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  1. #1
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    New "Flat-Less" Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyres for 2014

    Schwalbe is releasing an updated Schwalbe Marathon Plus in 2014 according to the latest press release from Schwalbe.

    Now Schwalbe is presenting a new version of its Marathon Plus. Despite its thick protective layer, the tyre rolls surprisingly lightly. “Our laboratory test have shown that among tyres with thick puncture protection belts, the Marathon Plus has by far the lightest rolling characteristics", says René Marks.

    The side walls have also been optimised. Since the tyre is so substantial, it has often been ridden with too low air pressure. These years of "mishandling" would sometimes lead to cracks in the side walls. Now a special anti-aging technology works to protect the side walls of the Marathon Plus from premature cracking as well as adverse weather conditions. The rubber compound also makes the Marathon worthy of its name: The Endurance Compound rolls for thousands of kilometres with excellent performance characteristics and low abrasion.

    The patented ‘Plus’ of the Marathon is still the heart of the tyre: Smart Guard, the protective belt consisting of five millimetre thick natural rubber. The tyre is now partly made from recycled rubber and is therefore resource-friendly.


    Press release can be found at Pressreader - Schwalbe Professional Bike Tires

    Andrew

  2. #2
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    To note: "Flat-Less" costs a good bit in weight: 26x2.00 = 1100g (39 oz)

    That is more than my rear wheel: 26" XT Deore/MX719 = 1053g (37 oz)
    Last edited by BigAura; 04-21-14 at 07:26 AM.

  3. #3
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    To note: "Flat-Less" costs a good bit in weight: 26x2.00 = 1100g (39 oz)

    That is more than my rear wheel: 26" XT Deore/MX719 = 1053g (37 oz)
    For what it's worth, the weight isn't that important. What you'll feel right away is the rolling resistance and while they claim it's "better", I want to really know what that means.
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    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    For what it's worth, the weight isn't that important. What you'll feel right away is the rolling resistance and while they claim it's "better", I want to really know what that means.
    I'm sure a solid steel tire would have the least rolling resistance, think of a ball bearing.
    Last edited by BigAura; 04-21-14 at 08:25 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    For what it's worth, the weight isn't that important. What you'll feel right away is the rolling resistance and while they claim it's "better", I want to really know what that means.
    I completely disagree that weight isn't that important. The weight matters greatly when either climbing or accelerating. Also we aren't talking about a few ounces these things weigh more than twice what some other suitable touring tires do.

    I also find their claim of lower rolling resistance to be misleading at best and more likely a downright lie. Rolling resistance in a bike tire on less than perfect surfaces is impacted by sidewall stiffness and these beasts have the stiffest sidewall I have seen on any bike tire. If there is any truth to their statement it is because they add the "among tyres with thick puncture protection belts" provision. I have to wonder what tires they are referring to, but I am sure I don't want to buy those either.

    Then there is ride feel which is absolutely awful on these.

  6. #6
    Senior Member boomhauer's Avatar
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    For what it's worth...
    I haven't had a flat in 3000 miles with regular Marathons and an inner liner
    I run over lots of urban crap everyday
    I only weigh 160 lbs, though

  7. #7
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    I just put last years 2013 Marathon Plus on my touring / commuter. After some reading advice on BF and elsewhere, I went from 28mm to 35mm tires.

    Of course it's not not an apples to apples comparison because of the size change, but I've been super happy with the tires after the 1st couple months. I haven't noticed any change on the bikes in terms of effort or my times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I completely disagree that weight isn't that important. The weight matters greatly when either climbing or accelerating. Also we aren't talking about a few ounces these things weigh more than twice what some other suitable touring tires do.

    I also find their claim of lower rolling resistance to be misleading at best and more likely a downright lie. Rolling resistance in a bike tire on less than perfect surfaces is impacted by sidewall stiffness and these beasts have the stiffest sidewall I have seen on any bike tire. If there is any truth to their statement it is because they add the "among tyres with thick puncture protection belts" provision. I have to wonder what tires they are referring to, but I am sure I don't want to buy those either.

    Then there is ride feel which is absolutely awful on these.
    IME, very true... all of it.

  9. #9
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    I'm sure a solid steel tire would have the least rolling resistance, think of a ball bearing.
    Touché.

