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Anyone who wants to exploit the potential of modern tyre technology wholeheartedly rides tubeless. Tubeless tyres guarantee the lowest rolling resistance while maintaining a very high puncture resistance.
The Marathon Almotion is equipped for tubeless operation. The patented Microskin construction tyres are also significantly lighter. Of course, a normal tube can also be used.
- Type: Folding
- Carcass: MicroSkin, TL-Easy
- Compound: OneStar
- Skin: Micro
Schwalbe Almotion Touring Tyre Review:
I am a proponent of tubeless, but I am not very good at getting tyres to run tubeless. I’m still using the 75mm Marathon Plus wheels as they are still a reliable setup. My last pair of Marathon tyres were a different set of 23mm 700C rubbers which came with the rim. I had issues getting it to work, and eventually tried a set of 120TPI tubes which worked. Two rotations of the tyre and some extremely strange behaviour when cornering had me throwing the Marathon’s on eBay and I bought a pair of 26″ Contact Strada LS which I found to be a more agreeable tyre. I’ve had a few flats in the miles I have put into them, but no more than I would expect from a skinny knobbled tyre. They weigh in at 240g for a 700×28.
The Almotion has a 26″ x 1.5″ size, that’s really common. I’ve got 26″ BMX built up at the moment, so that’s all the confirmation I need to know that these will bolt onto any 26″ wheel that will take a BMX tyre. They feature 2 tread patterns. The primary pattern is Dual Compound, applying a harder rubber compound over the tread centre, and a softer compound over the edges to reduce rolling resistance. This allows for more grip on the corners without compromising the durability. The Marathon Almotion has a tread depth of 60 tpi to the centre, and 45 tpi to the edges. The tire weighs in at 270g. This is up from the 23mm Marathon Plus which is 300g. But it is not up from the 240g of the Contact Strada. It uses the TL-Easy Tread that you can see peaking out from under the rim tape. Looking around at the tire you can see the edge barrier. This is an important detail, it keeps the tyre from casing hoop stress when riding erratically. In the photo at the top of the page is a Schwalbe tech explaining just how the TL-Easy works. In short, the angle of the tread does not increase with inflation, giving a consistent ride.
In The Black Diamond
So after setting up the tubeless, my first ride was on the Mall Stroll. For some reason, this is a quest of my riding. Each riding season I try and build myself to make a start, and this year was no different. I had a last minute shock when I decided that my Conti’s were a little too small for what I want to do, so I dug out a set of Schwalbe Marathon Almotion that I got for free with some wheels. Cheap wheels meant that the only place they could really shine was the Mall Stroll, so there they sat.
The start was a little sketchy, it was busy. I managed to edge my way over to the track, only to find that everyone was going at a pace I would normally pass for a hard effort. Time to ride a steady power. I set out into the headwind on the track turning around the Town Hall towards the SCG. It was a little warm, but I went for it. Coming around the track, I noticed the hills around me were in my vision, and I was pretty low in the chair, so I had to get moving. When I turned towards home and decided to get a little more aggressive on the throttle. The wheel felt really solid – the very thin rim of the Marathon feels a bit out of place on my rims built on old Dura Ace HB50(rear) and Dura Ace 112(front) rims, but it works. Decent grippy, but not too grippy, and I feel like I need to remind myself that I have less control over the wheel when it is cornering because of the extra pressure I’m having to apply to keep the Marathon Almotion rolling properly. I spent time trying to dismantle the sensation until I decided that I might just need to get used to it.
I tested them on the Bravern climb, which although it was built on fairly flat terrain, has a few decent rises and falls, and exposed corners. The descent down the hill was fairly chattery and lumpy, so it was a good test of the Marathon Almotion’s properties. The play that I noticed on my previous Marathon Plus’ disappeared. I feel like this is where the Marathon Almotion really shines. They let me power through corners and power out of them. I didn’t feel like I was pushing the limits of control, and I didn’t feel like I had to compensate for a lack of power going into a corner.
The quality of the Marathon Almotion is excellent, especially for the price. They are billed as being very lightweight, and they are comparatively much lighter than the Marathon Plus’. They offer the same levels of puncture protection that you would expect from Schwalbe, and all the other perks of running tubeless. The Marathon Almotion is a great tyre, and if you’re running tubeless, you should look at the Microskin Marathon Almotion.