View Full Version : Schwalbes?

09-12-2008, 01:52 AM
OK, I'm fed up. 3 flats in as many days:mad:. Not to mention the time to change out, but it always seems like it happens at the worst time. Like today: went flat as I hit the MAX. Tried to fix it at Goose Hollow, but no go. Ended up walking to work and nearly being late. So, I'm looking for options.

Many things I've read on this forum points to Schwalbe tires as good and durable, resistant to puncture and all of that wonderful goodness. So I looked, and nearly had keeled over when I looked at the sticker price. So I have to ask: which one to choose, and is it really worth it?

What I have now: commuter MTB with 26x1.5 slicks, rear rack and fenders. Commute is relatively short but am adding mileage as able.

I'm willing to shell out for a good product, but am worried that these tires are hype over function/ability. Opinions?

Thanks in advance,

09-12-2008, 05:52 AM
I have been riding my Schwalbe tires for a couple years now and I can recall one flat. I also have a tire lining called Mr. Tuffy inside of the tire, so that probably helps. I ride a touring bike and have the line of tires called Marathon. They makes ones with Kevlar linings to add extra puncture resistance.

I would suggest trying em out. Yeah, they are spendy, but they last forever. Plus, it is a lot cheaper than maintaining a vehicle, you know?

Also, if all your flats happened recently maybe something else is going on? Are your spokes hitting your tube? Do you have rim tape protecting your tube from em? Are there any jagged pieces of metal on your rim that could be causing it? Are your tires properly inflated (making it easier to ride and helps avoiding pinch flats).

Plus just ride smartly- don't just jump off curbs and slam on your bike, lift your butt when riding over big bumps or cracks in the street, etc. Not saying you are doing this, just getting it out there. I had to learn the hard way when I was a kid! :D

09-12-2008, 06:49 AM
A couple of things to check, regardless if you go with Schwalbes or not:

- make sure you checked the inside surface of the tire for any sharp embedded objects.

- for commuting via road, make sure you inflate the tube to the max pressue indicated on the tire.

I have Bontrager Comfort Hardcase on my MTB/commuter, no flats so far.

09-12-2008, 06:57 AM
The Schwalbe's have a great rep for a good reason. They are a very reliable tire. Probably worth the price.

I'm going to put in a plug for the Specialized Armadillos. I love them. The ride quality is good and I've not had a single puncture in a few thousand miles of combined use between a couple bikes. River City and others carry them and they can order them if they don't have your exact size. I run 700c all the way around so I don't know about mountain. Check the specialized web site.

09-12-2008, 07:16 AM
I've heard some good things about the Schwalbe Marathon, but the Stelvios are just absolutely rancid. A friend of mine went through about three of them before she gave up in disgust and switched to another brand.

I think Schwalbe just doesn't care about consistent quality. If you get a good tire, you'll be happy. Thing is, you can't be certain that the tire you've got is decent. And, with the kinds of failures I've seen (bead failure, sidewall blowout, casing delamination), I don't think I'd trust any of them.

09-12-2008, 08:15 AM
This is a timely thread; I've had three flat tires (rear ones, natch) in the last two weeks, due to road debris.

Now, I don't mind changing tires, I could use the practice, but it's getting ridiculous! :)

So I'm also looking to replace my tires (which have 2050 miles on them, and are starting to look a little worn).

I have a Schwinn flat bar road bike, so am used to running 700x23 or 25... and live with an uber-experienced biker who has taught me all I know about maintaining my bikes.

09-12-2008, 08:52 AM
I'm with garlicmonster. I've got my cruiser, my 'round town bike, mt. bike and road bike all outfitted with Mr. Tuffy's.

I run these tires on my 'round town bike. good on the street and dirt roads, only $14 Michelin country Rocks (http://www.biketiresdirect.com/pmictr/michelin_country_rock_tire/pp.htm)

Probably want something slicker for 100% road riding...

09-12-2008, 09:02 AM
Continental: truly great tires, but a bit spendy. Their higher end tires are about as soft as a pencil eraser (read: great traction, poor mileage).

Michelin is also a good tire. They have a dual compound tire, which has hard rubber in the middle for durability and soft rubber at the edges for traction. I'd love to give it a try sometime.

Bontrager makes a decent tire at a tolerable price.

Tip from an ex motorcycle rider: stay away from Chen Shin if you value your life.