    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I completely disagree that weight isn't that important. The weight matters greatly when either climbing or accelerating. Also we aren't talking about a few ounces these things weigh more than twice what some other suitable touring tires do.
    It's the total weight (rider + bike + wheels + tires + crap) that matters. So your denominator is hundreds of ounces, but hundreds of pounds.

    Yes, when accelerating, you can (almost) count the weight of the wheels/tires twice (but not for climbing/riding at a constant speed). For all but the skinniest of us, the extra weight will be 1-2% effect.

    Rolling resistance differences can be much larger effect (10% or more). What almost everybody attributes to heavy tires is really higher rolling resistance.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    I have/had an older + (38's) on the back. Sounds like a truck tire if I have inflated less then 85 psi. I'm 265.

    Rolls pretty poorly. But I have been on some junk strewn roads, 2 scrap yards and a metal recycler on one route to work. No flats in 2k miles.

    Tread looks brand new.

    I put gatorskin 32's on as "event tires" and event is over, but they're still on....

  11. #11
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    I run light slicks in 35mm. If I was travelling in thorn country, that would be another thing, but even with a heavy bike, I much prefer a lower resistance tire.

  12. #12
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    It's the total weight (rider + bike + wheels + tires + crap) that matters. So your denominator is hundreds of ounces, but hundreds of pounds.
    Actually I don't buy that, but for the sake of argument assuming that were true... Tires are one of scores or more likely hundreds of choices we make in outfitting the bike and selecting gear. They all add up. So when I see a tire that weighs almost exactly twice what my gatorskins weigh I don't take it lightly. You don't have to choose too many things that are double the weight of another acceptable item to add up to some serious weight. It is really easy to say "oh, that is only x% of total weight, it doesn't matter much", but that approach is the road to a very heavy bike and gear total when you apply it to many decisions.

    To be honest the horrible ride feel of the plus is an even bigger deal to me though.

  13. #13
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Actually I don't buy that,...
    Then do the math yourself. The physics involved here is not difficult.

    But telling me you don't buy it and are unwilling to do the calculation yourself suggests that we're wasting or time having this conversation with you.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Then do the math yourself.
    I figure that the math that you are talking about is not really necessary to make a decision on a tire that weighs twice what the ones I would otherwise be running do. By paying attention to choices most of which were a much smaller difference, I went from over 50 pounds of gear to 15 pounds of gear for camping and cooking. As a result I was also able to go from a 30 pound bike to a much lighter one. Ounces here and there add up and with these particular tires we are talking two pounds of difference for the pair. At the same time I lost 20 pounds of body weight. I can assure you that I noticed the gear weight loss, the reduction in bike weight, and the reduction in body weight. They all mattered and it makes sense to pay close attention to all three.

    Also your interpretation of the math is more applicable on flat ground. When climbing weight becomes a much bigger deal while rolling resistance does not. Effort while climbing and hence weight is a way bigger deal in my estimation.

    All that said, the rolling resistance of the Marathon Plus is almost certainly much higher than any of the tires I would consider touring on. If you look at Schwalbe's own tire descriptions they rate the Plus near the bottom of their line wrt rolling resistance. The Tour Plus is listed as worse in that regard and might be the only only one rated worse, but I am not sure because I don't care to check every one of their offerings.

  15. #15
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    I hadn't seen the linked Schwalbe site before. Now it seems much easier to compare their offerings.

    Double the weight gets one far fewer flats. Pick your poison. The plus model lends to the argument that one doesn't need to bring a spare, which should otherwise be considered when touring for a long period of time in the boonies. Maybe most suitable for urban commuting, when a flat, foreseeable from glass and debris-strewn highways, will get you fired. And maybe where you get peddling assistance from an electric motor.

    Anyway, I still have 6 more Schwalbe XR's, so I don't have dog in this fight until about 2017.

    Spring has arrived and soon we can get out on the road touring to new adventures and away from the internet.

  16. #16
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I figure that the math that you are talking about is not really necessary to make a decision on a tire that weighs twice what the ones I would otherwise be running do. By paying attention to choices most of which were a much smaller difference, I went from over 50 pounds of gear to 15 pounds of gear for camping and cooking. As a result I was also able to go from a 30 pound bike to a much lighter one. Ounces here and there add up and with these particular tires we are talking two pounds of difference for the pair. At the same time I lost 20 pounds of body weight. I can assure you that I noticed the gear weight loss, the reduction in bike weight, and the reduction in body weight. They all mattered and it makes sense to pay close attention to all three.

