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Schwalbe Tires - studded and general

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Schwalbe Tires - studded and general

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Old 12-11-18, 02:55 PM
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Schwalbe Tires - studded and general

Hi all,

Just installed a set of Marathon Winter Plus on my commuter. They are the heaviest, stiffest tire I've ever encountered. I read some reviews about them suggesting that they were difficult to mount and they were sort of a bear but not too bad. After riding them only the 12 miles to work this morning, studs aside these seem like extremely tough tires. Pumped up to full pressure, they don't roll noticeably slower than the same size Kenda street tires I had been rolling on despite being almost twice the weight. I don't mind changing flats but it seems like these would be pretty unlikely to puncture in the first place. It has me thinking about whether or not I should consider some non-studded Marathons in the spring, even though I'm accustomed to riding tires less than half the weight. I mean for being as heavy as they are AND having studs, I'm pretty impressed. I'm not worried really about speed, I generally tend to ride around 15-17mph no wind.

Any other commuters rolling Marathons, non-studded, during the other 3 seasons? Especially over long distances? What kind of lifespan might one be able to expect? Are they a good all around tire? Seems like you could almost put them on, check the pressures once a week and otherwise just forget they're there. I've only been commuting for a little over a year but generally ride about 100-150 miles a week.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-11-18, 03:58 PM
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I'm going to steal a page from Jim from Boston's playbook and quote myself from a couple of other threads regarding Schwalbe studs that are pertinent to your query:

Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
The 'carcass' on my Schwalbe's failed yesterday. I noticed a flat on the rear. Upon close examination of the inside of the tire found that the studs here wearing through to the inside, puncturing the tube this way. I've had about four winters worth of use from these. Mileage wise perhaps 5000-7000 total. I usually run the pressure a tad higher as most of the rides are not necessarily on snow or ice.

There is also significant stud loss on one side of the tire.

So looks like time for a new set.
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Schwalbe Marathon winters, 35 mm, at 60; probably need to bring it down to 50 for a more comfy ride.

Rider weight is 145#, bike weight is close to 30# with all the 'stuff';

How'd it go? Front flatted on the driveway. Stud went through on inside of carcass. The same thing happened last week with the rear. Maybe pressure is too high for that tire.
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Old 12-11-18, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I'm going to steal a page from Jim from Boston's playbook and quote myself from a couple of other threads regarding Schwalbe studs that are pertinent to your query:
Thank you! It IS pertinent to my current tire and I'll consider the pressures. My query is about the non-studded Marathons, but I can see how that may not have been 100% clear in my OP. (edited now to clear it up)
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Old 12-11-18, 04:14 PM
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The Marathon is a line of tires. There are the Marathon, Marathon Plus, Marathon Supreme, and more. Do some research.

I'm mostly a Panaracer man, myself. I like Continental and Vittoria tires, too.

I do understand that Schwalbe has made some breakthroughs in making tires more puncture resistant while keeping the ride quality sacrifice minimal, and that's impressive, but I am not very interested in those compromises. I'd rather have a good quality ride and fix my occasional punctures. I'm good enough at fixing flats, and it doesn't take me long.

A friend of mine says the Marathon Supreme particularly impressed him. I think it's their Marathon model with less puncture protection and better ride quality.
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Old 12-11-18, 04:15 PM
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My take on the Marathon studs is that they are heavy and roll terribly. Despite having them pumped up to almost the max they are a pain to ride on bare pavement. I'd only ride them if completely necessary. I don't run non-studded Marathons, but compared to my second set of wheels outfitted with Conti Cityride tires I say that I'm a good 10% slower with the studs. With non-studs you don't have to worry about the metal spikes wearing through to the inside of the carcass, so in terms of lifespan I'd say you'd easily get 10,000 km.
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Old 12-11-18, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
The Marathon is a line of tires. There are the Marathon, Marathon Plus, Marathon Supreme, and more. Do some research.

I'm mostly a Panaracer man, myself. I like Continental and Vittoria tires, too.

