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Old 11-04-10, 08:09 PM   #1
Northwestrider
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Marathon Supreme Tires ?

Any opinions on the Marathon Supreme ? Its a bit pricey, but is reportedly good in resisting flats, and has good rolling resistance. I realize the marathon plus has better flat resistance, but were looking for something a bit lighter, the supreme seems to be half the weight of the plus. Any thoughts?
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Old 11-04-10, 08:19 PM   #2
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I've been running them on my touring bike for two years.
At roughly the 200 mile point, I found a massive slab of glass in some road debris and put a 5/8" slice in the sidewall of front tire.
Booted it, rode it 20 miles home with the boot bulging out the side, then replaced it.
It seems like I had one flat in the rear since then, but don't recall the cause.

I'm impressed with the longevity, considering Kojack tells us the rubber is the same soft variety they use in their racing tires.
The rear tire took on the squared-off profile over a year ago, but I've yet to see cords showing.
I have a new one hanging in the garage for that event.
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Old 11-04-10, 08:23 PM   #3
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I just put some on my hybrid (they came with a wheelset I acquired). I can vouch for the low rolling resistance; I went from 25 mm Marathon Pluses to 35 mm Supremes and actually beat my best time riding home Monday night.

EDIT: The Supremes are apparently not as bulletproof as the Pluses. I started to get my bike together for tomorrow and... had a flat. Turned out a tiny little sliver of glass worked its way in and got through the belts to the tube. Kind of disappointing.
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Old 11-05-10, 04:47 AM   #4
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I found the tread to be very puncture resistant, the sidewall not as puncture resistant. I'm running the 26 x 1.6 Supremes, they are a good lightweight, easy rolling tire.
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Old 11-05-10, 06:14 AM   #5
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Any opinions on the Marathon Supreme ? Its a bit pricey, but is reportedly good in resisting flats, and has good rolling resistance. I realize the marathon plus has better flat resistance, but were looking for something a bit lighter, the supreme seems to be half the weight of the plus. Any thoughts?
Your impressions are accurate. I bought some 20" Supremes that had some dissapointing bumps in the casing that affected ride quality. On the other hand I've got a 700x35mm Supreme that's moved around a couple of bikes from front to rear over the last two years and it along with a 35mm Marathon XR and those two tires are the only ones out of five different brands that have had no flats in two years of nearly daily riding. I've ridden through glass where the Supreme didn't get a flat and a Vittoria Randonneur and Panaracer T-Serv have gotten glass from slivers or metal staples. The rubber sticks well on wet roads. There's places where small small bits of rubber have torn off and it's evident there's a tough casing underneath.
When I've changed the Supreme it's with the idea that I wanted something faster but then I get more flats.
I don't know of other tires that fit the niche for durability, light weight, low rolling resistance and puncture resistance as well as the Supreme. I'd like to know if there are because the Schalbes are stupid expensive.
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Old 11-05-10, 06:19 AM   #6
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I don't know of other tires that fit the niche for durability, light weight, low rolling resistance and puncture resistance as well as the Supreme. I'd like to know if there are because the Schalbes are stupid expensive.
In this, I reckon you get what you pay for. Schwalbes - the pluses as well as the supremes - are just better than the competition, imo. And I like their ultremos on my road bike, too, they're ridiculously grippy.
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Old 11-05-10, 06:29 AM   #7
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No experience w/t Supremes, but have read they have better grip in wet weather and have less rolling resistance than the SMPs. I've got 3 sets of Marathon Plus on 3 different bikes and have had 1 flat and 1 slow leak in over 15,000 miles of commuting, utility, touring and recreational road cycling in the last 2.5 years. Am planning a tour of several weeks in the next 2 years and my tire of choice will definately be the SMP.
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Old 11-05-10, 06:57 AM   #8
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I used 700x35 Supremes on my fully loaded LHT for the Northern Tier this summer. I replaced them with the same thing when I passed through my hometown at about 3500 miles. I had two flats up to that point, and none during the final thousand or so miles.

