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The Unbelievable Endurance of Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tiress

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The Unbelievable Endurance of Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tiress

Old 03-15-24, 01:22 AM
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I’ve toured for decades on Gatorskins and GatorHardshells. Puncture protection is great, and they do feel nimble. Unless you’re off-road a lot they’re fantastic tires.
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Old 03-15-24, 09:32 AM
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Problem with the Gatoskin tires is that the max width is only 32mm, which is ok if you're not carrying a heavy camping load, but with a heavy camping load you will have to use more PSI which means the ride won't be as comfortable and you'll have to use between 80 to 90 psi, whereas with a 38 you'll only need 60 to 70 psi, those 20 fewer psi can make a big difference in the ride quality. However, the Almotion from the factory labels their size at 38, it is actually a 40, which means you can use a bit less air.

The other issue with the Gatorskin is that once 60 pounds or so of gear is added they wear out fast, you'll only get about 3,000 to 5,000 miles max on the tire vs over 8,000 to 10,000 miles loaded with the Schwalbe Almotion tire. The Almotion tire has a superior flat protection system vs the Gatorskin; also for touring tires, the Almotion had the lowest rolling resistance of any touring tire tested. There was a tire tested called the Compass that showed a lower rolling resistance, but it was also 3 mm narrower at factory specs, but the Almotion actually measures out to 40 so the Compass was actually 5 mm narrower, thus the reason why the Compass has lower rolling resistance. And if you look at the Gatorskin in a 25mm it actually uses 4 to 5 more watts than the wider 38 (40) Almotion despite it's weight being more, and so the Gator 32mm would consume even more watts, probably at least 5 watts more, so with Almotion you would be saving at least 10 watts over the Gator.

All of that compiled, tire width, comfort, flat resistance, rolling resistance, and long mileage, is why I chose the Almotion.
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Old 03-16-24, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Problem with the Gatoskin tires is that the max width is only 32mm, which is ok if you're not carrying a heavy camping load, but with a heavy camping load you will have to use more PSI which means the ride won't be as comfortable and you'll have to use between 80 to 90 psi, whereas with a 38 you'll only need 60 to 70 psi, those 20 fewer psi can make a big difference in the ride quality. However, the Almotion from the factory labels their size at 38, it is actually a 40, which means you can use a bit less air.

The other issue with the Gatorskin is that once 60 pounds or so of gear is added they wear out fast, you'll only get about 3,000 to 5,000 miles max on the tire vs over 8,000 to 10,000 miles loaded with the Schwalbe Almotion tire. The Almotion tire has a superior flat protection system vs the Gatorskin; also for touring tires, the Almotion had the lowest rolling resistance of any touring tire tested. There was a tire tested called the Compass that showed a lower rolling resistance, but it was also 3 mm narrower at factory specs, but the Almotion actually measures out to 40 so the Compass was actually 5 mm narrower, thus the reason why the Compass has lower rolling resistance. And if you look at the Gatorskin in a 25mm it actually uses 4 to 5 more watts than the wider 38 (40) Almotion despite it's weight being more, and so the Gator 32mm would consume even more watts, probably at least 5 watts more, so with Almotion you would be saving at least 10 watts over the Gator.

All of that compiled, tire width, comfort, flat resistance, rolling resistance, and long mileage, is why I chose the Almotion.
I think you've described the reason I could just use my Gatorskins. I'm not going to be loading down the bike, I'll be hotel touring and will just need clothes, a few tools and small food items and don't need to be fully self sufficient. It won't be heavier than I would have it with 4 bottles of wine in it. I also prefer harder tires. Also, while the 700c size may come in various widths the 26" size only came in 1 1/8 or 28-559. I've been riding gators for years on that bike, my regular commuter until I retired, 20 miles RT 3 times a week. I think I'm only on my second pair.

