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Old 08-10-11, 11:09 PM   #1
Clownbike
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Schwalbe QC?

The Marathon Racers I ordered came today, and not too thrilled with them. Don't know if I just got a couple bad examples, or that quality control has suffered in Malaysia.

The first one was rather difficult to mount and was more than 'just a bit' out of round. Not talking about a slight side warble, but a lump in the circumference. The reflective stripe was also very uneven. The second went on easier(same rims), but was more egg shaped than round and had funky stripes as well. Was particularly careful when mounting, checking multiple times that the tire was centered. Deflated again after mounting and rechecking centering while adding air incrementally. Tire pressure was 5# shy of indicated max. The rims are stamped as 406.

Finally gave up, and will see what the retailer says tomorrow. I then found that what I thought was a pair of Big Apples on the shelf were actually Marathon Plus' with little wear. As they were 1.75s, I put them on the Go instead of the 1.95 Kendas. Folding got easier, so still looking to put 1.50s on it(for weight reasons as well). The Plus' mounted fairly easy and were much rounder than the Racers. Also noticed that there was no mention of country of origin listed on the Plus', so maybe pre Malaysia?

So, has Schwalbe started the long slide to mediocrity, or could these actually be knockoffs? A bit gun shy with the Schwalbes now, so what would be a decent alternative to the Marathons without breaking the bank?

Any enlightenment greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-10-11, 11:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
The Marathon Racers I ordered came today, and not too thrilled with them. Don't know if I just got a couple bad examples, or that quality control has suffered in Malaysia.

The first one was rather difficult to mount and was more than 'just a bit' out of round. Not talking about a slight side warble, but a lump in the circumference. The reflective stripe was also very uneven. The second went on easier(same rims), but was more egg shaped than round and had funky stripes as well. Was particularly careful when mounting, checking multiple times that the tire was centered. Deflated again after mounting and rechecking centering while adding air incrementally. Tire pressure was 5# shy of indicated max. The rims are stamped as 406.

Finally gave up, and will see what the retailer says tomorrow. I then found that what I thought was a pair of Big Apples on the shelf were actually Marathon Plus' with little wear. As they were 1.75s, I put them on the Go instead of the 1.95 Kendas. Folding got easier, so still looking to put 1.50s on it(for weight reasons as well). The Plus' mounted fairly easy and were much rounder than the Racers. Also noticed that there was no mention of country of origin listed on the Plus', so maybe pre Malaysia?

So, has Schwalbe started the long slide to mediocrity, or could these actually be knockoffs? A bit gun shy with the Schwalbes now, so what would be a decent alternative to the Marathons without breaking the bank?

Any enlightenment greatly appreciated.
It really depends on the rim you are mounting them on. Some Marathon tires do not go on some rims. I use a Marathon Plus for the front Kinetix Pro rim and it mounts much tighter than say my rear Kinetix Pro Durano or Stelvio tires. The original was Stelvio. And why do you need 2 light tires. The front does not benefit from a light tire; the rear does. And a fatter tire provides a better ride without compromising on speed as long as you know how much air pressure you need to put in.
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Old 08-11-11, 12:49 AM   #3
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Was the bead properly seated? Because that will cause huge distortions if not seated. Use talc as lubrication and pump past the max to get seating, then back off. I also sometimes resort to manipulating the tyre by hand while still soft, to get the beads out of the rim well.

Reflective stripes I have also seen wobbly but never a really bad tyre.
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Old 08-11-11, 02:31 AM   #4
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Took me about 90 minutes to get a Marathon on my wife`s minivelo the other day. Had to really wrestle with it to get it to sit properly - pulled and pushed it into position as I pumped it up past max pressure to finally get it perfect.
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Old 08-11-11, 07:37 AM   #5
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havent hears about any changes in quality or problems..... some tires on some rims are sometimes a problem ...no matter what brand or whatever the time of day ...
dont look at the reflective stripe..I have seen that being a little out of round as well.... but the fact that you have two tires ( or 100 % ) with the same or very similar problems let tme think to belive that something else might be slightly amiss ...

try talcum ( baby ) powder and let us know ....