09-12-2008, 09:11 AM
I've heard some good things about the Schwalbe Marathon, but the Stelvios are just absolutely rancid. A friend of mine went through about three of them before she gave up in disgust and switched to another brand.

I think Schwalbe just doesn't care about consistent quality. If you get a good tire, you'll be happy. Thing is, you can't be certain that the tire you've got is decent. And, with the kinds of failures I've seen (bead failure, sidewall blowout, casing delamination), I don't think I'd trust any of them.

I'll clarify - those are MY Marathons Jason is running on his bike (the bike they were on died a horrible death, but I could part everything else out). They never need pumping up. They never get flats. These are the 27x1 1/4 size. They (full disclosure) ARE heavy. They've got the nifty reflective sidewalls, too. Wonderful commuter tires.

Schwalbe Stelvios - yeah, that was me, too. Amazing failure modes, fortunately never while I was riding the bike. These are hot little performance tires. Great ride, when they weren't exploding. I think 1 of the 4 tires I had died a natural death.

I'm using Continental GP 4 Seasons and Bontragers on that bike now - expensive tires, but reliable.

09-12-2008, 10:00 AM
Take a look at Maxxis Hookworms.

Virtually indestructable and real eye candy, too.

Heavy. Seriously. Heavy.

But fun. Really fun. Bead to bead tread like a motorcycle tire (which is why they're used in vert riding.) I get some awesome lean angles going when I ride my MTB to work.

09-12-2008, 11:20 AM
I've got Conti Ultra Gatorskins on my bike now. I put the tires on in May, and immediately fell in love. Great ride quality, faster than the Bontrager Hard Case that they replaced and plenty tough.

My question is, does anyone have experience riding this tire in town in the rainy season? My daily commute brings me up 5th where they've laid down those new brick intersections. And I'm wondering if these slick contis are going to slip too much and whether or not I should go with a schwabe or something with more tread.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Simple Nature
09-12-2008, 03:20 PM
The everyday Marathon is the 100psi capable HS-368 which is kevlar belted and has the reflective strip. They are probably the cheapest of the schwalbe line for high pressure tires.

I run these on my trike.. 559 x 1.5 and 2x 406 x 1.5... And they are lasting longer than I like [2500 miles and still going strong] since I would love to try other Schwalbe offerings.

The nice thing about these tires is that they ride on a solid center rib and still have tread for traction. They are not light, but not cumbersom either. Schwalbe's web site does a nice job rating their own tires: www.schwalbetires.com

With the 1/8" of tread depth, you also get some immunity between the road and the casing.

I do inspect my tires for burrowing glass shards or cager-tire-wires on a weekly basis. A burrowing shard will eventually pop the tube.

If more duty is required... Marathon Plus... but those are a bit sluggish but it essentially has the tire liner built in.

Try Coventry Cycle Works [25th and Hawthorne?] since they carry a lot of Schwalbe tires.

09-13-2008, 06:54 PM
I got tired of fixing flats so I bought a pair of Gaterskins and they were great on dry and wet roads! After about 1600 miles, I got tired of fixing flats and picking shards of glass out of the tread, so I bought a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus's. They took some getting used to and seemed quite a bit slower until I pumped them up to 115 psi per Schwalbe's website (the sidewall recommends 70 psi). I have about 500 miles on them now and no flats yet, knock on wood! I laugh at glass on the road now :D But my heart goes out to fellow commuters who have to deal with it! :mad: The trade off is losing some speed and they seem to throw more water on wet pavement, but the upside is no worries about glass flats! I haven't noticed too many shards in the tread either. They seemed a bit squirrely at first and I kept checking the tire pressure thinking they were going flat. Installing them on the rims the first time can be a chore. I found that working them around the rim with my hands worked best. It's a lot like chasing your tail, you get one side on and the other side slips out. I'm riding 700c x 25 tires so it might be different with fatter tires.

09-13-2008, 08:29 PM
I was planning to get marathons and the sales guy talked me into trying Panaracer Tourguards. I've only had them a couple of months, but they've been great so far.

09-15-2008, 12:10 PM
+1 Schwalbe.

09-16-2008, 02:39 AM
Thanks all for the discussion. Still haven't decided, but I think Schwalbes will get the nod. Next paycheck maybe...

09-19-2008, 05:50 PM
Schwalbe Marathon Plus FTW.

09-20-2008, 09:35 AM
Guess I'm just too cheap --- first thing I do on all our new bikes is pop the tires off and put those anti-puncture strips in. Only one flat in the past 6yrs ...

