Friday, May 13, 2011

The Official Schwalbe Marathon Racer tire review

I bought these thinking they'd be lighter, faster and better. I mounted them, took them for a spin hoping to proof my choice was correct.

No doubt, the wheels are definitely lighter with the Racers vs. the Big Apple tires. They are super light. I was pleasantly surprised how light these tires were when I pulled them out of of the box. Upon stops at traffic lights, I would sometimes roll back to clear the sidewalk and let pedestrians pass. This rolling effort was very minimal. Less effort was needed to roll the trike for sure. No doubt there is change here btw the Racers and BA's.

The hub alone weighs a ton. With the BA's and Slime tube, it weighs 5.2 lbs. 12% of the overall weight of the trike is in the rear wheel alone!

With the Racers and swapping the Slime tube with a regular one, the total weight of the wheel with rim and hub is 4.8lbs. That's a 0.4 difference btw the two setups. That seems fairly insignificant at first, but I learned rotational weight means a lot! From experience shedding weight on the back wheel improves performance dramatically over weight loss in the front wheels.

My experience with climbing was positive after using the Racers. But there many variables that could have contributed to my experience that don't necessarily prove that the Racers were better at climbing hills.

- I had been running 20 minutes at 6mph the past couple of evenings at the gym. Perhaps I was more fit and my muscles were prepared to take on the hills.

Of course I wanted something nicer looking and these things worked out well. At 1.5" wide, they're much more narrow in width than I imagined. The 2" Big Apples really are monsters compared to these. I wouldn't think half an inch would matter, but its' definitely noticeable.

The tread pattern is very similar to the BA's.

I don't care about sound, so I wouldn't really care if these puppies made a ton of noise. They actually seemed very quiet. After reading on the forums prior to taking the test ride, I heard they were noisy. Biased, I listened for it and could hear a humming sound as the wheels were on smooth asphalt. I can't say I noticed a sound either way with the BA's. The sound still doesn't bother me, so it's a non issue.

People equate comfort with not feeling bumps on the road. If that's the definition, these things were not comfortable at all. Bumps that I would roll over with the BA's without hesitation make noise and are fairly jarring on the Racers. The bumpiness of the road along the Great Highway were felt with the Racers. They were marginally noticeable with the BA's. Comparatively, the BA's are tons more comfortable. Night and day difference. If this is what I have to sacrifice to go up hills better, I'll take it.


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