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Old 09-23-08, 06:47 PM   #1
Geewhiz
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Please help me to choose a tire

My kevlar belted Vittoria Roma 25' are worn out. I need to replace them ASAP. The three tires that I am looking at are: continental ultra-gatorskin 28's, armadillo 28's, and Vittoria Raddoneur 32's. I am afraid of the armadillos because they are so overbuilt. The same may be said of the Raddoneurs. Of course I would rather have an overbuilt tire than a bad run of flats. Here's my background: I am a lightweight riding with minimal (<20lbs) gear from Boston to PA. Thanks for your help!
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Old 09-23-08, 07:23 PM   #2
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gatorskinds are awesome tires, give them a shot and you wont be dissapointed
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Old 09-23-08, 08:01 PM   #3
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I have the UltraGatorskins and Armadillo Nimbus..both are excellent tires. 2,000 + miles on both.
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Old 09-24-08, 10:33 PM   #4
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armadillo 28's, and Vittoria Randoneur 32's.

That was the combo I used on my 3 week < 30lb tour. Why ponder just use one of each.
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Old 09-25-08, 12:28 AM   #5
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I put 700x28 gatorskins on a road bike, hoping to soften the ride a little. Bicycling specifically mentioned this tire, in this size, as a way to increase comfort for century riders. It didn't do it for me, it seems like a pretty stiff tire - my LBS said the same thing. The thing is, you have to pump up the gatorskins to about 100psi, if I remember right.

After reading many posts here, I decided to try the Schwalbe Marathons, which you can run at 80psi. Btw, Niagra sells them for $27. Schwalbe claims they absorb some x percentage more road vibration also, believe it or not. Those tires did soften the ride. My son tried my bike and that's the first thing he said, although he didn't like that feel at all. Plus the Marathons have got some tread for hardpack, which I was looking for also. They're about 200g heavier than the gatorskins, but it's not something I notice once I get rolling. I do notice the increased comfort. Took my touring bike on a short trail this week and man was I impressed. Between the tires and steel frame, it felt surprisingly good.

Next up, Continental Contacts (for my ss) - ordered some last week.
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Old 09-26-08, 09:02 PM   #6
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After reading many posts here, I decided to try the Schwalbe Marathons, which you can run at 80psi. Btw, Niagra sells them for $27. Schwalbe claims they absorb some x percentage more road vibration also, believe it or not. Those tires did soften the ride. My son tried my bike and that's the first thing he said, although he didn't like that feel at all. Plus the Marathons have got some tread for hardpack, which I was looking for also. They're about 200g heavier than the gatorskins, but it's not something I notice once I get rolling. I do notice the increased comfort. Took my touring bike on a short trail this week and man was I impressed. Between the tires and steel frame, it felt surprisingly good.


700 x 35 here, & AWESOME! Continentals were my favs until Schwalbe Marathons. You can get various versions of the Marathon too.
~Roger
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Old 09-27-08, 08:09 PM   #7
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Thanks to everyone for your feedback. It seems a new contender has entered the race--schwalbe marathons. I had omitted this candidate for simplicity because my LBS doesn't stock them. I know where I can get them (can't order because to close to departure time), but they raise a few questions:

1. "Marathon" seems to refer to at least five tires that Schwalbe offers: HS, XR, Plus, etc. When people refer to "Marathons," to which are they specifically referring?

2. Are these tires superior to the Conti Ultra Gatorskins to such an extent that I should go out of my way to acquire them? (I can purchase the other tires I mentioned and have them put on when I get my bike tuned up next week. I don't drive, so this one stop bike shopping offers considerable convenience).

One day to decide!!

Thanks again
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Old 09-28-08, 06:49 PM   #8
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700 x 35 here, & AWESOME! Continentals were my favs until Schwalbe Marathons. You can get various versions of the Marathon too.
~Roger
I have Marathon 700X28's right now. I was going to get the 700x35's but the LBS did not have any and I did not want to wait. If the 35's are as awesome as the 28's with more cush, it could very well be the last tire I ever try.
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Old 09-29-08, 01:24 AM   #9
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Inexplicably, my touring bike came with skinny 13mm rims, and I was already pushing my luck by mounting the 28's. I wanted 32's minimum, and was considering the 35s. Nevertheless, the 28s still improved my bike. I took the Gatorskins off and put them on a spare bike for my son and his friends to ride, with the added benefit that I won't have to worry about him being stranded somewhere with a flat.

