The Chainlink

Need New Commuting Tires....Schwalbe Marathon Plus vs. Supreme?

I was just wondering if I can get some feedback from shop folk or owners regarding the Schwalbe Marathon Plus and Supreme.  I want to get some new commuter tires for year round use and as far as I have read, these are nearly overkill.  Can anyone tell me the difference between the two.  

It appears from the Schwalbe website that the plus has great puncture resistance while the supreme has lower rolling resistance, traction, and cornering abilities.  If anyone has any other suggestions please feel free to chime in.

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It could be, but I don't think they were hard to install from my memory.  I used tire levers as always and have never had the same problem with another tire.  Apparently my story is not the norm, but I'll never send them another dollar.  Here is how the bead looked by the way.  

Anne Alt said:

Since these tires are stiff and challenging to install, is it possible that the tires could have been damaged by installation errors? I'm not insulting your mechanical abilities, but stuff like this can happen.

I'm on my second set of Marathon or Marathon Plus tires on two different bikes and first set on a third bike and have never had an issue with the wire bead breaking free on any of those 10 tires (20" and 26") over the last 8 years.

magomawe said:

I would avoid getting Schwalbe Marathon tires at all costs.  I ordered a pair of Schwalbe Marathons with Kevlar Guard 700 X 34 about 2 years ago for my wife's commuter.  I first put one on and within 50 miles it was flat.  The wire bead on the inside broke free and punctured the tube.  I figured it had to be a defect and I would contact the company.  In the meantime I replaced the punctured tire with the other purchased tire.  The same thing happened.  I got two replacements and again within 50 miles (even with a different rim and bike), the wire bead broke free and punctured the tube.  I requested one more replacement and it did the same thing.  That's 5 tires all with the wire in the bead breaking free and puncturing the tube within 50 miles.  Needless to say that was an enormous waste of time and $90.  Go with Continentals - I've always been happy with Gatorskins and you can wear them down to the bone.

The Randonneurs are good tires. They came standard on my Raleigh One way. I cannot remember having any flats on the Randonneurs. The main problem was their lack of grip in wet weather. I tried a few times to cross a grated-bridge when it was raining and usually ended up on the sidewalk. The Supremes have much better grip and I do feel comfortable crossing steel grated bridges on the Supremes.

Of course, shortly after I switched to Supremes, we get a new CDOT commissioner and he goes about and puts plates on all the brdiges I cross on my daily commute. That is so rude...

Apie said:

Do you have experience with the Vittoria Randonneurs?  I was very close to picking them up, switching from Conti TourRides 42's, which seem slow.  I've had a flat already at 1500 miles, but it was a thorn of some type on N Mil.  I'd like something faster, perhaps lighter, and good in the snow for winter. I don'5t want to give up too much of the comfort I have now, it is such a nice ride. I think the puncture protection on the Tour Ride's was sufficient, the thorn was just a fluke.

Duppie said:

You are comparing apples and oranges here.

The Plus at $48 MSRP (Mrs. Duppie has a pair one one of her bikes)  has been the standard flat resistant for well over a decade. I will defer to other posters on the advantages of the Plus.

The Supreme at $73 MSRP is an entirely different tire. It is a (lot) lower weight, rolls very smooth and corners well, when compared to Vittoria Randonneurs and Nimbus Armadillos. I have 3 bikes with Supreme tires: My summer commuter (700c), my winter commuter (26") and our high-end touring tandem (700c). I love them a lot. I get maybe one flat a year on them on 4K miles or so. When that happens I throw my bike on the bus, so it is not a big deal. I also ride it all winter long on Chicago streets, except for when there is a lot of fresh snow on the ground. I never feel insecure when riding them on slushy streets.

According to Schwalbe you should expect to get more miles out of a Plus, but even the tires that I have been riding for a numerous winters now still appear to be in good shape and I expect to ride them a few more winters.

It comes down to what is important to you. Cost or durability? Then you may want to stick with the Plus. A faster tire that corners well? You may want to go with the Supreme.

The Plus is readily available at better bike shops in Chicago; the Supreme almost always needs to be special ordered. (I have always ordered them directly from Schwalbe)

Also, Schwalbe is a great company to deal with. I had one sidewall failure on the Supreme. The sidewall tore apart after only a few thousand miles. I filled out an online warranty form and had a new tire at my frontstep within a week. No questions asked.

I was surprised at  how small of an envelope a pair of them can be packed into.   At first I thought that I was shipped the wrong thing before I opened it up. 

I just installed a set of Randonneurs today on my all around bike. Rides nice and the handling is pretty sharp. (Well in comparison with the lunar lander tires that I used to have installed.)

