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  1. #1
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    The touring tire

    Hi fellow tourers and cyclists. I am thinking about purchasing some durable tires for touring this year. Ideally, I am hoping to get a really good tire, and just take good care of it (rather than buying mediocre tires and working with them).

    I have a Novara randonee with stock 700x32 . I am a complete tire novice and really am going off of reviews from customers.

    I am quite interested in getting a pair of Schwalbe marathon plus' 700x32. Does anyone have experience with these? I've heard these tires are the elite for long long distance touring (I'm hoping to camp/live on my bike for most of 2012 after this seasonal job I'm working).

    Also, does it matter what inner tube I have on the tire? Or can i use the ones already on the bike (I haven't had a flat yet & I usually can dodge lil goatheads and weave in between broken glass pretty well).

    Just trying to cover my bases so I can better serve the world!

  2. #2
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Personal preference plays a major role here. The Marathon Plus is very flat resistant and weighs more than double what some suitable tires weigh. The Continental Gatorskin has a nice lively ride and weighs less than half what the plus weighs and is reasonably flat resistant.

    I highly value a lively ride and don't mind fixing a flat now and then. So for me the Gatorskin wins by a large margin. If you want to avoid flats at all costs and are not very sensitive to ride characteristics the Plus could be for you.

    There are lots of other choices, but those two are pretty representative of the ones folks tend to like.

  3. #3
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    I've had two sets of Marathons, currently have the Pluses. They have been bomb-proof. Great tires. It's true they weigh more than other tires, but I have them on a touring bike that normally weighs in around 90 pounds when completely loaded up. I want tires that can take some abuse and not flat a lot. I hate dealing with flats on a loaded bike. They've been on my bike for about a year now with two tours on them and zero flats. Still have lots of tread on them. I don't notice any difference in rolling resistance over the previous Marathons (HS 420, I believe). That said, if you're riding a light bike and worried about ounces, go with something else.

    Edit: Mine are 26" x 1.75"

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    After getting lots of flats with different tires, I sprung for the marathon plusses. Rode them without issue for a number of years. The started looking a little threadbare, so last year I bought a Vittoria Randonneur Pro to take as a spare on a short trip. I never had to use it, but after my trip, I swapped out the Marathon Plus as a pre-emptive strike. The Vittoria ran smooth, and I shortly bought a 2nd one. It's been about half a year now commuting on the Vittorias. I really like how they ride, and I haven't had a flat yet (maybe. I feel like the back tire has had a slow leak for a week or two), but I can't decide whether or not to trust them on another tour. I'm not sure it's the weight that makes the biggest difference as the suppleness. I'm not convinced that they're holding up as well as the Marathons, though. I'll be on my bike for a week in the near future, and I'm debating swapping my old Plus back in, and carrying the Randonneur as a spare. Or I may just order a spare Randonneur.

    I have not tried enough kinds of tires to give any kind of comprehensive review, but I will say that if you want long-lasting tires that are unlikely to flat, Marathon Plusses will do that, and possibly better than anyone else. If you are sensitive to the way the tires roll, and are willing to compromise on flat protection in favor of a smoother ride, you might look at some other options. I really like the Randonneur Pro, but I don't have the experiance to say how it will hold up, and it also runs at a lower pressure, which some might find less suitable for touring. But it remains a nice tire. And it's foldable, which means it might make a good spare, even if it's not the tire you choose to ride on.

  5. #5
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    Marathon +'s are HEAVY. The tread (not the side wall) may last longer then the rim. I use them on the rear of my off/on road touring bike. I tried to justify buying one for my commuter/on road toring bike but after picking it up... I went back to the good old Vittoria Randonneur Pro. They don't last as long and are not uber resistant but I like the ride.

    As for the goathead question I'd talk the those folks who live in some nasty areas.
    Last edited by escii_35; 04-16-12 at 01:04 PM.

  6. #6
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    Unless you're expecting to be in extreme conditions far from a post office I'd ride w what you got then change when they're worn out.