The Gatorskins will be a fine touring tire for the road, and I often see it highly recommended in this forum, the ss forum, and the commuter forum. And you may prefer the improved efficiency of the bald tire, lighter weight and higher pressure. I wanted comfort and am enamored by taking my bike on the occasional trail. I've taken the Gatorskins off road too, even alongside gravelly train tracks, but the thread pattern of the Marthon gives me lots more confidence.

I got the plain-jane Marathon - the cheapest one I think. Btw, my LBS wanted $50 for that tire, that's why I mentioned Niagra. Niagra is a very slow shop, but you might consider paying for quick delivery from another online shop. It would be worth it to me.

Last edited by sunburst; 09-29-08 at 01:31 AM.
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Old 09-29-08, 02:50 AM   #10
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I used Armadillo's on my Maine-Florida tour with a 40lb trailer a few summers ago and wouldn't have changed them out for anything. I didn't get my first flat till mile 800... my second till I was in Orlando. After that, I had finally worn them thin enough, and got quite a few on that last stretch but the one set made it the entire 3,000 miles. I'm sold on those.

I like the looks of the Gatorskins for my fixed gear, but I doubt I'll ever ride anything else on a tour. (I'm also a pretty light rider, and did this tour on an aluminium road bike, so I didn't really have the option for super wide tires, though I don't feel that it hurt me that much and didn't have any problems with road vibrations.)
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Old 09-29-08, 04:15 AM   #11
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1. "Marathon" seems to refer to at least five tires that Schwalbe offers: HS, XR, Plus, etc. When people refer to "Marathons," to which are they specifically referring?
There's no way to tell. One often has to ask for clarification.

Schwalbe currently make 10 different Marathons, only one of which is called just that ("Marathon"). All the other versions have something added to the name (XR, Racer, Plus, whatnot). It's slightly confusing, maybe they could have added something to the "plain" version's name too, just to be on the safe side.

I recently bought a pair of Marathon Pluses from a web shop, but received a pair of "normal" Marathons instead. Having used Schwalbes before I knew the tyres have version name printed in full on the sidewall. Someone ordering these for the first time might not know the difference, and would just install and ride the vanilla Marathons. (And in all likelihood be quite happy, it's a great tyre too. But it's not what they ordered).

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Old 09-29-08, 10:26 AM   #12
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After much research I have ordered the Marathon Supremes. Because of new technology they provide puncture resistance in a very light, low rolling resistance tire. They are expensive and very hard to find, it appears that Schwalbe is having trouble meeting the demand for this tire. I could only find them in the 700x35 size at one site on Amazon.com. I paid $100 for the pair. If they are as good as the reviews indicate they will be worth it. A good tire can make more difference on a bike than almost any other component.
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Old 09-30-08, 11:53 PM   #13
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Finally got my Conti Contacts today, in 700x32. Great tire! I really like the look and feel of the tire. They almost look like a clone of the Marathon. I can only imagine how one guy walked off the job at Schwalbe and walked down the road to Continental (I honestly have no idea if they are even in the same part of Germany), with the tire design in his hand.

But seriously, they look similar, run about the same pressure, and I like them both. Given the Conti's are a little more available and lower price (both Nashbar and biketiresdirect have them for $25), I may stick with them if I need more. Btw, a 700x32 Contact is about the size of a 700x28 Marathon. I got out my calipers and checked - same width with maybe a bit more height, but still the Contacts seem a little bulkier somehow.

I put them on my single-speed and took them on a trail tongiht. It does exactly what I wanted. Very impressed.
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Old 10-01-08, 06:48 AM   #14
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Conti Ultra Gatorskins, 700x28. 4,506.7 miles with load. Six flats. Two by glass (and I rode across a lot of it), 3 by goatheads and one radial wire sliver. Hard to ask any more of a tire.
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Old 10-01-08, 08:32 AM   #15
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The thing is, you have to pump up the gatorskins to about 100psi, if I remember right.
Why?
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Old 10-02-08, 02:15 AM   #16
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Why?
Uh good question ... uh ... because a bike shop owner told me I'd get pinch flats if I ran them too low, and the sidewalls only indicate max pressure, at 100psi, I think. I'd go look, but I put them on my son's bike which isn't parked out in my garage. They were not smooth/comfy riding tires at 80psi either. I tried them at that pressure for a few weeks.

I'm sticking with the Contacts and Marathons.
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Old 10-02-08, 09:04 PM   #17
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I've got 2500+ flat-free miles on my Randoneurs. I love them.
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