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  1. #1
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    Thanks to this Cyclocross Forum

    Members of this forum helped me finding a Cyclocross bike for long distance touring on unpaved trails.
    I got a Stevens CF bike with Ultegra components and have been biking on the intended trails for 2,000 miles in the last few months.
    I am happy to report that the selection and purchase was a success. I am an older biker and searching for fitness and joy out of biking. This bike does that. It is awesome on rough trails and allows me to bike fast and far. My speed is probably not as fast as some of you racers but I am happy when I get 17 MPH average on a bumpy trail in Wisconsin.
    We will be doing the Reedsburg to Trempealeau trails soon. That will be 2 x 100 miles in 2 days.
    I do regularly the Sugar River Trail in Wisconsin and the Little Miami Trail in Ohio. That one is 130 miles round trip from Springfield to Cincinnati in one day.
    The Stevens bike excels on very rough surfaces at high speed. Above 20 MPH. The bike feels very stable and the ceramic bearings, Mavic wheels, CF frame and Ultegra components come all together to make a fun ride.
    Many thanks to "meanwhile", "pharding", billydon", and others who helped with this selection. Appreciated.

  2. #2
    Custom User Title Quijibo187's Avatar
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    I'm about to put in an order for a Team CF Stevens myself.
    There's one in the shop, but it's too small.

    beautiful bikes.

    oh, and we need pics
    "An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it."
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    http://winnipegcyclist.blogspot.com/

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    I don't believe it until I see pics of said "bicycle" and you riding said "bicycle".
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quijibo187 View Post
    I'm about to put in an order for a Team CF Stevens myself.
    There's one in the shop, but it's too small.

    beautiful bikes.

    oh, and we need pics
    That bike is fitted for long distance fast biking. Therefore aerobars, 2 bottles, air pump, and large saddle bag. Also use Conti City Tires for combined trail and street biking.

    002..jpg

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    I don't believe it until I see pics of said "bicycle" and you riding said "bicycle".
    Billydon and I will be biking Root River trails and Onalaska to Norwalk trails next week. We will make pictures.

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    ooohhhh, action pictures.... Even better!
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  7. #7
    Senior Member djlarroc's Avatar
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    Nice! Congrats!

  8. #8
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
    That bike is fitted for long distance fast biking. Therefore aerobars, 2 bottles, air pump, and large saddle bag. Also use Conti City Tires for combined trail and street biking.
    Will - it's great to hear from you and that your bike, which you put so much work into researching, has been a resounding success!

    The picture looks very "serious" - a real performance machine that's being configured very thoughtfully. The tyres look like you've gone for 38s? Which is a good choice.

    The only thing I'd question is the use of cheap-ass Conti Cities - they have good puncture resistance, but are so-so in every other way. If you want a tyre with a similar tread profile and at least equal puncture resistance but with better cornering and braking grip and much lower hysteresis energy (so better acceleration and cruising speed) then I'd look at the Marathon Duremes - these are made out the same legendary rubber as the Marathon Supreme tourers (another option) and Ultremo racers. Low hysteresis (flex energy) rubber really counts on gravel because the tyre has to flex so much to adjust the surface. A premium low HE tyre will do this with less energy loss making it faster. It will also mesh with the gravel better at the same pressure making it more comfortable and giving better handling. This can't be said too many times: on gravel and other rough stuff tyres have a bigger impact on handling than frames! Which is why hardcore crossers go arsenals of handmade condition specific tyres.

    Put the Duremes - or maybe Supremes - on the bike: I'd be astonished if you didn't didn't notice a big difference!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Will - it's great to hear from you and that your bike, which you put so much work into researching, has been a resounding success!

    The picture looks very "serious" - a real performance machine that's being configured very thoughtfully. The tyres look like you've gone for 38s? Which is a good choice.

    The only thing I'd question is the use of cheap-ass Conti Cities - they have good puncture resistance, but are so-so in every other way. If you want a tyre with a similar tread profile and at least equal puncture resistance but with better cornering and braking grip and much lower hysteresis energy (so better acceleration and cruising speed) then I'd look at the Marathon Duremes - these are made out the same legendary rubber as the Marathon Supreme tourers (another option) and Ultremo racers. Low hysteresis (flex energy) rubber really counts on gravel because the tyre has to flex so much to adjust the surface. A premium low HE tyre will do this with less energy loss making it faster. It will also mesh with the gravel better at the same pressure making it more comfortable and giving better handling. This can't be said too many times: on gravel and other rough stuff tyres have a bigger impact on handling than frames! Which is why hardcore crossers go arsenals of handmade condition specific tyres.

