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Thread: Marathon Racers

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Marathon Racers

    I've been riding on Marathon Slicks for awhile on my Swift, and found them to be fast but too harsh - even at lower PSI's. So, I'm giving the Marathon Racers a shot.

    So far they're very comfortable, albeit a little bit bouncey. They also don't feel as fast as the Slicks (not surprising, since they're wider, have more tread and a lower PSI). And yet Schwalbe is billing them as "the fastest Marathon ever."

    Anyone else using Racers yet...?

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    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    I use them on the Downtube. I find that they are good, fast tires. The puncture protection isn't great, but I find that they ride well.

    I'm no expert on these things, though.

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    They were standard issue on my Dahon Jetstream P8. They don't feel particularly nippy to me either, but I'm happy with them so far. I'm not sure about their supposed puncture resistance, though -- I got a flat from a small, sharp piece of stone that went straight through the tread.

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    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    I got a flat too ... whatever it was fell out; but the slit was very small.

    I have ridden another 800 miles on the bike with no troubles.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Yeah, I dunno. The bounciness kind of bugs me. I even did a test ride with some gear (about 15 lbs) and I still felt like I was riding on a big spring. I think that'd be OK for touring, but for fast riding I think it'd just soak up some of my energy & kill my speed.

    *sigh* Maybe the problem is that I just can't turn the Swift into a lean mean road racing machine after all....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe

    Anyone else using Racers yet...?
    Not yet, but I was close to ordering a pair before reading your post. What PSI's have you tried? Could less pressure help?

    Jack

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    SWS: Small Wheel Syndrome kb5ql's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    Yeah, I dunno. The bounciness kind of bugs me. I even did a test ride with some gear (about 15 lbs) and I still felt like I was riding on a big spring. I think that'd be OK for touring, but for fast riding I think it'd just soak up some of my energy & kill my speed.

    *sigh* Maybe the problem is that I just can't turn the Swift into a lean mean road racing machine after all....
    Looks like you might want to start looking at a 451 wheelset? I'm thinking of going that route. 451 for the roadie times, and the 406 for commuting. I use Marathon slicks at 90psi for commuting. I'll take the extra harshness for a speedier ride. You just have to get good at lifting your butt out of the saddle and easing up on the grips when going over the rough stuff.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJ
    Not yet, but I was close to ordering a pair before reading your post. What PSI's have you tried? Could less pressure help?
    I've used 80-85 psi. Less air = more bouncey.


    Quote Originally Posted by kb5ql
    Looks like you might want to start looking at a 451 wheelset?
    Actually, I think I'm going to turn my Swift into a touring & recreational bike, and get a real road bike instead. Though if I don't get used to the Racers, I still don't know which tires I'd use for that purpose.

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    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    Yeah, I dunno. The bounciness kind of bugs me. I even did a test ride with some gear (about 15 lbs) and I still felt like I was riding on a big spring. I think that'd be OK for touring, but for fast riding I think it'd just soak up some of my energy & kill my speed.

    *sigh* Maybe the problem is that I just can't turn the Swift into a lean mean road racing machine after all....
    Why not just use Stelvios then? 115PSI road tires that are under 200 gms. I use them on my Birdy and love them. I wouldn't use any other tire unless I was riding in mud. (I keep my old original tires around for that.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124
    Why not just use Stelvios then?
    The Stelvios (406, kevlar bead) are the only tires I've had on my Swift, and I'm looking forward to something more comfortable. I ride 23mm and 25mm tires on my 700c bikes, so it's not that I'm unaccustomed to narrow high pressure rubber. But whether it's the smaller wheel diameter or some other factor, the Swift is a lot more bone jarring. I'm fairly confident it's not the stiffness of the frame itself, though the fork is probably much less compliant than on a full size bike.

    I don't track mileage on my Swift, but the Stelvios are wearing down quite a bit outside the center tread. I keep them properly inflated, so I'm guessing this is due to the stretched
    s of gravel that form part of my regular routes. Obviously, the Stelvio was never intended to be ridden on gravel, but I'm actually kind of glad that it makes them wear quickly, as it will be that much sooner that I can justify ditching them for something a little more forgiving.

    The Greenspeed Scorcher is the other tire, besides the Marathon Racer, that I've been interested in, but James Swift reported poor wear characteristics on those. I'd love to hear reports about anything else that's relatively light weight, and in the 35 - 40mm (~1.5") width range.

    Can't quite bring myself to go all the way to Big Apples yet.

    Jack

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    jur
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    Go with Primo Comets, these are available in 1.35" and 1.5", kevlar belted for puncture resistance. They weigh in at less than 300g, plus have a pressure allowance of 100psi, plus can be run a lot lower if you want confort, especially the 1.5" version, plus they have one of the lowest rolling resistance that you will find. And they are quite cheap, see Airbomb.

    There is also the Conti GP, they are 200g, but still have higher rolling resistance plus cost a fair bit more.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

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    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    The Greenspeed Scorcher is the other tire, besides the Marathon Racer, that I've been interested in, but James Swift reported poor wear characteristics on those.
    Not my experience with the Scorcher. They do seem susceptible to cuts and abrasions, but I found they wear well and once you've gotten them up to speed they are great. My major criticism is their handling characteristic in the wet - but now spring is here, I have reverted back to Scorcher TRs.

    The Comets are good but if you find the Stelvio a harsh ride, the 1.35 Comets will only marginally improve comfort. I second Jur's view re: the Comet 1.5 - which is wider then it's nominal measurements suggest and rolls well.