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Old 03-17-24, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Problem with the Gatoskin tires is that the max width is only 32mm, which is ok if you're not carrying a heavy camping load, but with a heavy camping load you will have to use more PSI which means the ride won't be as comfortable and you'll have to use between 80 to 90 psi, whereas with a 38 you'll only need 60 to 70 psi, those 20 fewer psi can make a big difference in the ride quality. However, the Almotion from the factory labels their size at 38, it is actually a 40, which means you can use a bit less air.

The other issue with the Gatorskin is that once 60 pounds or so of gear is added they wear out fast, you'll only get about 3,000 to 5,000 miles max on the tire vs over 8,000 to 10,000 miles loaded with the Schwalbe Almotion tire.
To be fair 60 pounds is a lot of stuff even when camping and packing pretty heavy. We all choose to carry different amounts of stuff and that is fine, but you really don't have to go down the ultra light rabbit hole to get to or below 30 pounds.
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Old 03-17-24, 11:18 AM
  #30  
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Maybe I’m missing something? I’ve never thought ”oh, I’m comfortable or uncomfortable” on my Hardshells at 100 psi, or on a MTB with 2” tires.
They are of course more suitable for different terrains, but what is this ”comfort” thing?

In a more general sense, I think there are lots of ”uncomfortable” things about touring: from being freezing cold and wet to totally beat at the end of a long day… but that’s what I love about it.

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Old 03-17-24, 04:09 PM
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On this morning's Tour de Cure, the first flat I fixed was on an e-bike running 700x38C Marathon Pluses. They're beefy beasts. It was surprising that that tire would have flatted. Didn't figure out the cause onsite - nothing in the tire or in the tread, rim & strip were fine, etc. The punctured tube is mixed in with several others needing later patching, so I won't know with 100% certainty which one was inside the Schwalbe, but it'll be interesting to see where the hole is.
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Old 03-17-24, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
To be fair 60 pounds is a lot of stuff even when camping and packing pretty heavy. We all choose to carry different amounts of stuff and that is fine, but you really don't have to go down the ultra light rabbit hole to get to or below 30 pounds.
Not when you include water and food

Road touring weight is between 55 to 110 pounds, so 60 is on the lighter side for standard road touring. Touring Bike Weight: Is It Important? Here’s the Answer! – Bikescent
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Old 03-18-24, 03:53 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Not when you include water and food

Road touring weight is between 55 to 110 pounds, so 60 is on the lighter side for standard road touring. Touring Bike Weight: Is It Important? Here’s the Answer! – Bikescent
Note that the article you linked assumes 26-36 pounds is the bicycle and the rest is gear. The discussion above is only 60 pounds of gear. So the comparison is more like:

86-96 pounds vs 55-110 pounds. One range is narrower than the other but I wouldn't say 60 pounds of gear is "on the lighter side".
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Old 03-18-24, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Not when you include water and food

Road touring weight is between 55 to 110 pounds, so 60 is on the lighter side for standard road touring. Touring Bike Weight: Is It Important? Here’s the Answer! – Bikescent
You said "once 60 pounds or so of gear is added" and now you seem to be including the bike. In any case I agree that there is a wide range of what folks carry. That said I started out carrying less than 60 pounds on my first tour (multi month) and I was packed way heavier than necessary. I found it very easy to carry way less than that. I progressed to ligher and lighter packing, but getting well below the numbers you mention was really easy.

BTW, you mention food and water. I'll just say that for road touring in the US I figure that shopping daily late in the day is or should be the norm. At times carrying a lot of water may be necessary (a few single days out of a multi month tour is the norm IME), but most of the time topping off bottles multiple times per day is normal.

So are there other approaches and exceptions? Sure. Are there places where you need to carry multiple days worth of water? Are ther folks who just choose to carry bigger heavier gear? Yes to all of that. It doesn't negate the fact that it is quite reasonable to tour with 20 pounds or less of camping and cooking gear and to restock food and water as frequently as possible.
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Old 03-18-24, 06:29 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
… It doesn't negate the fact that it is quite reasonable to tour with 20 pounds or less of camping gear…
Depends where and in what weather.

