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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 03-27-24, 01:13 AM
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Finally I was able to mount summer tires on my touring bike. I have Marathon Almotions standing by, and they are admittedly extremely supple and nice. However since our roads will remain coated with arrowheads some like to call pounded gravel for at least a month or more, I mounted marathon plusses. I don't know if it's the long winter with studded tires (which are actually quite supple) or something else, but the MP's aren't bad.

Sure they aren't as nice as the "road" tires on my allroad bike, but I wouldn't be the first to call them uncomfortable. In bigger bumps they could have a bit more flex (pressure dependent) but the puncture protection latex (that blue stuff you see inside) actually filters out a lot of the buzz of asphalt. I'd even go as far as to call them pretty smooth.

Also surprisingly the MP isn't actually that slow a tire according to rolling resistance testing. It's only around 10 watts less efficient that Bon Jon Pass, which is a very fast tire. But you get a lot of security for that 10 watts. My guess is that MP is as efficient as it is because of the puncture protection latex, which is really bouncy stuff.

My experience has also been that the stiff feeling of the MP is greatly lessened when the bike is loaded down with luggage.
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Old 03-27-24, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
Finally I was able to mount summer tires on my touring bike. I have Marathon Almotions standing by, and they are admittedly extremely supple and nice. However since our roads will remain coated with arrowheads some like to call pounded gravel for at least a month or more, I mounted marathon plusses. I don't know if it's the long winter with studded tires (which are actually quite supple) or something else, but the MP's aren't bad.

Sure they aren't as nice as the "road" tires on my allroad bike, but I wouldn't be the first to call them uncomfortable. In bigger bumps they could have a bit more flex (pressure dependent) but the puncture protection latex (that blue stuff you see inside) actually filters out a lot of the buzz of asphalt. I'd even go as far as to call them pretty smooth.

Also surprisingly the MP isn't actually that slow a tire according to rolling resistance testing. It's only around 10 watts less efficient that Bon Jon Pass, which is a very fast tire. But you get a lot of security for that 10 watts. My guess is that MP is as efficient as it is because of the puncture protection latex, which is really bouncy stuff.

My experience has also been that the stiff feeling of the MP is greatly lessened when the bike is loaded down with luggage.
The MP and the MPT uses a 5 mm thick Smart Guard layer, which provides excellent puncture protection. This layer is made from a special rubber that includes a proportion of recycled rubber from old latex products, but it is not all latex, what the rest of the material used, or the percentage of latex product used in it is not disclosed.

My Almotion tires use the V guard liner, which is lighter in weight than the Race Guard liner ( not sure why the race guard is heavier, it should be the other way around), and they don't say what that's made of other than some sort of densely woven fiber, whatever it's made of it works. But like I mentioned before, I do cheat by using Clear Motion Rhinodillos liners. At the time the Almotion tires had the least rolling resistance of any touring type of tire, but they now they have a newer one called the Marathon Efficiency, this tire, according to Schwalbe, rolls a bit better than the Almotion and it's lighter in weight by about 100 grams, with the same flat protection as the Almotion. When my Almotion tires wear out I'll try those Efficiency tires unless something new and better comes along before that.

Neither the Efficiency nor the Almotion tires have the high flat resistance as the MP or the MPT has, but I wanted a faster rolling tire thus less energy being spent trying to pedal a 60 pound load around for a half a day. I had the Greenguard before, and those felt like a sluggish brick compared to the Almotion.
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Old 03-27-24, 01:47 PM
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The narrowest Marathon Efficiency is 40mm so it's not a direct replacement for the discontinued Supremes. 40mm is wider than I need for the type of touring that I do, so unfortunately this tire is out for me.

In any case, looking at the Bicyclerollingresistance.com ranking chart, the Continental Contact Urban is a better tire overall than the Efficiency, with similar rolling resistance and weight but significantly better puncture resistance.

And there's also the Continental Grand Prix Urban. This tire is faster and lighter still, and given how cheap it is, it's a good choice for shorter tours where mid-tour tire replacement in developing countries isn't a factor.

And for any single leg tour without a mid tour flight, tubeless should be considered. None of these tires are tubeless.

Last edited by Yan; 03-27-24 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 03-27-24, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
The narrowest Marathon Efficiency is 40mm so it's not a direct replacement for the discontinued Supremes. 40mm is wider than I need for the type of touring that I do, so unfortunately this tire is out for me.

In any case, looking at the Bicyclerollingresistance.com ranking chart, the Continental Contact Urban is a better tire overall than the Efficiency, with similar rolling resistance and weight but significantly better puncture resistance.

And there's also the Continental Grand Prix Urban. This tire is faster and lighter still, and given how cheap it is, it's a good choice for shorter tours where mid-tour tire replacement in developing countries isn't a factor.

And for any single leg tour without a mid tour flight, tubeless should be considered. None of these tires are tubeless.
Nope, I went to the rolling resistant site and they are both virtually the same with about 2 tenths of a watt separating the two, you would never ever remotely feel, or see the difference on any sort of bicycle watt meter.

Puncture wise the Urban is a bit better.