I do understand that Schwalbe has made some breakthroughs in making tires more puncture resistant while keeping the ride quality sacrifice minimal, and that's impressive, but I am not very interested in those compromises. I'd rather have a good quality ride and fix my occasional punctures. I'm good enough at fixing flats, and it doesn't take me long.

A friend of mine says the Marathon Supreme particularly impressed him. I think it's their Marathon model with less puncture protection and better ride quality.
I am doing research, I'm asking for firsthand experience with non-studded Schwalbe Marathon tires from bike commuters. Since you have none, I'll take your reply as a thread bump. I can't seem to find a smooch smilie.
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Old 12-11-18, 04:24 PM
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Hey Dollface, I gave you some information, which ain't nothin'.

(Moderators, we are friends, and that wasn't a real insult. He will attest.)

Paging @KonAaron Snake who made the comment about Marathon Supremes.
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Old 12-11-18, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Hey Dollface, I gave you some information, which ain't nothin'.

(Moderators, we are friends, and that wasn't a real insult. He will attest.)

Paging @KonAaron Snake who made the comment about Marathon Supremes.
You HOPE I'll attest! But I do. But only my grandma calls me dollface.
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Old 12-11-18, 04:35 PM
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when I break out the studded tire bike, I'm not Ice racing , just trying to get across town , so what if its slower going..?
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Old 12-11-18, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
when I break out the studded tire bike, I'm not Ice racing , just trying to get across town , so what if its slower going..?
That's sort of what I'm saying. I expected the studded Marathons to roll way worse. I would think that a non-studded Marathon might roll pretty well. I don't know about how they'd handle. The studded ones do not inspire confidence on dry pavement, but that's not their purpose. Personally, I'm not racing whether there's ice or not - just trying to get across town. I don't think a tire is going to make much of a difference in average speed. But FWIW Strava tells me there's very little difference between these and some cheaper non-studded tires. Maybe 1 mph. A windy day slows me down more than that.
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Old 12-11-18, 05:57 PM
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Not long ago it seemed like about half of the regulars on this forum were using Marathon Plus tires. I mounted a set on my wife's bike because she wanted to do everything possible to avoid flats. She didn't ride it enough for me to have feedback. It's a still and heavy tire. I wouldn't use it.

I do have 700x32 Marathon Supremes on my primary commuter. I think they're a great balance of fast, durable, and puncture resistant (price being the obvious place where you make a trade-off). I've gotten significantly more miles out of them than I do from a pure road tire. I couldn't tell you how many more exactly. I had a set of 700x35s that I gave up on after ~3500 miles because I had a run of frequent flats, but I kept them because the tread still looked good and have had no problems with them in limited use on a 'B' bike. My current 700x32s are at 3300 miles. I had five punctures between 1400 and 2300 miles and almost gave up on them, but I kept using them and haven't had a flat in over 1000 miles. Apparently, I need to re-think my theory that a tire is worn out when it starts getting frequent flats.

The Marathon Supremes aren't nearly as supple as a "race" tire like the Conti GP 4000 or even the Conti GP 4 Seasons, but they don't feel terrible on the road.
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Old 12-11-18, 07:00 PM
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Heavy but no flats