The two flats I had were both from thin wires that poked through (from radial tires, I suspect). I didn't have any problems with glass or the like.

I'm sure I could have finished the ride without replacing them, but my thinking was that by replacing them with some life left I could use them on my commuter, and "put the LHT away" ready to go for next year.

IMHO, the Supremes are the perfect balance of weight, rolling resistance and puncture protection for road touring / utility cycling. I'd much rather deal with a flat every 2000 miles than deal with the MUCH heavier Marathon Plus. I'm no weight weenie -- they are dramatically heavier.
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Old 11-05-10, 07:56 AM   #9
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How do the Marathon Racer 366 tires compare? They seem to be a bit lighter. How about durability and puncture protection?
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Old 11-05-10, 08:03 AM   #10
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How do the Marathon Racer 366 tires compare? They seem to be a bit lighter. How about durability and puncture protection?
I found them to be reliable. A lot of toughness simply comes from how much tire is there, all else being equal.
I also found them to have a hard ride.

I am riding Vittoria Rando Hyper 32c at the moment, it's similar. They accelerate better, the toughness is similar and they handle a little better in corners.
I like them a little better. They are easily the fastest large tire I've seen. But I'd suggest trying the 35c to get a slightly nicer ride from them.

They aren't a touring tire, neither is the Racer. But both are a good compromise if you want a tough tire that isn't horribly slow.
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Old 11-05-10, 08:20 AM   #11
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Supremes ride very well - good grip in wet and smooth rolling. But they get more flats and wear out faster than the discontinued Marathon XR. (~3500 versus ~7500 miles rear)

If money is no object, you don't mind a flat every couple of hundred miles, and you put on fresh rubber before every (month plus) tour anyway, the Supremes are your tire. If you prefer (many) fewer flats and want the tires to last for the longest time possible (and you can't score an XR) then you're stuck with the very heavy (but much cheaper) Marathon Plus.

Recentlly, however, I've been changing my mind about the Plus. Over the past two months I have been husbanding my stock of 37-622 XR's by using 28-622 Pluses while unloaded. I haven't noticed their heavier weight and the blue foam barrier has prevented flats as they absorb the many thorns I seem to collect in the tread while riding here in Southern California.

I dunno. Maybe in light of the comparably poor durability and comparably poor flat resistance of the Supreme / Extreme / Dureme compound, as well as their over-the-top expense, the Marathon Plus deserves another hard look as a better replacement for the XR. They are certainly heavier, but maybe they negate the need to carry a spare. Or maybe Schwalbe will reintroduce what we all really want - the Marathon XR!
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Old 11-05-10, 08:28 AM   #12
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How do the Marathon Racer 366 tires compare? They seem to be a bit lighter. How about durability and puncture protection?
The 30-622 Marathon Racer runs very smoothly, but it wears out and flats pretty quickly and often (versus the XR), respectively. The 37-622 Supreme "feels better" and has noticeably better grip in the wet, but it is also much more expensive than the Racer. The Racer is another great tire from Schwalbe, but if you want meaningfully better durability and puncture resistance (and can't get an XR) you might have to consider the Plus. Maybe, you can buck conventional wisdom (as I am considering) and discount the weight disadvantage.

I mean, is acceleration really important in loaded touring?

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Old 11-05-10, 09:55 AM   #13
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I mean, is acceleration really important in loaded touring?
I really like the feel of a lively tire. While I balk at the Marathon Plus on the basis of weight, I think that maybe the stiff sidewall bothers me even more. I am not sure how much the SmartGuard layer affects the ride, but that may be a factor as well.

