Sep 1, 2012

Balloon tyres... (Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 26 x 2.0 folding tyres review)

I have recently fitted a set of large volume (balloon) tyres, a set of Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 26 x 2.0 folding tyres.

They replace my worn out set of Continental City Ride 26 x 1.5

The City Ride tyres were not great tyres at all: uncomfortable at high inflation pressures (70 psi), vague and slow at lower inflation pressures (40 psi), dreadful in the wet since new, with little traction on anything other than clean tarmac, and suffered greatly in lower temperatures (below 8 Celsius.)

But, they were cheap, and as far as puncture protection goes, they were very reliable: only one puncture in 12,000 miles. The rate of wear has been really great, probably explaining their reduced grip in cold and wet weather conditions.

Although the Marathon Supreme comes in both 1.6 and 2 inches wide models, I chose to try the 2 inches wide model on my commuter bike, and try a 'balloon' tyre for a change.

I am so far, pleased with my choice!

Before I expressed my opinion on the performance of the Marathon Supreme, let me tell you that a smaller (20 x 1.6) version of the same tyres are mounted on my folding Dahon Mu P8, and they have been great on that bike.

I must detail the type of riding I do, too. My hybrid bike is used for commuting duties, normally on London roads, and in the hilly part of the Kent countryside; it gets used for all sorts of other duties too: I go shopping and carry full panniers in excess of 20 Kg; I transport my daughter on a rear mounted bicycle seat, inclusive of panniers for day trips to the park; I ride on fire roads and trail tracks. And I expect reliability, handling, durability, and comfort.

Using this particular tyre, I can achieve all of the above objectives.

A large volume tyre allows lower inflation pressures without a great loss of rolling resistance. This comes at a price: rolling weight. But these tyres are not particular heavy even in the larger width, and therefore excel in providing the greater compliance and comfort of lower inflation pressures (40psi) yet resist to punctures and pinch flats, even on potholed roads.

The particular rubber compound used for these tyres is certainly more effective on wet roads than the City Ride tyres I used previously.

The carcass uses a higher TPI construction, which ensures compliance even at higher inflation pressures as required when carrying heavy loads.

The only caveat to be aware of is that these tyres are huge, and effectively increase the overall diameter of the wheel (total circumference 2050 mm): your gears will seem slightly longer as a result; please remember to adjust your cycle-computer accordingly.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I came across this blog by Googling 'Wokingham and Blog' with a view to mentioning my little social enterprise based in Wokingham to anyone who is interested. What I've set up is a website that is just perfect for moving bicycles around the country, would you be interested in writing a bit more about it on your blog?

    The website hopefully get around the perpetually frustrating experience of sending or receiving a bicycle by post/courier etc. As a long-time cyclist the amount of bikes I've had broken his many, using this website any bicycle can be collected, gently wrapped in a blanket and delivered from door-to-door by just one person. Might make an interesting article on your website?

    Thanks a lot, Steve