Monday, April 11, 2011

Product Review - Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires

I just replaced a set of Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires. They were the "factory original tires" on my Cannondale T1 bicycle, and they served me over 2 winters and 3000+ miles. (Excellent mileage. I swapped them out for skinnier tires over the warmer months of last year.)

What I liked:
- Excellent mileage. In my experience, I tend to get 1500-3000 miles of life out of a rear tire (substantially more out of a front tire; I assume due to weight distribution and that the rear wheel provides the driving force). So the Marathon Racer is at the high end.
- Reflective sidewall. Visibility is always important, and the reflective sidewalls provide significant help at night.

What I didn't like:
- I was disappointed by the number of flats I got with these tires. I probably had 10 punctures over the life of the tires. Strangely, most were in front.

People who have commented on this blog have been very positive about their experience with Schwalbes. They make a "Marathon Plus" tire, with additional puncture protection, and I would hope they would fare much better.

These tires are quite expensive, as bike tires go. In the $45-50 range. You never know, but it seems unlikely I will buy a set. My new favorite tire is the Vittoria Randonneur. I got almost as many miles with a Vittoria, and didn't have a single flat over the life of the tire (!), and they're substantially less expensive at $27-30. (A reflective sidewall is available for a few bucks more.)

3 comments:

Marc said...

I have the "Marathon Plus" tires on my cargo bike 26x1.75". One full year/no flats. On and off road riding conditions. My wife has had a pair of 700x28 for over a year, no flats. I bought a pair for my brother and his wife, no flats. I am sold on these tires. I wrote the company to find out if they make the tire in china. They wrote back and said the nicer tires are made in Germany, and the cheap ones in Indonesia.

Bob T said...

According to the Schwalbe web site the Racer is built for speed and is not as highly rated for flat protection some of their other tires. I have used the Marathon XR along with Slime Super Thick inner tubes and have had no flats which I can attribute to punctures. I think that the slime sometimes causes the valve not to close completely so I have to watch for that.

Bikeboy said...

Marc, I checked the sidewalls of those Marathon Racers for country of origin... Indonesia.

I bought a pair of Vittorias at REI; the little sales clerk tried to convince me I needed to buy Slime, too. I said thanks but no thanks. (I was probably a transportation cyclist before she was born!)