After vacillating for years about trying studded tires, I finally got a set of the Marathon Winter Plus. I've run these for 3 weeks now on my 10-mile roundtrip urban commute, and I will now always maintain a set on spare wheels to be quickly swapped in whenever winter conditions threaten. As this is only my experience after less than a couple hundred miles, I can't speak to long term durability. That said, these appear to be quite robust, and I've hit broke glass many times already without incident.
First, I will confess that I struggled to mount the Marathons on new Mavic Crossride 29er wheels. It probably didn't help that I was trying to repurpose the big tubes that came inside the big Mavic Quest tires. But unless you want to run them an entire season, I can't really imagine routinely swapping them with other tires on a single wheel set, unless they soften up after running, or your wheels (or technique!) make for easier installation.
Second, they're not quick to accelerate due to weight. My commute has many lights and stop signs, so I notice the weight burden each time I try to take off. In fact, today I switched back to my regular wheels with 32C Panaracer Gravelkings, and I was going 3-4mph faster than with the Marathons without even trying. That's not quite an apples-to-apples comparison, as the 38F conditions allowed me to go back to regular MTB Sidis on my cross bike, rather than the winter Sidi or 45Nrth boots I've been wearing lately. However, they do seem to roll quite nicely once up to speed, and the frying bacon sound of the studs on pavement isn't as bad as I feared.
Third, and most importantly, these tires inspire confidence. I like to go fast when I can, but I'm generally cautious on the bike in the city, particularly when snow obscures Chicago potholes, narrows the distance between me and SUVs, and reduces visibility. These tires allow me to get through thick slush, skate over patches of ice, and traverse packed snow without (too much) concern. Since, I'm not a daredevil, I cannot comment on cornering at speed in winter, but I'll bet the fearless among you would be even more so with these.
I've often read that studded tires don't help in snow. While that may be somewhat true, and this is my first test of studded tires, I find these tires are great in most snow situations that I encounter in the city. Perhaps the tread is improved over past tires, but I find the Marathons far out handle my Gravelkings in snow, indeed any mudgravel tire I've ever had on my cross bikes. With one exception...
There is one situation where the Marathon Winter Pus tires consistently handle poorly. In Chicago, many of the older bridges over the Chicago River lack pavement but rather have open steel grating as the ridingdriving substrate, the grid pattern of the grating includes diagonals that I suspect interact with some tread configurations. When wet, these steel grates can be quite tricky, sometimes causing significant fishtailing for certain tires, slick road tires and various knobbies alike. Whereas my Gravelkings are excellent on the bridge grates and track well even when wet, the Marathons can be downright scary when wet and aren't a thrill when dry. On such bridges, I am forced to a crawl and must be very careful with the Marathons, particularly if sharing the lane with wider vehicles that leave less room for erratic handling. Their tread pattern is about the worst I've tried for the effect on the steel grates. But I understand it's a situation that many will never encounter.
In summary, I'm sold on the Marathon Winter Plus for the confidence and sense of safety that they inspire in a wide range of winter conditions. This performance comes at the expense of accel
No complaints on function. Rode several days on freeze, thaw, ice and survived. This is my first studded tire. I was shocked at the weight, definitely not fast, but will get you thru. 5 star function in survival mode and great BDT price and service, 2 star deduction for weight, although my inexperience with studded tires should be taken into account.
Absolutely love the tires. A definite need if you intend to bike in the winter. On ice it almost feels like you are going over dry pavement. I know it's hard to think about biking next winter with all that's going on right now with the Corona virus, but hopefully we will get a handle on this, the sooner the better and everyone will be out biking again.
I commute 20 miles a day, year round. This is my second Boston winter on these tires. I have lost maybe 1 stud and never had a flat. They are heavy and slow, because physics, but I never have to worry if I'm going to go down.
I've ridden a lot of winter tires in the past 20 years. These are my daily commuters and have been for years.
What I love is
1) flat protection ( have you ever replaced a tube at 10 degrees Fahrenheit? The weight of SmartGuard is well worth avoiding that scenario )
2) Decent rolling resistance ( for a studded winter tire )
3) Good handling on most of the ice I encounter
4) Good on snow up to 2 or 3 inches, depending on the type of snow ( I ride the 40c )
4) They hold their spikes much better than most tires I've used
5) More quiet than other snow tires I've used
6) Decent handling on pavement for snow tires ( you won't be leaning hard through corners no matter what snow tire you use... but these are OK, and the benefits are well worth that sacrifice )
7) It's really awesome to be able to ride in conditions where it would be impossible or suicide with non-studded tires, and these are good at that.