I have them at 50psi, towards the bottom of the pressure range, I am going to try a bit higher pressure to see how that effects things.


Gibbles T. Chimp said:

I'll second the Randonneurs.  I was running PanaRacer T-series, and they were great, but a cut in the casing ended the life of the rear tire.  Picked up a pair of the Vittoria's and have had zero problems. I would describe the ride as "supple" (it that makes any sense).  Though I'm in agreement with Duppie that they do feel sketchy on the wet grated bridges, more so than the PanaRacers did. 

Duppie said:

The Randonneurs are good tires. They came standard on my Raleigh One way. I cannot remember having any flats on the Randonneurs. The main problem was their lack of grip in wet weather. I tried a few times to cross a grated-bridge when it was raining and usually ended up on the sidewalk. The Supremes have much better grip and I do feel comfortable crossing steel grated bridges on the Supremes.

Of course, shortly after I switched to Supremes, we get a new CDOT commissioner and he goes about and puts plates on all the brdiges I cross on my daily commute. That is so rude...

Apie said:

Do you have experience with the Vittoria Randonneurs?  I was very close to picking them up, switching from Conti TourRides 42's, which seem slow.  I've had a flat already at 1500 miles, but it was a thorn of some type on N Mil.  I'd like something faster, perhaps lighter, and good in the snow for winter. I don'5t want to give up too much of the comfort I have now, it is such a nice ride. I think the puncture protection on the Tour Ride's was sufficient, the thorn was just a fluke.

Duppie said:

You are comparing apples and oranges here.

The Plus at $48 MSRP (Mrs. Duppie has a pair one one of her bikes)  has been the standard flat resistant for well over a decade. I will defer to other posters on the advantages of the Plus.

The Supreme at $73 MSRP is an entirely different tire. It is a (lot) lower weight, rolls very smooth and corners well, when compared to Vittoria Randonneurs and Nimbus Armadillos. I have 3 bikes with Supreme tires: My summer commuter (700c), my winter commuter (26") and our high-end touring tandem (700c). I love them a lot. I get maybe one flat a year on them on 4K miles or so. When that happens I throw my bike on the bus, so it is not a big deal. I also ride it all winter long on Chicago streets, except for when there is a lot of fresh snow on the ground. I never feel insecure when riding them on slushy streets.

According to Schwalbe you should expect to get more miles out of a Plus, but even the tires that I have been riding for a numerous winters now still appear to be in good shape and I expect to ride them a few more winters.

It comes down to what is important to you. Cost or durability? Then you may want to stick with the Plus. A faster tire that corners well? You may want to go with the Supreme.

The Plus is readily available at better bike shops in Chicago; the Supreme almost always needs to be special ordered. (I have always ordered them directly from Schwalbe)

Also, Schwalbe is a great company to deal with. I had one sidewall failure on the Supreme. The sidewall tore apart after only a few thousand miles. I filled out an online warranty form and had a new tire at my frontstep within a week. No questions asked.

With the RiBMo tires 80 is about all I can take before they get pretty bouncy/harsh and seem to slow me down.   65 is about the minimum or they feel a little soft for street use and a bit squirrely below that IMHO.  Quite a  few PSI lower if it is all trail/gravel.   

That gives a pretty big sweet zone for those tires.   I usually set them at 80 knowing that if they lose a bit of pressure I've got a long way to go before they are too low. 

No offense but I would like to know your mounting procedure for the tires.  I install tons and tons of Marathon and Marathon plus tires and while I have seen the occasional manufacturing defect, mostly a deformation in the tread when inflated, I would say that well over 95% of the tires I install have no problems.

magomawe said:

I would avoid getting Schwalbe Marathon tires at all costs.  I ordered a pair of Schwalbe Marathons with Kevlar Guard 700 X 34 about 2 years ago for my wife's commuter.  I first put one on and within 50 miles it was flat.  The wire bead on the inside broke free and punctured the tube.  I figured it had to be a defect and I would contact the company.  In the meantime I replaced the punctured tire with the other purchased tire.  The same thing happened.  I got two replacements and again within 50 miles (even with a different rim and bike), the wire bead broke free and punctured the tube.  I requested one more replacement and it did the same thing.  That's 5 tires all with the wire in the bead breaking free and puncturing the tube within 50 miles.  Needless to say that was an enormous waste of time and $90.  Go with Continentals - I've always been happy with Gatorskins and you can wear them down to the bone.

I raised the pressure over the weekend to 60psi on the Randonneurs- still a nice ride and the bike felt controlled, but the ride was also easy on my lower back.

