Ride faster and with fewer flats on Schwalbe Marathon tires.

Ride faster and with fewer flats on Schwalbe Marathon tires.

One of the great things about a bike is the ease with which you can make it “yours”. Customization to make it fit your exact needs is both inexpensive, and simple to do yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to swap the tires for ones that are the best match for your riding style and terrain.

When a manufacturer chooses tires for a bike, they are always a compromise, and the goal is to meet most of the needs of most of the expected riders. What this means to you, the rider, is that there’s probably a tire out there that is even better for what you want to do. Especially on hybrid bikes, the manufacturer will have chosen a tire that works decently on the road and on the trails, too, but isn’t the perfect tire for either situation. Also, there’s trade-offs to be made between weight and durability. If you know you’re going to be doing more of a certain kind of riding, or have a strong preference about whether you care more about weight or lifespan, you can usually find a tire that’s a better match. This isn’t to say that it’s “bad” to stay with the stock tires, either. If they work for you, by all means, keep them and use them until they wear out. Then, when it’s time for new ones, get the perfect match!

So, when I buy a bike, one of the first things I do is swap the tires, and if the bike is one I plan to ride mostly on the road for recreation and commuting, my choice is something from the Schwalbe Marathon line of tires. In addition, they have some that are great off-road, and even studded snow tires for the winter!

While they aren’t as common as other brands (you’re unlikely to find them in the local big box store), and are a bit more expensive up front, they are very well made and generally last longer.

For an excellent budget choice, there’s the Marathon HS 420. It’s a good, solid tire at a reasonable price that has good durability and rolls quite well on the roads but will still work on stone dust paths or well maintained dirt roads.

Or, if you want serious protection against flats, you can go with the Marathon Plus HS 440. Again, it’s a good on-road tire, with a bit of tread, and it has an extra thick layer of rubber which makes it very unlikely you’ll get flats. You do pay a bit more, and it’s somewhat heavier, but if you want a tire that you can really depend on to get you to work or the store, and you ride in challenging conditions, it’s worth it, in my opinion. While the price is higher, the lifespan is as well, so on a miles per dollar basis, it’s a bargain.

On my own EVELO Aurora, I use the Marathon Racer HS 429. It’s still pretty resistant to flats, but it’s lighter and rolls very well. It’s a great tire for people who want to go fast, or maximize their range on electric power. It is pretty expensive, but again, you get what you pay for. I generally find that mine last around 4000 miles before they wear too thin and start getting flats more than I want to deal with.

Maybe you want to ride more off road, but still need something that’s decent on pavement. Try the Marathon Plus Tour HS 404. It’s a good, solid tire, a bit heavy, but it will last a very, very long time, and again, has great flat protection – if you ride in the southwest USA and you want to get on the trails but are worried about flats from those goathead thorns, this is your tire, unless…

…you’re a really serious off road rider, and don’t care if your tire is a slower and buzzier on the roads. Then, Marathon Plus MTB HS 412 is just for you. It’s knobby all over, and I’ve had a chance to take this one off road, and it really grips in the mud and dirt. It’s also a good choice for winter riding if you don’t want to go all out for studded snow tires. Durability and flat resistance is also excellent.

Finally, I have a winter bike that I ride when the roads are covered in snow, or there’s a high likelihood of black ice. I’ve equipped with these: Winter HS 396. On dry pavement, they do make noise, but in the snow, or on ice, they’re amazing. Despite that, they do roll pretty well , all things considered. Generally, you don’t want to do that to much, though, as you’ll dramatically reduce the life of the studs.

One more is the Fat Frank HS 375. It’s not part of the “Marathon” series, but it’s a cool looking, fat tire with minimal tread. It rides very well on the roads and can give a very comfortable ride.

There’s one other line, which you might find: the Schwalbe Energizer series. These versions of other tires that are specifically rated for electric bike use in Europe. Due to certain regulations, bikes need to have tires that are rated for powered bike use, if they are going to be used over certain speeds. These tires are the ones that are “certified” up to 50 km/hour, or 30 mph. While there’s no reason not to use them, there’s also no specific reason that you do need to either.

You can find Schwalbe tires in many bike shops, especially those that cater to the commuting rider, and they’re also available from many sources online. Niagara Cycle and Amazon.com are both good sources and have a wide selection.

Take a look at the full lineup here: http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/road_tires

So, how are you going to make your bike work better for you?

Ride faster and with fewer flats on Schwalbe Marathon tires | EVELO