    Put the Duremes - or maybe Supremes - on the bike: I'd be astonished if you didn't didn't notice a big difference!
    The LBS had knobby Schwalbe tires on that bike. I could not use them in Florida and I do not want that much profile up here in the North either.
    I have no doubt that The Marathons are better and will get them if you can give me some more advise, please.
    I do not need tires for cornering. My biking is all about energy savings. I do 100 miles on bumpy trails without much planing. Big BF with oatmeal and berries and followed with lots of energy gel. Balanced good dinner. That is what I do and try to do 17 MPH average. If the Marathons will help in that task I will spend the money.
    Do they?
    BTW, I tested the Conti Cities against 25 mm, 120 PSI slicks by Michelin on the Stevens. Not all that much difference in average speed. Maybe 5%. That surprised me.
    Oh, that was on paved trails going 18 MPH for 100 miles.
    I understand the importance of handling in cornering. But I do not do that.

  10. #10
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    As always, that's very specific and closely analysed, Will. I'd still go for the Duremes because they'll be faster and more comfortable, which is what you are after. This is because

    Marathon Duremes - these are made out the same legendary rubber as the Marathon Supreme tourers (another option) and Ultremo racers. Low hysteresis (flex energy) rubber really counts on gravel because the tyre has to flex so much to adjust the surface
    I.e. high quality low HE rubber matters more on gravel or other rough stuff than smooth roads because the tyre will flex more on gravel - over and over, with it each chip. Flexing uses energy and so slows you down - because the only place that energy can come from is kinetic energy, which has to be replaced by your legs. The less energy it takes for the same amount of flex, the faster you will go. And more flex in the rubber equals more comfort - upgraded tyres at the right pressure will have a bigger effect here than your carbon frame, although you might find it hard to believe.

    You *might* even want to think about latex inner tubes or a tubeless system, if you want optimum efficiency on gravel. (Because each should reduce energy losses due to flexing.) The amount of energy stolen by a rough road is quite amazing. Fortunately you can optimize it down a long way without reducing other desirable handling qualities - you get better cornering and braking as bonuses. You might not think you care about this, but the next time you have to make an emergency evade you will at least regard it as a pleasant bonus.

    Good document: http://www.bernhansen.com/Tester/Dek...20schwalbe.pdf

    - Notice that wider and lower pressure is actually FASTER on gravel! I'd bet on 35 or 38mm Duremes or Supremes to be at least fast as your current tyres on tarmac, and to be noticeably faster and more comfortable on rough roads.

    The bottom line is that you potentially have a very large amount to gain here, at a very low cost. It is reasonably likely that tweaked tyres will yield you as much extra speed and comfort as your bikes uber-frame, at a much lower cost.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    That pdf report is an example of using statistics and numbers to make something false appear to be true.

    ON a paved road, a high pressure 23mm tire of high quality, like a Conti GP4000 will essentially stomp the crap out of any fat tire, Fast Fred or whatever Scwhalbe was trying to sell, however, on mixed surfaces and off road and apparently on grass (???) I would agree that a fatter tire, flexible and with low-er pressure would be superior but would still be significantly slower on pavement regardless.

  12. #12
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
    That pdf report is an example of using statistics and numbers to make something false appear to be true.

    ON a paved road, a high pressure 23mm tire of high quality, like a Conti GP4000 will essentially stomp the crap out of any fat tire, Fast Fred or whatever Scwhalbe was trying to sell, however, on mixed surfaces and off road and apparently on grass (???) I would agree that a fatter tire, flexible and with low-er pressure would be superior but would still be significantly slower on pavement regardless.
    The above is an example of not being able to read*. And of rejecting anything that doesn't agree with your own opinions if it is written in "smart guy talk".

    The report doesn't say that a wider tyre will be faster on tarmac, despite what you think. Although the speed difference in favour of the narrow tyre will be much lower than you probably think - about what Will found by experiment, and that difference would lower with a better quality tyre.

    *The graphs clearly show that the narrow racing tyre was (marginally) more efficient on the road, and the paper is only about how to make better tyre choices when NOT riding on smooth roads!
    Last edited by meanwhile; 05-29-10 at 02:32 PM.