I’ve done overnight tours with nothing more than a space blanket and a puncture repair kit… and wet/cold/stormy tours where I have way more than 20 lbs of gear plus food and water for multiple days.


Originally Posted by staehpj1
BTW, you mention food and water. I'll just say that for road touring in the US I figure that shopping daily late in the day is or should be the norm.
Depends on what you eat.

Oats, rice, peanut butter, coffee, salt, olive oil, and tabasco are staples of my road diet, and sold in packages that last 7-10 days or more. On top of that I buy bread, bananas and beans which can be bought daily.

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Old 03-18-24, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
Depends on what you eat.
Oats, rice, peanut butter, coffee, salt, olive oil, and tabasco are staples of my road diet, and sold in packages that last 7-10 days or more. On top of that I buy bread, bananas and beans which can be bought daily.
Fair enough. I'd add that if you used tortillas as bread the keep forever and come in larger packages so they might be bought in similar 7-10 amounts.
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Old 03-18-24, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Fair enough. I'd add that if you used tortillas as bread the keep forever and come in larger packages so they might be bought in similar 7-10 amounts.
Sorry staehp, I edited my post above after you posted.

Yes, tortillas are great… but in France, a freshly baked baguette is hard to beat
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Old 03-18-24, 06:55 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by imi
Maybe I’m missing something? I’ve never thought ”oh, I’m comfortable or uncomfortable” on my Hardshells at 100 psi, or on a MTB with 2” tires.
They are of course more suitable for different terrains, but what is this ”comfort” thing?

In a more general sense, I think there are lots of ”uncomfortable” things about touring: from being freezing cold and wet to totally beat at the end of a long day… but that’s what I love about it.
Ive ridden gatorskins for ages, and at the right pressures for my body weight and how much weight I'm carrying on the bike, they are fine, especially on good pavement.
Imi, I suspect that you are like I was before I started trying more "supple" tires and being more attentive to the pressures I was using--I didnt think too much about comfort. When I tried tires with a more supple casing and sidewall, I began to notice a marked improvement in comfort and when riding over rough pavement, the bike was faster and more comfortable with nicer tires.
I started to notice this when I began trying different pressures and different tires on the same long commute I was doing all the time--this allowed me to really notice how changes felt from day to day, going over the same route, riding the same good pavement at times, and also over the same terribly bumpy, potholey Montreal road sections, all in the same ride.
Doing the same route, I could see that the riding time didnt change, but the comfort did improve.

but my wife, she doesnt notice stuff at all, or certainly cannot express feeling diff things, so the noticing factor by an individual comes into play also.

re how a tire feels--here is a recent example from me. I ride in the canadian winter, snow ice, cold, on studded schwalbe tires, 1.75in or 44mm. We have just started getting warmer weather, and the same tires at 5c or 8c are noticeably more flexible, cushy, more comfortable than riding them at -10c.
At the same pressures.
Its the sidewalls and casing that are now less hard, so softer and more flexible, and I really notice it riding the same streets doing the same route.

Generally, a more flexible tire will ride more comfortably, BUT also be faster than a super tough tire at lower pressures.

anyway, if the roads you ride on are in good shape, ie not having the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw that we get here, then its probably not an issue. Plus our roads dont get the same good construction techniques as Scandinavians do, especially in the part of Canada I live in. Quebec roads are notoriously crappy.
I think most Europeans dont have an idea of how bad our roads can be, unless you are from Albania.
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Old 03-18-24, 06:56 AM
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If I got on a bike with 60 pounds of weight and told I'd be pedaling it 1000 miles I'd say no thanks.
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Old 03-18-24, 07:01 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by djb
I think most Europeans dont have an idea of how bad our roads can be, unless you are from Albania.
Fair point. I tour mostly in western europe (never been to Albania),and if you’re on a marked road (for cars), then it’s not often you think ”what a crappy road”
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Old 03-18-24, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster
If I got on a bike with 60 pounds of weight and told I'd be pedaling it 1000 miles I'd say no thanks.

