Have you ever wondered why cycle hire scheme bikes from around the world hardly ever get punctures? If you look closely at the tyres, you’ll find the answer. They tend to use Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres.
These tyres have a “five millimeter thick Smart Guard puncture protection belt made from special india rubber that in conjunction with the tread and carcass brings the total to almost a centimetre of material between the tube and road.”
The tyres also come with a 3M reflective strip that helps with side visibility. You’ll have noticed this if you’ve ever shone a bike light on a Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyre. The benefits don’t stop there. The tyres also last absolutely ages and provide a safe grip on the road when you are cornering.
It’s pretty easy to see why they were chosen for London’s cycle hire bikes.
Not all is perfect
The main downside to the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres is the stiffness that makes them a pain to remove when you get a puncture. Something that anyone who’s used these tyres for a long time will attest to.
For road bikes
The road bike equivalent of the Marathon Plus tyre is the Schwalbe Durano Plus. These offers better rollability, which means it will glide across the road with less resistance.
If you are interested in bringing one of these two tyres to your bike, you can discover the size you need by looking at the side walls of your current tyre.
It’s not only about Schwalbe tyres of course and there are plenty of great alternatives out there. The Specialized Armadillo, Continental Gatorskin and Hutchinson Intensive tyres all offer good performance and puncture resistance.