  13. #13
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    I appreciate any comments such as above and find these comments useful.
    My observations are not a scientific study made across many bikers. It is just me. However I do bike a lot. My standard exercise trail is the Sugar River Trail in Southern Wisconsin. It is 46 mile round trip, flat, bumpy, sandy in places, muddy in places and has about 15 intersections each way.
    ------------------------
    My best time on this was 2:40 hours with the Trek Madone, 23 mm tires, 120 PSI, on a very dry summer day, on aerobars 100%.
    ------------------------
    I tried to do the same with the Stevens Yesterday. The Stevens has 35 mm tires, 70 PSI. I did not do aerobars 100%. Perhaps 40%. The limestone trail was not firm because of heavy rain. Large holes and bumps and mud and sand slowed me down to 2:45 hours for the round trip. I think that better tires such as "meanwhile" suggests will make me meet my best time soon. The 23 mm tires are not an option. The trail would have to be very dry and well groomed to do that.
    ------------------------------
    I hope to contribute just a little to this discussion. I have tried the Stevens with 23 mm slicks against the Madone. I have not been able to better the best time of the Madone on paved surfaces.
    On bumpy trails the Madone is not a viable choice. Especially not in rain on limestone. The Stevens makes it possible with only a small penalty on paved trails.
    BTW, some of my trails are limestone (30%) and bumpy pavement here in Illinois. The State has no money to fix the trails.
    -------------------------------
    Again, the Stevens is a fantastic touring bike for bumpy trails and I will try better tires and report back the results.
    I am going to do Reedsburg, WI to Trempealeau, WI on Monday. That is 100 miles of limestone. I will do the best time I can. I have done this ride every year for 15 years.
    ------------------------------
    The attached pictures are on pavement. Bumpy trail pictures will follow.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    I don't believe it until I see pics of said "bicycle" and you riding said "bicycle".
    Here are some more pictures. And be advised that Will does not do "touring" rides in the normal sense of the word!
    Attached Images Attached Images

    There is a time to resign oneself
    to old age and infirmity. You first.
    My Cycling Blogspot

  15. #15
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
    I appreciate any comments such as above and find these comments useful.
    My observations are not a scientific study made across many bikers. It is just me. However I do bike a lot. My standard exercise trail is the Sugar River Trail in Southern Wisconsin. It is 46 mile round trip, flat, bumpy, sandy in places, muddy in places and has about 15 intersections each way.
    ------------------------
    My best time on this was 2:40 hours with the Trek Madone, 23 mm tires, 120 PSI, on a very dry summer day, on aerobars 100%.
    ------------------------
    I tried to do the same with the Stevens Yesterday. The Stevens has 35 mm tires, 70 PSI. I did not do aerobars 100%. Perhaps 40%. The limestone trail was not firm because of heavy rain. Large holes and bumps and mud and sand slowed me down to 2:45 hours for the round trip.
    A 5 minute delay in much worse conditions using the wider tyres? That's even better than I thought. From your description of conditions, you might want to consider 38 or 40mm tyres with some tread. As long as the tread is non-walking (ie it doesn't have the sort of rubber teeth that flex on hard surfaces) and the rubber is fast, this shouldn't slow you down more than fractionally on the road. In the Marathon Supreme series the order of tyres goes Supreme-> Dureme -> Extreme as the bias to rougher roads increases.

    Also - I'm amazed that you were willing to use the aerobars at all in these conditions! Major cojones. I envy you, I've been off the bike for ages - a trapped back nerve.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    A 5 minute delay in much worse conditions using the wider tyres? That's even better than I thought. From your description of conditions, you might want to consider 38 or 40mm tyres with some tread. As long as the tread is non-walking (ie it doesn't have the sort of rubber teeth that flex on hard surfaces) and the rubber is fast, this shouldn't slow you down more than fractionally on the road. In the Marathon Supreme series the order of tyres goes Supreme-> Dureme -> Extreme as the bias to rougher roads increases.

    Also - I'm amazed that you were willing to use the aerobars at all in these conditions! Major cojones. I envy you, I've been off the bike for ages - a trapped back nerve.
    You know that 5 minutes over 2:40 hours is a lot? That is over one mile at that speed. That will win or loose a race.
    "billydonn" is telling me to get the Marathon Dureme. Billydonn is the studious type. I just bike. I will get those tires and will report results soon.

    I am sorry to hear about your back problem. So many people have back problems.
    I have been lucky I guess. I was a competitive rower while in my teens and twenties. That made for a strong back.

