Stuff We Like: Schwalbe Marathon Supreme Tires

The Marathon Supreme is Schwalbe’s top-of-the-line touring tire. It serves as an exceptional commuting tire as well. It’s extremely durable and flat-resistant, it’s relatively light and fast (37-622mm = 440 grams), it’s grippy in corners but rolls like crazy, it has a nice round profile, it has a supple feel and absorbs road shock better than many other “flat-proof” tires, and to top it off, it looks good. What’s not to like? Well, at $69.95 per tire it’s pricey! The fact is, you have to pay for all the tech that went into this tire, but if you can swallow the initial investment, you’ll love ‘em.

Schwalbe

42 Responses to “Stuff We Like: Schwalbe Marathon Supreme Tires”

  • brad says:

    I’ve had these on my touring bike for the past year and love them so far. The only “not to love” thing I’d add is that they are really difficult to mount — a complaint I’ve heard about other models of Schwalbe tires as well. The tires were sized appropriately for my rims, but getting them on required many attempts, lots of cursing and sore fingertips, and one ripped tube when I forced the tire irons a bit too much. I thought I was going to bend the rim! But once they finally got on the rims, they’ve performed flawlessly.

  • Alan says:

    @Brad

    That’s interesting; I’ve had no trouble at all mounting them. They were just a little on the tight side, but I’ve been able to mount them without tire irons every time. I’m running the folding bead version – are you running the wire bead version perhaps?

  • John says:

    Best investment I ever made. I love these tires. Bought them as a recommendation from a a friend after I punctured some Vittoria Randonneur tires after only a month or two of riding on them. I’ve been riding the Marathon Supremes for over a year of daily city commuting (about 3,000 mi) and I have not had a single issue with them, no punctures or leaks. I can see the slices in the rubber where glass and metal have tried to penetrate but have not made it through to the tube.

    They have great grip even in wet weather. I only swap them out when we have ice or snow in Portland.

    They are pricey but worth every penny.

  • John says:

    Oh, and the reflective sidewalls are a bonus for winter and night riding.

  • jdmitch says:

    Put these (the 37-622mm version, coincidentally), on My Soho S over a year ago and have had no need to remove them. Kevlar bead, wasn’t too hard to get on, bit tough because my rims are on the narrow side… but doable.

  • bongobike says:

    I haven’t had any problems mounting my Marathons on the CR18 rims I have on my recumbent (20 X 1.5 and 26 X 1.5). Then again, they are not “Supremes”, just regular Marathons.

  • brad says:

    I am running the wire bead version. The Marathons are a different story, the same size goes on just fine on my rims without any unusual effort. I do believe some of the Marathon models go on easier than others: for example Peter White (on his website) says regarding the Marathon Plus as “Please be aware that these tires are among the most difficult to mount that I have ever used.”

  • Aaron Collins says:

    Are they that much better than the “standard” Marathon tires (HS 368)?

  • Larey says:

    I have these tires (folding) on my two commuter bikes and found them to be very easy mounting. The Schwalbe Marathon Plus that were on before were a complete nightmare to mount and dismount, especially roadside when I flatted one last winter.

    The Marathon Supreme is so much more comfortable than my previous commuting tires that I didn’t even flinch at the price for the set on the second bike.

  • jdmitch says:

    @Larey

    You actually flatted a SMP? I’d be curious to know the details. Yeah, those are basically supposed to a be a leave the tools at home because you shouldn’t ever flat, and if you do you need super tire irons to get them on and off.

  • Alan says:

    @Aaron

    The Supreme is a much higher performing tire than the standard Marathon, but they should be at twice the price!

  • Larey says:

    @jdmitch

    Yup, I took a 1″ sheet metal screw (the kind used for aluminum gutters, the sharpest, nastiest looking thing) straight through the thickest part of the tread. The tube had Slime and that didn’t help a bit. The Marathon Plus are very thick and tough but I bet that screw would have flatted a tank tread.

  • Zen says:

    I put marathon plus’ on my old Trek MTB and I love them. I noticed right away how they “roll like crazy” compared to my old tires. No flats but I have only have 500 miles on them. I’ll have to check out the Supreme’s for my touring bike.

  • jdmitch says:

    @Larey,

    Yeah, that’d do it… that sucks…

  • Tamia Nelson says:

    Alan –

    “The Supreme is a much higher performing tire than the standard Marathon…”. How so? I have standard Marathons and so far they’re great. (I won’t say that I haven’t flatted in 2000 miles because that would jinx me.) When they wear out, I’ll have to decide whether to replace them or take a step up.

    As for price, if a tire resists flatting, keeps you rolling, and doesn’t wear out quickly, then you save money on good tubes and new tires, as well as on taxi fare to get somewhere on time!

  • William says:

    How would you compare these to the Jack Browns?