    Also your interpretation of the math is more applicable on flat ground. When climbing weight becomes a much bigger deal while rolling resistance does not. Effort while climbing and hence weight is a way bigger deal in my estimation.

    All that said, the rolling resistance of the Marathon Plus is almost certainly much higher than any of the tires I would consider touring on. If you look at Schwalbe's own tire descriptions they rate the Plus near the bottom of their line wrt rolling resistance. The Tour Plus is listed as worse in that regard and might be the only only one rated worse, but I am not sure because I don't care to check every one of their offerings.
    We agree that the rolling resistance is a big reason why one might not choose these.

    I understand climbing. I understand acceleration. And I understand how small things add up. But there's a reason they are called weight weenies.

    In your example, you're talking about more than 65 pounds. For a rider/bike combined weight of 250 pounds. That's bigger than a 25% effect. That's big.

    A 2 pound difference? That is, relatively speaking, nothing.

    So the point of all of this is pretty simple. If the Plus had the flat resistance that it does, the weight that it does, but the rolling resistance of the kojak, it would be the ideal touring tire. So again, the tire weight? Irrelevant. Rolling resistance, big deal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    We agree that the rolling resistance is a big reason why one might not choose these.

    I understand climbing. I understand acceleration. And I understand how small things add up. But there's a reason they are called weight weenies.

    In your example, you're talking about more than 65 pounds. For a rider/bike combined weight of 250 pounds. That's bigger than a 25% effect. That's big.

    A 2 pound difference? That is, relatively speaking, nothing.

    So the point of all of this is pretty simple. If the Plus had the flat resistance that it does, the weight that it does, but the rolling resistance of the kojak, it would be the ideal touring tire. So again, the tire weight? Irrelevant. Rolling resistance, big deal.
    Math guy here.

    If anybody has basic understanding of physics, you probably know that most the stuff that this poster has written is invalid. If you want to know why then just search the net.

    I don't want people to get wrong information from searching this topic.

  18. #18
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linus View Post
    Math guy here.

    If anybody has basic understanding of physics, you probably know that most the stuff that this poster has written is invalid. If you want to know why then just search the net.

    I don't want people to get wrong information from searching this topic.
    Um.... Physics "guy" here. Everything I posted here is correct. ( Your welcome to visit the link in my signature and read my CV.)
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  19. #19
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    In your example, you're talking about more than 65 pounds. For a rider/bike combined weight of 250 pounds. That's bigger than a 25% effect. That's big.

    A 2 pound difference? That is, relatively speaking, nothing.
    That 65 pound reduction didn't result from ignoring places where 2 pounds could be saved. When trimming weight I have found that most of it is done ounces at a time. When you can lose two pounds on one item, to me that is huge.

    As far as the ideal tire for touring... That is a personal reference thing, but to me factors are valued in the following order:
    1. A supple sidewall is important for both ride feel and decreased rolling resistance.
    2. Weight anywhere is important and needs to be justified by something I value more than the increased weight.
    3. A "grippy" enough compound and a smooth tread surface.
    4. Flat resistance is a good thing, but a flat once in a while is not enough to sway my choice.
    5. Long wear is a good thing but like flat resistance unless it is very poor it doesn't trump weight or ride feel.

    That all makes the Plus pretty much the opposite of my ideal touring tire as much for the stiff sidewalls as for the weight.

    Given that it is personal preference, feel free to value the items in whatever order you see fit or to value other things.

  20. #20
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    That 65 pound reduction didn't result from ignoring places where 2 pounds could be saved. When trimming weight I have found that most of it is done ounces at a time. When you can lose two pounds on one item, to me that is huge.

    As far as the ideal tire for touring... That is a personal reference thing, but to me factors are valued in the following order:
    1. A supple sidewall is important for both ride feel and decreased rolling resistance.
    2. Weight anywhere is important and needs to be justified by something I value more than the increased weight.
    3. A "grippy" enough compound and a smooth tread surface.
    4. Flat resistance is a good thing, but a flat once in a while is not enough to sway my choice.
    5. Long wear is a good thing but like flat resistance unless it is very poor it doesn't trump weight or ride feel.

