Schwalbe Marathon Comparison: 32, 37, 40, 47 Compared

Published: 2015-12-04 | Jarno Bierman


Schwalbe Marathon 622-37

The Schwalbe Marathon is available in lots of different sizes, but are all sizes worth buying? Which size is fastest? Better to go smaller or bigger? I already tested the Marathon in the popular 37-622 size (read review) which resulted in the Marathon becoming my favorite tire. Because the Marathon is such a popular tire, I've also tested the 32-622, 40-622, and 47-622 sizes of the Marathon to find out if bigger is better.


Check Schwalbe Marathon Prices at Amazon.com


I've already done a similar test with the most popular road bike tire (read GP4000S II comparison). This test showed us that with very light and fast road bike tires, a bigger tire has a slightly lower rolling resistance at the same air pressure. There seems to be a trend in cycling towards bigger tires to increase comfort and decrease rolling resistance. The lower rolling resistance part seems to be true for road bike tires, but is rolling resistance lower when opting for bigger touring bike tires as well?


All 4 tires used for this comparison have been supplied by Schwalbe (Thanks, Schwalbe!). The result of this is that 3 out of the 4 tires have a weight that comes very close to the specified weight. Only the 32-622 version has a substantially higher weight (722 vs 640) than specified by Schwalbe. The higher weight might skew the results a bit because a higher weight will result in a slightly higher rolling resistance. Keep this in mind when looking at the results of the tests further down the page.


Manufacturer Specs
Model Marathon
(GreenGuard)
Marathon
(GreenGuard)
Marathon
(GreenGuard)
Marathon
(GreenGuard)
Year 2015 2015 2015 2015
Size 32-622
28 x 1.25
700x32C
37-622
28 x 1.40
700x35C
40-622
28 x 1.50
700x38C
47-622
28 x 1.75
Supplied By Schwalbe NL Schwalbe NL Schwalbe NL Schwalbe NL
New or Used New New New New
Mileage 0 km 0 km 0 km 0 km
Price Range Med Med Med Med
Part Number 11100141 11100007 11100005 11100140
TPI 67 67 67 67
Compound Endurance Endurance Endurance Endurance
Bead Wire Wire Wire Wire
Max Pressure 95 psi / 6.5 bar 85 psi / 6 bar 85 psi / 6 bar 70 psi / 5 bar
Min Pressure 65 psi / 4.5 bar 55 psi / 4 bar 50 psi / 3.5 bar 45 psi / 3 bar
Made In Indonesia Indonesia Indonesia Indonesia

Test set up


Schwalbe Marathon 622-37 on a rolling resistance test machine

All tests were run with the same wheel, tire, inner tube, load, speed and air pressures and performed on the same day. I've retested the 37-622 Marathon on this same day as well to make sure all results were consistent and as accurate as possible. I've performed all tests in the same way as the normal test procedure. These tests include weight, size, tread depth, tire thickness, rolling resistance at 90, 75, 60, 45, 30 psi and puncture resistance tests of the tread area and sidewall.


Test conditions


  • Speed of 18 mph / 29 km/h
  • Total wheel load of 94 lbs/ 42.5 kg
  • 700 x 17C wheel
  • Temperature between 21-23 °C / 70-73 °F
  • 165 grams Continental Inner Tube

To read about all other test conditions and how tires are tested, please read the Rolling Resistance Test Conditions Explained page.


Test Results


Weight, Width and Height Measurements


Marathon
32-622
Marathon
37-622
Marathon
40-622
Marathon
47-622
Specced Weight 640 grams 730 grams 810 grams 985 grams
Measured Weight 722 grams 729 grams 809 grams 986 grams
Measured Width 32 mm 35 mm 38 mm 43 mm
Measured Height 32 mm 36 mm 39 mm 44 mm

Like already mentioned before, only the Marathon 622-32 has a significantly higher weight than specified. The 37, 40 and 47 come very close to the specified weight, which is ideal for a test like this.


The width of the 32 version is spot on to the rated ETRTO of 32 mm wide. The larger sizes fitted to my 17C rim, all measure smaller than specified. When used with a 19 or 21 mm rim, the bigger sizes probably come a bit closer to their rated size as well.




Tread Depth and Tire Thickness Measurements


Marathon
32-622
Marathon
37-622
Marathon
40-622
Marathon
47-622
Tread Depth 2.0 mm 2.3 mm 2.5 mm 2.4 mm
Tire Thickness
Center
7.4 mm 7.3 mm 7.2 mm 8.4 mm
Tire Thickness
Sidewall
1.75 mm 1.65 mm 1.6 mm 1.85 mm
Schwalbe Marathon 622-47

Tread depth of the various sizes of the Marathon varies between 2.0 and 2.5 mm. It does seem like the smallest Marathon has a slightly lower tread depth at 2.0 mm when compared to the bigger sizes which come in at 2.3 - 2.5 mm. The .2 mm difference between those tires is probably the result of production tolerances and measurement errors.


In the tire thickness measurements, the 47 mm Marathon jumps out. With an 8.4 mm tire thickness at the center of the tire, it's quite a bit thicker than its smaller brothers. The sidewalls also are slightly thicker at 1.85 mm when compared to the 37 and 40 which come in at 1.6-1.65. The 32 mm version also seems to have slightly thicker sidewalls.