I did hit some moisture on Friday night and will 2nd (or 3rd) that the tires seem a bit wiggly on some wet surfaces.

rb said:

I just installed a set of Randonneurs today on my all around bike. Rides nice and the handling is pretty sharp. (Well in comparison with the lunar lander tires that I used to have installed.)

I have them at 50psi, towards the bottom of the pressure range, I am going to try a bit higher pressure to see how that effects things.


Gibbles T. Chimp said:

I'll second the Randonneurs.  I was running PanaRacer T-series, and they were great, but a cut in the casing ended the life of the rear tire.  Picked up a pair of the Vittoria's and have had zero problems. I would describe the ride as "supple" (it that makes any sense).  Though I'm in agreement with Duppie that they do feel sketchy on the wet grated bridges, more so than the PanaRacers did. 

Duppie said:

The Randonneurs are good tires. They came standard on my Raleigh One way. I cannot remember having any flats on the Randonneurs. The main problem was their lack of grip in wet weather. I tried a few times to cross a grated-bridge when it was raining and usually ended up on the sidewalk. The Supremes have much better grip and I do feel comfortable crossing steel grated bridges on the Supremes.

Of course, shortly after I switched to Supremes, we get a new CDOT commissioner and he goes about and puts plates on all the brdiges I cross on my daily commute. That is so rude...

Apie said:

Do you have experience with the Vittoria Randonneurs?  I was very close to picking them up, switching from Conti TourRides 42's, which seem slow.  I've had a flat already at 1500 miles, but it was a thorn of some type on N Mil.  I'd like something faster, perhaps lighter, and good in the snow for winter. I don'5t want to give up too much of the comfort I have now, it is such a nice ride. I think the puncture protection on the Tour Ride's was sufficient, the thorn was just a fluke.

Duppie said:

You are comparing apples and oranges here.

The Plus at $48 MSRP (Mrs. Duppie has a pair one one of her bikes)  has been the standard flat resistant for well over a decade. I will defer to other posters on the advantages of the Plus.

The Supreme at $73 MSRP is an entirely different tire. It is a (lot) lower weight, rolls very smooth and corners well, when compared to Vittoria Randonneurs and Nimbus Armadillos. I have 3 bikes with Supreme tires: My summer commuter (700c), my winter commuter (26") and our high-end touring tandem (700c). I love them a lot. I get maybe one flat a year on them on 4K miles or so. When that happens I throw my bike on the bus, so it is not a big deal. I also ride it all winter long on Chicago streets, except for when there is a lot of fresh snow on the ground. I never feel insecure when riding them on slushy streets.

According to Schwalbe you should expect to get more miles out of a Plus, but even the tires that I have been riding for a numerous winters now still appear to be in good shape and I expect to ride them a few more winters.

It comes down to what is important to you. Cost or durability? Then you may want to stick with the Plus. A faster tire that corners well? You may want to go with the Supreme.

The Plus is readily available at better bike shops in Chicago; the Supreme almost always needs to be special ordered. (I have always ordered them directly from Schwalbe)

Also, Schwalbe is a great company to deal with. I had one sidewall failure on the Supreme. The sidewall tore apart after only a few thousand miles. I filled out an online warranty form and had a new tire at my frontstep within a week. No questions asked.

I mount them probably the same as anyone else.  I stick half the tire on the rim with a lever, put the tube in (half inflated) and work the other half of the tire on with a tire lever or two (if need be).  I sometimes use baby powder on the tube to prevent snakebites.  The tires were big 700 X35 which made them relatively easy to mount.

Marathons are hard to distinguish in their exact model, and I don't think they sell this particular Marathon anymore. (likely for this reason).  The side reads Marathon  37-622.  


notoriousDUG said:

No offense but I would like to know your mounting procedure for the tires.  I install tons and tons of Marathon and Marathon plus tires and while I have seen the occasional manufacturing defect, mostly a deformation in the tread when inflated, I would say that well over 95% of the tires I install have no problems.

magomawe said:

I would avoid getting Schwalbe Marathon tires at all costs.  I ordered a pair of Schwalbe Marathons with Kevlar Guard 700 X 34 about 2 years ago for my wife's commuter.  I first put one on and within 50 miles it was flat.  The wire bead on the inside broke free and punctured the tube.  I figured it had to be a defect and I would contact the company.  In the meantime I replaced the punctured tire with the other purchased tire.  The same thing happened.  I got two replacements and again within 50 miles (even with a different rim and bike), the wire bead broke free and punctured the tube.  I requested one more replacement and it did the same thing.  That's 5 tires all with the wire in the bead breaking free and puncturing the tube within 50 miles.  Needless to say that was an enormous waste of time and $90.  Go with Continentals - I've always been happy with Gatorskins and you can wear them down to the bone.