09-30-2008, 07:51 PM
dont just spout out brand names, the actual model is what's important. the schwalbe stelvios are great for training/ racing. i would steer clear of them for commuting. the schwalbe marathons are great commuter tires (by far the best flat resistence of all the tires out there).
conti gatorskins are nice and supple, but still are rather puncture proof.
the specialized armadillos are a good cross between the above 2 tires, but they dont have the puncture resistence of the marathons or the good ride of the gatorskins, but they are a good mix.
for all intents, i'd recommend the marathons highly over any other tire for flat resistence.

the Wumpus
10-04-2008, 09:11 AM
I'll second (twelfth?) the marathons. I've had two flats with these tires in the last two years: one was a big nail, the other was a big chunk of broken turn signal that levered up and carved through the sidewall. As for milage, the rear seems to be good for 4 or 5000 miles before the tire really starts looking more square than round.

Not just the marathons, though: I also flip the bike every month or two and check for pointy things. Use a paper towel or get a finger dirty; wipe the dust off the tread and look for little cuts, then carefully fish around in there for whatever made the cut. A 99 cent straight pick from the hardware store with the point rounded off with a file or sandpaper works well enough. I've never done this without finding junk that was working its way through my tires.

Also, just one of my pet peeves: I have never, ever met a wheel with a deburred valve stem hole. Next time you have the opportunity, round off those sharp edges and eliminate valve stem punctures. I've got a Noga deburring tool (any metal related tool or welding supply shop), but a small round file works, or even scraping with the back side of a pocket knife will do the job.

10-12-2008, 06:34 AM
I have Bontrager Race Lite Hard Case tires (700 x 32) and they have performed well (one flat in three years). Not fun to install, however; sweat and cussin' required. I suck at changing tires, so YMMV.

10-23-2008, 06:45 AM
marathon plus have a thick puncture proof layer which is darn near impossible to penetrate. I ran my last pair for 2 years and only changed them out because the tread was getting low. No flats for 2 years, and I have found thumbtacks and shards of metal stuck in them; still no flats. I guess they're a bit heavier than other tires, but who cares. It's not like they are 5 pounds heavier than other tires. The net gain is about as much as a sandwich; a few grams at the most. Don't listen to the gram shavers. They're living a Lance fantasy.

Spendy? Maybe so, but how do you like changing flats?

Stelvios are a racing tire, so yeah if you use them for daily commuting then they wear out fast.
Try the marathon or the plus. You'll definately like them

the Wumpus
10-29-2008, 07:00 PM
Update.... I'm one of those who flips the bike over and picks artifacts out of the little cuts in my tires occasionally so they don't work through into my tubes. I have a Continental Top Touring tire up front, and a standard-issue Schwalbe Marathon out back. I've been told that I should expect the front tire to pick up more debris than the rear, since the tracks do overlap to some degree. (not always, wet ground will betray the mostly-double-track nature of bicycles) But this is ridiculous. Here's the score, the number of small cuts in the tread which contained glass or a tiny pointy rock this afternoon:

Top Touring: 46
Marathon: 5

On a side note, the deep cuts made by larger shards stopped at the kevlar belting of the Top Touring tire. A few actually cut away the rubber around the kevlar into a larger cavity without cutting a strand of the kevlar itself. I had my doubts about kevlar vs sharp things, but the stuff appears to work!

10-29-2008, 07:13 PM
Where are you buying the Marathon pluses?

My super grippy Hutchinson Top Slick is box shaped and has flatted twice in a week. 1000 miles :(

the Wumpus
10-29-2008, 07:48 PM
I've seen them at Clever Cycles, and Citybikes might have them, probably some other similar shops as well. They shouldn't be hard to come by in Portland, there are plenty of hardier practical cyclists to support a stock of stuff like that.
Biketiresdirect might have them cheap if they're not too far out of the way.

Simple Nature
10-29-2008, 09:43 PM
Try Coventry Cycle Works... 20th and Hawthorne.

11-13-2008, 10:16 AM
Inflation,inflation, inflation!
Though I have no doubt that Schwalbe's will improve resistance to punctures, I'll say this:
I've been running stock-block Kendas for 2 years now (it is time to buy new skins though; and I'll go to Marathons to improve my odds): I have had no flats. -I am a daily commuter up here in Vancouver, BC.
Keep them pumped; and your chance of a flat is vastly reduced.