by side - despite the repeated attempts to claim it isn't true, a fatter tire definitely rolls slower than a skinnier tire. There's more of it in contact with the ground.
    Tech FAQ: Seriously, wider tires have lower rolling resistance than their narrower brethren - VeloNews.com

    So how come the wattage to turn a drum at a constant speed decreases with wider tires? There is an aerodynamic cost as tire sizes increase, and therefore diminishing returns, otherwise fatbikes would be the next roadbike.

    Most bikes (though apparently not the OP's) are also usually more around 20 pounds, not 40 pounds.

    Tire size will be less of a factor (assuming you're getting slicks, knobbies are way slower) than several other things - the shape you're in, whether your bike is the right size and you are fit ok for it (seat height can make a huge difference). Someone who bikes every day and is in shape will be faster on a fat 2.0 size tire than someone who's out of shape, only bikes rarely riding a skinny tire.

    But yeah, if you've ever ridden them back to back, a fat 2" tire is always somewhat slower than a skinny 25c or so tire.
    My point wasn't to say that rolling resistance doesn't change tire by tire, and not that there isn't a difference between rotational and static weight. I've heard the adage that 1 pound in the wheels is about 510 pounds on the body, for cars, but the concept is the same on bikes. There is some truth to that statement, so if we say 1/2 pound off at the tires = 2.5 to 5 pounds off the load. Will it make a difference for the 20 pound rider (on 26 inch tires? curious what 26 inch tired bike is 20 pounds)? Yeah, that's taking off 1/4 of the perceived weight, and should be noticeable. For the 40 pound bike, it's 1/8th. I'm not sure I can tell the difference between a 35 or 40 pound bike when I'm leaving the light, but that also depends more on how the commute was earlier, what did I eat for lunch, etc etc. Nobody is winning a race across the intersection on my loaded rig.
    Jesse

  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Does it matter?
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