To me fixing a flat once in a while is a fair enough price to pay for the pleasure of a lively feeling ride. For those who are more put out by the occasional flat or those who don't care much about ride feel the Plus may be the right choice.
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Old 11-05-10, 11:50 AM   #14
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How do the Marathon Racer 366 tires compare? They seem to be a bit lighter. How about durability and puncture protection?
not enough puncture resistance for touring. Very fast riding tire in the 26"x1.5" size I tried but I got a few flats over 1/2 yr of riding. I could see using it as a front tire for touring if fast riding was important.
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Old 11-05-10, 12:06 PM   #15
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i taught i found the perfect tire when i came across the supream's but the first bit of rough ground i went over and the front tire sidewall split making the tire completely useless.i now carry the other as a spare.
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Old 11-05-10, 12:47 PM   #16
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My buddy and I both rode Supremes on our trip up the Atlantic Coast route this summer. 700x50 and 700x40, respectively. We both were very pleased with them. Fast and comfortable while riding, and neither of us had a flat in 2,800 miles.
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Old 11-05-10, 01:05 PM   #17
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Thanks for the info. I've decided to give the supreme a try. I liked the reports stating it's grip on wet roads, that is likely what clinched the decision.
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Old 11-05-10, 01:46 PM   #18
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I had a pair of Marathon Supremes and I loved the ride but they were the most flat-prone tires I've ever owned. That includes lightweight racing tires I've used on the same routes.

The flats started at around 1,000 miles of use and got to be every frequent at around 2,000 miles of use.

I contacted Marathon because I thought they might be faulty, and after sending digital images, etc., they told me that at 2,000 miles I had gotten most of the useful life out of the tires in any case and that I should either get new tires or switch to something like Marathon XR's.

2,000 miles seems like an unreasonably short lifespan for touring/commuting tires to me.

I switched to Continental Top Contacts instead.
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Old 11-05-10, 02:34 PM   #19
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Well, went out to ride my bike this morning and the front tire (28-622 Marathon Plus) was flat due to a thorn that penetrated the Smartguard. Sheet! 800 miles old.
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Old 11-05-10, 04:16 PM   #20
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I have Marathon pluses on a fixed gear commuter and supremes on my tourer. Love the supremes so much that if I can EVER wear out the pluses I'
ll reach deep into my wallet for supremes there too. Apparently not as flatproof but I've never had a flat on mine through some pretty pockmarked, glass covered pavement (watch that put the curse on those tires). Worth the $$$, and I'm a cheapskate.
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Old 11-05-10, 04:48 PM   #21
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2,000 miles seems like an unreasonably short lifespan for touring/commuting tires to me.

I switched to Continental Top Contacts instead.
what size were they and how much weight was on them?
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Old 11-05-10, 05:42 PM   #22
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Well, went out to ride my bike this morning and the front tire (28-622 Marathon Plus) was flat due to a thorn that penetrated the Smartguard. Sheet! 800 miles old.
I went to grab my folder this afternoon for my daily commute and discovered that my front tire (20 x 135 Marathon Plus) was flat. First puncture in hundreds of miles of riding over glass-strewn streets. Not sure what caused it, but there was a clean cut in the tube about 1/8" long. Did the commute on my mountain bike, which sports Marathon Plus Tours. Only one flat on those after several long tours and lots of riding around town and along country trails.
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Old 11-05-10, 08:11 PM   #23
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what size were they and how much weight was on them?
32's

Rider: 200lb, light commuting load most of the time.
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Old 11-06-10, 04:52 AM   #24
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I had a pair of Marathon Supremes and I loved the ride but they were the most flat-prone tires I've ever owned. That includes lightweight racing tires I've used on the same routes.
This doesn't seem physically possible unless you had something embedded in the tire causing multiple flats.
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Old 11-06-10, 08:22 AM   #25
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I'm on my second pair. (26 x 1.6) The first pair went about 2200 miles with no flats. The current set have about 1700 miles with no flats. I'm not sure how to tell when to replace them though.

Tom

Last edited by tomn; 11-06-10 at 08:23 AM. Reason: Added tire size.
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