Göran Kropp on his way from Sweden to (and up) Mount Everest

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Old 03-18-24, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
Fair point. I tour mostly in western europe (never been to Albania),and if you’re on a marked road (for cars), then it’s not often you think ”what a crappy road”
on my one bike I have had 28mm Gatorskins on it for well over 10 years. Once I figured out to put less pressures in them, I found cornering much better and riding overall more comfortable with no real change of speed. On rougher roads, it made a huge difference in riding comfort, my hands, bum, everything.
A few years ago I got some 32mm Supremes (same tire model I have used a lot on my 26in touring bike, 50mm and 40mm versions) and these 700x32 Supremes were noticeably more comfortable than the 28mm Gatorskins.
Partly due to using less pressures, but also a more flexible tire, so when riding over rougher pavement, it was really nice-so I was less tired from being jiggled and bounced a lot, and I was easily as fast as on the 28 gatorskins.
Oh, this bike is my "faster" bike, so while I am not fast by any means, I still ride it with a much higher average speed than my touring bike, and I don't see a downside to wider more supple tires.

* a more supple tire will have a less thick sidewall and casing, so lighter also -- BUT more fragile if you arent careful and ride against or into sharp stuff, so that is of course a factor we have to take into consideration too depending on the riding situation and balancing risk of damaging a tire.
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Old 03-18-24, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mev
Note that the article you linked assumes 26-36 pounds is the bicycle and the rest is gear. The discussion above is only 60 pounds of gear. So the comparison is more like:

86-96 pounds vs 55-110 pounds. One range is narrower than the other but I wouldn't say 60 pounds of gear is "on the lighter side".
Most of the touring people I've run into run with 40 pounds on the back panniers and 30 pounds in the front panniers including handlebar bag, plus the tent, sleeping bag, and water; and their rear panniers are larger than mine, mine were the size of their front panniers! I talked to quite a few of these people at various campgrounds. I only run a panniers on the rear, and a handlebar bag, that's it, plus the tent, sleeping bag of course, and my camping chair, those three items get strapped on the outside on top of the panniers, some riders didn't take chairs, some did, I found the chair to be nice to relax in. So I don't think from what I've seen that 60 pounds is heavy for gear.

That's not to say there are ultralight tourers out there, I only ran into one guy doing it that way, his whole set up weighed about 35 pounds not including water and the bike. But his set up also cost about 4 times what most people spend on gear.

Then there's the expedition people that go out into desolate places, those guys will carry a lot more weight, at around 80 to 120 pounds in gear, The guys a long time ago that use to tour their stuff was even more heavier due to the lack of modern materials! I can't imagine pedaling around with that much weight, which is why I will never do an expedition type of trip!

I packed my panniers to see how much they weigh, with food too, since it's all prepackaged and I'm petty much loaded and ready to go next month, and each panner when balanced came out at 13.2 pounds each, the saddle bag is 2 pounds of stuff, the handlebar bag came in at just a hair under 10 pounds, the tent is around 5 pounds, (it's a two person tent because I wanted interior space to put stuff); the sleeping bag is about 2 pounds; and the chair about 1 1/4 pounds; and my Tenkara fishing rod including tube is 1 pound, not including water I have about 48 pounds rounding up some more. I do carry two 52 ounce bottles of water, along with 2-24 ounce bottles, and a 16 ounce bottle, all plastic, no stainless, so fluid weight is rounded up to 11 pounds. So with water I'm running 59 pounds, with the bike weight at 33, that's 92 pounds total.

