Schwalbe tires are great

I love Schwalbe tires. I’ve used their Marathon slicks, my touring bike has their Marathons on it, and I just put a pair of Schwalbe Stelvios on my fixed gear.

The Stelvios feel great, are light, are pretty easy to install, and can be inflated to 145 lbs./sq. in. After a more reasonable time span, I’ll let you know how susceptible to flats they are. (They’re not supposed to be flat-resistant). Schwalbe isn’t well known here. I first encountered them on my bike ride across Spain. Every tourer seemed to have them on their bike. I had been a Michelin user, but since they’re not my company’s client any more, I’ve moved on. The Pro Races I had on my Pegoretti were flat magnets.

Schwalbe Tires are not widely distributed; I got mine from a slightly eccentric, but excellent bike shop in New Hampshire.  Peter White Cycles. Fast, friendly service, as they say in some ads…


It was Super Old Skool Saturday on the TDH. One of my regular tires, a Schwalbe Marathon Slick, sprang a leak Friday night, and was flat Saturday morning. These tires are normally bullet proof, but something slashed the sidewall.

So I put on my 30 year old Campagnolo Record Low Flange Hubbed, Mavic Monthlery rimmed, tubular tire equipped speed demon of yore wheels. Back then, clinchers were heavy and you couldn’t put a lot of pressure into them. (No more, of course).

These were state of the art back in the day, and professional bike racers (ooh!) still use that kind of tire. They’re very high pressure (max 170 lbs/!) but not fixable on the road if you get a flat. So you’re supposed to carry a spare tire (note: not a tube or patch kit) with you. I didn’t, which meant that if I got a flat, I’d be walking home.

All worked out great. (And I remembered why I liked riding on tubulars so much).

All I needed to be period-correct were a pair of crochet back gloves. (Which I’ve found online and which will be arriving this week).

Fixed Gear-ness

I’ve been riding a fixed gear bike this season. It’s so flat here, the only reason you need gears is to deal with the wind. This is my Bianchi Pista, with some mods. 1) Nitto Stem and Moustache handlebars. 2) Switched out the black seatpost for a shiny aluminum one. 3) Sugino RD cranks. 4) MKS pedals. 5) Fizik Pave seat I found in the used bin at a local bike store. 6) Nice, thick Japanese cloth handlebar tape finished off with whipping cord. 7) Schwalbe Marathon “Slicks” (700 x 30). Very smooth-riding, but nearly bullet-proof tires.

My Bianchi (not really Italian) Pista