Let's not confuse Marathons with Marathon XR's!!!
Stephen Caulker is the technical advisor for Schwalbe NA. He responded in Crazyguyonabike to resolve the confusion between the two tires as follows:
I have been following this string and wanted to clear up a couple questions.
One respondent felt that the Marathon XR and PLUS were marketing gimmicks! They were designed for different applications.
Marathon Plus: Is designed for the commuter, who wants a tire with maximum puncture protection, excellent wear characteristic but isn't concerned about weight or folding capabilities. It features:
* Smart Guard puncture protection system: a dense highly elastic rubber that provides very high puncture resistance and does not effect rolling resistance.
* Designed for the daily commuter where the tire is subjected to a daily dose of staples, thumb tacks, flints, metal shards, glass etc.
* The Plus is a heaver tire, this result slower acceleration due to rotating weight but once rolling resistance is equal to the Marathon XR
* No chafing strip
* Lower load range
Marathon XR: Was designed for the world traveler who is counting on their equipment not to fail out in the middle of Mongolia (The "old" XR series was deservedly referred to by touring and trekking cyclists as the no compromise tire for long distance touring and expeditions. It was only available as wire bead tire).
When it came time to upgrade the tire our testers asked for a folding version with out any sacrifice in the durability, load range, wear characteristics or protection. So what is the difference between the Marathon XR and the Marathon Plus?
* The Marathon XR uses Travel Guard an Amarid fabric that is used in stab proof vests and gloves (It has 2.7 seven times more puncture resistance of the old Marathon XR tire).
* The XR's Travel Guard is a more flexible material then Smart Guard; it's lighter, and helps to lower rolling resistance.
* The XR has a special chafer strip to protect the lower portion of the sidewall and bead from cuts from the rim due to tire 'scrubbing' (lateral movement under heavy loads).
* The XR tire compound is slightly harder and will provide higher mileage.
* Higher load range then the Marathon Plus.
* Lighter then the Marathon Plus
Hopefully this clears up questions regarding the difference between the Schwalbe XR and Plus series tires. Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.
This message was edited by cyclesafe on 3-18-06 @ 6:26 PM