  7. #7
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    I bought a pair of Vittoria Randonneurs (700 x 28) last fall from an LBS. I probably have about 1,000 miles on them. The rear tread is gone. I have had no flats. I like the way they ride. However, there is a "hair line" crack around both sides of both tires where the tread rubber joins the sidewalls. The LBS swears that the tires were newly stocked when I bought them. I don't know if the cause of the crack was "dry rot" because of age or some other factor. I have no plans to buy more Vittoria tires.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Roustabout's Avatar
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    I bought and had installed a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires about a month ago, I was getting tired of fixing flats dang near every time I went riding. The flats were usually caused by pieces of wire from radial tires, unfortunately in East Texas the highway department is not especially great in picking up tire scraps. Anyway, I haven't had a flat since and I have put a few hundred miles on them since they were purchased. They are a little slower than the stock tires which came with my 2012 Trek 520, but otherwise I couldn't be more pleased. I figure when touring, I'm not that overly concerned about speed.

  9. #9
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Marathon Pluses are heavy, it's true. They aren't the liveliest ride, and the traction, though perfectly good on paved roads, isn't as great as some on loose surfaces.

    However, they are remarkably durable and their resistance to punctures is exemplary. They last and last, and I have done over 7000 miles with just one flat.

    If you go for these tyres, I'd say the choice of tube is immaterial. Some of the lighter tyres, with very supple sidewalls, might benefit from your choosing a heavier tube.

    One other thought. The Marathon XR, now discontinued, was a superb touring tyre - rode better than the Plus, and was very robust, if not quite as bombproof. Schwalbe have now replaced it with the Marathon Mondial. I haven't had a chance to try one yet (the Marathon Pluses won't wear out!) but they may be worth looking at.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thaddeus088 View Post
    Also, does it matter what inner tube I have on the tire? Or can i use the ones already on the bike (I haven't had a flat yet & I usually can dodge lil goatheads and weave in between broken glass pretty well).

    :
    A tube is really just an air bladder. If the tubes you have are working fine and don't have any patches or other noticeable flaws, I'd just re-use them. But that's me.

    I've run Marathon Plus's and I recommend them for being a bulletproof tire. But I personally prefer Panaracer T-serv (for messenger) tires for touring. They last a long time, get very few flats and weigh less than half what a Marathon Plus does.
    Last edited by Thulsadoom; 04-16-12 at 02:11 PM.

  11. #11
    Cycle Dallas MMACH 5's Avatar
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    Specialized Armadillo on the rear for me. Conti Gatorskin works fine for my front tire, but when I used one on the rear, I had about a flat a month. That being said, a lot of folks swear by Gatorskins, so you might love them.
    That's gonna leave a mark.

  12. #12
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    I bought some Marathon Dureme 700x42 for the same reason. I had Conti Contacts last year and suffered 3 flats on the road. The Dureme's feel great, handle great and are supposed to be the latest greatest everything Scwalbe has to offer. They are lighter than the other Marathon's but still heavy. I'm going to do my best to wear them out!

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  13. #13
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    Limited experiences on this one but having been using 26" x 2" Mondials for the past few hundred km and have no issues so far. Been purposely riding through glass and other nasties to test them out and have had no flats so far. Pretty happy with them riding snow, mud and ice, not overly loud sound riding pavement. I am slower though compared to my usual 26 x 1.5 unknown tires.
    Last edited by SparkyGA; 04-17-12 at 05:47 AM.

  14. #14
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    I've ridden both the Schwalbe Marathon Dureme 700x42 and Marathon Racer 700x40. Between the two, I give a slight edge to the Racer. I hit gravel quite a bit, and the Racer is better there. (Though the Dureme isn't bad.) I've never had a flat with either. The downside to getting tires this tough is that it deprives you of the opportunity to check out other tires. Until I wear these out, I can't really justify buying more.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Confederate View Post
    I've ridden both the Schwalbe Marathon Dureme 700x42 and Marathon Racer 700x40. Between the two, I give a slight edge to the Racer. I hit gravel quite a bit, and the Racer is better there. (Though the Dureme isn't bad.) I've never had a flat with either. The downside to getting tires this tough is that it deprives you of the opportunity to check out other tires. Until I wear these out, I can't really justify buying more.
    Cool! This is good info. I just bought a couple of pairs of Marathon Racers for two of our bikes after mixed reviews (although more were on the positive side.) I got these mainly because they're supposed to be the fastest out of the Marathon line. The plan is to use them mainly on faster-pace Sunday rides with friends, but we'll also be doing some short tours over the summer. I'm glad they've worked out for you even on gravel.
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  16. #16
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    How is the Conti Tour Plus in comparison to the above mentioned?