    Aerobars are very comfortable for me. I feel safe on them including bumps and pot holes. The exception is a slippery trail like today. Did my 46 miles on limestone in a rain storm. No aerobars. Not safe. It took 3:08 hours instead of the 2:45. It was fun but very messy. I looked like a mud-puppy.

  17. #17
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    I'm not sure comparing two different riding conditions makes much sense. Try it when the conditions are nice and dry and have been for a few days and see what speed difference you have. I still think you'll be slower, but not terribly so. Not sure why you'd compare it to a race either. If you're not racing then it's academic really. The only thing that matters is if you're getting the same or better workout during those miles. I'd think with wider tires, you would certainly get a better workout. 5 minutes is nothing when you're not racing.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  18. #18
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
    You know that 5 minutes over 2:40 hours is a lot? That is over one mile at that speed. That will win or loose a race.
    It's a lot in a race; in any other circumstances it's nothing. And if conditions were such that it was appropriate to use aerobars 90% of the time in the 2.40 and only 40% of the time in the slower journey, then that implies the second set of tyres were faster.

    "billydonn" is telling me to get the Marathon Dureme. Billydonn is the studious type. I just bike. I will get those tires and will report results soon.
    I'd say that the choice is between Duremes and Extremes, yes. From your description of the second journey I'd strongly consider the Extremes.

    I am sorry to hear about your back problem. So many people have back problems.
    I have been lucky I guess. I was a competitive rower while in my teens and twenties. That made for a strong back.
    Oh - my back's strong as anything! But there's a trapped nerve. Ouch.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    I'm not sure comparing two different riding conditions makes much sense. Try it when the conditions are nice and dry and have been for a few days and see what speed difference you have. I still think you'll be slower, but not terribly so. Not sure why you'd compare it to a race either. If you're not racing then it's academic really. The only thing that matters is if you're getting the same or better workout during those miles. I'd think with wider tires, you would certainly get a better workout. 5 minutes is nothing when you're not racing.
    Humour me.
    We are all different. While I do not enter formal races I am very competitive. Twice I joined groups of bikers going across the USA as fast as we could. We did 120 miles per day for 25 days and paid dearly for the technical and other logistic support. Not quite RAAM but getting there close. These tours were practically races every day for those 25 days.
    I enjoyed that and may do it again. My wife is blocking me because we had 5 casualties on the last tour. One guy died and 4 more had to be send home.
    Fast biking is good for your CV system and frame of mind.
    I make no claim that it is rational but it beats the alternatives IMHO.
    BTW, it makes no sense to me to use fat tires just to get more exercise.
    Go figure. I know. Not rational.
    Speed is where it is for me. fast is good. We will slow down if we like it or not.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    It's a lot in a race; in any other circumstances it's nothing. And if conditions were such that it was appropriate to use aerobars 90% of the time in the 2.40 and only 40% of the time in the slower journey, then that implies the second set of tyres were faster.



    I'd say that the choice is between Duremes and Extremes, yes. From your description of the second journey I'd strongly consider the Extremes.



    Oh - my back's strong as anything! But there's a trapped nerve. Ouch.
    I am having Internet problems in this small town in Wisconsin.
    Going on this 100 mile trip on a limestone trail tomorrow. The goal will be to be under 6 hours biking time. have not been able to do that since I started that 15 years ago.
    This is not rational but a goal this guy wants to achieve.
    The big question for me is if I am getting better at biking or if the better equipment makes me faster?
    This is a fun question for me. Not serious.
    --------------------------
    A trip such as this depends on weather. There are many weather zones. A soggy limestone trail will slow things down and so will a strong NW headwind. The trail goes NW.
    However this is fun.
    --------------------------
    Please give me a short version why the Extremes are the right thing. I could study the Internet but you have given me good advise.
    BTW, I forgot to mention that I want to stay fit for these fast across America bike rides. A requirement is 100 miles in 6 hours, wind neutral, on pavement. I can do that but must keep training or loose that capability.
    Last edited by will dehne; 06-07-10 at 07:55 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quijibo187 View Post
    I'm about to put in an order for a Team CF Stevens myself.
    There's one in the shop, but it's too small.

    beautiful bikes.

