(Update 2/20/2012 – The Bike Touring News store now has the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires in stock in 700 x 35c and 700 x 40c sizes in the folding version. The 26 x 2″ folding tire is due to hit North America in March,2012.)
The Schwalbe Marathon XR is frequently hailed as the best expedition/long lasting touring tire out there. The ‘XR’ was synonymous with ‘Schwalbe’, in fact, along with the regular Marathon, some think the XR helped build Schwalbe a good name and customer base. Unfortunately, in 2009 Schwalbe decided to discontinue the model. Other tires stepped in to fill the void, namely the Dureme and Extreme and the Plus Tour, but none of those had all the features that made the XR so popular.
Recently I read about a new tire- the Marathon Mondial. According to Sean at Schwalbe North America:
“……the Mondial is not a direct replacement to the Marathon XR, more of the next step in the evolution of the tire. Compared to the XR the Mondial will have the SnakeSkin sidewall which is an additional rubber coated aramid layer which helping to prevent sidewall cuts and abrasions. The Mondial also gets a modified triple rubber compound which we call TravelStar, the compound will increase road performance while also increasing the durability.”
For more information I went to the global Schwalbe website and found this about the TravelStar compound:
The Marathon Mondial has “State of the Art” TravelStar Triple Compound. Under the tread centre lies an elastic mixture for easy rolling, while there is a grippy rubber compound, for cornering traction on the tyre´s shoulder. In the middle of the tread an abrasion-resistant, harder compound offers low rolling resistance for thousands of miles.
Unpredictable gravel roads and potholes, acacia thorns: these are the treacherous tyre killers. Protection may come down to the smallest of margins such as the durability of the rubber mixture. The lightweight extremely densely woven High Density puncture protection belt reliably protects against punctures and ruptures. The light but sturdy “Snakeskin” protection provides maximum reinforcement against sharp objects that would otherwise cut the sidewall.
According to the catalog cuts I have seen, the folding version of this tire will have the TravelStar compound and the Snakeskin casing while the wire bead versions will have Schwalbe’s “Endurance” compound and their RaceGuard casing which is a double layer of nylon fabric.
Look for the folding tire in sizes 26×2, 26×2.15, 700×35 and 700×40. The wire bead tires will come in 26×2, 700×35 and 700×40 sizes. Availability in the US will be October 2011 for limited sizes and 2012 for the complete lineup. Prices will range from $48.00 to $90.00 depending on size and version.
This thread at crazyguyonabike gets a little out of hand, but in a good, funny way.