If I'm willing to go to a store everyday I could carry less food, but I carry 3 days with me at any given time, try to buy food every 2nd day which seems about what I run into store wise, so the third day is for emergency, some people only carry 1 1/2 days worth of food.

Like I said, talking to others they're carrying a bit more due to the additional stuff in two front panniers I don't have, plus their rear bags are larger than mine. Most were running 70 liter Ortlieb rear panniers mine are 45s, and most were using 40 to 42 liter front bags, some had smaller 20s and 30s. Those liter capacity ratings are rated as a pair not each.

I think the weight I carry is under what most carry, without a doubt there are ultralight guys out there, but they are far and few between on the road, most of those guys are running off road.
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Old 03-18-24, 02:30 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
Then there's the expedition people that go out into desolate places, those guys will carry a lot more weight, at around 80 to 120 pounds in gear...
For what it is worth, I have cycled across six continents. The Africa (Cairo to Capetown) trip was a supported ride, but I have crossed longer stretches including riding across Russia (Amsterdam to Vladivostok), one lap around outside of Australia, the length of the Americas (Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia). Yes, at times I carried a fair amount more than 60 pounds of gear and on average I carry more than many people I meet on the road. For me it has been more about having and bringing along tech toys or being extra prepared for mechanical issues than food/water which is more variable depending on where I go. As an example during a 6600 mile trip I rode last year through the lower 48 states, it was rare to have a gap of over 50 miles between services and often less than 30 carrying food/water was more of a choice I made than a necessity.

Even though I often carry more, I will still stand by my comment that 60 pounds is not "on the lighter side".
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Old 03-18-24, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
...
Then there's the expedition people that go out into desolate places, those guys will carry a lot more weight, at around 80 to 120 pounds in gear, The guys a long time ago that use to tour their stuff was even more heavier due to the lack of modern materials! I can't imagine pedaling around with that much weight, which is why I will never do an expedition type of trip!
....
When I went into the middle of Iceland, I think you are talking about me as being one of the "expedition people". I did not want to know how much gear I had for weight. I had a luggage scale but chose not to use it. I think I had two and a half weeks of food on the bike when the photo below was taken. This bike frame is rated for up to 60kg of luggage, not counting weight of rider. I think I did not have that much, but maybe I did? The bike handled the weight fantastically.




The tour I am planning right now would almost exclusively be on pavement and fairly flat. There will be some sections where I need to carry four days of food, but probably no more than that. So, I can travel pretty light. Using the bike in the photo below, but I anticipate that the rack top bag will be nearly empty most of the time.




I like having extra volume available like that big rack top rear bag, if you see the big box of croissants on sale, you have room for it on the bike, it took several days to eat all of them.




When you add up the weight of everything on that bike that says Ortlieb, that is about 8 pounds, just for the panniers and rack top bag.
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Old 03-19-24, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
When I went into the middle of Iceland, I think you are talking about me as being one of the "expedition people". I did not want to know how much gear I had for weight. I had a luggage scale but chose not to use it. I think I had two and a half weeks of food on the bike when the photo below was taken. This bike frame is rated for up to 60kg of luggage, not counting weight of rider. I think I did not have that much, but maybe I did? The bike handled the weight fantastically.




The tour I am planning right now would almost exclusively be on pavement and fairly flat. There will be some sections where I need to carry four days of food, but probably no more than that. So, I can travel pretty light. Using the bike in the photo below, but I anticipate that the rack top bag will be nearly empty most of the time.




I like having extra volume available like that big rack top rear bag, if you see the big box of croissants on sale, you have room for it on the bike, it took several days to eat all of them.




When you add up the weight of everything on that bike that says Ortlieb, that is about 8 pounds, just for the panniers and rack top bag.
Nice bikes!

