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Schwalbe or Gatorskin ?

Old 12-05-22, 10:34 PM
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frogman
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Schwalbe or Gatorskin ?

I asked this question in the road cycling forum. I think this forum is a better one for this question.

I have 700 x 32 Gatorskins on my road bike. I commute and ride thru poorly maintained streets.
Its time to replace the Gators. I am thinking about trying Schwalbe Marathon Plus and see how they compare. Whats your experience with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus, disregarding ride quality, just puncture resisitance.
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Old 12-05-22, 11:05 PM
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I have Marathon plus and have never had a flat, but cannot say I've ridden in conditions that were flat-prone
A work colleague got flats from thorns and sharp stones constantly. I recommended Marathon MTB tires and he has not had a flat since
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Old 12-06-22, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by frogman View Post
Whats your experience with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus, disregarding ride quality, just puncture resisitance.
That is a lot to disregard. The plus weighs something like twice as much and has very stiff sidewalls so if you value a lively ride feel forget that. That said yes it is very puncture resistant. Goathead thorns and tire wires may eventually get through, but it will happen way less often.

FWIW, I tried going that exact route going from gatorskins to marathon pluses at some point in the past. I hated the ride so much I pulled them off and sold them. I put some new gatorskins on again.

I have had such good luck with tubeless on my mountain bike I may consider going tubeless on my next touring setup.. I went from weekly thorn flats to pretty much never flatting with tubeless on my MTB.
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Old 12-06-22, 06:36 AM
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If puncture resistance and not stopping for anything tire related is a priority then there's probably nothing better than the Schwalbe marathon plus. It's a surprisingly fast tire, but it only starts getting comfortable with heavy loads. My wife commutes with them because not being late for any reason is a priority for her.

I use (for now) marathon mondials because I don't care if I have to take a later train due to a flat. But the puncture protection isn't nearly as good as with the marathon plus. I've only ever seen one flat with a marathon plus (piece of gravel shaped like a long arrowhead cut its way through the tire) but I have seen multiple flats with tires that only have a "fabric" anti puncture layer (vectran, kevlar, dyneema, etc).

Gatorskins use a "fabric" layer, ie. vectran. It's quite effective as anti puncture layers go but it doesn't shine a light against schwalbe marathon plusses.
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Old 12-06-22, 07:03 AM
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Schwallbe for sure

I have never had a flat on my Schwallbe in over twenty thousand miles of use on city streets and berms along with rail beds I recommend them to anyone who wants reliably. I have 26" on the old trek mtb and 700c 38s on my touring bike. In four years no flats but I still carry a tube with me every place I go, go figure.
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Old 12-06-22, 07:46 AM
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Southwestern US desert goat heads will puncture Marathons Plus's all day long.
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Old 12-06-22, 08:31 AM
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If your punctures are from road debris getting through the tire, such as small wires or glass or thorns or nails, the plus might help a lot.

But if your punctures are pinch flats (or snake bite punctures) from hitting the edge of a pot hole at speed, the plus with a stiffer tire might help some but higher air pressure might do the trick too.

What kinds of punctures do you get?
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Old 12-06-22, 11:14 AM
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I commute on 28mm Gatorskins and tour on 32mm Gator Hardshells for the extra sidewall protection. Both have great puncture resistance IME

I tried SMPís once for a tour in SoCal, but found them to be slow, heavy, and bouncy, though they did protect against desert thorns.
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Old 12-06-22, 11:59 AM
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I've been riding Marathon Plus tires for years and have never had a flat on them. However they are heavy and slow as hell. I suggest paying more for a kevlar beaded variant.
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Old 12-06-22, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I have had such good luck with tubeless on my mountain bike I may consider going tubeless on my next touring setup.. I went from weekly thorn flats to pretty much never flatting with tubeless on my MTB.
When you eventually do get a flat, you're going to need CO2 cartridges or other pressure assist device to reseat the tire. You'll also need to carry a spare bottle of sealant. Then in order to eliminate the possibility of being stranded, you have to carry spare tubes anyway. So at that point you're carrying all the kit for a tubeless setup, plus all the kit for a tubed setup.

And don't forget many airlines require tires to be deflated for flight.

Last edited by Yan; 12-06-22 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 12-06-22, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
...
I have had such good luck with tubeless on my mountain bike I may consider going tubeless on my next touring setup.. I went from weekly thorn flats to pretty much never flatting with tubeless on my MTB.
Since you tour on a light road bike, you might want to research tubeless on that type of bike.

I have read that some roadies that used tubeless on high pressure skinny tires had problems cornering, If a tire bead shifted enough that some air could "burp" out of the tire, the sudden loss of pressure could cause a crash.