The tire levers are where you are damaging the bead.

I saw the picture of the failure and I think that you were breaking the bead wire trying to lever the bead onto the rim.

You should never use a tire lever to get the tire onto the rim.

magomawe said:

I mount them probably the same as anyone else.  I stick half the tire on the rim with a lever, put the tube in (half inflated) and work the other half of the tire on with a tire lever or two (if need be).  I sometimes use baby powder on the tube to prevent snakebites.  The tires were big 700 X35 which made them relatively easy to mount.

Marathons are hard to distinguish in their exact model, and I don't think they sell this particular Marathon anymore. (likely for this reason).  The side reads Marathon  37-622.  


notoriousDUG said:

No offense but I would like to know your mounting procedure for the tires.  I install tons and tons of Marathon and Marathon plus tires and while I have seen the occasional manufacturing defect, mostly a deformation in the tread when inflated, I would say that well over 95% of the tires I install have no problems.

magomawe said:

I would avoid getting Schwalbe Marathon tires at all costs.  I ordered a pair of Schwalbe Marathons with Kevlar Guard 700 X 34 about 2 years ago for my wife's commuter.  I first put one on and within 50 miles it was flat.  The wire bead on the inside broke free and punctured the tube.  I figured it had to be a defect and I would contact the company.  In the meantime I replaced the punctured tire with the other purchased tire.  The same thing happened.  I got two replacements and again within 50 miles (even with a different rim and bike), the wire bead broke free and punctured the tube.  I requested one more replacement and it did the same thing.  That's 5 tires all with the wire in the bead breaking free and puncturing the tube within 50 miles.  Needless to say that was an enormous waste of time and $90.  Go with Continentals - I've always been happy with Gatorskins and you can wear them down to the bone.

Hey Doug, thanks for the tip to use a ziptie to hold the bead in!  Even with a ziptie and a bead jack, it still took me almost an hour to mount the Marathons on both of my wheels.  I'm hoping they're as awesome as most folks have said they are, cause there's no way I'd be able to change that tire on the side of the road.  

Glad it worked for you!

You will be surprised how much easier they are to change after the initial install.

Jamais716 said:

Hey Doug, thanks for the tip to use a ziptie to hold the bead in!  Even with a ziptie and a bead jack, it still took me almost an hour to mount the Marathons on both of my wheels.  I'm hoping they're as awesome as most folks have said they are, cause there's no way I'd be able to change that tire on the side of the road.  

I've never before heard anywhere that you shouldn't use a tire lever to install a tire - unless you are worried about pinching a tube.  They are extra wide tire levers and they've never torn the bead from another tire before.  (And I've tried a lot of tires over the years).  If the levers did tear the bead, it's still because its a weak bead/poor design.  But like I said, I think they discontinued that model.

notoriousDUG said:

The tire levers are where you are damaging the bead.

I saw the picture of the failure and I think that you were breaking the bead wire trying to lever the bead onto the rim.

You should never use a tire lever to get the tire onto the rim.

magomawe said:

I mount them probably the same as anyone else.  I stick half the tire on the rim with a lever, put the tube in (half inflated) and work the other half of the tire on with a tire lever or two (if need be).  I sometimes use baby powder on the tube to prevent snakebites.  The tires were big 700 X35 which made them relatively easy to mount.

Marathons are hard to distinguish in their exact model, and I don't think they sell this particular Marathon anymore. (likely for this reason).  The side reads Marathon  37-622.  


notoriousDUG said:

No offense but I would like to know your mounting procedure for the tires.  I install tons and tons of Marathon and Marathon plus tires and while I have seen the occasional manufacturing defect, mostly a deformation in the tread when inflated, I would say that well over 95% of the tires I install have no problems.

magomawe said:

I would avoid getting Schwalbe Marathon tires at all costs.  I ordered a pair of Schwalbe Marathons with Kevlar Guard 700 X 34 about 2 years ago for my wife's commuter.  I first put one on and within 50 miles it was flat.  The wire bead on the inside broke free and punctured the tube.  I figured it had to be a defect and I would contact the company.  In the meantime I replaced the punctured tire with the other purchased tire.  The same thing happened.  I got two replacements and again within 50 miles (even with a different rim and bike), the wire bead broke free and punctured the tube.  I requested one more replacement and it did the same thing.  That's 5 tires all with the wire in the bead breaking free and puncturing the tube within 50 miles.  Needless to say that was an enormous waste of time and $90.  Go with Continentals - I've always been happy with Gatorskins and you can wear them down to the bone.

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