Maybe we are just adding another review praising our second set of marathon plus tours, but they are amazing, along with schwalbe's other touring tires. Wanting to encourage schwalbe to keep these tires in their line up we thought we better give our thoughts after 3 years on the road.
We carry a fair few tools and spares on a transcontinental cycle trip, and maybe the fundamentally most important piece in that tool kit would be something to repair punctures. But using these tires I might has well have left those patches at home, I haven't had a single puncture in the 13,000 km between Turkey and Japan! We’re certainly not saying don't take a puncture repair kit with you. But it's mind blowing to think I haven't had the joy of removing my the luggage off the bike, flipping it upside down and spending half an hour trying to find a pin prick on the side of some dusty road.
How Did They Wear
No doubt, these tires are tough, and definitely have great puncture resistance, but how long do they last? Some pictures below will describe how they have worn over a distance of 13,000 km. Our route has mostly been on asphalt, probably around 70% with the remaining 30% on gravel of various quality. The tread in the center looks like it was designed mostly for road, with some extra knobs on the outside when we need the grip on gravel. It's definitely not a skinny road tire, but it can be pumped up to a rock hard 70psi, we usually keep ours topped up to 65 on asphalt and it rolls pretty well, comfortably averaging 25km/h on the flat if the wind is still.
Off And On The Gravel
On the gravel we won't let it down lower than 45psi, personally we’d rather have a bumpy ride than put a dent in our rims. We wouldn't recommend this tire if you are sticking to gravel for the majority of the time, as you can quickly notice the wear after a few weeks cycling on rough rocky roads and the cushion of a wider tire would be much appreciated. But in terms of grip we definitely have confidence to take it off the asphalt and onto the dirt.
Schwalbe is a household name amongst cycle tourist, and our experiences have been excellent. If we were planning another long trip, which inevitably means we would spend a lot of time on asphalt, we don't doubt that we would choose this tire again.