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Schwalbe Marathon & Marathon Plus - even the toughest wear out

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Schwalbe Marathon & Marathon Plus - even the toughest wear out

Old 12-28-07, 04:19 PM
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Rayxt
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Schwalbe Marathon & Marathon Plus - even the toughest wear out

In two years I got 5,000 miles (over London roads) from a Schwalbe Marathon (Kevlar weave) 700 x 35 tyre with no flats before suddenly it gave up the ghost and all sorts of cuts and nicks appeared on the tread and bits of glass and sharp rocks embedded themselves in the rubber - as if the compound were perishing.

5,000 miles from a tyre I bought from Spa Cycles , Harrogate for £13, and no flats in the bargain. is not bad going, so I called Schwalke UK and told them maybe they would like to see what was happening to the rubber on a tyre that until then had taken a real beating.

Their explanation was an education. Nothing was 'wrong' with the tyre, or the rubber compound. The tyre had simply worn down through the tough outer rubber layer (for hard wearing) , to the softer inner layer (for flexibility), and as the resistance of this layer is much reduced punctures are inevitable.

Once you start to see increased nicks, cuts and bits of debris embedded in the surface of your Marathon tyre it's at the end of its useful 'puncture free' life.

Schwalbe told me the Marathon Plus (with the thick inner Smartguard layer) can be worn down to where the blue Smartguard shows and then their puncture resistant performance begins to fail.

I've had a Marathon Plus on the rear for 2,500 miles and there are almost no nicks or cuts - and no flats. A Marathon on the front with a Marathon Plus as the weight bearing rear tyre is a very economical solution from trouble free commuting in wet or dry conditions.
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Old 12-28-07, 06:26 PM
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Schwalbe Marathons are very good tires. I had one and even from day one, the hazards were being made known. Glass, wire, screws, you name it. Things unseen at night with a light system, etc. I finally saw the "yellow donut" the Schwalbe Kevlar belt coming out of gash from a beer bottle shard inflicted stab.

My one Marathon tire gave me nearly 6K miles with the help of Mr Tuffy before giving up its ghost. The tread wear was minimal. Exposure to direct sun during south Florida weather was unapparent.

A recent bikeforum thread that I cannot find reccomended using hand on tire while in motion to scrape off puncture critters. It's easier to learn than riding clipless.

Do the rear tire and then the front after clearing a field of broken glass. YMMV
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Old 09-23-08, 03:53 PM
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What feels bumpier to you - Marathons plus Mr. Tuffy liners, or Marathon Plus with the rubber layer?
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Old 09-23-08, 04:12 PM
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I'd be really happy with any tire I could eek 5000 miles from.

3041mi on my Conti UG 700 x 28 as of this morning, and I've got to order a couple replacements (no shops in town seem to have the 28mm in stock!)
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Old 09-24-08, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
I'd be really happy with any tire I could eek 5000 miles from.
I get approx. 5,000 miles from my Marathon (NOT Plus) 622 x47mm on the rear; and approx. 15,000 miles from the same tire model on the front. I replace them when the tread looks worn down enough that flats might be more probable. I'm sure I could get lots more mileage from them but I like the 11+ year record of no roadside flats while commuting and only about 1 slow leaker a year.
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Old 09-24-08, 10:20 AM
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I got 4k from my last rear big apple, the front is past 5 and still doesn't really show any tread wear. Sidewall not so reflective anymore though. Cleaning might help.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:53 AM
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I also ride Marathon Plus's , but from reading your posts it seems as though you replace front and rear tires separately as they wear. When my rear wears out, I move the front to the rear, and put a new tyre on the front. My thought is that I want the better tyre in the front where the bulk of the braking and turning stress comes in, and be willing to sacrifice a bit on the rear - am I crazy?

Wait - anybody who worries this much about tyres must be crazy.......
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Old 09-24-08, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
My thought is that I want the better tyre in the front where the bulk of the braking and turning stress comes in, and be willing to sacrifice a bit on the rear - am I crazy?

