A while back I asked for recommendations for replacement tyres. I went with the suggestions and a Schwalbe Marathon 700 x 38c arrived free delivery courtesy of Wiggle.
First observation. Wiggle sent it as is. I was expecting it to be folded somehow, but no. I got an enormouse package.
Second observation it is bigger than the Raleigh tyres I had on the bike. This was noticeable twice. The first time was putting a little air in the tube to slot it into the tyre prior to installing it. The tube wasn't as big as the tyre so didn't tuck in all the way round.
Fitting it on the wheel was fun too. As it is puncture resistant it is also quite stiff and didn't want to engage on the rim but that was the case with the previous tyre too. One slight difference is that once it started to go into place, I was able to get the last couple of inches on by hand instead of needing levers like the Raleigh tyre did.
Then I put the wheel back on the bike. Did I mention the tyre is bigger? The wheel wouldn't go all the way on. It jammed pretty much all the way around the mudguard. 2 locking bolts off the front and everything else adjusted to the maximum was needed to get clearance. It was also clipping the brakes so they got adjusted too.
Use: The tyre has a bit more volume and seems softer so a little more pumping was required to get it to 50psi. The rubber is certainly softer and grippier. I have more confidence cornering and it is less likely to lock if I brake hard.
Oddly, in spite of the softer rubber and a touch more tread pattern it seems to have less grip in mud (I do a lot of miles on canal paths) and I get more wheel spins in low gears in the wet bits.
As advertised I haven't had a puncture in 400+ miles. My unprotected mountain bike can't go 5 miles on the canal path without getting a hawthorn in it. Its record is 25 punctures in 10 miles (just after British Waterways had been along with the hedge cutting barge). 2 replacement tubes and any number of patches used up that day.
I'm not a quick cyclist and my main bike is a Raleigh Urban 2; just a town bike really that's quite well built and comfortable. It eats up the miles with little effort. I was quite surprised the other day when i went out on a geocaching expedition with lots of stops, going across muddy fields, lifting the bike over stiles and ended up doing 34 miles when I thought I'd done maybe 15. I see these beautiful road bikes on here and find myself wondering how I would ruin them with a rack and panniers large enough for a week's shopping.
I am pretty proud that I ride enough that I've ditched the car entirely andthe only wheels in my house come in pairs powered by legs.