I have no clue if an airliner could prevent that or not. Google airliner for road tubeless tires if you are not familiar with it.

Since I have never tried tubeless and probably never will, I am not speaking from experience, only what I have read. Good luck.
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Old 12-06-22, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
Southwestern US desert goat heads will puncture Marathons Plus's all day long.
Ayup, what you really want there are Marathon Supremes. I used those with Slime tire liners, in Arizona, and finally quit attracting goatheads. 😎

I'm also pretty happy so far, with Continental TourRide, but don't have enough miles yet to say they're better or worse, but probably about equal. 👍

Contact Plus is also pretty good, probably about the same as a Marathon Plus.
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Old 12-06-22, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
When you eventually do get a flat, you're going to need CO2 cartridges or other pressure assist device to reseat the tire. You'll also need to carry a spare bottle of sealant. Then in order to eliminate the possibility of being stranded, you have to carry spare tubes anyway. So at that point you're carrying all the kit for a tubeless setup, plus all the kit for a tubed setup.
It depends. Some seat pretty hard. My particular setup seats really easy even with a hand pump, but yes I'd be likely to carry a of a bead blaster just in case. It would only be needed for cases where the tire needed to be demounted That is a pretty rare occurance. Most flats that aren't handled by the sealant can be plugged without removing the tire. And yes I'd carry a tube, but probably a little aerothan one. So very little extra needs to be carried if you tour in first world countries. As far as sealant. I'd use extra in the tire and maybe carry a 2 ounce bottle to get me to a bike shop if I need to add.

And don't forget many airlines require tires to be deflated for flight.
The tires stay on the bead pretty well so a non issue even when flat, plus I think 1 or 2 psi would slip by their radar as flat.
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Old 12-06-22, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Since you tour on a light road bike, you might want to research tubeless on that type of bike.

I have read that some roadies that used tubeless on high pressure skinny tires had problems cornering, If a tire bead shifted enough that some air could "burp" out of the tire, the sudden loss of pressure could cause a crash.

I have no clue if an airliner could prevent that or not. Google airliner for road tubeless tires if you are not familiar with it.

Since I have never tried tubeless and probably never will, I am not speaking from experience, only what I have read. Good luck.
I have not ridden on skinny tubeless tires either, but... Some pro racers race on tubless so I think cornering can be managed. That said I was thinking of possibly riding a gravel bike with fatter tires than I have used lately for touring. So maybe I wouldn't be on that skinny of a tire. Not that I have been on a tour in a while or even ridden on the road much. These days I have been mostly trail riding other than a bit of road to get to the trail. I do expect to get out for more touring in the not too distant future though. I am just not sure exactly how far off that will be.
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Last edited by staehpj1; 12-07-22 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 12-07-22, 06:27 PM
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If those Marathon Pluses aren't flat resistant enough for you, I'm not sure where you go next, airless bicycle tires ? And yes, they are tougher than Gators but like staehpj1, I hate the weight and ride.
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Old 12-07-22, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
If those Marathon Pluses aren't flat resistant enough for you, I'm not sure where you go next, airless bicycle tires ? And yes, they are tougher than Gators but like staehpj1, I hate the weight and ride.
Supremes are the top level, beating Plus. 🙂 Just think of it like a pizza, where the Supreme has everything. 😁
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Old 12-07-22, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
Supremes are the top level, beating Plus. 🙂 Just think of it like a pizza, where the Supreme has everything. 😁
I have been touring on 32mm Supremes for the last 2 or 3 years and have been very satisfied with the tires but my wife loves her Pluses as she is a "I want no flats at any cost" kind of gal and her tires are definitely more robust than mine, especially in the sidewalls. I am happy to comply as it definitely slows her down and I can more easily keep up with her.
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Old 12-08-22, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I have been touring on 32mm Supremes for the last 2 or 3 years and have been very satisfied with the tires but my wife loves her Pluses as she is a "I want no flats at any cost" kind of gal and her tires are definitely more robust than mine, especially in the sidewalls. I am happy to comply as it definitely slows her down and I can more easily keep up with her.
Perhaps I've been misinformed, on their hierarchy. I'll look into it further, when I charge the phone later. 🤔

But I was right about the pizza, anyways. 😁😉
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Old 12-08-22, 12:11 PM
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Not saying it is not possible to get a flat with Marathon Plus'es, but I have found plenty of goathead's in my tire that did not cause a flat. Only one flat in many 1,000's of miles, and that was a construction staple that went into the tread (that did not cause the flat), then the other end went into the sidewall.

I find that the ride quality is fine with a B67 (spring seat) and reasonable tire pressure.

Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
Southwestern US desert goat heads will puncture Marathons Plus's all day long.
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Old 12-08-22, 03:13 PM
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For the record, Marathon Plus beats the Supreme, for flat protection AND wear & tear. It uses a much tougher rubber compound. 👍

Something I didn't know about, is their Marathon Tour Plus, which has that tougher rubber, and a more knobby-ish tread, for gravel & mud. 😎 It's probably pretty spendy, lol, but worth it, I bet. 🤔
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Old 12-08-22, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
For the record, Marathon Plus beats the Supreme, for flat protection AND wear & tear. It uses a much tougher rubber compound. 👍

Something I didn't know about, is their Marathon Tour Plus, which has that tougher rubber, and a more knobby-ish tread, for gravel & mud. 😎 It's probably pretty spendy, lol, but worth it, I bet. 🤔
Comparing Marathon Plus or Tour Plus vs Supremes really is tricky as the Supremes are really nice rolling tires, but the sidewalls are really very very thin. This gives them the nice ride quality, but that and the whole construction of the tires are not going to be as tough as the others, so in the end one has to pick what is more important to you.

As noted, check out the weight thing with Marathon Plus or Tour Plus, the Tour Plus are particularly heavy. Just one reason why I prefer Supremes, weight.
I have a friend who had Tour Plus on his bike, the same bike as mine, and the weight difference between his tires and mine is rather significant. Not to mention his wheelset is quite a bit heavier too, so just in wheels and tires, his bike is gotta be 3,4 lbs heavier.

Personally, I find the regular Marathons (/greenguard I think) to be a good compromise of cost/durability and ride feel.
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Old 12-08-22, 10:18 PM
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djb, I came to the same conclusion about the standard Marathon tires. I think they are a good compromise between weight and durability. I ordered two sets of regular Marathon tires online and hung them up until we were ready to start our tour. When I went to install them, I realized they sent Marathon Plus tires by mistake. Luckily, my wife also needed tires on her utility bike and one set went on it. I sold the other set on Craig's List. They were like anchors. I had them too long to return them to the shop.

We started serious touring on 28mm Continental Ultra Gatorskins which were great tires. We used them to ride across the U.S. We did have 13 punctures on that ride, about a quarter of them from Goatheads. They were the lightest and fastest tires we've used, but not very puncture resistant. We upped it to 32 mm Ultra Gaterskins, and rode them for several tours. On one of our last tours on those tires I had 5 punctures, four during the last 4-5 miles of a 1,200 mile ride. I got one pulling into my in-laws' driveway. All but one from Goatheads.

We switched from the 32 mm Coninentals to 32 mm Schwalbe Marathon 420s, and found them pretty to be good all around tires. We have had 32 mm Schwalbe Supremes for awhile but have not really given them any hard use yet,about a 1,000 miles. I did destroy one on the first week I put them on my bike. I booted it up, and it got me home.


Marathon Supreme

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Old 12-08-22, 10:32 PM
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Yowzer Doug, that's one heck of a gash!
(Big touch wood here) I've never damaged a sidewall, maybe a few scuffs, but boy whatever you hit really did a number on that poor tire.
I'm impressed that you were able to get home on it.

Ya, I presently have 700x35 regular marathons on my commuter ad and I like how the width is pretty good for rough pavement (of which here in Montreal we have a crapload of) and a pretty good ride if kept at reasonable pressures.
I used to have a set of 26x1.5in ones on my old MTB commuter, and I must have put 10,000kms on them and they still looked good. Again great for rough roads, potholes in the dark etc.
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Old 12-09-22, 04:41 AM
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I had to check how much heavier the plus tour is and on the schwalbe website it's 30 grams lighter than the regular marathon plus. Seems strange but perhaps there's something going on under the hood.
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Old 12-09-22, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
We switched from the 32 mm Coninentals to 32 mm Schwalbe Marathon 420s, and found them pretty to be good all around tires
About ten years ago I also replaced my 700x32 Gatorskins with 700x32 HS 420 Marathon Green Guards. I found the Marathons to be so sluggish around town I put the Gatorskins back on for an upcoming tour. The "new" Schwalbes hung in my basement for a decade.

Fast forward to today ... After having to electrify my bike, I started having frequent flats using knobby 700x43 gravel tires, quite a chore to repair roadside with a motor assist on the rear wheel. I pulled the "sluggish" Marathons out of storage and replaced the 43s. They silently fly along with the assist and so far no flats!

Not an endorsement for ebikes, just pointing out the flat resistance of the Green Guard. If I could still tour on a conventional bike I'd likely use the Continentals with an occasional flat.

Last edited by BobG; 12-09-22 at 08:35 AM. Reason: sp
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