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Question About My New Marathon XR tires

Old 12-16-10, 11:19 PM
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zeppinger
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Question About My New Marathon XR tires

I just mounted my new Marathon XR 26x2.0 tires on my Surly LHT and rode to work as usual.

Man, these things are slow. Previously I have been using a set of standard Marathon tires that were 26x1.75. I am assuming that the reduced speed has more to do with the aggressive tred pattern rather than the increase in width. Would that be a safe assumption? My old Marathons were nice tires but did not perform too well on the few occasions I took them on dirt track. I also had 4-5 punctures with about 2,000 miles of touring on them, good but not amazing.

I bought these XRs for a cross China ride taking place in February. I will be riding from Beijing to and through India. I wanted something that could handle just about any terrain I threw at them (I know, unrealistic) and also be pretty darn flat proof. Everyone rants and raves about these tires so I took the plunge. On my short ride into work I was unimpressed by the rolling resistance on my unloaded bike. Maybe once I load it up the difference in speed will not be as noticeable? Even when descending these tires felt slow. I had the inflation pressure set at 70 PSI which is the max written on the side of the tire.

Did I choose the right tire for the kind of ride I am doing? I am thinking that most of the first half of china is going to have good pavement but will slowly peeter out when I get closer to Tibet. These tires look like they would be great for Tibet and Nepal. Maybe I should order the XRs in a 1.6 for faster speeds? Or should I just get a new pair of standard Marathons in the 1.75 that I know I like and just deal with the occasional flat?


Thanks in advance,
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Old 12-16-10, 11:55 PM
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I got 7500 miles on XR's before sidewall failure. Zero flats. Not aggressive enough for singletrack and not so good on wet rocks and roots, but they're the go-to tire for anything better than and including degraded chip seal. Too bad Schwalbe doesn't make them any more.
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Old 12-17-10, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
I got 7500 miles on XR's before sidewall failure. Zero flats. Not aggressive enough for singletrack and not so good on wet rocks and roots, but they're the go-to tire for anything better than and including degraded chip seal. Too bad Schwalbe doesn't make them any more.
I got mine from Wiggle.com and there are a number of other online retailers who still have them in stock.
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Old 12-17-10, 02:59 PM
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if you want a definitive answer load the bike up with all your gear and time the difference on a set course with hills and flat stretches. I bet the difference won't be anywhere as noticable as when the bike is unloaded. I can tell the difference between the 35mm XRs and the other tires I used on the Cross-Check but the moment I fill up the bike with 25lbs of groceries the differences becomes less noticable.
Think of it like your truck. If you drive around most of the time unloaded then regular passenger tires work great, if you drive around with the bed full of 900lbs of stuff all the time then truck tires start to make sense but they ride like truck tires. The XR are nice truck tires with tough rubber on them. Not really ideal for unloaded and fast riding but if you want tires that last a long time and will carry weight, that's what they're there for.

Last edited by LeeG; 12-17-10 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 12-18-10, 06:38 AM
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Thanks LeeG that makes a lot of sense.

I still might splurge on a second set of them in the 1.6 size though. The 2.0s are so wide that my fenders are having issues swallowing them. Further more, being a light rider (150#) and also going fairly light on gear I think the 1.6 will be plenty wide and make for a better all around compromise.
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Old 12-18-10, 10:57 AM
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I use 35mm 700c XRs on my LHT and have been surprised how fast they roll [for a touring tour]. I use 2.0" XRs on my Big Dummy and they aren't bad in that size either. I've had straight up Marathons and didn't find the XRs any slower.

Make sure you are inflating them properly. You want to inflate them so you get ~7-8mm vertical drop when sitting on the bike with your typical gear.

I tried 1.6" XRs and gave them away. They weren't as comfy as the 2.0" version and no faster for me.
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Old 12-19-10, 11:06 AM
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I bought two Duremes and one Extreme in the 26 X 2.0 size and toured with a Dureme on the front and Extreme on the rear on 300 miles of packed gravel (rails to trail) last month. (The second Dureme was my spare.) If I was going to use my 26 inch touring bike on pavement, I would put a Dureme on front and rear. (The Extreme would be my spare in this case.) I was reasonably pleased with how they roll. I won't say they are fantastic, but they exceeded my expectations. But around home I use a tire with better rolling resistance. I have not used an XR, I can't comment on that model.

I have bought from Wiggle in the past but I wanted both reflective sidewall and folding bead which Wiggle did not have, the best price I found was at cyclocamping.com , I do not know if they still offer free shipping on orders above $120 but they did when I bought my tires.

An interesting graphic from Wallbike that I looked at before I bought:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallblog/4269416896/
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Old 12-22-10, 06:46 AM
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Hi Zep

Last edited by garethzbarker; 12-22-10 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 12-22-10, 07:53 AM
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I just got home and my impression of the tires have improved. Maybe I got used to the weight a bit, maybe I just had lower expectations, maybe they just needed to get a little wear on them, I don't know. They still feel slower to get started but once rolling I didn't notice as much resistance as I did when I first tried them. I also can vouch for Niels claim that they ride well. My old Marathons were like butter but these XRs are really cushy. I think it also took me a while to get used to the different shape of the tire while cornering. At first I kept feeling like I was going to tip over but now I trust them a little more. They are also larger than my older tires (1.75 vs 2.0) so the additional height might have made me feel a little awkward.
Conclusion: I need more time with the tires to decide if they will end up on my rig for the China to India ride. I wish I had known that they came in 1.6 when I bought them because I might have gone in that directions. There is a store in Seoul that stocks the 1.6 size so I guess its still a possibility but I dont want to blow 200$ on tires!
I will make sure I come back after a while to update my impressions on these XRs. Your advice and guidance is always appreciated.
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Old 12-22-10, 10:04 AM
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It's too bad XRs are discontinued. I like them a lot. If you do too grab a spare set while stocks last.
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Old 12-22-10, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
It's too bad XRs are discontinued. I like them a lot. If you do too grab a spare set while stocks last.
PeterWhite had 10 700x35 XR a couple weeks ago
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Old 12-22-10, 05:14 PM
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Wiggle.com has 26 and 700 in several sizes.
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Old 12-22-10, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
PeterWhite had 10 700x35 XR a couple weeks ago
I thought about XRs for a trip to Iceland, but as I'll be mostly on roads with just a bit of gravel stuff I decided to try the Duremes. They are more available, lighter and claim to be faster yet still durable and with excellent puncture resistance.....we'll see.
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Old 12-24-10, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
PeterWhite had 10 700x35 XR a couple weeks ago
I've got a spare set for my LHT. They are wearing like iron so far so that should last me a long time. I was thinking of getting a spare set for my Surly Big Dummy, but I have a set of Big Apples from another bike I need to wear out so no point.