The Urban could be an interesting option, but what we don't know is how many miles will it last, but from the reports the Efficiency will last 6,000 to 8,000 miles, probably the lower number is loaded miles, the Urban I can only find a 6,000 mile rating and no word if that's loaded or not.

But the Urban tire won't work for me since it won't do well on a gravel road which sometimes I have to travel on.

Last edited by rekmeyata; 03-27-24 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 03-28-24, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
The narrowest Marathon Efficiency is 40mm so it's not a direct replacement for the discontinued Supremes. 40mm is wider than I need for the type of touring that I do, so unfortunately this tire is out for me.

In any case, looking at the Bicyclerollingresistance.com ranking chart, the Continental Contact Urban is a better tire overall than the Efficiency, with similar rolling resistance and weight but significantly better puncture resistance.

And there's also the Continental Grand Prix Urban. This tire is faster and lighter still, and given how cheap it is, it's a good choice for shorter tours where mid-tour tire replacement in developing countries isn't a factor.

And for any single leg tour without a mid tour flight, tubeless should be considered. None of these tires are tubeless.
In building my current wheelset I went and did an oopsie. I wanted 36h wheels but could only find 36h hubs for the rear (not many of those on offer either). The front is 32h.

I chose ordinary crotchet rims because I was fairly sure I wouldn't tour with tubeless again after the last fiasco in sweden.

However now that there actually are really good durable tubeless gravel and touring tires available I'd like to use tubeless again. I'm pretty much sold on sealant and having a thicker touring tread helps massively in plugging a potential puncture. The problem is, there aren't any 36h tubeless rims. They exist, but not where I can actually buy them or they're too wide for the width of tires I'm using.

SO I need a new wheelset, but with nice hubs and TL rims AND alpine 3 spokes those things gets expensive fast.
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Old 04-02-24, 11:41 AM
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The tire mentioned in the OP was finally done in at 27,000km by a section of rocky Sumatran jungle track that I rode two days ago. It developed a bulge that could be felt every revolution while riding, and I replaced it with the spare over our lunch break today. Here's the area that was bulging, though you can't tell with the tire off the rim.

The replacement tire is a Kenda Flintridge Pro gravel tire. I rode 90km on the new tire this afternoon and to be honest, I couldn't feel any difference whatsoever through the suspension seatpost and stem I'm running.

The Kenda has a printed max pressure rating of only 50 psi (35mm width). That seems ridiculously low for an expedition loaded touring bike. I pumped it up to 60 psi but it still looks way too soft when my weight is on it. Should I go even higher or is this kind of droopy tire riding considered normal these days?


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Old 04-24-24, 03:00 PM
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My only Marathon Plus puncture was a self-inflicted one, where the bead wire de-laminated and poked a hole in the tube. Never installed with anything other than tire levers, just a bad batch of tires it seems.
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Old 04-24-24, 07:50 PM
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I had a similar situation with Kenda Drumlin tires, all the tire calculators I used for PSI none said more than 45 psi for 700x45c tires with a total of 275 pounds with me, gear and bike, but the tires looked flattish, so I kept putting more air, and they didn't start looking normal till they got to 80 psi which was the max on the sidewall.
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Old 04-24-24, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
I had a similar situation with Kenda Drumlin tires, all the tire calculators I used for PSI none said more than 45 psi for 700x45c tires with a total of 275 pounds with me, gear and bike, but the tires looked flattish, so I kept putting more air, and they didn't start looking normal till they got to 80 psi which was the max on the sidewall.
I've toured for months on 50mm tires, with total bike weight ranging from 200-215lbs, so quite a bit less weight, and I ran usually 40f 45r ish, sometimes a bit less psi, sometimes a bit more, but not more than 50.
80 seems high to me, but very hard to compare with the extra 60-75 lbs.

What I would suggest is to not go by look, but really by feel.
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Old 04-25-24, 11:27 AM
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I ended up settling on 70psi for the 35mm Kenda tire. I'm at around 250lb total weight. When the tire is at 50-60psi I can feel it squirming around under me.
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Old 04-26-24, 10:30 AM
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With a long-lasting tire you got to remember to change tubes every year or so. Once, I let them go for a couple years. Then I had a catastrophic valve stem failure that put my face in the dirt. Luckily, I was riding a soft, sandy trail at the time.
Mine run into hazards like this:
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Old 04-27-24, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy
Mine run into hazards like this:
You're supposed to ride around those!
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Old 04-28-24, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by UnCruel
You're supposed to ride around those!
Couldn't. I had a flat.
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Old 04-28-24, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy
With a long-lasting tire you got to remember to change tubes every year or so. Once, I let them go for a couple years. Then I had a catastrophic valve stem failure that put my face in the dirt. Luckily, I was riding a soft, sandy trail at the time.
The hell are you talking about?? Cheapo presta tubes in skinny rims?? Never going to happen with schraeder.
I use mine till they have a flat and too old to bother patching. They get old just sitting in the box 5 years too. Glue is useless after a year or 2.
My dad had a 20 or 30 year old tube with over 12 patches, on his antique Rudge SS. LOL. Then he whined because I cut it up. I think I was changing a cracked hub.
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