The Schwalbe Marathon XR was the obvious choice for a long distance tour (at the time of choosing in 2007), used by most other adventure cyclists to universal critical appraisal.
The Marathon XR is the true expedition tyre. It was conceived and built to withstand both extreme loads and uncompromising terrain. It provides unsurpassed puncture protection with TravelGuard technology. This progressive technology offers excellent puncture protection with extremely low weight. The XR is constructed with 1A rubber compound, which is extremely resistant to rolling friction for maximum mileage. The versatile tread and application of 3M Scotchlite stripe seals the claim that Marathon XR is the only true expedition tyre.
How I used them
I did extensive touring across Europe and Asia covering 15000km+ . I also used them for mountain biking in Georgia and commuting in London. I still own the tyre (2022) and they still have plenty of tread!
My experience with the tyre
Over the first 7000km I didn’t get a puncture. However, the thorns of Indian roads and debris from burnt out tyres on the roads in Iran did manage cause some punctures, but not many.
They are practically a “fit and forget” piece of gear, featuring an all-round tread with excellent grip on road and providing added confidence on dirt tracks. The rolling resistance is more than a slicker and thinner option but in terms of durability and peace of mind you’d be hard pressed to better them.