    That all makes the Plus pretty much the opposite of my ideal touring tire as much for the stiff sidewalls as for the weight.

    Given that it is personal preference, feel free to value the items in whatever order you see fit or to value other things.
    I don't disagree with most of this. And I do understand that most of the weight you lost was a lot of small items.

    If Schwalbe could come up with a tire that weighed what the Marathon Plus weighed, but that the rolling resistance and ride of what you are currently using, I think that most people here would gladly use it. I know I would. We agree on the real issue of the Marathon Plus: it rolls like a dog.

    The point about 2 lbs is this: Changing tires can very easily lead to a change in rolling resistance that is much bigger than 2 lbs. For example, when I changed from 100 PSI Maxxis Detonators with a tire liner to 95 PSI Schwalbe Kojaks without, I saw my average speed go up by 10 percent. An extra 2 lbs for me is less than a 1% effect (and that 1% effect is only when climbing).

    So, yes, I understand there are choices. But the point is for weight, it's the total weight that matters, and as you did (and I should), losing rider weight is often the best choice.

    Look, this whole tangent started because I claimed it wasn't the weight of the Marathon Plus that makes it a tire that many of us won't like, but the rolling resistance (and how it rides). I still think that's true. It sounds like you almost do, too.

    Added: Let me put it this way. If you had two bikes that were identical, fully loaded tour bikes where one had your tires and the other had these magical Marathon Pluses that were as heavy as real Marathon Pluses, but otherwise rode just like your tires, I think you'd have a very hard time telling which bike was which without looking at the tires.
    Last edited by cplager; 04-22-14 at 06:12 AM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Obsession can be unhealthy.

  22. #22
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    I don't disagree with most of this. And I do understand that most of the weight you lost was a lot of small items.

    If Schwalbe could come up with a tire that weighed what the Marathon Plus weighed, but that the rolling resistance and ride of what you are currently using, I think that most people here would gladly use it. I know I would. We agree on the real issue of the Marathon Plus: it rolls like a dog.

    The point about 2 lbs is this: Changing tires can very easily lead to a change in rolling resistance that is much bigger than 2 lbs. For example, when I changed from 100 PSI Maxxis Detonators with a tire liner to 95 PSI Schwalbe Kojaks without, I saw my average speed go up by 10 percent. An extra 2 lbs for me is less than a 1% effect (and that 1% effect is only when climbing).

    So, yes, I understand there are choices. But the point is for weight, it's the total weight that matters, and as you did (and I should), losing rider weight is often the best choice.

    Look, this whole tangent started because I claimed it wasn't the weight of the Marathon Plus that makes it a tire that many of us won't like, but the rolling resistance (and how it rides). I still think that's true. It sounds like you almost do, too.

    Added: Let me put it this way. If you had two bikes that were identical, fully loaded tour bikes where one had your tires and the other had these magical Marathon Pluses that were as heavy as real Marathon Pluses, but otherwise rode just like your tires, I think you'd have a very hard time telling which bike was which without looking at the tires.
    I can agree with much of or, even most of that. Two things make me think you just might somewhat miss the point a bit in some areas. First, the excess weight and poor ride characteristics are both largely the result of the heavy grossly overbuilt sidewalls so the two are not really separable.

    Second, whether I can feel a two pound difference or not, it is still very significant. It is one difference of many, all of which when combined are very significant. It is a difference where an item is not only heavier, but almost exactly twice as heavy. Further, of the individual choices we can make in outfitting and packing a bike this one at two pounds difference is one of the most significant.

    Given that my tours all involve a lot of climbing and almost all involve mountain passes I am not convinced that rolling resistance is more significant than weight is, at least when it comes to climbing. How hard it is getting over the mountain passes is much more significant to me that total effort expended over the tour, so even if the total effort is higher I'll make choices that make the climbing easier.

    BTW: I think I can tell the difference when for example I have to carry a couple pounds of extra water up a 5,000+ foot climb up a 10,000+ foot pass. Even If I am wrong that I can feel the difference as I go, I am positive that carrying an extra two pounds I'll be more tired at the top of Hoosier Pass.

