Well I’m sad to report that Schwalbe seems poised to terminate the Marathon XR which has been a favourite tire of mine for a few years now. I’ve got ‘em on my Surly LHT and my Surly Big Dummy. I think I have a spare XR in 26″ and one in 700c so I’ll be good for a while longer given how hard wearing these tires are, but sooner or later I’ll wear out my last XR and it will be the end of an era.
On the positive side Schwalbe has three new touring tires in the Marathon line up which seem like they will be able to fill the shoes of the XR capably:
- Marathon Supreme: is a semi-slick touring tire for those paved road only rides where you want durability and puncture protection in a faster tire.
- Marathon Extreme: is a knobbier and lighter cousin of the XR that can handle dirt and gravel roads.
- Marathon Dureme: seems to be somewhere in the middle with more tread than the Supreme and less tread than the Extreme. It’s supposed to be very long wearing.
We may be looking back in a couple years and not missing the XRs at all. The new Schwalbe touring tires may be better and we’ll be happy they made the switch. Of course it’s possibly we’ll be looking back wistfully at the XR wishing they still made it….only time will tell. The thing the XR had going for it was a long history of working well for the hardcore bike tourist. That’s a reputation Schwalbe’s new rubber will have to earn.
If you are a Schwalbe XR fan there is still stock of this tire at many vendors so grab some while you can.