Your setup is typical of what I see with most people touring across the USA, those people I spoke to that had that sort of setup were saying that they were running over the weight I was running with. I have some room to lighten up things, by not carrying as much food like I do, other than that there isn't much I can reduce unless I spend a huge amount of money to buy ultralight stuff, and go minimalized and I just don't see any reason to do that. As things wear out I will replace with lighter stuff, but within reason, I can't justify spending $800 for a ZPacks tent just to save some weight, and that's just one item, by the time I did that sort of thing with all my stuff I would easily be over $4,000 in gear, and I don't know how many years I'm going to be doing this since I'm 70, so by the time my tent wears out I may be done camping like this, I'll see. I also like to camp with some degree of comfort so I don't want to minimalize everything and be uncomfortable camping. I have thicker than normal airpad too because of my lower back fusion, and those lightweight thin sleeping pads don't work for me, so my pad is thicker and thus heavier than others would take. It is what it is.
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Old 03-23-24, 12:40 PM
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My favourite touring tyres!

You say they are not immune to flats but on my first long tour through East and Southern Africa and over 6,000km I did not get a single puncture - even on dirt roads with lots of thorns. That made me a lifelong fan. I lost track of how many kilometres that pair did before they eventually started crumbling.

A while ago some people on this Forum thought I was being extra by going out of my way to try and get a replacement set while I was touring in South America. But once I got those new tyres on I again had no worries about punctures. (The only one I got was probably from some lout sticking a pin or blade through one of my sidewalls).

They may be heavy but for the peace of mind I would choose them any day. One other thing: I think being very diligent about maintaining the right tyre pressure makes a big difference: if you let pressure drop too low it reduces how puncture proof they are.
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Old 03-23-24, 06:29 PM
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I think what people are saying is that those Schwalbe tires are not flat proof, but they are highly flat resistant; yes you most certainly could ride across the US and never get a flat, the chances are high that would probably happen. I have a couple of thousand on my Schwalbe Almotion tires and never had a flat, heck, there's not even a tiny cut on the tires even after riding miles over broken field of glass.

I did cheat with my Almotion tires, I added Clear Motion Rhinodillo flat-liners to my tires because I want to make darn sure I don't get a flat on a loaded bike. Rhinodillos are tougher than Mr Tuffy liners, I had an old Tuffy liner and I could put a tack through it pretty easily, but bent the tack on the Rhinos and couldn't penetrate it, and then I tried to cut them both with scissors, and the Tuffy cut like butter, but the Rhino hurt my arthritic hand, but I did manage to cut it. Adding a liner may sound like an overkill for tires like the Schwalbe Marathon Touring Plus, or my Almotion tires, but like I said, I don't want the headache of a flat on a loaded bike.
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Old 03-23-24, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels
My favourite touring tyres!

You say they are not immune to flats but on my first long tour through East and Southern Africa and over 6,000km I did not get a single puncture - even on dirt roads with lots of thorns.
In 2013 I went on a supported TDA ride from Cairo to Capetown (~12000km). There were ~50 of us who were on the entire trip. The number of flat tires varied per person with a few having zero flats and the maximum one ride had more than 30. The general scheme was a few had tire problems early even in Egypt/Sudan until tire/tube issues were sorted out. The next round of excessive flats/thorns happened as we went off road in Sudan. We had a relapse of lots of thorns near Garies South Africa but some throughout the trip.

I had two flats which was slightly below average. In general, those who had Marathon Plus tires did better than those with other tires.

I had two occasions of leaks in thermarest mattress that needed patching and that was also a common ailment if we weren't extra careful in finding our camp sites and then doing our best to clear the surface of residual thorns.

So definitely some parts of the US west (goat heads), South Africa, Sudan, Argentina and Peru in particular where I particularly appreciated the puncture protection.
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Old 03-25-24, 03:29 AM
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Having done several thousand km on my 50mm MP tyres, the biggest plus for me is no longer having to worry about punctures. I will avoid broken glass if I see it, but evading roadsides prone to puncture causing materials is a thing of the past.

They're also fine for the occasional off-road that I do (by necessity rather than choice).
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