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Schwalbe Marathon Plus vs Conti Ultra Gatorskins

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Schwalbe Marathon Plus vs Conti Ultra Gatorskins

Old 04-14-10, 08:59 PM
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billyymc
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Schwalbe Marathon Plus vs Conti Ultra Gatorskins

Tired of getting a flat almost every other ride, so I want to pick up some tires that are more flat resistant than what I'm currently riding (Specialized something or others...Borough I think).

Narrowed down to the two choices in the title.

If you've ridden them both, which do you prefer and why? They have completely different tread - with a pretty substantial looking tread on the Marathon Plus and basically no tread on the Gatorskins.

Which will I get more miles out of?
 
Old 04-14-10, 09:09 PM
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Those tires aren't even in the same category;
The Marathon Plus is the ultimate long-distance truck tire.
The Gatorskin is a compromise between a racing tire and a flat-resistant tire.
And tread is useless unless you are on a soft surface.

I run Gatorskin's on my road bike, Marathon Supremes on the touring bike.
The Supremes are closer to the Gatorskin than the Plus, and even they are a lot heavier.
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Old 04-14-10, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
Those tires aren't even in the same category;
Yeah, I realized that after reading a bit more...seems like the Marathon Plus is a LOT heavier than a Gatorskin. Problem is, there seems to be divided opinion about whether gatorskins offer any puncture resistance or not. I'm not expecting perfection, but my 14 mile (one way) commute has a lot of glass and bits of metal on occassion. I'd like to not have to fix flats every other day on my ride in or home. I'd also like to not compromise a ton on performance either...but $40 a pop isn't a cheapo tire.

The Boroughs that came on my Tricross Comp seem light, but thin so no puncture resistance at all. The tiniest shard of glass takes them out. Reasonably fast rolling tire though....even in 700 x 32
 
Old 04-14-10, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Tired of getting a flat almost every other ride, so I want to pick up some tires that are more flat resistant than what I'm currently riding (Specialized something or others...Borough I think).

Narrowed down to the two choices in the title.

If you've ridden them both, which do you prefer and why? They have completely different tread - with a pretty substantial looking tread on the Marathon Plus and basically no tread on the Gatorskins.

Which will I get more miles out of?
Two rather different tires.
I really like my Gatorskins because of their low rolling resistance and good grip. They are "fun", fast, and light tires with decent puncture protection. Continental designates them as hard wearing road racing "training" tires.
The M+ is much more puncture proof, but also much heavier and with much higher rolling resistance. They are also likely to last longer than the Gatorskins. Personally I don't find them much fun to ride, so I prefer the Gatorskins by a large margin, even if it means that I puncture occasionally.

--
Regards
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Old 04-14-10, 09:35 PM
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Single data points are relatively useless, but here is mine with the Gatorskins:

The first season, I was getting a flat about every 6 weeks.
The second season, I got a flat on the first century, then no flats for the rest of the year, right up to the late autumn ride, where the post-ride inspection revealed cords showing on the rear tire.

I do ~5000 miles/year, split between the road bike and the touring bike.
If it will be dark/wet/extremely-steep, I take the touring bike, else the road bike.
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Old 04-14-10, 11:43 PM
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I've been riding a Marathon Plus (700 x 25) on my back wheel recently, and it appears (to me) to be the toughest bike tire I've ever examnined. I've ridden it on two different bikes (back wheel on both) and initially I was turned off by the weight, around 580 grams I believe (the initial tire it replaced weighed around half as much as the MP), but now I don't really notice the added weight. I'm not sophisticated when it comes to evaluating ride-quality and "grip" but it seems to be okay to me in these areas. I've held a Gatorskin and (like others have noted) it's much lighter and the sidewalls are relatively thin in comparison to the thread (the MP has significant thickness from bead to bead, plus the extra layer of "nougat" up the middle). I've also held a Speciallized Armadillo and it seemed to be a compromise between the two tires you are considering (bead to bead thickness, but probably 100-200 grams lighter than a same-sized MP).
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Old 04-15-10, 06:22 AM
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+1 on the Armadillos
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Old 04-15-10, 06:28 AM
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Darn you stringbreaker! I had ruled out the Armadillos because in the (mixed) reviews I'd read many people said the ride like "a rock" or even worse "a brick".
 
Old 04-15-10, 06:54 AM
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Armadillos are actually quite comfortable. I run mine at 120psi and the ride is lovely. They have also been going for over 2500miles on potholed roads over glass and gravel etc. without a single puncture.

If I want puncture protection, they are my first thought.
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Old 04-15-10, 07:24 AM
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I got my first flat the other day on my new 25c Gatorskins. Hit a pothole and got a pinch flat it appears. I couldn't find a puncture anywhere in the tire and there were two small holes side by side on the tube. I had neglected to check the pressure in my tires before I left so it could be due to under inflation on my part.