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Old 08-11-11, 08:45 AM   #6
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If they were fakes wouldn't there be some obvious clue in the construction or printing?
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Old 08-11-11, 08:50 AM   #7
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And why do you need 2 light tires. The front does not benefit from a light tire; the rear does. And a fatter tire provides a better ride without compromising on speed as long as you know how much air pressure you need to put in.
Trying to reduce the total weight of the Go, which is fully suspended.
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Old 08-11-11, 09:48 AM   #8
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Check the mold line near the bead of the tire compared to the edge of the rim -- when you get the tires on, use the mold line as reference. When properly seated, that mold line should be equidistant from the rim; if the tire is not seated correctly, typically, you'll follow that mold line around and see it dive under the rim. If you're seeing that, as Jur said, pump past the max limit by about 20 psi and see if it pops on. If not, back things down to about 20-30 psi and see if you can manipulate it into position by hand before reinflating to correct pressure.

FWIW, 406 x 1.5 Marathons play real nice with Velocity Aeroheat rims.
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Old 08-11-11, 09:51 AM   #9
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Was the bead properly seated? Because that will cause huge distortions if not seated. Use talc as lubrication and pump past the max to get seating, then back off. I also sometimes resort to manipulating the tyre by hand while still soft, to get the beads out of the rim well.

Reflective stripes I have also seen wobbly but never a really bad tyre.
Went over them numerous times to ensure they were properly seated, especially the second one. No talc necessary. While a snug fit, not unduly so. (try Schwalbe Marathon Slicks on the Dahon Kinetix rims for a good battle) What's funny is that the reflective stipes look more even off the rim, so it may be a compatibility problem with the rims.

The rims are stamped - X-RIMS Z1000 / Alloy406X2020"X1.5". Most of the components are rather low end, so my guess is the rims are cheapies.
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Old 08-11-11, 10:01 AM   #10
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Check the mold line near the bead of the tire compared to the edge of the rim -- when you get the tires on, use the mold line as reference. When properly seated, that mold line should be equidistant from the rim; if the tire is not seated correctly, typically, you'll follow that mold line around and see it dive under the rim. If you're seeing that, as Jur said, pump past the max limit by about 20 psi and see if it pops on. If not, back things down to about 20-30 psi and see if you can manipulate it into position by hand before reinflating to correct pressure.

FWIW, 406 x 1.5 Marathons play real nice with Velocity Aeroheat rims.
Will give them one more try. I do remember seeing the uneven mold line durring installation, despite my efforts to get them seated properly. It could be a case of them not fitting properly to crappy rims. As the hubs are not that good, new wheels are on the list for a winter makeover.
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Old 08-11-11, 10:14 AM   #11
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A friend of mine had a 20 year old dahon and his rims aren't the best either, you can tell where the weld point is for the rim and it pinches a slight bit there at the point and the inside of the rim they just used like a large grit grinder to "smooth" our the weld joint there. He's running marathon racers there also and noticed it doesn't run completely round also because of the rim while I have kojaks and my better rims are perfect.
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Old 08-11-11, 10:17 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=brakemeister;13067251]havent hears about any changes in quality or problems..... some tires on some rims are sometimes a problem ...no matter what brand or whatever the time of day ...
dont look at the reflective stripe..I have seen that being a little out of round as well.... but the fact that you have two tires ( or 100 % ) with the same or very similar problems let tme think to belive that something else might be slightly amiss ...

try talcum ( baby ) powder and let us know ....

Hi Thor - Got them from an outfit in Utah. A close inspection doesn't raise any flags, so probably genuine. Even has bar code stickers on the inside, not that that means anything. The reflective stripe wobble in no biggie, the lumpy shape is. What's funny is that I had called on Friday to order, but I just missed you. You didn't have the regular Marathons on your site, so wanted to talk to you about them and the Racers. Found the other folks while poking around, guess I should have been more patient.

Will try them on one more time.

