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Old 03-29-09, 05:42 AM   #1
Sammyboy
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406 1.5 Marathon vs 1.5 Marathon Racer

I'm tooling up the older of my two Downtube IXFS's for the Smithfield Nocturne - higher gearing, drop bars, bar end friction shifter, and better tyres. I have a great love for the Marathons, and I was going to go for the 1.5 version in order to get 100 psi capability (despite what anyone says, I have great faith in high pressure). They're not easy to find in the UK right now, and I'm wondering about the Marathon Racer. Apparently a lot lighter, and still with good puncture protection (this bike isn't about to become an out and out racer - it's a one race deal, and I still want a useable commuting/touring folder afterwards).

So, who has experience? Are they notably faster than Marathons? How is the puncture protection?
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Old 03-29-09, 06:02 AM   #2
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sorry no experince with racer tyres ,but have you thought about STI's race levers on the Downtube added drops rather than friction levers.
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Old 03-29-09, 06:22 AM   #3
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sorry no experince with racer tyres ,but have you thought about STI's race levers on the Downtube added drops rather than friction levers.
Not really. I actually prefer friction to indexing anyway, plus I had a bar-end lying around, so it was a no-cost option. The derailleur on the Downtube wanders out of alignment more than I would like. It's not a problem for commuting, I can just adjust it every few weeks, but for a sprint race, I want really predictable shifting. In order to achieve that with STI, I'd have to spend for a new derailleur as well as the brifters. Thanks for the steer though, I appreciate it!
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Old 03-29-09, 10:13 AM   #4
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I have not used the 1.5" Marathons; but have a few thousand miles on Marathon Racers and have used Marathons in different sizes. Since the tread is thinner and more pliable, I like the ride a lot better. Is it faster? I think so but I never did anything scientific. I know that the PSI max rating is lower with the racers (85 versus 100 PSI). The racers are definitely lighter -- a lot lighter if my memory is correct -- so it should help with acceleration/climbing and everything about its construction -- much shallower inverted tread, thinner casing -- suggests that it should have considerably less rolling resistance. Note that I used the regular Marathons quite some time ago. I believe that they updated the tire since then.
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Old 03-29-09, 11:16 AM   #5
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Were they reasonable for puncture protection? Marathons aren't perfect, but I have 3 sets on different bikes (one a tandem) and Ive only ever had one puncture
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Old 03-29-09, 12:48 PM   #6
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Sammyboy, I have some experience with both tires in the specifications you are asking about.

The Marathon is a nice tire on its own, and stands out well rounded. I have used them on a Dahon Speed D7 and my Xtracycle, receiving only one flat so far - the back wheel of my Xtracycle, where the stresses are great.

My experience with the Marathon Racer is from my affair with a Dahon Mu P8, and now these tires are on my Bike Friday Pocket Llama. They are, in my opinion, a very well rounded tire. It should be noted that they are nowhere near a "race" tire, but that they are more akin to a fast + light trekking tire - hence their being classified as a marathon. It is not the fastest / lightest tire, but it may be the fastest / lightest which still has a dynamo strip, reflective sidewall and good puncture protection.

Speed wise, I believe that I can certainly notice a difference between the Marathon and Racer, particularly in acceleration. My view may be a bit skewed, since I am comparing a wire bead marathon with a standard tube to the folding racer with an ultralight tube, but they are definitely quick feeling, especially out the gate. True, it is not a really large gain, but there is some. The total weight difference between my two setups is about 200 grams per wheel. 140 for the tires, and 50 for the light tubes. If there is a difference in cruising speed, it is smaller and I have not noticed much.

They still have a decent level of puncture protection. While I have not had a huge amount of ride time on racers, i've had no troubles, and I have a Catrike loving friend who has put some odd thousands of kilometers on these, with good results.

I really like them, generally. The puncture resistance is decent. The Marathon uses a kevlar strip, whereas the Racer uses a nylon one. Sometimes though, this isn't a good indicator. I've had a pair of Bontrager "Satellite" tires which had kevlar, they died a horrible death of a 1,000 flats within a month. Racers have certainly provided better results so far!

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Old 03-29-09, 03:06 PM   #7
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Were they reasonable for puncture protection? Marathons aren't perfect, but I have 3 sets on different bikes (one a tandem) and Ive only ever had one puncture
I had two punctures on the rear wheel. One was a goathead which also ripped through a regular Marathon on another trip. The other was an ordinary piece of glass that eventually pushed through. My wife -- who does less riding -- never had a flat with the Racer.

I think that Abneycat's description is pretty accurate. Think of it as a fast trekking tire. An excellent choice for everyday sporty use.
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Old 03-29-09, 04:09 PM   #8
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I have kinda lost faith in kevlar lined tyres - it doesn't seem to me I have had less punctures with them in a great variety of tyres. Hard to call this reliably of course, there are no "with or without" tests from me. Even the mighty marathon Plus has flatted on me once. I don't think I have a particularly glass-strewn road to travel, I think it's just average.

Also, I haven't noticed any special fastness difference between the Plus and the Racer. Others don't have the same experience. Myself, I wonder about the magnitude of the effect in the overall scheme of things. I wish they'd publish numbers.
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Old 03-29-09, 05:34 PM   #9
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I use both. To answer your final question: are they noticeably faster? My answer is no.

The Racers are slightly lighter than the standard, but can I notice the 50 grams (or whatever) of difference in the rotational inertia when my 190lb ass and massive guads (just kidding, inside joke) are stomping on the pedals full force? Heck no. The difference shows up in some engineering calculation somewhere, that's all.

I haven't had punctures on either tire, whereas on my 700C bike with lightweight, non-kevlar racing tires, I've had tons. They're ridden on similar roads, so.... YMMV
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Old 03-29-09, 11:09 PM   #10
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Hmmmm. When I do flat, it's more often because of my 250 lb ass slamming the rim into something on when I lead-arse it through a pothole or similar, which is part of my reason for loving the high pressure. I think I have my answer. The standard Marathons if I can get 'em in the right width. If not, the Racers will do. Thanks dudes.
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Old 03-30-09, 12:34 AM   #11
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My Mu P8 had Racers on it as stock. They felt light and fast, but after 2 punctures a month for 3 months, I switched to Marathons, with no flats since (more than a year now).

The Marathons do feel heavier, but for my urban commuting, I'll take that trade-off no question.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-30-09, 02:51 AM   #12
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My Jetstream XP had Marathon Racers when I bought it. When the snow started melting on the bike roads a month ago I had a puncture on my rear tyre and after a few days in the front tyre due to the sharp gravel particles. I replaced the rear with Marathon Plus and fitted a tyre liner for the front. No punctures since then.
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