Thursday, March 27, 2008 6.00pm
By Cass Gilbert
The semi-slick Schwalbe Supremes are great for the road side of touring, though they can easily handle decent gravel tracks and the occasional rough stuff too.
These latest members of the deservedly popular and time-tested Marathon family slot in alongside Schwalbe's near-invincible Marathon XRs . Those tyres are pretty much de rigueur for mixed terrain journeys, while Supremes have tarmac as their native surface.
There's a big volume theme to the sizing so you'll need to check clearances on your bike – the tyres are available in a 26x2.0in, 28x32c, 28x35c and 28x40c, with a balloon 28x2.0 for 29ers or 700c tourers with extra large clearances.
But big volume equals comfort, which is noticeably better than traditional touring rubber, as is their weight. The 26x2.0 model comes in at just under 600g, trimming almost 200g of rotational weight per tyre over the chunkier XRs.
The result is a much peppier ride that doesn't sacrifice comfort when pumped up to 85psi for minimum rolling resistance.
The Magic Compound tread has proved extremely grippy in the dry, perfectly reasonable in the wet and impressively long lasting – which goes some way to justifying the hard-to-swallow price tag over the standard Marathons.
Having run a set of 700x35s (470g) on several tours, I can report little visible wear, with puncture-free riding that's carried through to commuting in winter months.
It's worth noting that the tyre isn't recommended for dynamo use, but there is a reflective strip for commuting and they're all foldable, which makes them a great all-round spare tyre too.
What's the score with BikeRadar reviews? You can
find a full
explanation of our ratings here.