I use the Marathons on my touring bikes including my tandem. I even purchased a set for my Trek roadbike when riding rough chipseal. Heavy, yes but never a single flat in thousands of miles.
I also used the studded winter tires for many winters. Loved them.
I use gatorskins for my roadbike on good pavement. The Marathons are one of the fastest rolling touring tires.
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Old 12-11-18, 07:26 PM
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I've been using Marathon Plus since they came out. I put equal mileage on my car and bike, and the car gets flats more often. I find the Marathon Plus good for around 10,000 miles. Incidentally, the Nokian W106 is a more durable tire than the Marathon Winter, but the Marathon is better on icy ruts and rolls with a good deal less effort.
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Old 12-11-18, 08:08 PM
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When I bought my bike, it had these Specialized Armadillo something or other in 38mm. They were just as heavy as these studded Marathons (~1000g) but not quite as stiff, and about 2mph slower. I rode them for a week, about 100 miles. I don’t think I could have ridden them every day long term. I’d put them on a second bike if I had one, but for now they’re the next set of tires for my wife’s bike, that gets ridden about 5 miles/week. They did have really good grip though, dry and wet, sand and grass, even on some light singletrack. I don’t think they’d puncture very often. If they rolled a little easier and fit under my fenders I’d have kept using them. I was worried these studded Marathons would be slower than those Specialized tires but they’re not. Aired up, they roll faster. Aside from turning, they roll the same speed as the 600g Kenda Kwest that they replaced. They squirm during turning but I think the idea is you slow down for turns anyway. On the straight, they really do OK. I’m looking forward to see how they’ll do on the slick stuff. This is my first set of studded tires, first winter riding slick roads. I rode a little last winter but carpooled with my brother mostly.
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Old 12-11-18, 08:34 PM
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I don’t think I’d want the marathon supreme for most bikes...I have them on the tandem, and they’re GREAT for that application. They’re definitely heavy, but they ride well considering...and the puncture resistance is first rate.
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Old 12-11-18, 09:18 PM
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I currently run standard marathons on my touring bike, which also sees a great deal of commuting time. I put them on just over a year and a half ago, after getting numerous flats in a short period of time with another tire.

They certainly aren’t the lightest tire out there, but they roll reasonably well and I’ve had zero flats so far. When they wear out, I see no reason to switch to anything else for this bike.

I should note that I don’t know how many miles I’ve got on them as I switch up my ride periodically, but I’m very happy with their performance so far.
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Old 12-11-18, 09:25 PM
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We had Supremes on our tandem for about 3 seasons. No punctures in about 4,000 miles. Replaced them with Marathon Racers because Supremes no longer made in 20"/406 which is our front wheel size. So far so good after one season/1400 miles. No punctures.Racers on my commuter 'bent, too. 3 punctures in about 3 years. Very little winter riding on either bike and especially avoid ice/snow.
As has been said by others, Racers are not racing tires.
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Old 12-11-18, 10:27 PM
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I've used and continue to use a variety of Marathon models including the standard Marathons, Supreme, Racing, and Plus. They are all solid tires, and they all feel different, but I think width plays a bigger role in ride feel than the difference between models.

The 42mm Supreme is my favorite in terms of overall ride feeling, with Racing in 35mm being quite nice as well. Standard Marathons in 25/28 feel a bit harsh to me, but in 50mm they're pretty similar to the Big Apple which I think are great tires. I've found all Marathon models to be very durable and puncture resistant. But I think puncture protection can only be evaluated on a statistically relevant sample size and not anecdotal reports from individuals.

I tried the Plus model on my commuter but it felt "dead". I continue to use them on my cargo bike though because they seem to be about as tough as you can get and messing around with a flat when loaded up with kids/cargo/etc is not something I ever want to deal with.
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Old 12-11-18, 11:41 PM
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I use marathon + tires on my trike, the fronts are 20" and the rear is 26", if I remember correctly they are all 1.75 (or at least the rear is). They are not perhaps the fastest tire but I don't get flats/punctures. I switched from a Schwalbe Kojac 35-559 rear on my Velomobile to a 35-559 Marathon + due to a sidewall blowout from a Kojac. A rear blowout can be (and was catastrophic in my case in the Velomobile) on a tadpole configuration (2 wheels front, 1 rear).

The Marathon + is definitely slower (but have adjusted) and have not had a flat since installing it with now close to 7000 miles. It is starting to wear down some and when I replace it I will install another Marathon + for piece of mind, confidence, and insurance to have high chances of NOT having a rear flat. For the Velomobile I use Schwalbe Durano 28-406 front tires with not many flats, it is far less dramatic having a front flat compared to a rear flat.

EDIT: The biggest thing I see with the Marathon + is that the rotating mass is heavier causing a slower speed and more effort to climb hills, flats and down hills are only slightly slower than using the lighter weight Kojac.

