Schwalbe Marathon Supreme (2011)


You should know that the name of these tires was not chosen at random. When people from Schwalbe use the word “Supreme”, it means that we discuss about a product as serious and powerful as can be. This is a fact that I can fully confirm.

I bumped into a semi slick tread pattern, from which I hadn’t expected too much at the beginning of the test.  The Schwalbe Marathon Supreme is not only a tire designed for road, but also for off-road escape and portions of earth or gravel.

Before describing the behavior of these tires when at work, I’ll enumerate some of their features; tedious as they might seem, you’d better know them because you won’t find them in too many tires on the market. The first feature refers to the material to be found in the compound of the tire: it is called Vectran and is used among others, by the NASA. Why? Because it is a very resistant material, two times more resistant to breaking than titanium and five times stronger than steel. It’s the most resistant material that can be used in tire construction. This material is also to be found in other famous brands.

The second feature is what distinguishes the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires from their competition: the way Vectran is used in manufacturing these tires, that is with a high degree of penetration. Thus, HD-V Guard (high density Vectran) is the secret that gives this tire increased grip and unbeatable weight, to 50% less than tires with similar performance.

Keeping these features in mind, I embarked on an ambitious tire test. Both on asphalt and on cement, the running speed is very good, especially if you use the tires at high pressure. Rides are very easy and the bicycle catches speed quickly. When riding in parks, I took my chances on perilous paths. Adherence is really good even when you’re forced to lean more when cornering.

Another plus is grip on wet ground. It is more than decent and keeps the bike as stable as possible, which is surprising if we think that in the past years the Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires caused a minor accident on wet pavement! However, it is not the case with the Marathon Supreme tires. Average weight is very good for this segment: 480 grams for a tire you can use both on fine gravel and macadam roads. Note, however, that on larger-sized gravel roads, the bike becomes unstable. This is also due to higher pressure in the tire, which only leads to the bike bouncing from side to side.

The material the Marathon Supreme tire is made of is providing good protection against blows that occur when wheels meet the edge of a sidewalk. The model I tested was available in the dimensions 28 x 1.4 (a Citybike wheel size) and weighed only 440 grams. But tires are available in several sizes and weights and not just for City bikes, but for Mountain bikes as well: 26 x 1.6 or 26 x 2.0. Seek for larger balloon models if you want more comfort. As for the model I tested, sized 28 x 1.4, I can’t say it’s very comfortable.

I recommend the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires for their outstanding performance. It is highly appreciated that they can be exploited both on gravel portions and in urban areas. I see this set of tires as an ideal replacement set for mountain tires installed on your bike. The latter are not justified in the city, where you have to go fast. If you can afford approximately 35 euro, they should be your next semi slick tires for city or trekking.

Weight: from 440 grams