Changing Riding Styles
It’s a common debate, argubaly two of the best production touring tires on the market, the Schwalbe Marathon and the Vittoria Randoneur. Over the past year I have extensively ridden both, carrying Schwalbe Marathons on my cross-country schlep and Randonneurs around the Bay Area, almost exclusively for commuting. While I did use them in different circumstances, I did get a good feel of riding both of them, so here is how they stack up against one another.
Vittoria Randonneur – This is why people buy these two tires, they are burly and don’t seem to break. Commuting on my Randonneur’s it’s hard to remember when I actually blew a flat it’s become so rare. Sure nothing is “bulletproof” but these get damn close.
Vittoria’s come in white or black, a nice option the Schwalbe lacks.
Schwalbe Marathons – Okay, this is an unfair assessment because I rode them a lot more than the Randos with a lot more weight, but I did have some flats on these, but 70 miles a day going across country, they were rare. I remember first purchasing these and pulling glass out of my tire with no flat. Occasionally, a stray piece of metal would strike at the right angle and flat these, but it was rare.
Fully loaded the Marathon’s held up well.

Vittoria Randonneur – One thing I noticed differently from the Marathons is how much quicker the Randonneurs were. There is a difference in weight and I think that’s where this comes from, but the first time I put these tires I took off down the road pretty hastily. That comes at a cost though, with a thinner compound, these can’t be run at as low pressure as the Marathons and can be a little bumpier of a ride. Sure it’s not like a roadie feeling super heavy ride, but noticeable.

Schwalbe Marathons – COMFORTABLE. Their added weight makes these guys a little bit slower, but the trade off of speed to weight is well worth it. The Marathon rolls like a dream, holds pressure well, and can be run at a lower pressure, meaning that bumpy roads don’t feel so bumpy.
These tires are very similar and serve as great road touring tires, especially for those just getting into it (widely available, affordable, and straightforward). The big difference is what you are going for, speed or comfort. If you are looking for that little bit of extra spin, go with the Randos, but the Marathons will feel more comfortable, especially if you’re hauling over long long miles, losing that time for a less bruised under area is nice.

Changing Riding Styles

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One Response to A Test of Many Miles: Vittoria Randonneurs v. Schwalbe Marathons.

  1. green beans says:

    Rattling clear website, thanks for this post.

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