Besides that, I love the tires, fast and light and quick up the hills.
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Old 04-15-10, 07:30 AM
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Gatorskins + MrTuffy liners = best combo since Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

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Old 04-15-10, 07:42 AM
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Another factor that hasn't been discussed in this thread is WHAT flat hazards you'll be encountering on the road where you live... In most places Gatorskins or Armadillos will probably protect you against flatting from 99% of the debris you're going to roll over. However, if you live in goathead country (and you'll know if you do!), only a tire with very thick tread (like the Marathon Plus) is going to give"bulletproof" protection against puncturing. As mentioned earlier, they carry a penalty in weight over other tires, so I'd only run them if I needed to.
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Old 04-15-10, 10:45 AM
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If you're currently having a lot of flat issues, then go with the SMP. The weight penalty will pay off in the time you don't spend crouched on the roadside, replacing tubes or patching flats.

The Gatorskins are a good in-between tire. Not a lightweight racer, but a smoother and faster feel on the road than the SMP. Mid-level puncture resistance, but I find that the tread compound is prone to "picking up" lots of little shards of crap. Not a problem when they're dry, but I had a lot of problems with them during the winter rainy season this past year.
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Old 04-15-10, 06:57 PM
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Tricross Comp 2008 rider here. Stock Boroughs have as much flat protection as parchment paper. In fact, they seem to attract and viciously hold on to any glass shard. Hence, skirting local ghetto on my commute, I was averaging a flat every two weeks, sometimes once a week. At least I could remove them with my bare hands without messing my manicure. So I shelled out for a pair of contis 4-seasons 700X28 (ouch! double ouch!) and had one - ONE!!! - flat since November. Bike really came alive with them as well. From what I am reading here Gatorskins are more on a racing side and 4-seasons are training tire.

FWIW

SF
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Old 04-15-10, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Darn you stringbreaker! I had ruled out the Armadillos because in the (mixed) reviews I'd read many people said the ride like "a rock" or even worse "a brick".
May be , may be not... My commute partner loves flat protection, hates the wet grip, ambivalent about the ride quality.

SF
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Old 04-15-10, 07:16 PM
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Whatever flat performance you get with an excellent puncture resistant tire, you will get way, way better performance in conjunction with a thorn-resistant inner tube.

Of course if you take pride in how fast you can fix a flat, and don't want to "loose those skills", then after upgrading to Marathon Plus, Armadillo, or Ultra Gatoskins, all you have to do is continue riding those thin or standard thickness tubes! ;-)
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Old 04-15-10, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by sci_femme View Post
Stock Boroughs have as much flat protection as parchment paper.
Thanks, I thought maybe I was crazy. I get two or three flats a week! Sometimes I'm pulling the teeniest little piece of metal or shell out of the tire. Will order SOMETHING tonight...still deciding. Thanks all.

BTW SF, I"m on a 2007 -- love it. Got a great deal on CL.
 
Old 04-15-10, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
Another factor that hasn't been discussed in this thread is WHAT flat hazards you'll be encountering on the road where you live... In most places Gatorskins or Armadillos will probably protect you against flatting from 99% of the debris you're going to roll over. However, if you live in goathead country (and you'll know if you do!), only a tire with very thick tread (like the Marathon Plus) is going to give"bulletproof" protection against puncturing. As mentioned earlier, they carry a penalty in weight over other tires, so I'd only run them if I needed to.
This is the one element of any tire review that goes unmentioned. People think that tires should be puncture-proof and that they should be able to roll over a mile of broken glass and roofing nails. Aside from a manufacturer's defect, it's all about how you ride, how closely you pay attention to the road, and how hazardous your route is. Reviews that claim the tire sucks because they got a (non-manufacturing defect) flat "in the first 100 miles" are FLAT out ridiculous.

Get a tire that wears well.
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Old 04-15-10, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Toddorado View Post
This is the one element of any tire review that goes unmentioned. People think that tires should be puncture-proof and that they should be able to roll over a mile of broken glass and roofing nails. Aside from a manufacturer's defect, it's all about how you ride, how closely you pay attention to the road, and how hazardous your route is. Reviews that claim the tire sucks because they got a (non-manufacturing defect) flat "in the first 100 miles" are FLAT out ridiculous.

Get a tire that wears well.
To some extent you're right. But flat protection does help and some routes are more hazardous than others.

I decided I didn't need the bulletproof protection of Armadillos (let alone SMPs) but Marathon Racers and Supremes have served me well. It comes down to: how often can you accept a flat? 6 times a year is too much for me, twice is probably okay.

I don't mind the weight or ride of the bulletproof tires so much, but if they can't handle wet pavement that's a problem for me. If I lived in NY I'd lean toward the Gatorskins for that reason.
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Old 04-16-10, 12:42 AM
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I don't understand why people feel there is a problem with armadillo wet road grip, I have never had a problem with my 700x23 armadillos in wet weather. Also there is no need to have a thorn resistant tube, as tbh if something makes it through the tyre, then a tiny bit more inner tube isn't really going to present a problem - just adds unnecessary weight. Have been riding for 2 years with specialized nimbus tyres and specialized armadillo tyres, in all weather, all year round, with no tyre maintenance except making sure they are at the right pressure and have had no punctures.
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Old 04-16-10, 07:21 AM
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I just got a Schwalbe Marathon Plus tire for the rear of my commuter. I was just getting too many flats in the land of broken glass and stickers.
It rides like I'm in sand. It is so freaking slow I can't believe it.

I'm telling myself no matter how slow it is, the speed gain from not flatting will make it faster in the end. I am also embracing the superior workout I'm now getting. But I admit it makes riding just a bit less fun.
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