SCHWALBE MARATHON GT 365 TYRES: A WINTER UPDATE
As promised, I’ve revisited the Schwalbe Marathon GT 365 tyres through December and January to see whether they deliver when it’s cold and icy. In short, they don’t inspire the same confidence as their studded, winter siblings across really thick or black ice, let alone snow. However, they’ve performed very well on and off road when the mercury hasn’t crept above zero for several days.
Rolling Resistance/Ride Quality (Road)
Originally reviewed in early summer, I remarked that (as we’d expect from rubber nudging 1048g each) their weight and rolling resistance was quite apparent. 55psi seems optimal for general road duties and despite the vaguely knobbly tread, they haven’t turned skittish, or otherwise lost traction when cornering.
Admittedly, this is maintaining a modest 15-17mph, whereas 22mph is realistic, shod with the winter an in comparable conditions. Big slicks will trump both in this respect and along greasy/waterlogged roads. However, when these are carpeted in frozen dung and other delights, the 365’s additional contact has allowed me to steamroller through and corner with reasonable confidence.
The other benefit to big sections is their ability to iron out bumps and generally cope with the unexpected. The Marathon 365 are no exception, delivering smooth passage when I’ve misjudged a surface due to tiredness, or had to avoid being right-hooked by a distracted driver.
Most experienced riders senses are on red alert for holes and other hazards, which breed prolifically in these conditions. Due in part to their width, there’s the ability to laugh and cruised straight through them, where conditions or tiredness dictate.
There’s no question that a middleweight cross country tyre, let alone a tubeless setup will accelerate, grip and generally give superior feedback. That said, in this context the 365 are relatively brisk and deliver a really smooth, predictable ride, through moderate forest track and unmade roads.
Perfect for the sorts of mixed terrain exploring that I’m fond of. I’ve not often felt the need to dip below 40psi but running them at 35psi will buy some additional traction, which comes in handy when tackling steeper climbs, or slithering through singletrack with a trailer en tow.
Given their design brief, I was expecting a very reliable tyre across the board. I’m yet to flat, despite my best efforts-following tractors as they trim hedges and wilfully riding through their thorny debris. Not forgetting the glass and similar debris that are harder to spot at night.
Personally, I’ve found the Marathon 365 overbuilt for the UK climate - at least until November. Riders in snowier/harsher climbs will find studded designs, such as Schwalbe Winter , a better investment. However, in the UK where snow and ice are relatively short-lived, riders wanting a bullet proof, go anywhere tyre for November to March, or indeed higher power e-bikes, should take a closer look.