Rolling Resistance


Marathon
32-622
Marathon
37-622
Marathon
40-622
Marathon
47-622
Rolling Resistance
90 psi / 6 Bar
21.7 Watts 18.8 Watts 19.7 Watts No Data
Rolling Resistance
75 psi / 5 Bar
22.8 Watts 19.6 Watts 20.2 Watts 20.9 Watts
Rolling Resistance
60 psi / 4 Bar
25.1 Watts 21.3 Watts 21.7 Watts 22.6 Watts
Rolling Resistance
45 psi / 3 Bar
29.6 Watts 23.8 Watts 24.5 Watts 25.4 Watts
Rolling Resistance
30 psi / 2 Bar
38.5 Watts 30.6 Watts 29.8 Watts 30.3 Watts
Schwalbe Marathon 622-32

Rolling resistance... Let's talk about the 32 mm version of the Marathon first as it stands out in a negative way in the rolling resistance test. Rolling resistance of the 32 mm Marathon definitely is much higher. After testing this tire, I decided to inspect the 32-622 Marathon a bit closer and there are some obvious differences between the 32 and its bigger brothers.


The 32-622 version seems to use a harder and stiffer rubber compound when compared to the bigger versions. I'm not sure why this is the case, but it's easy to notice when comparing the tires side by side. It could be because of the smaller contact patch, the soft compound might just wear too fast on a smaller tire. There also seem to be some differences in the carcasses of the small and bigger Marathons, the small Marathon has a much stiffer carcass.


When we look at the 37, 40 and 47 versions of the Marathon (which look like they use the same construction) we can conclude that bigger is not better. Between 45 psi/3 bars and 75 psi/5 bars, rolling resistance of the smaller tires is lower when compared to their bigger brothers. Only at the ultra-low air pressure of 30 psi/2 bars (which is way too soft for those tires) rolling resistance of the bigger tire is slightly lower because of the larger air volume.


Unlike popular belief, and unlike what we saw with fast and light road bike tires, rolling resistance of bigger versions of touring bike tires isn't lower than the smaller versions. 37-622 seems to be the sweet-spot when purely looking at the Schwalbe Marathon.


More data: Rolling resistance at different tire loads


I've done some extra tests at different tire loads to see if a higher load on the tire does favor a bigger tire. This makes sense as a 42.5 kg load might be a bit too low for the rear wheel of a heavily loaded touring bike. I've performed these test only with the 37, 40, and 47 mm Marathon because the 32 is much slower anyway. I've also limited these tests to 45, 60, and 75 psi data points.


All data is presented in the charts below. On average, the load doesn't make a difference to the ranking of the different width Marathons. What these tests do point out is that the cross-over point where the bigger tires perform better moves up to a higher air pressure. At a tire load of 52.5 kg, the 40-622 Marathon outperforms the 37-622 at 50 psi Vs 40 psi at a tire load of 42.5 kg.


Of course, the conclusion isn't that easy. When you also take into account the fact that a higher tire load needs a higher air pressure, the 37-622 Marathon still outperforms the 40-622 and 47-622. The most useful part about this data is that you can now make an educated decision on which tire you like based on the air pressure you expect to use.





Puncture Resistance


Marathon
32-622
Marathon
37-622
Marathon
40-622
Marathon
47-622
Puncture Resistance Tread 14 14 14 16
Puncture Resistance Sidewall 7 5 5 5

Puncture resistance of the various different versions of the Marathon seems to differ only slightly. The 32 and 47 stand out with a higher sidewall puncture resistance for the 32 mm and a higher tread puncture resistance for the 47 mm Marathon.


The higher sidewall puncture resistance of the 32 can be explained by the stiffer carcass of that tire. The higher tread puncture resistance of the 47 can be explained by it's bigger thickness at the center of the tire.


Conclusion


Schwalbe Marathon 622-37

Is bigger better with touring bike tires? No, at least not with the Schwalbe Marathon. With the Schwalbe Marathon, the 37-622 version has the lowest rolling resistance of the 4 sizes tested. The 40-622 might be a good option for slightly more comfort at a slightly higher weight and aero resistance. The 32-622 uses other materials and stands out in a negative way by performing much poorer than the 37, 40, and 47 mm versions on the rolling resistance test.


So when should I mount a bigger tire? Only when you need more comfort and your tire 'bottoms out' on bumps. Aero resistance and weight will increase. Rolling resistance will increase even more because a bigger tire needs an even lower tire pressure to offer the same comfort level, which in turn increases rolling resistance.


Check Schwalbe Marathon Prices at Amazon.com


Did you like this article?


Please consider to share this article with your friends.


Or Like/Follow us on Facebook or Twitter


Schwalbe Marathon 622-37
Schwalbe Marathon 622-37
Schwalbe Marathon 622-32
Schwalbe Marathon 622-37
Schwalbe Marathon 622-40
Schwalbe Marathon 622-47

(click to enlarge)

Chain Reaction Cycles Clearance

Chain Reaction Cycles Road Bike Tire Clearance - Up to 50% Off


Free worldwide shipping, Large selection, Up to 50% off View Road Bike Tire Deals

Leave a comment


Get updates on new articles