It will be a shame when all the existing stock is gone.
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Old 12-24-10, 07:14 AM
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One fix I've been thinking about is using Supreme / Duremes with Spinskins. At least this will somewhat address the puncture issue.

https://www.spinskins.com/bike-tire-liner-duro.html

I emphasize "somewhat" because I recently got a rear flat using a Supreme with a Duro Spinskin from a wire. But thorns, that caused a flat in the Marathon Plus front, seem not to penetrate the rear Supreme w/ tire liner. But the former is a very expensive combination.

I also stocked up on XR's. I have three brand new 37-622's and 50-622's so I figure I'm good for about three years of touring.
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Old 12-24-10, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post

I also stocked up on XR's. I have three brand new 37-622's and 50-622's so I figure I'm good for about three years of touring.
....hopefully XRs will be like Classic Coke and Schwalbe will realize they need an XR come back...
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Old 12-24-10, 09:49 AM
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I have had trouble getting tire liners to stay in the right place inside the tire when I install them, they appear to want to go from side to side. The problem is that the liners are flat but the tire has a rounded shape from the factory. Is there a secret to installing liners so that the liner is straight along the tread?
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Old 12-24-10, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I have had trouble getting tire liners to stay in the right place inside the tire when I install them, they appear to want to go from side to side. The problem is that the liners are flat but the tire has a rounded shape from the factory. Is there a secret to installing liners so that the liner is straight along the tread?
Yes, the secret is to use kevlar liners (Spinskins) rather than the extruded polyurethane ones (Mr Tuffy, Slime). The former conform more readily to the tire and if you inadvertantly mess up installation they don't destroy your tube, quickly negating the reason for using the liner in the first place.
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Old 12-28-10, 04:43 AM
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I tried 26x2 XRs once, found them too slow. I even tried just using them on the rear, but it was still slow.

I purchased a 26x2 Dureme to try on the rear on a 500 mile tour this month, and didn't notice much of a difference in rolling resistance to the regular 26x1.5 slick, so I'm buying another 26x2 Dureme for the front.
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Old 12-28-10, 07:33 AM
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I too find XRs (26x2) slow, but they are the best for puncture resistance and overall durability that I've ridden. I would be interested in hearing more about the Dureme.
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Old 12-28-10, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by parecon89 View Post
I purchased a 26x2 Dureme to try on the rear on a 500 mile tour this month, and didn't notice much of a difference in rolling resistance to the regular 26x1.5 slick, so I'm buying another 26x2 Dureme for the front.
Do you ride the Duremes on non-paved roads? If so how are they?

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Old 12-28-10, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
I too find XRs (26x2) slow, but they are the best for puncture resistance and overall durability that I've ridden. I would be interested in hearing more about the Dureme.
I can't say much more about 2.0X26 Duremes than I said in post number 7 above. I was quite happy with it on the front and if I rode a lot of pavement on tour with that bike I would put a Dureme on the rear too. I used them for about 300 miles loaded touring and a couple hundred miles around town before tour to test them out. But I can add that I looked at these reviews before I spent almost $200 USD on tires (two Duremes and one Extreme), so if you are looking for more documented experience check out the first link on the Dureme, second link is the Extreme:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revie...read_id=162267
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revie...sage_id=142499

Above I mentioned that around town I would use a lower rolling friction tire. I have some Continental Town and Country tires that I use around town, but I have had serious puncture issues with them and will not use them for touring. They roll nice but I think that I will never buy them again. I suppose I use them around town to save my Duremes for when I need the Duremes.

I have another bike with 700c tires for paved touring, I have another brand of tires on that bike. Thus I won't say much about the Dureme on pavement.
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Old 01-03-11, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Do you ride the Duremes on non-paved roads? If so how are they?
I rode about 50-60km of hard-packed gravel road on my recent tour, and found the tyres I had fine. I only had the Dureme on the rear, so its hard to comment on it in particular. I deflated both my tyres (1.5" WTB front, 2" Dureme rear) to around 50psi and the ride was very comfortable on gravel. I think having a 2" Dureme on the front would have helped with negotiating the camber on gravel roads.
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Old 01-12-11, 12:43 AM
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hi zep, i think you picked the right tires for where you are going. they are a little slow yes, but china gets pretty once you get far west enough, so why go so fast? really, its going to be the cushioning those big tires give you that lets you enjoy the trip more, and not have to worry about riding over uneven roads etc that will count more than the speed... and off the main highways, the roads do get a bit nasty... so, if you are heavily loaded, i would go with 2in...

PS, i did get flats with XRs... be sure to use the correct size liners if you do use those... wrong size liners cut into the tube...

but if you are using mountain wheels, you will have no trouble finding replacement tires to keep going in those areas... they are all over the place. just go
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