  23. #23
    djb
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    darn, wrote a response yesterday and I guess it didnt go up properly.

    Was along the lines of what others have said, ie if commuting all the time through horrible roads, glass, debris, then a tire that is super tough makes sense. I have commuted for nearly 30 years in Montreal and the glass situation is not bad, you can have bad luck (like the time my brand new regular Marathons got a 2 inch nail in the rear tire) but all in all, I get about a flat per year average. Last year I rode about 5000km and didnt get one flat (about 4000km on 28mm Gatorskins).

    touring in a far flung off area, and or as mentioned, with thorns all over, makes sense too for a tire like this, especially if it really is remote, is cold, and or you are really marginal for food, water whatever, not having 5 flats in a row from thorns would be nice...

    but back to my experience, I've never gotten my load down to what staeph has done, but as a light guy, I learned early on to try to keep weight down, and for touring in western countries, on reasonable roads, lighter tires have worked for me perfectly well.
    I have a friend who has a Trek 520, he has Marathon Pluses on it, a heavy front rack, and (for me) very heavy panniers (Arkels). The thing rides like a tank compared to my bike with a light lowrider front rack, and much lighter panniers. Even unloaded his bike feels like a truck, and I'm sure the much heavier tires play a part. He hasnt toured in Outer Mongolia in the winter either, rides on roads like I do, but for him the heavy duty stuff is what he was sold on --but he works a heck of a lot harder than I do when we ride together.

    re: the last comments about feeling the difference in a tire, I would add that our bikes probably get ridden 80% of thier lives unloaded (or mine do anyway as I dont have a dedicated touring bike) so this is another nod to not having a super heavy, stiff walled tire.
    I'm pretty sure I can feel the difference between tires when I only have up to 20lbs of stuff on my bike (Im thinking of my commuting experience, and comparing specialized armadillos very stiff sidewalls, with regular marathons that are more supple than the armadillos) and I am sure I feel the diff between these two tires with less weight on the bike (and roughly equal tire pressures).

    again, its a choice.

    as always, and as staeph says, everyone can put their priorities where they want and/or from experience of what works for them and/or what they would like to change to be happier--lighter stuff for easier riding, or heavy duty stuff that is tougher but comes with a weight penalty.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
    For what it's worth...
    I haven't had a flat in 3000 miles with regular Marathons and an inner liner
    I run over lots of urban crap everyday
    I only weigh 160 lbs, though
    Personally, I think it's way overkill to run a flat-resistant tire with a liner. I'd pick a tire that works for me with nothing else before I'd do that and tires like Gatorskins will work for most everybody without a liner.

  25. #25
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I can agree with much of or, even most of that. Two things make me think you just might somewhat miss the point a bit in some areas. First, the excess weight and poor ride characteristics are both largely the result of the heavy grossly overbuilt sidewalls so the two are not really separable.
    Oh, I get that. But imagine with developments in technology that this can be avoided. But yes, with today's technology you're absolutely right.

    (Consider what the tires look like now compared to 20 years ago.)


    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Second, whether I can feel a two pound difference or not, it is still very significant. It is one difference of many, all of which when combined are very significant. It is a difference where an item is not only heavier, but almost exactly twice as heavy. Further, of the individual choices we can make in outfitting and packing a bike this one at two pounds difference is one of the most significant.

    Given that my tours all involve a lot of climbing and almost all involve mountain passes I am not convinced that rolling resistance is more significant than weight is, at least when it comes to climbing. How hard it is getting over the mountain passes is much more significant to me that total effort expended over the tour, so even if the total effort is higher I'll make choices that make the climbing easier.

    BTW: I think I can tell the difference when for example I have to carry a couple pounds of extra water up a 5,000+ foot climb up a 10,000+ foot pass. Even If I am wrong that I can feel the difference as I go, I am positive that carrying an extra two pounds I'll be more tired at the top of Hoosier Pass.
    Let me put it this way. I can put lighter but crappier rolling tires on your bike and you'll be a lot more tired at the top of the mountain than with your current tires. There are several bike calculators out there that will let you play with these things and you'll be able to see that a decent change in rolling resistance is worth quite a bit of weight (and that's assuming your only ever climbing).

    But at this point, I think we can say we're in violent agreement and let it go.
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