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).
--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)
--Can be mounted without tools
--(According to Schwalbe) Sidewall protection comparable to standard Marathons (time will tell if they're right!)
--(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)