    The Conti is not worth the effort and I find the Marathon Racers slower than the skinnier Marathon Slick.

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    Does anyone know of any measured rolling resistance tests. I know I tell everyone that my Conti's are faster then anything else, but are there any tests to prove anything.

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    jur
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    Yeah I have a linky to rolling resistance tests

    http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hadland/lafford.htm
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

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    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    Tires...tires...tires...I'm obsessed with finding the perfect set as well.

    Comet 1.35: I think these are the best road-bike-feel tires you can get for the Swift. These tires have an actual diameter of 18.75in, so they will affect your overall gear ratio (ss and fixed-gear riders should take note).

    Comet 1.50: Better than the 1.35 over the rough stuff, but they ride (as Yangmusa put it) like "concrete donuts". Sluggish acceleration, heavy, and I started getting tread separation after about 300 miles. Funny, the Comet 1.35 tires were way more durable!

    Scorchers: I really expected so much more from these, as the Greenspeed test showed they outperformed all other tires by huge margins. This was not the case in real life. Sluggish acceleration, but quite possibly the fastest tire for speeds above 18mph, that is IF you find >18mph to be your consistent average speed over all types of terrain and grades. I don't know about you, but 19mph all day is certainly not my comfort zone. Durability is poor. They're wider than the Comets at the same size designation. Don't ride these in wet weather.

    Which brings me back to the stock Kenda Kwests. After having tested all these tires and read the rolling resistance charts posted by Greenspeed, here is what I found: the 100psi Kwest, though heaviest of the bunch, rides more supple and with less rolling resistance than the Comet Kevlar 1.50. The Kwest has less rolling resistance than the Scorchers and Comet 1.50 at lower speeds. The Kwest is not as easily susceptible to cuts as the Comets, and I've yet to get a puncture on them. Acceleration is not too bad, and falls short only to that of the narrower Comet 1.35.

    So go figure. I, like many here, may have fallen victim to the Greenspeed rolling resistance tests. Like Yangmusa said, these test were conducted on a rolling metal drum on an electric motor. My real-life test have shown me entirely different results.

    So what do I ride now? 100psi Kwest on the back, and the squishy 65psi Kwest (off my Dahon) at the front (for the excellent shock absorption benefits). After testing all these different tires, this is the best city commuting setup I've found so far.

    What's next? IRC Metros! They arrive on Friday.
    Last edited by james_swift; 04-12-07 at 08:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by james_swift
    Comet 1.35: These tires have an actual diameter of 18.75in, so they will affect your overall gear ratio (ss and fixed-gear riders should take note).
    I'm confused--are you talking about total wheel diameter with these tires? My Swift isn't handy to measure for comparison, but is your point that these result in a smaller wheel circumference and thus a smaller gear?

    Keep us posted on the IRC's, and thanks for your thoughts on the Kenda's. Very interesting.

    Now leaning toward the Comet 1.35's, but so easily swayed, and too cheap to do my own comparisons,
    Jack

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    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by james_swift
    Which brings me back to the stock Kenda Kwests.

    What's next? IRC Metros! They arrive on Friday.
    Ahhhhhhh....
    Two great tires! Excellent choices!

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    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    I've tried pretty much everything else, so Avocet Slicks 1.75 are next for me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fear&Trembling
    I've tried pretty much everything else, so Avocet Slicks 1.75 are next for me...
    I've had the Avocet slicks for over a year on my Jet XP and use the bike daily on mainly asphalt, but they have seen some fireroads... I like them enough to have bought a spare set .. so far, no flats and very comfortable.

    Bruce
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    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJ
    I'm confused--are you talking about total wheel diameter with these tires? My Swift isn't handy to measure for comparison, but is your point that these result in a smaller wheel circumference and thus a smaller gear?

    Keep us posted on the IRC's, and thanks for your thoughts on the Kenda's. Very interesting.

    Now leaning toward the Comet 1.35's, but so easily swayed, and too cheap to do my own comparisons,
    Jack
    Comet 1.35: 18.75" total wheel diameter
    Comet 1.50: 19.5" total wheel diameter

    So yes, you will get a smaller resulting gear ratio with the Comet 1.35.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by james_swift
    Tires...tires...tires...I'm obsessed with finding the perfect set as well....
    Well, you just saved me a bunch of tire purchases. Thanks!

    Unfortunately, I'm concluding that for the specific purpose of turning an aluminum Swift into a serious road bike, no such "perfect" tires exist. Seems like the specs you need to make it accelerate & ride fast will also make the ride harsh, probably due to the frame design and/or material....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    Well, you just saved me a bunch of tire purchases. Thanks!

    Unfortunately, I'm concluding that for the specific purpose of turning an aluminum Swift into a serious road bike, no such "perfect" tires exist. Seems like the specs you need to make it accelerate & ride fast will also make the ride harsh, probably due to the frame design and/or material....

    You can run lightweight, low spoke-count wheels and Stelvios lights, as I do, they are fast and responsive.. I'm using a Pantour hub to take the edge off of the harshness and allows the front wheel to 'work' over road irregularities...

    Bruce
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    Senior Member Polaris43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceMetras
    You can run lightweight, low spoke-count wheels and Stelvios lights, as I do, they are fast and responsive.. I'm using a Pantour hub to take the edge off of the harshness and allows the front wheel to 'work' over road irregularities...

    Bruce
    Bruce,

    That is a great looking bike... very cool

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    doncha love Bruce's chainring ... got to be => 60.

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