Thanks all for the feedback.
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Old 08-11-11, 10:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
The Marathon Racers I ordered came today, and not too thrilled with them. Don't know if I just got a couple bad examples, or that quality control has suffered in Malaysia.
You can ask Schwalbe directly

http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti...marathon_racer

they answer as Schwalbe.Support. If there are quality issue they probably want to know about it.

If the problem is only the roundness of the reflective tape, I would not worry about it.
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Old 08-11-11, 10:30 AM   #14
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A friend of mine had a 20 year old dahon and his rims aren't the best either, you can tell where the weld point is for the rim and it pinches a slight bit there at the point and the inside of the rim they just used like a large grit grinder to "smooth" our the weld joint there. He's running marathon racers there also and noticed it doesn't run completely round also because of the rim while I have kojaks and my better rims are perfect.
He can rotate the tire relative to the rim. If the defect moves with the tire than it is probably a tire issue, not rim.
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Old 08-11-11, 10:42 AM   #15
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1st query, the retailer you got the tire in question from,

if its not just customer OCD nitpicking, ie a real defect,

they should replace the defective tire,
then seek a credit from their Distributor.

So on, back up the supply chain..
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Old 08-11-11, 11:14 AM   #16
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The knockoff concern is not an indictment of the retailer. Often they have no idea there may be counterfeits in the supply chain. And I think it's a small probability with these tires, as it's pretty high hanging fruit.

Wlll try them on again, as it could be a rim compatibility problem or just needs more prodding to get seated properly. It's been awhile since I've mucked with tires, so could also be pilot error.

PS - They're from Indonesia, not Malaysia...
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Old 08-12-11, 08:24 AM   #17
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Indonesia is real, they do have a factory there last time I saw a youtube vid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0P3oQWo22A
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Old 08-12-11, 01:18 PM   #18
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Indonesia is real, they do have a factory there last time I saw a youtube vid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0P3oQWo22A
I'm sure the Indonesians are relieved to have that verified. The vid was a nice bit of PR/marketing fluff, but did notice a distinct lack of corporate headquarters types at the factory. No problem with this sort of outsourcing(except for the home workers that got canned), just as long as QC is maintained to original standards. And that's a might big IF...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

This all got me thinking, so popped over to the Sheldon Brown site to research tires. Needless to say, I'm now more confused than ever. Why is it so bloody difficult to standardise things? Seems it would make life easier for everyone concerned. It does seem that the Racers should work with the rims, despite the lack of pertinent information on the rims or tires. Maybe just start buying tires on Amazon. Then send them back if they don't work, and just keep throwing tires on 'till you find a match. Sheeeeeesh
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Old 08-12-11, 01:46 PM   #19
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Low cost labor in a rubber producing country is a Economic +2,
Germany makes the production equipment, exports that , then warehouses
and distributes the Tires from there to regional sub distributors .
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Old 08-12-11, 09:44 PM   #20
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Low cost labor in a rubber producing country is a Economic +2,
Germany makes the production equipment, exports that , then warehouses
and distributes the Tires from there to regional sub distributors .
Funny, many of the big machines in the video were Japanese. And I think few tires are latex these days, if that's what you ment by 'rubber producing'. However, most synthetic rubber and PVC production has moved to countries with more business friendly(few environmental controls) policies, as well as cheap and expendable labor. My guess is that it is an existing factory that's contracted by Schwalbe to manufacture to their specs. Very common in many industries.

Last edited by Clownbike; 08-12-11 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 08-12-11, 10:11 PM   #21
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Well, the things are mounted. Thanks all for the input, most of it was helpful. Dang...when did tires and wheels get so complicated?

What finally did the trick was pumping the suckers up to 110lbs(rated at 85). The first one sort of eased into place, but the second popped in on one side, than on the other when I bounced the wheel on the floor a few times. Both look good after backing the pressure off to 80lbs. I have a feeling that these rims are less than ideal.

On a side note, besides the tires and tubes, I also ordered the Schwalbe rim liners. Very interesting. Not tape or rubber, but a stiff, stretchy, sort of vinyl type of material. Not the easiest to install, they form a very smooth surface and will probably continue to use them in the future.

Thanks again everyone. I've adjusted my meds and all is good.
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