  17. #17
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    My wife and I tour only on Marathon Pluses, we haven't tryed any others because we never found the need to. These tires work great and only had one flat in 40000+kms between the two of us, around Europe.
    Some complain about the weight but whats a few extra grams when fully loaded with nearly 25kgs of equipment, including food and water.
    We use the stardard 35C's which are also beter on dirt.

  18. #18
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    I have Marathon Plus 38c on a hybrid bike. Heavy, resistant but no flats.
    I have Panaracer Pasela Tourgard with Kevlar on another bike 27" wheels 1.25" (which is about 32cm i think) and the riding experience is preferable to me, they have a nice responsive road feel.
    So i am thinking to only use Marathon Plus when the absolute best flat protection is important, like if i was doing touring. For local riding, I would prefer something a little better feeling on the road (softer ride), like the Pasela Tourguard. For local commuting (12 miles one way) i am undecided which way to go. I havent been commuting yet. I decided that I NEVER want to use cheap tires with no flat protection on any rides again (ie the CST CZAR 25cm i got on a road bike. It isnt worth the lost time walking home and for tubes and the risk of a flat on way to work is too great. Ive never done touring but i would have to balance the added flat resistance of the Marathon Plus v. the risk and time lost changing flats with other tire models. Id have to try out bike setups fully loaded and see how more uncomfortable the Marathon Plus felt on the road in terms of "hardness" of ride and weight. Changing flats on fully loaded bikes might be a pain- taking a lot of eqpt off the bike, bad weather, etc.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    I would consider a Schwalbe touring tyre and if this is for road touring maybe something like the Marathon Dureme would be suitable.



    If you go to the Schwalbe website you can set four critieria: speed, grip, protection, durability and it will then give you recommendations. Nifty feature in my view.

    Andrew
    Last edited by Aushiker; 04-18-12 at 03:40 AM. Reason: grammar

  20. #20
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    What type of roads is the OP expecting to ride on for the majority of the time?

    I have opted to fit Schwalbe Duranos on our new touring bikes simply because we have had excellent experience with them on our tandem, and because the majority of our touring in the near future will be on sealed roads. They are relatively light, have the "puncture-proof" band under the tread, and handle pretty well.

    I've had the Marathon Plus, and would consider them for a mix of sealed and gravel road touring.

    I've had Vittoria Randonneurs over quite a few thousand kilometres of touring and commuting and they were good wearers, but I felt they were not good enough to ride on loosish gravel as you would get on the crown or at the sides of gravel roads.

    gamecock, I think your LBS is BSing you on those randonneurs.

    I used to be a confirmed Conti TT2000 fan, but when they went out of production, I moved on to the Randonneurs, then Conti Gatorskins because I was doing a lot of LD riding.
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  21. #21
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    Anyone run the Kojak? My preferred tyre was the Slick, but it has been discontinued.

  22. #22
    Seņor Wences jwbnyc's Avatar
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    The Kojak is a terrific tire IMO, but not massively flat resistant.

  23. #23
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    I have ridden Schwalbes and they are a great tire. I now ride an even better one that is noticeably faster and has a little better "feel: or handling 0 The Vittoria Hypers. You will notice the speed difference immediately. An even faster tire is the Pasela TourGuards but they are not very durable...

  24. #24
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    The Kojak is a great tire - I'm on my second set on my Tikit - but it's not a touring tire. This thread discusses using treadless tires on tour: Treadless Tires on CGOAB
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

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  25. #25
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    I have 2600 plus miles on a set of Schwalbe Marathon Supremes, with many glass strewn stretches, and so far no flats and a very nice ride quality. They replaced a set of Marathons which were highly reliable but about twice the weight.

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