SCHWALBE MARATHON GT365 TYRES
1048g £39.99 each
The Schwalbe Marathon GT365 tyre is designed as a go-anywhere model for year round use and bombproof reliability. Part of Schwalbe’s performance range, which is designed with high mileage and economy, they’re certainly dependable. However; they’re also capable of inducing some pretty big grins along unmade roads, forest tracks and bridle paths.
Size & Weight
Ours were the old school 26x2.0 mtb size but gravel and tourer friendly 700x35 or 38mm sections are also available. Weight-wise, the 2.0 inch tip the scales at 1080g apiece, heavier than their winter cousins which feature tungsten carbide spikes for traction in snow and ice.
Construction & Technology
In common with the Marathon GT I tested back in January, these also boast the ECE R75 certification, meaning they are approved for E-bikes capable of 50kph. Talking of rugged, I’m told each tyre has a maximum payload of 118 kilos (95 kilos apiece for the 700x35) which should cater for big riders and a decent amount of kit.
Operating pressures range between 35 and 65psi - 75 if you’re taking the 700c route. Steep compared with some tubeless trail tyres perhaps but indicative of a tyre that will inspire confidence in challenging conditions.
Then of course, they also feature Schwalbe’s dual guard technology.
Rather than Aramid belts, dual guard comprises of a nylon belt and specialist India rubber. The former is basically the last line of defence. In most instances, the rubber will flex, theoretically pushing thorns, tacks and other sharps out before they infiltrate the tube/cause damage.
These are rated 6 out of 7 on their scale. Nothing is truly invincible but to date, no punctures.
The deep chevron type lamella tread pattern of alternating shapes/layers is designed not only for strength but to perform reliably across all surfaces, displacing water, slush and snow, while adhering to the surface beneath.
Though not a pattern exclusive to Schwalbe, this is a particularly deep version that has some obvious mountain bike DNA. However, the shoulders will bite, rather than squirm when cornering on metalled road-more about that later.
I’ve been a hub dynamo devotee since the millennium but it’s nice to see a decent dynamo track and reflective sidewalls, which improve visibility after dark. I find the latter really grabs driver attention, even at relatively slow speeds-junctions and roundabouts being obvious scenarios.
First time round, our 2 inchers didn’t quite roll aboard my Univega’s ‘cross country hoops like the proverbial Labrador. However, this was just down to the wire beads getting squashed in transit and even then, only required judicious use of a single, wedge pack staple.
As I hinted earlier, their additional heft and relatively low pressure is something of a culture shock coming from a quick rolling, middleweight 1.75 semi-slick. Even at their maximum 65psi, noticeably more effort was needed to coax them up to and maintain a credible 16-18mph along well-surfaced roads.
Experimenting with the pressures suggests 55-60 is optimal, laden or otherwise and there was none of that annoying hum synonymous with knobblies on tarmac.
Going with the flow, more frequent gear-changing became second nature. Imperative in stop go traffic where a change of lights, pothole, opening door or similar hazard requires cat-like reflexes and swift acceleration.
Be under no illusion, should you pull alongside a rider of comparable weight and power running a similar machine shod with slicks at the lights … they will blow you into the gutter when amber slips to green!
On the flip side, cornering prowess, inspires confidence, even along wet descents, trailer en tow with a weeks’ worth of supermarket shop. Catching a man-hole over or similarly slimy ironwork at the wrong angle can induce a pregnant pause, though nothing I haven’t been able to tame quickly.
You can float over big holes and hop kerbs in emergency (which has happened a couple of times during the test period-with trailer en-tow). I’ve deliberately cruised straight through shards of glass, tacks, thorns, flints and anything else that might induce a flat, or blow out.
Nothing doing to date and that’s with budget butyl. They’re pretty good off road too. I wouldn’t dream of entering a ‘cross country mountain bike race with them, no more than I would SPD sandals.
Mind you, I’ve been able to let rip along dirt roads and loose surfaces at around 20-25mph with only moderate effort and plenty of warning before traction was waning. Long disused railway lines and similarly tricky terrain wasn’t a problem, although wet sand proved a little challenging.
The tread pattern does a decent job of flushing water/ingrained contaminant too. Mind you, like most knobblies, it did become a rather heavy slick through unexpectedly gloopy sections. There are no obvious signs of wear thus far - but we’d hope not, only 400 miles in.
The Marathon 365 are an undeniably competent tyre but it very much depends upon your expectations. Frankly, if the majority of your riding is road biased, with the occasional smooth canal/towpath cut-through then their Marathon GT stablemates win hands down - no contest.
Other riders we’ve spoken to suggest the 365 can genuinely cut it on the ice, when run at 35-45psi. We’ve not had the pleasure through May and June but we’ll check back in December/January.
Until then, comparisons with their spiked, winter cousins are unfair. Four weeks and 400 miles in, I’d say they’re worth a look for heavy duty touring or all-terrain riding, so long as you can live with the trade-off on tarmac.
Verdict 3.25/5 Heavy but dependable go anywhere tyres for those who regularly navigate poorly surfaced roads.
PUBLISHED JUNE 2017