Wait - anybody who worries this much about tyres must be crazy.......
My thought is that "braking and turning stress" on a bicycle tire, front or back is too insignificent to worry about. Certainly not enuff to go to the effort of changing/rotating tires on two wheels when only one change is necessary.
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Old 09-24-08, 12:46 PM
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I recently changed the 700Cx35 Marathon Plus on the back of my commuter after 7000 miles. It still looked OK but was getting very close indeed to the blue layer.

I have a 700Cx32 M+ on the front which has done the same mileage and look barely used.
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Old 11-25-08, 03:27 PM
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How does the rolling resistance of the Marathon + compare with other tires? Thinking of getting a pair of 28-622s for my bike. Lots of stickers and glass on Nevada roads.
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Old 11-25-08, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I like the 11+ year record of no roadside flats while commuting .
you just invoked the flat jinx
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Old 11-25-08, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
My thought is that "braking and turning stress" on a bicycle tire, front or back is too insignificent to worry about. Certainly not enuff to go to the effort of changing/rotating tires on two wheels when only one change is necessary.
I dont know, I certainly prefer the front to have the best possible tread for turning traction. This is a hold over from days of technical mountain biking though, I dont know if it is so important on roads. But I rotate the front to the back when the back wears out too... I mean, it only takes 5 mins.

also, my schwalbe big apples are brilliant, I cant remember the last flat... more than a year anyway. I also love the plain old marathons, though the plus range is too heavy for my liking.
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Old 08-31-16, 02:56 PM
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I just checked my marathon + tires for wear. They are at 2200 miles. The back has begun to square off. The front still looks perfect. I'm hoping the back still has another 2k-3k miles left on it. It's under a heavy load of 300+ lbs of bike, rider, and gear. It's on my rear hub driven ebike. I think I'll be changing out one front tire to every three rear tires.
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Old 08-31-16, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sauerwald View Post
I also ride Marathon Plus's , but from reading your posts it seems as though you replace front and rear tires separately as they wear. When my rear wears out, I move the front to the rear, and put a new tyre on the front. My thought is that I want the better tyre in the front where the bulk of the braking and turning stress comes in, and be willing to sacrifice a bit on the rear - am I crazy?

Wait - anybody who worries this much about tyres must be crazy.......
This is what I do, thanks to Sheldon Brown.

Tire Rotation

The only time tire rotation is appropriate on a bicycle is when you are replacing the rear tire. If you feel like taking the trouble, and use the same type of tire front and rear, you should move the front tire to the rear wheel, and install the new tire in front.

The reason for this is that the front tire is much more critical for safety than the rear, so you should have the more reliable tire on the front.

If you have a blowout, if it is on the rear tire, you have a very good chance of bringing the bike to a controlled stop. If your front tire blows, you can lose steering control, and a crash is a real possibility.
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Old 08-31-16, 03:21 PM
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There are definitely people who bought Marathon Plus tires when this thread was started and have worn them out since then.
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Old 08-31-16, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
There are definitely people who bought Marathon Plus tires when this thread was started and have worn them out since then.
I didn't realize until you mentioned it that I responded to an eight year old post.
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Old 08-31-16, 05:59 PM
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I got about 9000 miles out of a Marathon (no extra qualifiers in the name) a few years ago. I've been running cheaper tires since, but I just put on a pair of marathon Plus.

I think the roads around me must be easier on tires because I get 5000 miles out of a pair of $18 Cheng Shins
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Old 08-31-16, 07:14 PM
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I was getting 4k miles out of Marathon XRs while I was getting 7-8k out of Continental Top Tourings under the same conditions. To make things worse, the failure of Marathons was catastrophic - they basically broke up into segments. On top of that, while I did not make measurements, the Continentals seemed faster. Alas the TTs are not produced anymore. It is not that I gave up on Schwalbe. I now ride one Marathon Supreme and it rides fast without flats, but I have done only 3k miles on it so far.
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Old 08-31-16, 07:55 PM
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Worst failure on a supposedly "good" tire was a Bontrager Hard Case. I had two of them, the center strip on both of them came unglued and just fell apart, leaving the cords exposed in patches. It's been years, but as I remember they didn't have that many miles on them, maybe 3000.
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Old 08-31-16, 07:55 PM
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"Their explanation was an education. Nothing was 'wrong' with the tyre, or the rubber compound. The tyre had simply worn down through the tough outer rubber layer (for hard wearing) , to the softer inner layer (for flexibility), and as the resistance of this layer is much reduced punctures are inevitable.