  • jdmitch says:

    @Tamia,

    It’s probably best to illustrate with Schwalbe’s own comparison of the Marathon Marathon HS 368, and the Marathon Supreme HS 382.

    Basically, the SMPs are faster, have better grip and better flat protection. The durability is how long the treads last, which is basically a function of rubber thickness (and composition which is typically inverse to grip)… the Marathons have thicker grip than the Supremes which naturally means they will have more “durability”

  • Alan says:

    @jdmitch

    I might add that the Supremes just feel better. Standard Marathons always felt harsh to me, but not these…

  • Aaron Collins says:

    Ahhhhhhh I misread the graphs the first time I looked at the two sets of tires. I thought the Supremes had lower flatness protection but its the durability that is lower. Its higher in all other categories. I may have to get a set.

    I’m really not as concerned with long term wear. If I actually wear out a set of tires I’ll be happy I did it, and then buy another set.

  • Alan says:

    @William

    I haven’t spent much time on the Jack Browns yet. So far I like the feel — they’re supple and light — but in the first week I had a flat from a goathead, so they don’t appear to be as flat resistant as the Marathon Supremes (these were the blue label JBs with the kevlar belt). The Supremes come in a wide range of sizes, so they’d be a good alternative to the JB if you’re wanting something other than 33.33. I’m running the 37-622 size on my LHT. I have some Supremes in 42-622 I may try on the Hillborne at some point (assuming I have the needed clearance with the Honjo fenders).

  • Jonathan says:

    Hmmmm…I just outfitted two bikes with the Marathon Plus 348, thinking I was getting the most bomb-proof tire they made. No flats yet, but they are pretty heavy. Sounds like next time around I’ll go Supreme.

    Schwalbe makes so many great tires, how can you go wrong? Plus, the way I see it, heavier tires with slightly higher rolling resistance only means I’m getting more exercise…nothin’ wrong with that.

  • Bob says:

    The marathon supremes are great. If you want to save money and run a marathon plus the wider tires are easier to mount. 25 and 28mm tires are quite difficult to mount, but the 32mm and wider are a lot easier. Never had any trouble mounting the supremes. A lot of time it is the rim / tire combination that is the problem.

  • Larey says:

    I got one of these Park tire tools mainly to dismount my Marathon Plus tires. It doesn’t make it easy, but it does make it doable.

    http://www.parktool.com/products/detail.asp?cat=17&item=TL%2D10

    I haven’t needed it with the Marathon Supremes, yet*.

    *no jinx, please.

  • Greg W says:

    I struggled quite a while with two new 28C Marathon Plus tires this week and have blisters on both thumbs to prove it! I don’t recall the last time that I sweated so much while sitting in one spot. I hope the mounting is easier once they stretch some.

  • brad says:

    Regarding long-term wear, it’s well known that treads on road bike tires are mainly there for aesthetic purposes and to quell the fears of those who worry that slicks won’t hold the road in wet conditions. I do think that treads help me keep from slipping if I’m rolling on dirt or rock dust, but I’ve never seen any evidence that they improve traction on pavement or in the rain. Bike tires can’t hydroplane the way car tires do, so they don’t need treads to channel the water.

    So basically, you should be able to run your Schwalbes longer than you might think; I doubt I’ll be replacing mine for another 6-7 years at the earliest, and I ride almost every day as well as one loaded week-long tour per year. Even the stock Bontragers that came with my Trek touring bike lasted 5 years before I felt a need to replace them.

  • Warren Bowman says:

    Just switched from my worn-out Stelvios to Supremes on my Greenspeed trike, and I love the way they feel on my commute.

  • Mohjho says:

    I found the proper way to mount the Marathon Plus tires; a liberal dose of rage!
    The Pluses seem bomb proof, but are very heavy.
    The Supremes are my new favorite things.

  • Joe says:

    I use the standard Marathons. Got them for 16 EUR (approx 13 USD) in a German website. Good performance so far, good puncture protection, no hassle… The price of those Supremes is too steep for me, I can change my current tires 5 times for one of those Supremes…

    I just need something realiable to keep me cycling, no need for competition gear, although I respect those who like to have the best. They keep the market moving so the rest of us can enjoy the improvements in the next years… (the current basic line from Schwalbe was their top of the range 20 years ago, according to their website).

  • jdmitch says:

    @Jonathan,

    Pluses are more bombproof than Supremes. Pluses are, hands down, the most bombproof tire Schwalbe makes. Well, the Marathon Plus Tour is supposedly more durable than the “standard” Plus.