    oh, and we need pics
    I just did a 100 mile trip on limestone in 5:57 hours on this Stevens, This bike is terrific going up long hills. It is possible to do 8 mile hills at 15 MPH. Also important is going down hill at speeds of 20 to 22 MPH. The bike handles stable in the bumps, branches and slippery spots.
    I used to do the same trip with a converted Trek Hybrid. Full suspension bike with 35# vs the Stevens with 20#. That means energy savings over such a long trip.
    I had a cup of oatmeal plus cup of berries plus cup of milk for BF. While biking 1,000 calories of GU Gel. That is it for this 100 mile trip.
    Can not do that with the Hybrid bike.
    I wish I bought such a bike years ago.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
    Humour me.
    We are all different. While I do not enter formal races I am very competitive. Twice I joined groups of bikers going across the USA as fast as we could. We did 120 miles per day for 25 days and paid dearly for the technical and other logistic support. Not quite RAAM but getting there close. These tours were practically races every day for those 25 days.
    I enjoyed that and may do it again. My wife is blocking me because we had 5 casualties on the last tour. One guy died and 4 more had to be send home.
    Fast biking is good for your CV system and frame of mind.
    I make no claim that it is rational but it beats the alternatives IMHO.
    BTW, it makes no sense to me to use fat tires just to get more exercise.
    Go figure. I know. Not rational.
    Speed is where it is for me. fast is good. We will slow down if we like it or not.
    Impressive. I'd like to do something like this one day. Something like GDR. I think this would be awesome on a cross bike. Not sure what tires you have on there now, but I've heard (and it was probably Meanwhile and he must work for them) that the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme is a great tire for mixed pavement and dirt. Very fast on both surfaces. I'd love to try them next, but I'm running some Specialized Borough Pro Armadillos on my cross bike currently. At $60 a pop, I don't plan on changing them until they die.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    As always, that's very specific and closely analysed, Will. I'd still go for the Duremes because they'll be faster and more comfortable, which is what you are after. This is because



    I.e. high quality low HE rubber matters more on gravel or other rough stuff than smooth roads because the tyre will flex more on gravel - over and over, with it each chip. Flexing uses energy and so slows you down - because the only place that energy can come from is kinetic energy, which has to be replaced by your legs. The less energy it takes for the same amount of flex, the faster you will go. And more flex in the rubber equals more comfort - upgraded tyres at the right pressure will have a bigger effect here than your carbon frame, although you might find it hard to believe.

    You *might* even want to think about latex inner tubes or a tubeless system, if you want optimum efficiency on gravel. (Because each should reduce energy losses due to flexing.) The amount of energy stolen by a rough road is quite amazing. Fortunately you can optimize it down a long way without reducing other desirable handling qualities - you get better cornering and braking as bonuses. You might not think you care about this, but the next time you have to make an emergency evade you will at least regard it as a pleasant bonus.

    Good document: http://www.bernhansen.com/Tester/Dek...20schwalbe.pdf

    - Notice that wider and lower pressure is actually FASTER on gravel! I'd bet on 35 or 38mm Duremes or Supremes to be at least fast as your current tyres on tarmac, and to be noticeably faster and more comfortable on rough roads.

    The bottom line is that you potentially have a very large amount to gain here, at a very low cost. It is reasonably likely that tweaked tyres will yield you as much extra speed and comfort as your bikes uber-frame, at a much lower cost.
    Meanwhile,
    Sorry it took me so long to study your link from bernhansen.com
    It is very informative. It gives me the information I wanted except it studies slower speeds and tires above 50 mm. However it does get the message across.
    Part of our problem is what information to trust.
    There is information overload.
    You have given me good information and I want to state this here.
    I will shortly study and purchase Marathon Extreme tires.
    Someone on the BF recomended Panaracer Pasela TG foldable 28 mm.
    What do you know about those tires?
    Thanks again.

  24. #24
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    I don't think the Paselas would be as fast as the Supremes. They use an Aramid anti puncture belt and this will increase rolling resistance. The Supremes use a very sophisticated low RR anti puncture system, which is one of these reasons they cost so much. Not all expensive tyres are fast, but making a rough conditions tyre that is robust and fast does cost money!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    I don't think the Paselas would be as fast as the Supremes. They use an Aramid anti puncture belt and this will increase rolling resistance. The Supremes use a very sophisticated low RR anti puncture system, which is one of these reasons they cost so much. Not all expensive tyres are fast, but making a rough conditions tyre that is robust and fast does cost money!
    Just to let you know that I see your reply and appreciate the information.
    I will get the Marathon Supremes for the reason you state. My friend "billydonn" on BF is using Marathon also.
    Thanks.

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