Marathon Plus: usable on the trail?


Senior Member

Considering getting some 700*25 Marathon Plus tyers.

Appreciate they are excellent on-road when it comes to puncture protection.

Are they usable off-road, say on light trails? Think something a little more challanging than a canal path, but not much.

If not, can anyone recommend a set of 700*32 (or smaller) cyclocrossers? The Schwalbe CX looks good, but anything cheaper will do.




Resting in suspended Animation
Yes, easily... not sure about that narrow but I've seen other people do 700x25 (I think they had difficult getting hold of that width).


Lover of things that come in 3's
might be a bit squirrely on the loose stuff, I've not come a cropper on mine yet but they are 35mm not 25, not sure how much difference that makes to grip.


Well-Known Member
I have 700 x 28 marathon plus and there are a few gravelly sections of a cycle path I use regularly and I do take it very sensibly otherwise I can just feel the bike sliding away from me. They are ok over some bumps and dirt so long as it is dry.


Senior Member
Great cheers folks - looks a bit iffy - think I might get some dedicated cyclecrossers...


I have Marathon + on my crosser 700x28 and they handle my route across heathland fine, some of that is quite rough with gravel & sand.


You can do quite rough tracks on narrow tyres, but the rougher it is the more narrow tyres will slow you down. The difference in speed can be very large - on 25mm tyres you can be reduced to 7 or 8mph on stuff you might take at 18-20mph on 2" tyres.
The main problem is that you have to have narrow tyres hard to avoid pinch punctures, but when a hard tyre hits a rock it bounces up in the air and provides no steering, drive or braking. As a result you have to slow down just to keep the tyre on the ground.

Don't worry too much - most towpaths, forestry roads or "white roads" are fairly smooth, and some can be as good as average tarmac.


Über Member
Thought I might add my own experience - I have the 37 Continental Country Ride tyre which came with my Kona Dew on the front wheel of my bike and a 25 bontrager road tyre on the back - ride on some pretty gritty surfaces as well as smooth road on these and feel pretty secure.


Not 700c or Schwalbe relevant so take this with a pinch of salt: my MTB turned commuter had supermarket slicks on, they were very poor in mud. They have a very round section and and no real tread. On dry tracks they were fine but in a muddy rut they were impossible, they just never gripped the edge to climb out. I now have Michelin semi slicks with a series of Vs as tread and a pronounced sharp shoulder, they are very stiff and so far extremely p***re resistant. They cope very well off road, even on muddy tracks. This leads me to suspect that it may be as much to do with shoulder design as tread, and I do know that the sharp shoulder is a feature of the traditional Land Rover all-purpose tyre.

Summary - I reckon you'l be OK.
Top Bottom