Where it's limited is
1) Rutted glare ice ( stuff that's frozen smooth & solid after people have ridden walked on it ).
The Marathons are great for most of what I do, but on rutted glare ice you need something wider ( I loved my Ice Spiker pros, and am now using Dillingers on a fat bike )
2) You'll need to take a little care on lakes and ponds. You can turn, but these aren't going to do as well as Schwalbe's Ice Spiker Pros
3) Climbing is a lot more work. That's unavoidable with snow tires, and not a fault of the Schwalbes. For me the security on snow and ice, the flat protection, and the fact that the only other option is not riding at all, make the tradeoff a no brainer. And let's not forget the conditions in which turning at all is impossible without snow tires!
3) The siping on the rear wheel wears down after about a thousand miles or so, but I can't really tell if it matters.
4) When the snow gets deeper than two or three inches ( depending on the type of snow ) you'll need mountain or fat bike tires. It's not Schwalbe's fault, and its a tradeoff I'm totally OK with since these are perfect for my commuting needs. Schwalbe does make studded mountain bike and fat bike tires!
5) I don't like cornering on snow tires ( Not Schwalbe's fault ) but it's a trade-off I'm more than willing to make for the benefits & safety these tires offer.
I usually run these from December to mid-March ( Boston area ) and commute 12 miles each way. I also do mixed-surface riding ( trails in the woods and fields ) and ride an unsalted unsanded bike path as well.
When it comes time to replace these I'll be buying the same thing again, as I have for the past several ( 8 or 10 ) years.
Second review. Quality tire. Worked great on icysnow covered roadsbike pathstrails. After 500 miles of some of the worst winter riding conditions the Minneapolis and St. Paul area has seen in quite some time these worked fantastic!
Only missed 3 rides those were roads that had glare ice. On glare ice I would prefer the Ice Spiker Pro but those conditions only happened a few times this winter.
Used the 700x35's on 18mm rims with slime tubes. Ran them around 45psi until the refreeze season started then 65 psi.
No flats, no studs lost. No visible signs of wear other then the studs are shiny. Not too noisy for the most part.
Sure made this winter riding season a lot more enjoyable. Now bring on summer! getsome!
Worth the money if you are planning on winter riding on roads, bike paths, etc. Plenty of icesnow packed conditions here this season and these grip pretty good so far. Great for getting out of the fat tire ruts on the bike paths. Seem to roll well even at lower pressures range. Used Nokian A10 & W106's for many years plus the 45Nrth Xerxes recently and these are far superior ( Using the 35c model ). Have not had a chance to ride them on straight up glare ice yet but the way this winter is going I'm sure the opportunity is coming.
No negatives that I can see. Happy I've switched to these.
This was my second pair, the first went on my bike two years ago and these went on my wife's bike. I use them daily commuting and recreational riding during the winter months. I was worried that that the studs wouldn't hold up on dry pavement but they are very hard and durable, and I no longer worry about that. They do add a lot of rolling resistance, but going fast isn't the point of putting these on your bike.
I replaced some 700c x 36mm studded tires with these 700c x 50mm and am very pleased at the traction and stability improvement. On plowed gravel roads, but still with 1 - 3 of packed snow they are the perfect tire. I imagine on plowed asphalt roads, with the occasional small drift to plow through they would work equally well.
I bought size 35mm and mounted them on 19mm internal width disc rims (cross bike). The mounted width was 35mm 50psi. Got them from BTD during Black Friday sale.
I only have a few hundred miles on these guys, but so far so good. Are they a tad heavy? Yes. But you dont buy these tires thinking youre going to race a crit (unless its on a frozen lake). They roll better and are quieter than expected and on ice they are like Velcro. Roll resistance-wise I would put them on par with the previous Continental non-studded winter tires I had mounted (37mm). Although we havent had a ton of snow so far this winter so far, but they do clear out nicely in the .5 icy snows Ive had a chance to give them a go in. I will say they arent the smoothest of rides they feel exactly as look. A small price to pay IMHO for state of mind winter riding.
I ride a single speed mountain bike 4.5 miles to a high school in Bend OR where I work and these tires are excellent, they provide traction on snow and ice, and the studs on the road do not make a lot of noise.