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Old 07-18-06, 12:36 PM   #1
HiYoSilver
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Review- Marathon Racers, first impressions

It might be nice to have members post initial reviews of new stuff they acquired to help us all in making more enlightened buying decisions. To that end, here's an initial review of some new tires.

My LBS wretched the sidewall of my rear tire in repairing a broken spoke, so I decided to get a matched set of tires.

This has been my experience with the new Marathon Racers.

1. Name is a misnomer. They are not racing tires. Granted they are lighter and don't use kevlar belt, but not a racing tire.

2. This is a folding tire so it is soooo much easier to mount than the standard marathon or the slick. I expected to have to struggle, but no it just glided into place. Snapping the second half of the tire was easily handled with fingers only, no tools.

3. Pressure range is about the same. It's rated to 100psi, but I like to run at 90psi.

4. Tires are about 200 grams lighter than regular marathons. Unfortunately the weight loss by the new tires was overbalanced by the addition of a second water bottle.

5. The ride:
on rough paved surface with many embedded rocks, cushions the bouncing vibration I used to feel with the slicks.
on smooth paved surface, you know you have a treaded tire. There is a little bit of rolling vibration transmitted to the rider.

6. Cost: $53 from schwalbe north america

Summary
Pluses
-- lighter weight than any other marathon, within 20 grams of stelvio race tires
-- reflective sidewalls
-- folding tire, so available for carry along storage if so desire
-- easy to mount

Minuses
-- treaded, more vibration passed than with slick
-- smallest is 700x30. No 700x28 or 700x25.
-- about $23 more than slick

Hope this helps someone.
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Old 07-18-06, 12:56 PM   #2
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Addendum: protection

This tire uses race guard protection level. Details of schwalbe protection schemes:



Quote:

SCHWALBE Puncture Protection.
Since developing the first MARATHONS at the beginning of the 80's we have concentrated intensively on advancing tire puncture resistance. Nearly all SCHWALBE tires now feature a puncture protection belt and we only consciously exclude it from special lightweight and sports tires.

Here is an overview of the systems that we currently offer:

Basic Level
Puncture Protection
Standard tires have an effective puncture protection belt made of natural rubber.

Premium Level
Kevlar® Guard
We have improved the well known Kevlar® belt. The protective layer is stronger and safer, but, at the same time, now more flexible. Result: The protection level is higher and rolling resistance lower.

Kevlar®-MB-Belt
Many tires continue to use the proven Kevlar® belt!

RaceGuard®
This belt was developed specially with racing in mind. A synthesis of special india rubber and several layers of nylon fabric offers very effective protection against penetration punctures. There is only a minimal increase in weight and rolling resistance of these tires.

Extreme Level
TravelGuard®
TravelGuard® is a new puncture protection belt made of 100% Aramid. A patented weaving process produces a particularly dense and flexible fabric and because of these qualities it is extremely puncture proof, yet weighs less than 1 1/2 oz. (40 g) per tire.

SmartGuard®
A substantial, 5 mm thick layer of flexible, special india rubber offers durable protection. SmartGuard® has a crucial advantage especially with objects that lodge in the tread and that can be forced through almost any other protection belt by the rotation of the wheels. Here the SmartGuard® has the advantage of thickness, because a thumbtack, for instance, simply remains in the rubber without damaging the tube.
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Old 07-18-06, 04:10 PM   #3
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Capital idea for a thread, and I appreciated your review of the Racers. I've been riding Marathon Pluses and recently decided that that was overkill for my weekend bike (I'm keeping them on the commuter) and was trying to decide between the Racers and the Slicks. I ended up with the Slicks partly because of the cost (the Slicks were a few bucks cheaper per tire) but mostly because, according to Schwalbe's website, the Slicks have better sidewall strength than the Racers (the Racers appear to better the Slicks in puncture protection). Since I have a particular phobia about pinch flats, I opted for the Slicks. But I do admit those lightweight Racers are beckoning.