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Old 12-12-18, 02:17 AM
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Old 12-12-18, 02:26 AM
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Anyways, Schwalbe Marathons (any level) come on just about any decent IGH-based German bike as people never want to take the rear wheel off. They're quite good for puncture resistance.

I bought one Schwalbe Marathon Original in 23-622 as I was tyred (hahaha) of getting flats and having tyres (not tubes) blow out. They were on sale for £15 each, so how could I say no!

I guess I live in the ghetto as shown by other photos (highest concentration of pubs in Britain ... 181 on the island of slightly over 10mi2), so they're a ton of glass always on the street (no deposit in the UK or residential kerbside recycling for glass) thus a ton of bottles end up broken on the streets.

I had a flat recently (the first since I installed the Schwalbe Marathon Original about 1000 miles ago) and when changing the tube, I had about 3 extreme cuts down to the green guard that probably would've destroyed most other tyres. I'm not so excited about the treadwear, but I think that the British roads are much tougher than anywhere else. I do a fair bit of riding on bricks, for example. As we don't get smooth asphalt like you have in the states.

I have attached a photo of the one that lead to a blow out.
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Old 12-12-18, 09:49 AM
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It strikes me odd that people talk about how good a tire's grip is. I can't imagine how you can do that without being at the limit of grip as the tire begins to give way. Presumably, you change your stance so you don't wipe out, and that's fine, but isn't that a little reckless on a two-wheel machine?
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Old 12-12-18, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
It strikes me odd that people talk about how good a tire's grip is. I can't imagine how you can do that without being at the limit of grip as the tire begins to give way. Presumably, you change your stance so you don't wipe out, and that's fine, but isn't that a little reckless on a two-wheel machine?
I don't know how other people talk about grip, but that's not how I'd describe my experience. I don't ride aggressively really at all, for lots of reasons but mostly it just hurts. Because I commute the same 25 miles every day, I don't really have recovery time between rides so slow and easy wins the race for me. So when I perceive loss of traction, it's usually going from one surface condition to another, or in some cases just riding on wet roads in general, especially when turning. It's hard to give a brief synopsis of all the tires I've used in all conditions, but generally speaking the ones that rolled the fastest and had best grip on dry roads didn't do so well on wet roads or when dealing with things like loose sand and gravel, which I see a little of every day, and more sand in the winter. I may be harder to please with tires because as I travel pretty much exclusively by bike, commuting around town for errands and stuff is a completely different environment than being out on the open road. Sometimes it feels like my life is one big long bike tour punctuated by work and family life.


Side note: I had a real nice set of old 28mm skinwalls with a file tread that came on a used bike I bought - they were the fastest tire I'd ever ridden and pretty comfortable and had good grip on wet and dry pavement but zilch on sand or dirt or grass. I couldn't avoid a sharp rock on my ride home one day that destroyed the sidewall on the rear tire. I weighed them after I replaced them, 300g/pc. But even being the fastest tire I'd ever ridden, my average commute time wasn't consistently or appreciably shorter - i.e. made zero difference. However many watts I save by going with lighter tires I end up giving back to the wind anyway. On the other hand, a tire too heavy and slow and the cumulative effects of fatigue start to set in after several days. I don't mind changing flats, but if somebody makes a tire that lasts a long time and doesn't puncture as much and rolls nearly as well as a lighter tire at the same price point - may as well also not puncture? I guess that's the logic I'm exploring.
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Old 12-12-18, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
It strikes me odd that people talk about how good a tire's grip is. I can't imagine how you can do that without being at the limit of grip as the tire begins to give way. Presumably, you change your stance so you don't wipe out, and that's fine, but isn't that a little reckless on a two-wheel machine?
Skidpad test, my man, I can pull 0.9g on my worn Schwalbe Marathon rear tyre before I lose grip.
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Old 12-12-18, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Skidpad test, my man, I can pull 0.9g on my worn Schwalbe Marathon rear tyre before I lose grip.
Careful with those g forces. If your vision starts tunneling, squeeze the leg, squeeze the butt, and breathe.
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