    @Larey,

    Are you talking about the TL-10 Shop Tire Tool or the PTS-1 Tire Seater

  • Larey says:

    @jdmitch

    The Park TL-10 Shop Tire Tool is the one I used on the Marathon Plus’s. You still need tire tools to get things started and then the bar provides leverage for finishing the on/off

  • kbobb says:

    Ok, the Marathon’s are great tires, but 69.95 for a bike tire is a little short of ridiculous.

    I know I will get the “pay for what you get” responses, but at the end of the day thats a pretty high fare for a “touring” tire.

    Just my 2 cents or maybe I should term it 50 bucks.

  • robert johnson says:

    Hi,

    Schwalbe makes some tire installation prep that you just put on the bead with a simple applicator sponge on the end of the container. This helps the tires just slide on the rim oh so easy. We had a tough one to install the other day that was not lining up on the bead correctly and I remembered to use the stuff and then it mounted perfectly. The Wire bead on Schwalbe tires is more robust which is why their tires are sometimes tricky to get over the rims. I highly recommend the bead prep it definately makes tire changing a lot less arduous.

    robert

  • Alan says:

    Thanks for the tip Robert. Where can we get Schwalbe Bead Prep?

    Alan

  • Gregor says:

    I got a pair of these with my new Steves City Flyer and they ride awesome.
    I’m sometimeseven making roadies nervous when I ride along with them on my fully equiped commuter in a regular casual-office-dress-up.

  • jdmitch says:

    @Larey,

    Is it wrong that I want a TL-10 simply because it is awesome and I like tools?

  • Simon N says:

    Supremes are hands down the best investment I’ve ever made in bike components, but your mileage may very literally vary.

    Marathons have a kevlar belt and are all you need for bike path commuting and light commuting on well swept roads.

    Marathon Pluses have a kevlar belt and a thick layer of rubber. The theory is that it’s simply too thick for most sharp objects to penetrate, but the sacrifice is weight, cornering and roll. Suitable for loaded commuting and moderate to high road debris.

    Marathon Supremes have a weaved layer of vectran, which works as a deflection layer like kevlar, only much, much tougher. This means that the tire can remain round and save weight. Suitable for whatever you can dish out.

    I’ve flatted regular Marathons often, I know people who have flatted pluses (I skipped them), and I’ve even managed to flat a Supreme once (I neglected to extract a large chunk of glass from the tire and after a week of loaded commuting it managed to wear a slow leak in the tube).

    The trick is to know how bad your roads are and buy accordingly.

    Something worth noting in the ‘pro’ column – Supremes have the best grip of any tire I’ve used. The rubber sticks, which is why it’s not rated as being as durable as the Marathon Plus – the compound will wear down sooner. If you’ve never punctured a regular Marathon, this is perhaps the only reason other than price to avoid the Supreme. Personally if I manage to kill a tyre through wear I count it as a damn good tyre. I’ve lost all the rest to punctures and gashes.

    @alan “if you can swallow the initial investment” Best unintentional pun in an Ecovelo post – Schwalbe is German for Swallow!

  • David says:

    I put some 32 x 622 folding Supremes front and rear on the old girl last weekend. They’re significantly lighter than my 13 year old Conti Top Tourings 37’s and to maximize that advantage, I also put some thin tubes on to further reduce rotating weight. I’m banking on the Schwalbe’s puncture resistance to let me get away with it.

    I can feel a significant difference during acceleration and have noticed that my average speed is up a bit. The Schwalbes also have a rounder profile than my worn-down Contis, which makes for smoother leans into and out of turns. Finally, they feel a lot more comfortable than the Contis, though that’s not a fair comparison in some ways due to the difference in operating pressure. I’m running the Schwalbes at 85 psi. The Contis were rated to 70 psi, but they felt very sluggish at that pressure, so I would often run them at 100 psi, with a predictable tradeoff in ride quality. To the Contis’ credit, they took my punishment for all those years without fail but the Schwalbes at 85 seem to roll just as well as the Contis at 100.

    What a different 13 years makes!

  • John Boyer says:

    I know a couple who went coast to coast on their Bikefriday NWTs AND BACK! Neither had one flat riding with their Marathon plus tires. amazing tire

  • Don W. says:

    I’m thinking about upgrading the tires on my MTB to either the Marathon Supreme or the new Marathon Dureme. Does anyone have experience with both, and how would you compare one to the other? Most of my riding is on pavement, but I do occasionally ride on crushed stone or hard packed dirt roads.

  • jerry'sdaughter says:

    Schwalbes are great. But take the tools along. They may be bombproof but they aren’t nailproof!

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Dirt Trails says:

    […] tire for commuting mostly on pavement with a little bit of gravel and dirt thrown in is the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme in 37-622 and 42-622. I run these at around 60psi on my everyday […]

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Michelin City says:

    […] been riding the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme in a 32-622 and 37-622 for the past couple of years. The Schwalbe is widely regarded as the best […]

 
© 2011 EcoVelo™