Anyways, in the spirit of first impressions, the Slicks are quite different from the Pluses. Putting on and taking off the Pluses requires herculean strength, but I didn't need any tools to put the slicks on the wheels (you'd still probably want to use a tire lever to help pry the bead off the rim when it comes time for removal). I believe the Slicks are spec'd at 95 PSI, but I topped them off at 90 PSI for the first ride.

So, to borrow your format: MARATHON SLICKS (406 size)

1) Like the Racers, the name is something of a misnomer. While there is less tread than on the standard Marathons, the Slicks do have tread (which hopefully means they can take a little wet riding).

2) This tire has a kevlar belt, so it's pretty pliable. I was able to mount the tires without tools (but for dismounting, I think I'd still use a tire lever, if only to make it easier prying the bead off of the rim).

3) The Slicks have a top PSI of 95--at least, in the 406 size. I don't know if there's any difference in PSI for the larger versions of this tire.

4) The Slicks are heavier than the Racers, but coming from the world of the Pluses I shaved almost 2 pounds off the weight of the bike by switching to the Slicks and the lighter AV6 tubes (the Pluses take the wider AV7 tubes).

5) As for the ride itself, the Slicks are definitely quicker than the Pluses (real shock, I know), not just when getting up to speed but also at cruising speeds. I find that above 15 MPH, the Pluses really start fighting back as you pedal, but there was no such feeling of resistance with the Slicks. On the downside, the Slicks aren't as comfortable a tire as the Pluses, in that the Pluses are better at absorbing bumps in the road, probably because of their lower PSI (I think their max is 70, which is what I inflate them to).

6) Cost: $27 per tire from Thor (Brakemeister).

Summary
Pluses
--Lighter than all other Marathons except the Racers
--Thinnest of the Marathons
--Reasonable price (but still a few bucks more than the Primo Comet Kevlars)
--Reflective sidewalls
--Can be mounted without tools
--(According to Schwalbe) Sidewall protection comparable to standard Marathons (time will tell if they're right!)

Minuses
--(According to Schwalbe) Worst puncture protection of any of the Marathons (including the Racers)
--Not a folding tire, so no packing extras
--Lower load specification than other Marathons (but comparable to the Racers)
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Old 07-18-06, 04:15 PM   #4
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Cool. FYI schwalbe load specs are in Kg not lbs. Multiple x2 to get total bike carrying capacity. I for one don't want to pedal that much weight anywhere.
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Old 07-18-06, 05:21 PM   #5
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SECOND IMPRESSION

Now that I got the brakes fixed so they weren't dragging. The racers are nice. It's much easier to spin back up to speed. Normally I go past the post office at 22, today it was 24. Don't count on the numbers, but there is an observable effect of these tires. We'll see how they work long term.
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Old 07-19-06, 03:45 PM   #6
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Yeah, I should have mentioned Schwalbe specs the tire loads in kilograms, but I still basically ignore them--otherwise, I wouldn't buy their tires, and I doubt any adult using a folding or recumbent bike would!

For example, the 406 size Slicks are rated at 80 kg or about 176 pounds (about 2.2 pounds per kilogram). I weigh about 160 pounds. My bike is another, say, 22 pounds. So, I'm over the load limit. But I've been riding the Pluses (spec'd at 85 kg / ~187 pounds in the 406 size) for the last couple of months, and between my own bulk, the bike, work clothes, lights and other accessories, I must be carrying close to 200 pounds, and the tires sure don't seem to be complaining.

I just mentioned the load in case someone was considernig the Slicks for a road touring bike. On paper, they'd probably be better off with the Racers.
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Old 07-20-06, 11:29 AM   #7
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Not overlimit, that's per tire!!! 176lbs x2. Now what's really scarey is to look up the rated load of car/truck tires, muliple by 4, subtract gross vehicle weight and see how much is available for cargo: people and stuff.

Long tours, I'd choose the slicks over racers as they have better flat protection and I'd sacrifice speed for more hassle less riding.
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