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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Review: Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tire with Smart Guard

I don't usually review tires unless I've ridden them down to the tire carcass. But in the case of the Marathon Plus tire, I'll make an exception.

The history: when I had the triplet built, I opted to use my own wheels, and I supplied the bike shop with some of tires from my stock. For whatever reason, one of those tires blew off the rim when the shop installed it, and in a state of panic the shop opted to "comp" me the Marathon Plus.

The tires weigh 750g each. Yes, that's 1.6 pounds per tire, or 3.2 pounds for a set. They weigh and ride like iron. Usually when I swap out one tire for another, it's a barely noticeable difference. Swapping saddles usually make a bigger difference than tires. In this case, when I finally (after 2000 miles) swapped out the tires for Michelin Pro 4s, not only did I notice a difference, my son commented, "This is now the fastest bike ever!"

The tires claim to be flat-proof (and the reviews on the internet all claim that as well). Not true. I managed to get a flat once while riding through Cupertino. That was when I realized how heavy the tires were. Not only were they heavy on the bike, it was a massive pain to get them off the rim to remove the tube and install a new one. I bent a Minoura Tire Lever getting them off! I'd never had such a frustrating time fixing a flat!

I'm always amazed at how Europeans seem to like riding tires that are way over-built and heavy. The ride quality of the bike on these tires are horrible, and if not for the fact that they were on the triplet I probably would have gotten rid of them well before the 2,000 mile mark. I think these tires are only appropriate if you make a habit out of riding on Munich bike paths, where drunk people smash beer bottles on the bike path and these tires might have a chance of getting through them without a flat. Even then, woe upon ye if you did get a flat as these tires will then be nigh impossible to fix. They're not as bad as the famous Torelli master rim where I broke steel tire levers getting tires on and off the rim, but they're pretty close.

Needless to say, I'm done with these tires. If you want them, let me know and I'll "comp" them to you. NOT RECOMMENDED.

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