As far as I am concerned the very best bicycle tire money can buy is the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. I have been using them now for several years and since I switched to them I have never had a flat tire caused from anything external. I have had one inner tube failure caused by the a Mr. Tuffy tire liner which I have since removed as they are not needed and do cause flats internally such as I experienced. Before I use to deal with a lot of flats. I joke about these tires being nearly bullet proof and I think they come close. They are indeed quite amazing!
I personally ride a Catrike Trail recumbent tadpole trike. Here is a picture of me on it.
It is a blast to ride and extremely comfortable. Many compare riding a tadpole trike to driving a go cart or sports car as they handle so well. I have ridden this trike over 33,000 miles. Before I bought this trike I made one similar to it although it was made out of mild steel. My Catrike is made out of aluminum.
Over the years I have tried various other Schwalbe tires on my trikes. All of the various types of Schwalbe tires are quite good … among the very best made in the world, but the Marathon Plus out does them all … very flat resistant and long wear. I highly recommend these tires. I run the 20 X 1.75 406 size. They also come in 20 X 1.35 406 as well as larger diameter sizes for those who have a larger size rear wheel. By far the best price I have found is ordering them online from a company in the UK … Merlin Cycles They offer excellent service and free shipping if ordering a minimum of $75. With three or 4 tires that is easy enough to meet the requirement. I used to buy them from a company in Germany … bike-discount.de They are the second cheapest prices I have found. They also offer excellent service. I think a maximum of 4 tires can be ordered at one time for the flat rate shipping charge they have. Even with the shipping charge they have always been much cheaper than prices I have found elsewhere with the exception of Merlin Cycles. With this German source the best price per tire is had by ordering 4 at a time. I have found that the price per tire varies from time to time so sometimes I pay more or less than other times. Early on I paid $37 something apiece. Recently I paid $29.45 apiece. Again, the cost thru Merlin Cycles has been better.
Here is a video by Steve Green, Trike Hobo as he talks about the Marathon Plus tire …
I will readily admit that these tires are probably the most difficult tires to mount that I have ever encountered. However, there is a way which once known and followed make it much simpler. Once you learn how to do this it is fairly easy. Here is a video showing how to do it:
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17 thoughts on “THE BEST BICYCLE TIRE MONEY CAN BUY”
I run a pair of Marathon+ 32-622 on one bike, and while they are tough with no flats evah, they are very uncomfortable on rough asphalt. My saving grace with these tires is a suspended Mule trailer with a 20″ Marathon+. No harsh ride there.
Side note= I hyper-extended both thumbs mounting Schwalbes, which is the only tire I roll wtih now. I have since discovered -> Crankbrothers Speedier Tire Lever and life is good. Unbelievable fast mounting and unmounting and my poor thumbs love this tool.
I have to agree with you both, as from what I can see in the videos these tires are truly amazing… And from an engineering stand point of view, a very smart one as well with it’s purple or violet center core giving it the structural integrity in which you get the added protection in which you enjoy… As I personally have no experience with these tires, I can only say I wish they were around when I was younger to have saved me from all the tube repairs I have had to make on the side of the road… But as an adult I have only just returned to riding, and I use a fat tire on my ride to which Schwalbe has yet to create a tire that is the size in which I ride… Hopefully for my self and Hobo Steve that day will come soon, but should I ever return to the regular tire, I will be sure to have a pair of the Schwalbe Marathon tires on that ride…
Thanks as always Steve…!
One thing, Zack … it might have just been a matter of not noticing what you typed, but at the end you said Marathon tires and not Marathon Plus. There is a world of difference. You still get flats with Marathon tires. It is only the Marathon Plus that are nearly flatless. The Marathon GreenGuard offers some flat protection, but still not as much as the Marathon Plus.
I totally agree with you Steve. That was well stated. As I was riding today I was thinking about the quality of the ride vs. other tires I have tried. For me I don’t really notice any difference, but I sure notice the difference in the fact that I don’t have flats to contend with and I get super mileage out of the tires. I just recently changed my rear tire retiring it after travelling over 13,000 miles of flat free riding (other than two flats caused internally not externally). That is the best mileage I have got yet. I usually get 9,000 to 11,000 miles, but that is on the front where a lot of tire scrubbing happens in hard cornering.
I rode Marathon Plus tires for over six years with no flats ever. For me, this is worth any potential compromises, as I have toured in frigid and remote conditions where a flat tire could have cost a rider’s life. Flat tires do not schedule convenient times or weather conditions, and if they occur at an inopportune time, where one’s fingers are chilled to the bone with driving sleet, where it would literally not be possible to change the tube or repair the tire, then the potential consequences are not worth a softer ride. This depends considerably on how one uses the trike (or bike) – if ridden in mild conditions close to towns and assistance from others, then this may not be an issue, but if used for overland tours in all kinds of weather and remote locales (as I have done), then it’s a far different story. As always, there are caveats to all aspects of tire choice.
After using several different tyre models over the years, I’m not very fond of the Marathon Plus anymore. Sure they are ‘flatproof’ and last a long time, but they give a harsh ride, get pretty slippery on wet tarmac and are relavievely slow tyres.
My favorate trike tyre is the Schwalbe Big Ben. Its way more comfortable, traction on dry and wet roads is in an entirely different league and despite riding 5,000 to 8,000km a year I experiance only 1 or 2 flats over the year. Not worth to cope with all the shortcomings of the Marathon plus in my view. As always, YMWV.
I don’t agree with a thing you said, but that’s okay. To each his own as they say.