Thursday, 9 July 2015

Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 26 x 2.15 (55-559) Review

Schwalbe Mondial 26 x 2.15 (55-559) Review - Intro

I mourn the loss of kevlar guard on the 26 x 2.35 big apples, why did schwalbe down grade the puncture protection level on this their most practical of commuter tires? The new big apple with "race guard" is not as good, and so after 8 puncture in around a years cycling, I have started to look for alternatives.

Marathon Mondial - A wide tire, shown here with 65mm mud guards.

After much google-alisation I arrived at the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 26 x 2.15, a high end touring tire, which is wide and has a very high level of puncture protection.

The tread on these Schwalbe Marathon Mondial 26 x 2.15's is more off road-ish than I am used to much I figured I would give them a go after getting some for around £50 for the pair.

Schwalbe Mondial 26 x 2.15 Review - Out of the Box

It important to realise that these mondials come in two flavours, folding and non folding. There is no benefit in buying the non-folding varierty over other marathons, apart from the width. The folding mondials have Schwalbe's premium puncture protection system "double defence" which consists of a high density ceramic fibre guard to protect the tread area, and a strengthened "snake skin" side walls.

The tires have a reflective strip as is the case with most Schwalbe tires and are extremely well made.

Marathon Mondial - Side lugs for grip in wetter conditions

Marathon Mondial - Reflective Side Wall

Marathon Mondial - Quality Construction

Schwalbe Mondial 26 x 2.15 Review - Fitting

Easy enough even of wide Mavic EX 325 rims.

Schwalbe Mondial 26 x 2.15 Review - On and Off the Road

Off the road these tires are very good, although the center blocks could be better connected to provide easier rolling whilst on the road. When pedalling on smooth tarmac up hill, they is significant "squirm" as the tire does not grip overly well.

Expect hum. This is an off road tire.

Marathon Mondial - An off-road tire

Marathon Mondial - Gaps between centre blocks are quite large.

Off road the tire grips well. On hard packed gravel the tire comes alive, and I must presume this is what it was designed for.

Run at 5 Bar ( 75 psi) the tire is fairly unpleasant to ride, although the option to run the tire at this pressure is handy for load luggers. At 4 Bar (60 psi) the tire still feels hard, and a drop to 3 Bar (45 psi) results in a good compromise between comfort and rolling resistance.

Schwalbe Mondial 26 x 2.15 Review -Life Span

From what I have read else where they last a very long time.

Pedalling to Nowhere = 12,000 - 16,000 km

Dave McCraw - "Many thousands of Miles"

So a very long time.

Schwalbe Mondial 26 x 2.15 Review - Conclusion

If you are after a fattish tire with very high levels of puncture protection, and lowish rolling resistance then the Marathon Mondial 26 x 2.15 is a fine choice.

EDIT 2017: Having looked in to rolling resistance, I can confirm that it is high for this tire. At 26.7W when tested. This compared to the Marathon Almotion at 17.1W.

However, you could cosider the Fat Frank* or Big Apple (or Big Apple Plus) tires as for the on road commuter use the mondial is still quite knobbly. Kevlar guard has been dropped from the big apple, but the fat frank still has it, these are by next port of call .

If you drop to a 26 x 2.0" tire size then double defence is available on 2 other tires, such as marathon deluxe, and marathon dureme, both of which are worthy choices, and more likely to fit within existing mudguards and frames.

Update: 21/09/2015

The Fat Frank is not actually any easier in rolling than these Mondials,the Fat frank is a low grade rubber compound and with kevlar guard is a little more spongy to pedal, infact the Mondial roles better than the Fat Frank.

With hedge trimming season here again and the roads littered with thorns I have reverted to these Mondial tires having suffered dual simulation punctures in front a rear fat frank tires, second time around they did not seem too bad at all rolling better to than fat franks. I will be using them through out the winter.

Update 21/09/2017

Again the big apple race guards are succumbing to thorns, and so I have switched back to these. It is like pedalling through treacle!

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