Once you start to see increased nicks, cuts and bits of debris embedded in the surface of your Marathon tyre it's at the end of its useful 'puncture free' life."

Interesting. I just observed something similar in my Michelin Protek Cross Max rear tire. These have been trouble free for nearly a year, through rough pavement and off-road rides that could barely be called gravel trails, broken glass, all the usual road hazards. No flats.

Today I noticed the rear tire was soft, not completely deflated but down to about 20 psi since I last rode on Sunday and checked the tire at 60 psi.

Before removing the tire I checked the entire tread for obvious punctures or debris sticking through the tire. I didn't find anything, but did notice some minor cuts and nicks for the first time. And the tread feels softer. Meanwhile the front tire still feels harder, with no visible nicks or cuts, and has more tread.

I'm guessing Michelin and others have a similar composition -- harder on the surface, pliable beneath. I haven't kept accurate logs over the past year and only began to record my rides this spring, but I'd guesstimate I've ridden these tires 2,000-2,500 miles.

I'll remove both tires, inspect 'em, patch the tube if necessary, and swap the tires front to rear to extend the life a bit longer. They're been excellent tires, albeit heavy. But I seem to average the same 12 mph overall no matter which bike I ride.
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Old 08-31-16, 08:21 PM
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I don't know if it's still the case, but for a while it was really common to use two layers of tread, because the type of rubber that wears well didn't bond well to the fabric. It was found that the less-durable compound bonded well to both, though, and you could tell your tires were on their last legs when you got to that intermediate layer. There are some Jobst Brandt postings about it.
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Old 09-01-16, 11:33 AM
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A little over 2 years ago I installed a pair of new Marathon Supremes, this year at about 5000 miles I swapped front and rear, I think I'll get another 5K out of them. I've gotten like 4-5 flats over the time, most of them big heavy-duty staples. Only one was a fine piece of wire that wormed its way through the protective layers. This Feb, they survived a through-and-through from a vicious piece of metal and I didn't even flat!
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Old 09-01-16, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by wilfried View Post
I didn't realize until you mentioned it that I responded to an eight year old post.
haha I got 'bit' by the zombie as well!
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Old 09-01-16, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
A little over 2 years ago I installed a pair of new Marathon Supremes, this year at about 5000 miles I swapped front and rear, I think I'll get another 5K out of them. I've gotten like 4-5 flats over the time, most of them big heavy-duty staples. Only one was a fine piece of wire that wormed its way through the protective layers. This Feb, they survived a through-and-through from a vicious piece of metal and I didn't even flat!
Continuing to feed the zombie (because why not?)...

I had a set of Marathon Supremes that I rotated after 2500 miles. At around 3000 miles I started to get flats every 100 miles or so, whereas previously I had only gotten one flat and that from a wood screw. After three flats in 300 miles I gave up on them. The tread still looked fine and maybe it is even. I kept them and might throw them on an experimental build at some point, but I just lost confidence in the tire.

Maybe it was this "wearing through the tough outer layer" effect. This has been my experience with most tires I've used long enough. Eventually they just start getting flats even though the tread still looks fine. The one exception was a set of Conti GP 4 Seasons on which the casing split after 2100 miles (during which I didn't get a single flat). Then I moved the front tire to the rear and the casing on that one split after another 700 miles.
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Old 09-01-16, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I don't know if it's still the case, but for a while it was really common to use two layers of tread, because the type of rubber that wears well didn't bond well to the fabric. It was found that the less-durable compound bonded well to both, though, and you could tell your tires were on their last legs when you got to that intermediate layer. There are some Jobst Brandt postings about it.
I only had one tire fail like this... it was weird. Not Schwalbe.



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